It doesn't take a long for a bad first date to turn into lifelong nightmare, but sometimes the crisis can be averted entirely. There comes a time when one of the parties on the date has had enough and needs to find an escape route. But what do they do when a simple, "I'm not feeling it" doesn't work? How do they find a way out of that situation and find safety? Well, they turn to their trusted bartender.
And that's exactly what the people in the following stories did. When a date put them in a bad spot, these women turned to the bar or restaurant staff for help. Luckily, their plans worked out, but there were a few close calls. All posts have been edited for clarity.
She Needed Not One, But Three Bartenders To Get Out Of This One
“I had a creeper at a hotel bar who wouldn’t leave me alone despite my best efforts to ignore him. I even asked him politely and not so politely to ‘leave me alone.’ He actually kept trying to touch me and told me that I was going to go to his room with him. He had a strange angry edge, too. So I gave the bartender a ‘help me’ look and said to him something like, ‘I need to talk to you about that thing with my tab, remember?’ and asked if could do it when the bar closed (which was like five minutes later). He looked at me and said, ‘Give me a minute,’ made a phone call, and then said, ‘So, they can help you at the front desk.’ Meanwhile, the creeper was literally not leaving me alone and was still trying to actually hang on me and keeps talking.
So I started to leave and the creep was trying to kiss me and pull me close but I told him I had business at the front desk and walked to the front desk. A few employees were there and I said, ‘The bartender said you could help me with my tab?’
And one of the employees said, ‘Oh, I need you to come here with me to fix that.’ And she said to the guy, ‘You need to stay here, this is personal business.’ The employee (a woman) and I started to walk away, and of course, the creeper followed us. She actually walked me to a staff elevator and he tried to get on with us. She told him, ‘Get out of here and leave us alone,’ as a male hotel employee came up to him just then and the elevator door shut. The employee walked me to my room and stayed until I had the door locked from the other side.
I have had (and still occasionally do have) guys hit on me but never anything like this incident. I actually wrote a long email to the hotel corporate office and the actual hotel about the bartender and two employees because they helped me in what I would say was ‘above and beyond.’ The guy really frightened me. I have been as brand loyal as possible to the hotel chain ever since.”
The Bartender Need To Talk To Her About “Her Tab”
“I was out at the pub on campus for a show and had been there previously in the day celebrating my final exam with some friends. Some guy who was sitting at a table next to us and trying to chat us up earlier was still there with his buddies. Of course he got me alone when my friend went to the bathroom.
He wouldn’t stop talking to me and getting in my face and yelling about himself and when I excused myself to go to the bar (literally was like ‘ok bye.’) He followed me to the bar and ordered the same thing as I did and offered to pay. I said I was good and he just would not stop talking. And I must have looked mad because the bartender walked over and went, ‘Hey, you were here earlier right? Buddy, give us a second, I need to speak with her about her tab.’
The guy left and the bartender told me I looked distressed and asked if everything was ok. I told him I was fine but this guy was in my personal space and not leaving. So he said if he didn’t stop that, I should come back and order a ‘Seven and Lemon’ and security would be notified, and he would walk me back to my car if I needed it.
We ended up moving tables and I think he got too wasted to stand up and left not too long after that but I was so relieved to know the bartender was watching out. I’m not one for confrontation and it just feels so much safer to be able to duck out with someone having my back.”
“Not a safe word per se, but my mom and a friend went to a bar and a guy mugged her friend outside. She entered with her purse messed up and holding a shoe, and their male friend called over to the owner. He called out something like ‘Woman Down’ and a bunch of men stood and went outside to search for this guy.
It turns out a few years prior, a woman was violated at that particular bar. After that, the owner established a code phrase with the regulars for if a woman gets attacked. The place looks like a dive bar at first glance, but the owner is a serious gentleman and doesn’t even allow cursing in there.”
They Gave Help To Anyone Who Needed It
“The bar I used to work at had signs in the women’s bathroom informing the ladies to order a ‘Pink Russian’ if they were feeling uncomfortable with their date. I know a Pink Russian is an actual drink, but it’s not one that we had on the menu or would make. We originally would simply respond, ‘Unfortunately, we don’t stock the ingredients to make a Pink Russian’ and then the wheels started to spin into how we could make the drink an escape route for women.
There was only one public entry/exit point to our bar, so our procedure, when possible, was to help them exit through the kitchen and out through the loading dock so their creeper date wouldn’t see them leaving.
