How To Make The Most Out Of Your Bad Dates

by Jessie Male and Emi Soekawa of Bad Date Great Story

We’ve all been there. Twenty seconds into a first date and all that’s running through your mind is, “No thanks — check, please!” But in these modern days of dating, time is scarce. From remembering your hundred online passwords to doing the laundry so you're not forced to wear bathing suit bottoms as underwear to work (again) — NO ONE has time to waste. That means the best road to efficiency is learning how to fully optimize every moment...even when those moments are spent across the table from a guy who can't stop talking about his achievements in World of Warcraft. Maybe you initially thought, in flirty emails or witty text banter, that this person could’ve been The One. And while he or she might not be, they are still a person — a person with hidden talents and knowledge and interests that can enlighten your life in one way or another. So instead of considering those bad dates a waste of good time, we encourage you to optimize each of those less-than-thrilling events and subpar partners by turning them into learning experiences and opportunities for a little enrichment. It's doable, we swear.

The concept of Bad Date Great Story evolved from our hilarious dating stories that we regaled each other with at a local pub and decided to create a blog to keep track of, to a website where people all over the world submit their funny bad date stories. Now it's also a regular show, four years running in downtown New York. At the Bad Date Great Story show, rising comedians, writers, and regular people who've survived the dating jungle come to tell all. From all of this grassroots research, we've heard EVERYTHING and just for you we've gleaned some magical lessons to help you extract the very best parts from a very bad date...

1. The Human Zagat

Sometimes bad dates have great taste. So what if you have to sit through a 40-minute diatribe about Tibetan architecture? You've also discovered this adorable wine bar on Clinton Street! So what if he tells you about his "common whore" of an ex (okay maybe we would draw the line there) and how he "maybe isn't over her yet" — you FINALLY checked out the new shuffleboard court in Gowanus! And yes, he might have asked you to split the bill after you schlepped out to Ridgewood on a Saturday, but that bill you're splitting is at Bunker — so you discovered it way before The New Yorker did.Example: Anthony Devito used to lie to women about what he did for a living, until one of them took an extreme interest in his knowledge and led him down the road of the most hilarious date conversation we've ever heard:

2. The Wizard of Oz

You know when you go out on a date with someone who you've thought was amazing for a LONG TIME and then FINALLY you go out and he/she is really NOT THAT SPECIAL. That is brilliant! Why? Because you shouldn't idolize anyone that much unless they're your 86-year-old G-ma who survived the war, or a third grader on Master Chef — all superior to us — because it's just not healthy. At some point, you must de-throne everyone in your life and grow up, and if you have go on a date with everyone on your Facebook newsfeed to make it happen, Get. It. Done.Example: Sydnee Washington lusted after a sexy model for months, but when they finally went out, it was NOTHING like she expected:

3. The Teacher

So you're on the date, you stare into each others eyes, and you both feel...nada. All is not lost! Find his/her field of knowledge and learn something. 401K — wait to get one until you see your first gray hair and freak out that death is upon you, or sign up? How long do you really need to cook fish for? This person is good at at least one thing that could help your grownup self out. Use this time to grow that place in your brain where you keep the theme song to Full House, and when you meet your friends for drinks the minute this date is over, you can do so a little wiser.

Example: Charlotte Glasser was new to the lesbian world and eager to learn the ins and outs of being with a woman. Then one night, she met that knowledgeable sensei:

4. The Swap Meet Date

Listen, he might not be for you, but do you think you’re the only single person out there? Does he connect words into sentences? Wear clean clothes? Say something compelling about anything? We guarantee you that if you’ve checked “Yes” on these, then someone might consider him their forever man (or at least two-date man — baby steps people…baby steps). So share with a friend!Example: Marie Faustin's nicknames her dates, which makes it MUCH easier for friends to understand their true strengths and weaknesses:

5. The Entertainer

Some of our favorite bad dates are the kind that feel like a one-man/woman show, and the title of that performance is "This Is Why I'm Single." Listen, theater tickets are expensive, so why wait in line for the rush performance of Cabaret when, for the small price of a drink and your dignity, you can watch your date sing and dance for your affection?

Example: Ayanna Dookie finally met the one worth traveling for. But after their agenda-planned weekend, she learned that her engineer might've actually majored in Drama:

6. The Bachelorette

What kind of person do you want to be in a relationship with? You have to know this when going out into the dating world or you're going to get barnacled up in a lot of wasted convos with bearded dudes trying to drag you out to hidden speakeasies when you know damn well that you're allergic to hipsters in the dark. Finding out who you like can start with, "I know I never want to see that person, or anyone even remotely like that person ever again" — process of elimination, boom! You're a scientist. Now go make a list of 10 characteristics you ARE looking forward in the dating scene.

Example: When Emma Willmann read her date's self-described "model" profile she eagerly dove in. But, this date quickly spiraled into a list of what to avoid at all costs:

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