If it's stupid and embarrassing, I've done some version of it on a date ... and have had to do some pretty impressive damage control to make up for it.

From cartwheeling over a restaurant chair like I was in the "American Gladiators" atlasphere to accidentally saying unflattering things about Hunt's ketchup (honestly, how could I have possibly known her father worked Hunt's parent company, agribusiness giant ConAgra?), I'm an ace at figuring out how to thoroughly embarrass myself.

But I've also been on the receiving end of some ridiculous Bad Date Behavior. (It's not ALWAYS me, you guys.) I've come to know which faux pas are forgivable, and which should just be written off as romantic losses and go in the proverbial book.

Now I pass these savings onto you ...

Scenario One: You've Inadvertently Said Something Offensive

Aside from being the working title to my memoir (debating between the above and "The Single Jingles: Me, Loneliness & My Casio Keyboard"), Inadvertently Saying Offensive Things is my stock and trade. Do you do it too? I'm here to help.

I'm going to assume as a gentle reader of this progressive-minded website that you aren't racist, homophobic, xenophobic, anti-Semitic, anti-Canadian, or pro-Bieber. My guess is you, like me, may accidentally fall prey to more of the garden-variety verbal buffoonery, like casually mocking astrology to someone who goes suddenly ashen-faced because their mom is Terry Nazon (look her up).

Can This Date Be Salvaged?
Yes.

The key to redeeming yourself after a boneheaded comment is typically a nice three-part dance step of self-deprecation, humor and outright lying. "Oh, wow, Terry Nazon is really [furiously looking up the name on your phone beneath the table] a very popular astrologist! You know, on a serious note, when Venus went into retrograde last year I really did feel the inexplicable urge to clean my entire apartment and go get a physical. Astrology is a science, is what I tell people now."

Scenario Two: You've Done Something Really Gross

This happened to me earlier this year. I went to a house party that was a little like stumbling into an ESPN4 telecast entitled "Xtreme Drinking." I once split a cab with a crack beer-pong player who I was really hitting it off with until she painted the inside of the taxi in barf just as we arrived at my apartment. So, I brought her into my place where the esophageal fireworks continued unabated.

Then she sent me two Facebook messages asking to take me out as a thank-you for gently mopping the bile off of her lips. I declined.

Can This Date Be Salvaged? Depends.

Look, we've all had terribly embarrassing things like this happen to some extent. If it's not puke, it's publicly tripping and hurting yourself, or burping or farting or any other number of horror stories straight out of YM. You have to gauge how awful the thing you did is against whether you are sure you want to see this person again. If things are involuntarily and violently coming out of orifices, you may just want to fold your hand. If you do something silly-hideous, like lose your balance into a wedding cake tower, that might actually be a great origin story for a relationship.

Scenario Three: You Sent a Text You Shouldn't Have

These texts basically come in four varieties; I guarantee you you've sent one or all of them:

1) Drunken late-night nonsense
2) Vaguely to explicitly clingy text
3) Unappreciated sext pic
4) Booty call

Can This Date Be Salvaged? Depends.

Let's break this down.

Text 1: Usually! If I wake up to find a few drunken, silly texts from a gal I'm going out with, I'm usually kind of like, "Aw, she was drinking Goldschläger again." Unless I went on a couple so-so dates with Nancy Spungen and she's still trying to get a piece of my fat writer bank account. Then I'm like, "Better change my Google Voice number again."

Text 2: No. Ladies, this is (almost) worse then barfing. Especially at the beginning of a relationship. Passive-aggressive texts like "Helloo Mr. Non Responsive did you lose your cell phone?" and the like are huge, old–Soviet Union–style red flags. Just don't do it. Seriously.

Text 3: Probably! Clearly we love pictures of your boobs and stuff. Just be cognizant that we dudes are sort of all porn archivists and therefore appreciate good production value. A sultry shot of your pouty lips and cleavage in your candlelit room works big-time. Sending anything beyond that is a little off, especially if we haven't known you very long.

Text 4: Yes. You are a woman. If this guy is/was ever interested in you, then booty calls are, at the very least, flattering. Let this one lie, and see where it goes.

Scenario Four: You Had an Off Night Around His Friends


So, you met him out with his buddies and you just weren't feeling it. They were slightly annoying you, or you were just having one of those nights where your jokes fell flat and his one friend you thought you had bonded with over your mutual love of "How to Train Your Dragon" informed you he had been kidding and he actually loathes Jay Baruchel's voice. The feeling of being a real square peg around all these round holes grows until you just have to bail.

Can This Date Be Salvaged:
Yes.

Off nights happen, and sometimes they actually help. How? You've just lowered expectations to the point where your next performance around the friends will require only that you are generally positive and fun and they'll all be like, "Wow, we really misjudged her!" I've had plenty of guy friends whose girlfriends and wives initially were as fun and inviting as Zelda from "Pet Sematery" only to eventually reveal themselves to be really cool. It's nerve-wracking being around the friends of new signifs.

Be careful, however, not to fall into the trap of trying too hard with his friends. You'll never lose by being chill, but trying too hard to be the fun girl can come off as a little too aggressive, and the whole thing can smack of the kind of effort that means you're overcompensating for the fact that you can't seem to get enough of Jay Baruchel.

In Sum: The key to all salvage opportunities is a little humility, some fancy word-work, white lies, and the understanding that he will make a mistake one day, too. It's all about precedent when it comes to this kind of stuff. If you own your screw-up and don't get too rattled by it, he'll do the same when it's his turn to say and do something terribly embarrassing. Apologies should often go hand-in-hand with forgiveness.


[Redacted] Guy is the resident single guy writer at Lemondrop. You keep asking us why he's still single, so here's why: Once, when he was in third grade, he did that thing where you flip the tab of a Pepsi can back and forth while reciting the alphabet to determine the first initial of your future spouse. The tab popped off on X. It was tragic.

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