If they weren’t able to order the drink on their own at the bar for whatever reason, or they ordered at the table, we would make an excuse to have the guy come to the bar. We would typically say there was something wrong with their credit card (we required a credit card be held in the cash till when running a bar tab). Or if the lady had placed her credit card for the tab then we’d ask her to come up and ‘resolve the issue.’
Over the three years I worked there, I’d estimate at least one lady a week ordering a Pink Russian in the winter months and maybe 3 or 4 a week in the summer months since it’s a waterside bar, increased patronage in the summer.
The one that stands out most in my memory was a young lady, maybe 22, on a date with this 35+ year old dude. When she got up to go to the bathroom he waited outside the toilet door for her. And then she wanted to order a drink at the bar and he stood unnecessarily close to her while she ordered. Kept telling her what she should get. She looked at me while smiling like she was dead inside and cheerily said, ‘a double Pink Russian, straight up, please.’ She wanted out immediately. I gave her the line about not having the ingredients but offered a strawberry daiquiri instead with a wink and nod of acknowledgment.
In an effort to separate them I asked him if he’d like to start a bar tab, he said no, so I jeered him a bit saying things like ‘I’m sure running a tab will impress your date here’ and ‘it means you’ll see my face a little less, because I won’t have to come to the table to charge your drinks each round.’ He started the tab, ordered his drink, and they went to sit down.
About 5 minutes after they sat down, I went out and asked him if he could come to the bar because there was a problem with the pre-authorization charge we do on bar tab credit cards. He came up. I fiddled around with the machine so it would decline his card a few times.
One of the girls I work with went over to their table and asked the lady if she ordered the Pink Russian, she said yes, and they get up to head out through the kitchen while old mate is at the bar fixing his card problem.
Her date happened to turn around in frustration as the lady walked into the kitchen and asked why she was going in there. I shrugged and said I’d go find out. Went into the kitchen for a minute came back and said: ‘One of the chefs knows her, just wanted to say hi.’ The dude then proceeded to stand at the kitchen door for 10 minutes waiting for her.
He was asked several times to move because he’s in the way. He then accused us of kidnapping his date because she hadn’t come back. I had to tell him she bailed on him because she wouldn’t be coming back. He started making a scene and demanded to go into the kitchen to see if she was there. He pushed his way through and saw she wasn’t in there.
He stormed out and said he was calling the police. By this point, we had to tell him what was up because we didn’t want to waste the police’s time.
He made a scene after being told he made her uncomfortable for whatever reason and she needed us to help her out. He kept going and we had to call the police to get him to leave, explained the situation to them, and they just responded saying ‘maybe you shouldn’t be rude, mate’ and the dude left.
The lady came in a few weeks later to thank us for helping her out.
That time was the most dramatic. Most dudes just accept that their date has ghosted them and get on with their life.
People sometimes ask if we had an option for men. We did. It was a Boston Collins. It was rarely used in the time I was there.
When people ask for a Boston Collins story, I say there weren’t too many over the years, but one that I was involved in was two gay dudes in on a date and one was quite a twinkish feminine dude, relatively attractive, while the other was a morbidly obese man.
It was pretty clear from the body language of the young guy that he was not impressed with the situation. Probably catfished or something. He came to the bar and ordered a drink then went to the bathroom.
The other guy got up and also went to the bathroom. Not completely unusual because they might be on the same pee cycles. The younger guy came out a couple of minutes later and said, quite urgently and concerned, ‘cancel my last drink, change it to the Boston Collins, please.’
I knew the big dude was still in the bathroom so I just took the other guy straight through the kitchen. He was quite distressed when we got out the back so I had a chat with him.
Turns out the big dude had come into the toilet and tried to make a move on him. Pinned him against the wall and kissed him while the young guy was finishing up. He touched him in private areas. The young guy got out and came to me.
I encouraged him to report it to the police and that I would make a formal record of it in our incidence register so if the police needed any details from our end then we would have them available. I also saved the CCTV footage for the incidence register.
Unfortunately, the police never came to see us, so I assume the young guy never made an official complaint.”
She Found Her Guardian Angel
“A guy I was with was with was SUPER adamant about me keeping up with him slamming drinks. He would drag me to the bar and order for me, then egg me on to drink faster. I did NOT want to be sloshed with him.
He ordered me a Grey Goose and soda and I maintained that slightly pained look on my face, hoping to catch the bartenders attention. When one looked my way, I widened my eyes just a little and subtly shook my head ‘no.’
