The Silver Linings of My Bad-Date Book

Love and Sex

The Silver Linings of My Bad-Date Book

Illustration: Shivali Devalkar

It had the potential to be one of those dates that turn into stories I would later tell the girls over sangria. Until he started talking about his ex. And then, he wouldn’t stop. I nodded and tried to be patient, but the date was turning out to be a nightmare. I wanted to leave, but somehow I wound up at a house party at his place, where he then proceeded to lock himself in a room and cry in a fetal position.

We’ve all been on this date at least once in our lives. There we sit, ready to put ourselves out there, even after our ex has moved on with that person we were told not to worry about. With the memories of our last Titanic-shaped relationship hitting the proverbial iceberg as fresh in our minds as the haircut we get, we’re ready to meet a brand new person, who won’t break our hearts. Fingers crossed. And then our optimism fades.

The disasters are on different scales. If it’s not the guy, who talks about his ex, it’s the guy who reveals the GoT spoiler or the guy who snaps at the waiter for not having gluten-free water. So you save yourself from them. A phone call can come to your rescue – a call from your best friends about a made-up accident from a fake hospital. You leave, go home, and stalk your ex, who is on a vacation with another person they told you not to worry about, and ask yourself where you went wrong. The short answer: Nowhere.

Like a pimple, bad dates also get under our skin, balloon up, cause an insignificant amount of public embarrassment, and scar us for a few days after they’re over.

You went on a date where you met a human specimen who activated all the nope centres of your brain. These nope centres have been responsible for warning you that orange is not your colour or that eating from that shady Chinese place will give you explosive diarrhoea. Now, these nope centres are important. They are not the most optimistic guys on the planet, but they do an equally important job as the yes centres, which tell you what you want in a man, (in my case, regular sex and a person to consensually do it with, who also hangs around pre- and post-coitus because he enjoys my company). They tell you what you don’t want. By the simple logic of mathematics, the more you know about what you don’t want, the closer you are to figuring out the things that you want.

A bad date is like a pimple. The longer it lasts, the more annoyance it causes. Like a pimple, bad dates also get under our skin, balloon up, cause an insignificant amount of public embarrassment, and scar us for a few days after they’re over. But again, like the irritating goodness of a wart that cleanses bacteria from our faces, bad dates have an important place in the framework of our lives. It is the same kind of importance that we reserve for puberty or failing a semester in college because you were too busy mastering the fine art of day drinking.

Bad dates teach us lessons about our wants and set rules about things we absolutely don’t want. Finding out what you don’t want, is a journey of self-discovery that is imperative for every young and single person. It’s a journey similar to that of Columbus, where he never found what he was looking for, but in not finding it, he found something pretty awesome instead. Columbus teaches us disappointment is a good thing and it is time for us to make disappointments great again.

So the next time you’re on a date and your never-gonna-work-out partner starts bragging about his “new” car when you know he came in an auto, or tells you that your star sign is under attack because Mercury is in retrograde, take a deep breath, count up to 10, and ask them to carry the fuck on. You’re one step closer to finding a person, who will not make you want to roll your eyes so far back into your head that you can see the inside of your skull.

Love is real, unlike your date’s “new car”. Have some faith.