The Scene.

You and your special someone uncomfortably exchange ridiculous small talk and juvenile glances of adoration, while trying to ignore the obnoxious drunk in your peripheral and the demonic toddler peeking over your cramped, but cozy corner booth. While struggling to enjoy dinner, you make sincere attempts at keeping the conversation alive with vain laughter and equal exchanges of pointless information. You know nothing about the person in front of you, and although you’ve made valiant efforts to prove otherwise, there’s something more important plaguing your thoughts. The more you fight it, the worse it gets. Was it the cheese dip you shared with your bestie at lunch? Maybe it was the super-sized milkshake from your favorite fast food joint? Whatever you choose to blame, you cannot deny what’s happening. You have to go #2, and you have to go really badly! I’m not talking about one of those “in-and-out” sessions, where you can quickly take care of business and get back to your date. No, friends. I mean that moment when you’re still at the table, leaning to the side, trying to ease one out; but you know there’s something ominous behind it. If you even breathe wrong, you’re risking disaster. Not to mention, there’s no way to save face. What are you gonna do?

Different personalities will feel compelled to handle this comedic, but serious situation from several perspectives. Some of you are brazen enough to keep it real and tell your date you need to use the bathroom. You all have my respect. Others will cunningly put together an escape plan, including some terrible “my dog ate my homework” excuse and an easy evacuation route. Then there’s the group who will selflessly and bravely sit through the pain. You guys are absolutely crazy! Not only will your face and body language communicate your discomfort, but your digestive system will ruin your life after the next few meals. I would encourage the last idea ONLY if you drove separate cars, because you’ll need lots of alone time after dinner.

Personally, some weird combination of groups one and two best serves my purpose. Not only am I prudent enough to reserve discussions about my bowel movements for close friends, but I’m also frank enough to honestly express my feelings. Depending on the overall success of the date, how you handle this moment can either turn your date on (creepy) or earn you a spot on the reject list. As an aside, I’m anticipating a first date this weekend, and I bet he’s reading this post! (I’m probably not as prudent as I’d like to believe). At any rate, the real issue at hand concerns what you believe is most important. If impressing a stranger who probably has 3 or 4 dates lined up over the weekend suits you well, pray for mercy and wait until you get home. However, if self-expression and healthy bodily functions are your priority, grab your cellphone, excuse yourself for a few minutes, find the last stall, and give it all you’ve got!

*Disclaimer: this is in no way a fool-proof guide to navigating this situation, but if it works, you can thank me later!