Thanks (or no thanks) to some combination of luck, a new found openness (i.e temporary exhaustion of cynicism), and the internet, I’ve been on way more first dates recently than ever before (than ever before = barely ever). I’ll skip the part about how these dates are usually just exercises in awkwardness/forums for practicing giving completely inaccurate statements about yourself and just move on to how to handle them (yes, three and a half first dates later I am a seasoned expert). Not how to handle the good ones, because when you have one of those it kind of handles itself and next thing you know dinner took three hours and you are walking around some grimy neighborhood until 2am arm-in-arm talking about high school and music and all the foods you hate, but how to handle the bad ones. The ones where five minutes in your mind has already wandered to the wondrous moment when you can be home on your couch watching some shitty show like Gray’s Anatomy far, far away from this person who is currently touching the small of your back while saying “It’s like, I like social media, but my real passion is photography”. In those instances, may I recommend these tactics in order to blow the date before you have to spend the next 90 min of your life listening to some dude who will probably make you split the check with him talk earnestly about the cultural significance of Wilco. Try ‘em all!

1. Open the conversation with a detailed run-down of all your food allergies, and the specifics of your different physical reactions. “I mean, gluten just makes me congested and SUPER bloated, but with like soy, I just feel barfy and get a headache, you know?”

2. Order some of the things you said you were allergic to. Shrug and say “but sometimes I like to live a little, you know?”

3. Ask him if he has any pets, then interrupt with “I know it’s illegal and all but doesn’t sometimes bestiality seem kinda fun?”

4. Ask him if he’s going out with any hot girls at the moment. Demand to see pictures of all of them. If he says he’s not, accuse him of lying and storm off to the bathroom for 20 min. Come back and somberly tell him you can’t start a relationship built on a foundation of lies. Tear up a little. Then eat some chips and order a fourth margarita.

5. Ask if the food is kosher, make sure no sentient beings were harmed in the making of your meal, then insist on blessing the meal with a prayer from Jesus before you eat. Explain you are “trying out some religions.”

6. Punctuate random facts he tells you about himself (he likes ’30 Rock’, he flosses regularly, he’s been to Portland once) with “Omg we should get married!”

7. Bring a deck of cards to dinner and make him play War with you.

8. Take out a Q-Tip and a plastic baggie. Ask if you can swab the inside of his cheek for DNA purposes.

9. When all else fails, just sob uncontrollably.