I watched him as he poured me drink by faking the pour and just filling me with what I presume was soda water (not normally my drink of choice so I wasn’t sure what it was – kinda looked like stale Sprite) and he garnished it with a lime and everything. Said ‘cheers’ when he handed us our drinks.
This continued for a while until my ‘date’ wanted to leave. The bartender said to me, ‘Oh, you had asked about seeing Megan, right?! Yeah she’s in the back, go ahead while he closes out.’
I sort of hovered by the restrooms which were tucked away, watched the bartender talk with the dude for a while, and my date eventually left looking annoyed. When the coast was clear, I came out, said my thank you’s, and he said, ‘Anytime, happens more than we care to admit.’
I thought it was pretty cool that the bartenders were aware enough to pick up on the little signs and help a sister out. I guess during their conversation, he basically convinced the dude that I didn’t seem into it and he thought he saw me leave already. The dude was wasted, so I guess he bought it without further intervention necessary.”
She Put Her Trust In A Stranger
“I’ve actually been used to escape by a random before. I was at a local bar with a bunch of friends and out of nowhere a girl walked over, sat on my lap and between teeth clenched smiled and said: ‘Pretend to know me.’ I laughed and loudly said, ‘Hey you! Where’d you wander off to?’ Thankfully my friends picked up on it because a few seconds later some of my female friends were chatting with her and standing between her and the guy she’d fled.
I asked her after what about me made her know I was a safe person to turn to and she said, ‘because you’re here with a bunch of women. Total honesty thought you were gay.'”
The Tables Were Turned
“I’m a straight guy and had a girl rescue me once from an uncomfortable situation. I was at a bar with a couple of buddies and these two girls sitting in front of us that none of us were even interested in, let alone said anything to, all started trying to chat us up. When asked what we do for a living I said I was a garbage man and had kids in the hopes that alone would be enough for them to move on but, unfortunately, no.
So I must have been looking around the bar with the eyes that said ‘get me the heck out of here’ and this nice girl I never met came by and did the ‘hey you! I haven’t seen you in forever!’ thing and gave me a great big hug which of course I thanked her for. She saw I was super uncomfortable and needed rescuing so she saved me.
I repaid her kindness with drinks and we met up later on for a movie. Since then I’ve been more aware of the signs and would help a stranger if ever the need presented itself.
We lost touch not long after the incident but it was nice to see that people will look out for strangers when they see a bad situation happening in front of them.”
She Wasn’t Expecting THIS Response
“In 2012, I was at a beach in Toronto. A random 60-year-old man approached me (I was a shy 18-year-old) and he simply would not leave. He talked on and on about how I could come live with him at his house and be his girlfriend, all the while not letting me get a word in edgewise.
To escape this situation, I decided to call the day a loss and leave even though I’d only just arrived. As I walked back to the ferry, he emerged from the trees and followed me back to the mainland. He was still planning out our lives together and offered to buy us lunch at a local bar chain. Not wanting to lure the scary dude back to my apartment, I agreed in the hopes of stalling and figuring out a plan.
We sat down at a table by the door and I said I had to go to the bathroom and as I passed the bar I gave the bartender, a 20-something female, the 411 on this creepy dude situation. I asked if there was a back door somewhere I could slip out of and leave without him noticing. She replied that there was one through the kitchen but it was for staff only and she couldn’t help me.
I felt so betrayed that another female wouldn’t intervene at all and I cried a little bit in the bathroom. I was so young, new to the city and genuinely scared. I didn’t even have a phone back then I was so broke. When I got back to the table, the food came, I ate two bites and when he called for the check as he waited for the bill I said, ‘Well, this was…’ and ran into the street. I figured he wouldn’t ditch on the check to follow me but I still took some crazy side treks before getting on the subway.”
“I Tried To Pretend I Was Getting A Phone Call”
“I was waiting for the EL at the Diversey stop in Chicago around 10 pm on a weeknight back in 2013. My phone battery was dead. I got up to the platform and there was a guy on the phone ranting and crying. He looked like an aging punk rocker and seemed tweaked out with his movements and expressions. We were the only two people up there with no train in sight, so I tried to keep my distance. After 10 minutes or so, I saw the train and the guy moved towards me, still crying and now ranting to me. He sounded like he just got dumped, so I said I was sorry.
