WHEN conversation turns to the quality of the salt and pepper shakers and you've discussed the weather more than once, chances are your first date isn't going so great.
Maybe your date has bored you to tears, is the height of rudeness or is just plain awkward, but no matter the circumstances, it is always handy to have an escape route planned - and we're not just talking about the nearest fire exit.
This Valentine's Day, we thought we would compile a guide on how to ditch a dud date, in case you find yourself cursing Cupid come tonight.
Here are a few you might want to stash in the memory bank
Have a friend on call: About half an hour into the date, have a friend phone you. If it is going well, ignore the call, but if you're dying for the date to come to an end, insist you absolutely have to take the call because there is a total emergency and you have to go! This one is overly done, yet still seems to work.
Fake it 'til they break it: This one is to be used with caution. If you're having a bad date, you could always take on the personality of the worst date ever. Pretend to get blind drunk off one drink, talk constantly about yourself every second - basically become what you would hate in a first date. This way they'll be the one to end the date. Unless it goes the other way and they actually like the fake you, then perhaps refer to the honest approach below.
The ex-factor - works every time: Bring your ex (real or made up) into every topic of conversation. Act as though you're still totally hung up on your former partner and your date will be instantly turned off.
Get a helping hand: Probably the most legitimate of the lot, this one works an absolute treat. As you excuse yourself to go to the bathroom, go via one of the waiters and tell them your date is going terribly, you need a quick escape and for them to come to your table about 10 minutes later and say a friend has just phoned the restaurant asking for you because there is another one of those emergencies happening, or maybe it's your boss and something crazy has happened at work that couldn't possibly wait until morning. Sneaky, but highly successful.
Chuck a sickie: That tummy bug back again? Feel a migraine coming on? Of course you don't, but your date doesn't know that! Explain your sudden illness and excuse yourself from the date.
Be honest: Here's an idea, just tell them you don't think the date is going anywhere and you don't see 'us' working out. Politely excuse yourself and thank them for a wonderful night and off you trot.