Dating For Dummies
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You may have experienced one or two (or ten) dating disasters, when you wished you could have crawled under the table to hide for the next decade or so. Well, you can breathe a huge sigh of relief as soon as you master the perfect remedy for the following dating disasters.

The first rule: No matter what the problem, fess up immediately. Your date will sense from your expressions or behavior that something is wrong, and they might think you have a problem with them. And remember, no matter how bad it gets, really, is it the end of the world?

Disaster Solution
Your pants (skirt, shirt, bra) split. Tie your jacket or sweater around your waist; buy or borrow a jacket or sweater to tie around your waist. Borrow a safety pin from the waiter.
You forgot your wallet or billfold. Throw yourself on the mercy of either your date or the manager (if you're a regular there). If your date likes you, at least they will know there will be another date — one for which you pay in full.
You get sick. Hey, sick happens. Just don't deny it so long that you get sick right then and there. Tell your date you're not feeling well and need a few minutes in the restroom. If you really don't think you're going to make it, ask your date for help. Passing out in a bathroom stall will only make a bad situation worse. It's okay to ask for a rain check — or a barf check, or a nasal drip check.
You pass wind. Most importantly, avoid breaking out in a 15-minute nervous laughing jag. Apologize once and then (if possible) open a window.
You run into an angry ex. Remind yourself that you are not responsible for anyone's behavior but your own. Stay calm and let your ex be the only person in the room who makes a fool of themselves.
Your car breaks down. First, get your towing situation under control, be it AAA or through your insurance policy, or searching for a nearby tow company on your phone. Best thing to do is make the best of it. Don't sink into a quicksand of self-blame. See if the tow truck can drop you off at the restaurant on the way, take a cab home, and deal with your dead car tomorrow.

Remember: A little reconnaissance means you won't run out of gas or get a flat without a spare.

Don't sweat it

Sweating, when you're nervous or hot, is natural. Excessive sweating, called hyperhidrosis, can be problematic. It happens when your sympathetic nervous system is out of whack — working harder than it needs to in regulating your body temperature. Sweat appears on the palms of your hands, your face, feet, and torso, as well as your armpits.

If you sweat profusely (or even just a little), you can stop it several ways:

  • Antiperspirants: The active ingredient in most antiperspirants is aluminum zirconium trichlorohydrex (or tetra-chlorohydrex) GLY. Some people do apply antiperspirant to the soles of their feet or the palms of their hands, but most use them on their armpits. The purpose of an antiperspirant is to stop sweat from reaching the skin. A deodorant, on the other hand, is used to mask perspiration odors. You likely need both on a date.
  • Powders: Brushed on the hands and feet, talc, cornstarch, and baking soda-based powders absorb perspiration as it reaches the surface of your skin.
  • Relaxation: Particularly before a big date, sweat may be more of an emotional response to stress than a physical problem with your armpits or hands or forehead. Take several deep breaths and try to chill out.
  • Surgery: In severe cases of sweating, surgery is possible to remove axillary sweat glands, or the sweat glands under the arms — but don't try this at home.

Lighten up

No matter what happens, the biggest thing to bear in mind is this: It's a date — just a date. Not brain surgery or the cure for cancer or the Bill of Rights or Macbeth. It's not serious drama with dire consequences. It's a date. So, while you're in the midst of it all, why not lighten up?

The punsters weren't kidding when they said, "Laughter is the best medicine." Several studies have found that jovial belly laughs not only improve circulation and work muscles all over the body, but they relieve stress much in the same way aerobic exercise does. Even in your darkest moments, laughter can instantly make things seem, and feel, much better. Tossing one-liners nonstop isn't the way to go, but looking on the bright side of a dim moment can mean the difference between a disaster date and one that's the beginning of a great relationship.

About This Article

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Dr. Joy Browne, PhD, is not only a dating guru, but also a licensed clinical psychologist who is the award-winning host of her own nationally and internationally syndicated radio talk show.

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