He asked if I could go somewhere and talk to him. I said I’m sorry, but I needed to go home. The train was getting closer. He started begging me to go somewhere with him to talk, and I said no, I really needed to go home. Just before the train came in, he leaned in and said, ‘I can kill you’ and kind of laughed. I felt he was strongly implying he’d push me into the train, but part of me wanted to believe he was making a bad joke. I said, ‘Ok, let’s go to X bar’ that was very close to the train. I figured I’d be safer at street level and at a bar, so I went in and tried to act normal.
The guy immediately started taking shots and was behaving extremely fidgety and jittery. It was like he was going out of his way to say things to make me feel uncomfortable and nervous. He wanted to play like weird psychological games that were meant to make me feel like he ‘knew’ me better than I knew myself. It felt like a control tactic. I don’t know how else to explain it. I tried to pretend I was getting a phone call, and he told me he knew I wasn’t and pushed my phone down. He then went on to tell me how he used to be an attorney, but was disbarred because he killed someone. He asked if I wanted to know how he killed the guy and I said no, that I was sure it was deserved or self defense and that happens. I just tried to downplay it and make it seem like I thought he was normal and that I sympathized with him.
He pulled out his hand, made the shape of a weapon with it, pointed it at me, and said, ‘I shot him.’ I again tried to downplay it. He then shouted, ‘JUST KIDDING!’ But just as I was feeling slightly relieved, he jumped in and said, ‘Actually, I smashed his head into a table’ and then kind of demonstrated how he did it and the circumstances behind it. I tried to downplay it again.
He finally got up to use the bathroom and I ran to the bartender and just said, ‘I don’t have time to explain, but I need you to help me get out of this. Please hail a cab and make sure I get in it.’ The guy had been very weird and aggressive with the the bartender earlier, so I felt like he wouldn’t doubt me. He came out of the bathroom and saw me talking to bartender and started getting even weirder and now possessive. I said I needed to go, while the bartender (huge guy) sort of got between us and said, ‘Ok, time to go home buddy.’ The guy followed me outside screaming at me telling me he I would regret this. He tried to follow me into my cab, while the bartender held him back until I took off.
When I got home, I was extremely shaken and googled his name and found his mugshot. I don’t think it was for murder, but it was definitely him, as he was pretty distinctive looking.”
She Has Bad Luck With “Blind Dates”
“I was on a date when I was in my early 20s. It was a blind date set up by someone I’m no longer friends with, and the date seemed like a fairly normal frat guy. I don’t like guys like that, so I was already planning on leaving early. He talked about himself almost non-stop, and every couple of minutes or so, he’d mumble something quietly and get a weird look on his face. I couldn’t understand or even hear him when he mumbled, and I almost never got the chance to ask him to repeat himself, and when I did, he’d ignore me. Eventually, I actually understood one of the things he said. He mumbled, ‘Your skin would look better on my wall.’ I was a complete nervous wreck. As I was feverishly contemplating my escape the bartender suggested jokingly that I order ‘Paladin Hard Lemonade No Ice’ to ease my first date jitters. I told him I wasn’t thirsty, but then he went into this story about the origin of the word ‘paladin’. He told us that the word originated in the late 16th century and was used by people back then to refer to a knight renowned for heroism and chivalry. Then it clicked! The bartender could sense my fear, and was offering me a safe way out. I ordered the drink, and almost instantly security arrived. I was walked out to my car harm-free.”
Another time, I had a scarf wrapped around my head, since I was bald from chemo and got cold easily. I was on a blind dinner date at a nice restaurant that also had a bar counter. My date seemed really freaked out when he saw me, and I couldn’t figure out why. After a few minutes of him being very on edge and me awkwardly trying to make small talk, he got up and went to the bar. He disappeared with a waiter for a few minutes, and the next thing I knew, a bunch of cops came in and I got handcuffed. It turns out he had a phobia of Islam, he thought I was wearing a hijab, and the police were called because I was a terrorist who informed him of a plot to blow up a shopping mall. Fun times.
I asked why I was being arrested and the cop told me what the guy said. I said that never happened and asked where the evidence was. The officer paused, not sure how to answer, then looked to the other officers and my ‘date.’ He told them I was wearing a ‘terrorist headdress thingy’ and that that obviously means I’m ‘one of them.’ Before an officer could get a word in edgewise, a group at the table next to us stood up for me and told the officers the actual story. I was released and given an apology, and the date was given a stern talking to by the police before they left. He got banned from the restaurant and I got a free dinner and an apology from the bartender. My friends love telling the story now, and so did the waitstaff who worked there. I moved not long after, so I don’t know if they still tell the story at the restaurant.”
