When to Leave by Dessert

by on March 7th, 2015
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You went to Olive Garden. Then, you went to Starbucks. Everything seemed to be going so well by your third cup of coffee, when you called it a night and made what seemed to be a very reasonable decision to see him again. Suddenly, by the premature end of date two, you’re trying to remember if your berry aqua fresca had alcohol in it. Here’s what you might have missed.

1) The second mention of his ex.

Sure, sometimes exes come up naturally, but you find you know funny details about this one, without any questions on your part, and she’s a real witch. Remember, Ursula, evil soul that she is, stayed with him past dates one and two, and he’s not over anyone he can’t get through a dinner without working back into the conversation.

2) That “ding” just before he swore he turned his cell phone to “silent.”

…which he then had to check just really quickly. Assuming he’s not in the CIA, if a flashing message light can’t wait until a well-timed bathroom break, you–and everything else–will find yourself pausing everything at the sound of the almighty ding. If he has to text his reply just really quickly, too, and especially if he’s mastered the art of doing this under the table while looking at you, recognize the cheesecake just isn’t worth it.

3) He answered the waiter for you.

Are you finished with that? Would you like some dessert? Assuming your mouth isn’t stuffed full of lasagna at the time (when he should ask for a few minutes to talk it over), answering for you will extend beyond your dining experience. In the case that he doesn’t even look at you before answering, bonus points if you can hit the door before the waiter picks up your plate.

4) He’s really good.

No, not just really good. I mean REALLY, really good at something, and you need to know it. So, he’s reminded you, in case you missed it the first couple times it slipped into the conversation, “I’m REALLY good at that.” By the fourth mention, bow out of dessert. If it’s weightlifting, drinking, or sex, feign a migraine immediately and gracefully reject his offer to drive you home, saying your migraines often cause uncontrollable projectile vomiting.

5) He has a ___.

Just as with his talents, if his Harley/17th century coin collection/Britney Spears autograph has found its way into the conversation uninvited for the third or fourth time, and you know exactly how much it costs, though he hated to tell you both times, it’s time to recognize his stuff is more important than your conversation, and the next hour of your life is worth more than an overpriced coffee.

6) He quoted himself.

…when you wouldn’t expect direct quotes to be necessary. If he recalls his own words of wisdom on everything from his graduation speech to his advice to his best friend’s pregnant sister, you’ll be reading from the same book of quotations for rest of your time together. And when he’s that into his own words, he won’t hear any of yours. Make sure your main course is crunchy enough to drown out the noise.

7) He talked about his body.

…repeatedly, and not just that he likes protein shakes and has buddies at the gym. He tells you a few times he’s in much better shape than his friends, and random people on the street tell him he looks just like Brad Pitt. He gets lots of attention, because everyone hits on him…everyone. Whatever he looks like, don’t encourage him with coffee; he’ll never get beyond comparing his eyes to your mocha.

8) He told “inside jokes.”

No really, they’re hilarious…you just had to be there. So, he has friends, or at least he wants you to think he has friends, and they have stories. Just don’t settle into dessert without knowing what you’re doing. A funny guy who isn’t will, if given the least bit of opportunity, waste the next one to four hours of your evening praising the comic genius inside.

9) He’d be a good parrot.

He’s not just rephrasing what you say and repeating it back to you to make you feel heard, it really feels like he agrees, completely, with everything that comes out of your mouth. His experience of the world is eerily identical to yours, so he has nothing to add but to say “I totally feel the same way.” Beware the agreeable parrot; the soulmate-feigner won’t know what kind of coffee he likes unless you order it first, and African Greys are significantly more cost-effective.

10) He couldn’t remember who his doctor/dentist is.

Ask why. If he doesn’t get regular checkups, play it off like you heard something about oral hygeine being linked to cardiovascular health, and it just crossed your mind. If, on the other hand, it’s because his mother makes his appointments for him (Hey, they share a doctor, so it’s easier that way. Sometimes, they just go together.), don’t even finish the salad. Leave cash on the table. Run.


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