They Were There To Help
“I’ve actually been used to escape by a random before. I was at a local bar with a bunch of friends when out of nowhere, a girl walked over, sat on my lap and between a teeth clenched smile, just said, ‘Pretend to know me.’
I laughed and loudly said, ‘Hey you! Where’d you wander off to?’
Thankfully, my friends picked up on it because inside of 10 seconds, a few of my female friends were chatting with her and standing between her and the guy she’d fled.
I asked her after what about me made her know I was a safe person to turn to and she said, ‘Because you’re here with a bunch of women. Total honesty. I thought you were gay.’
The dude that was bugging her ended up leaving the bar a few minutes after this all took place and she ended up just chatting with my friends.
I never saw her again actually. I didn’t even get her name.”
This Cop Was Getting Tired Of A Certain Creep
“I had a bar call 911 once after they bounced a guy who was creeping out a woman. He stood outside the bar and flat out said he was waiting for her until she came out, which he did. He started following her and told people they were together.
I literally had to stand with this moron while this poor girl and her friends got into the car, and he tried to stand really close so he could get the address. I told the driver her address, but gave the address of the jail, which most taxis know, and he seemed to get the hint. The guy tried to complain later that we had ‘unlawfully detained’ him just so he couldn’t get the girl’s number and address.”
It Was Just One Thing After Another Until She Had Enough
“I had to use a restaurant’s safe word when I was on a Tinder date. We met up and he had already got me a drink (a shot of something clear) and then said to me that I should do it then he would take me somewhere better for more fun. I wasn’t comfortable so I excused myself to the bathroom and saw a poster that said about ask for Angela if you’re uncomfortable. Went to the bar and asked for Angela, and immediately, this guy was playing along saying, oh yeah she’s working in kitchen tonight. He got me a taxi and walked me out the back door and into the taxi to make sure I got there without any hassle. Never saw the guy again.
I was just a little suspicious and scared. I don’t know if he was just being super forward or if it was genuinely going to head south, but I just was going to try slip out either way because I had to just trust my gut.
We had great chemistry over texts and calls and he seemed lovely. We had same hobbies in common and music loads to chat about and we were both just happy taking things slow but in person he was just so much more creepy. Like you know when someone just has that smile that sends shivers down your back?
Yeah, that plus the drink plus the wording of what he was saying was a massive no go for me.”
She Didn’t Want Anything To Do With This Ex
“This recently happened to me. I met up with an ex after roughly five years of not seeing him. He seemed way off when I arrived at the bar. He forgot his wallet (not surprised) so I bought the round of drinks but immediately closed the tab because I wasn’t expecting to pay for him and didn’t want him taking advantage.
When I excused myself to the restroom, I was already regretting the evening. I left the rest room and he was standing outside the door. Every alarm in my body went off but I Just acted annoyed and questioned him. He mumbled something and walked over to a pinball machine. Never played just looked at it for a solid 10 minutes. Which gave me enough time to call my bartender over and ask ‘girl to girl, this dude is on something, right?’
She agreed and asked me if I felt safe. I obviously didn’t so she let me exit through the backdoor and even got her bar back to walk me to my car. Not sure if anything would have happened but I’m really glad that she was so cool about it.
About 45 minutes later, he asked where I was. I told him I had left and that I didn’t want to talk to him anymore. Wished him the best then hung up.”
A Crisis Was Averted That Night
“I was on a hen night in Leeds and had got myself absolutely hammered. Some bloke started chatting to me and it all began to feel a bit uncomfortable. I made a hasty exit, but because I didn’t want him to see where I was going, I wandered off in a strange direction. Next thing I knew, I’d inadvertently gone out a side door and was on the street at 1 am, on my own, in a strange city with no friends.
I went round to the front door and explained the situation to the bouncer, who let me in and walked me round the club trying to find my friends. I couldn’t find them (I only knew three other girls in the whole group, so they would have been hard to spot) and my handbag was also with them so I had absolutely nothing. By this time I was distraught – pretty upset from the encounter, then from getting lost without friends, bag, wallet, phone, hotel room key, etc.
Luckily, I could remember the name of the hotel, so the bouncer put me in a taxi with £10 and sent me there. They wouldn’t give me a new room key as I had no idea and was clearly wasted, so I waited in the lobby for the group to return.
The next day, I posted a thank you card and a tenner to the bouncer at the club and I remain eternally grateful to him for saving me when I was really distressed.”