It’s easy to tell someone what to wear, what to say, where to go and what to order, but to truly understand what comprises a good date, you have to understand what makes a bad one. And not just no-callback-bad. We mean the absolute, definitive worst date in the history of dates-bad. We canvassed the staffers here at Men’s Fitness for every painful, real-life dating experience they’ve had to see just how bad a bad date can get. Next, we compiled them here to craft, from start to finish, the single worst date imaginable. You might think these are no-brainers, but they all come from real-life experiences, so someone was this oblivious. Take a cue from the clueless and don’t do these things. FIRST, PICK THE WORST DAY OF YOUR LIFE, EATING SOMEWHERE WITHOUT A HANDS-WASHING POLICY BEFOREHAND… “I made the mistake of eating hot dogs before I met a girl for the first time. About 20 minutes before we met, I started spewing like a fire hydrant all over the street. Once she got there, I told her I had to go home. She didn’t speak to me again for months.” “A guy took me on a first date the day his dog died.”

Lesson: Among the ways to doom yourself before you’re even out of the gate, bad hot dogs (or even good ones—post-hot dog burps are brutal) and personal tragedy are up there at the top of the list. Make sure your head and digestive system are in alignment before you even decide to meet a girl. If necessary, cancel, apologize and reschedule. It’ll be easier to soothe the burn from a date deferred than to explain away the vomit on her shoes or your incessant wailing as you drive past a Petco.   …THEN TAKE HER TO MEET YOUR MOM AND WATCH A DEPRESSING MOVIE… “A guy took me to hang out with his mom and her boyfriend at a bar on our first date. She was cool, but it was still really awkward.” “It was our second date and I took her to see In the Company of Men. We had a really awkward goodnight kiss after and stopped dating after that.”

Lesson: Planning is key. Even if your mom attended Woodstock and has every episode of South Park on DVD, avoid any situations that might be potentially awkward. The thought of taking her to meet your mom probably won’t cross your mind, but taking her to the Olive Garden may seem like an innocent idea. It’s not. Always be sure to research the movie you’re taking her to see to ensure that it isn’t about two egomaniacal sociopaths who emotionally torture a deaf woman for jollies. Or Antichrist. Watching a crazed wife mutilate her husband’s genitals is a mood-killer for some weirdos.   …BREAK HER NOSE… “I was sitting in the passenger side of his car, and he swung his arm around to look out the rear windshield to back the car out, but he elbowed me in the face instead. My nose started bleeding and I told him to take me home.” “A guy tripped and fell twice on our first date. I felt bad for him, but I just couldn’t take him seriously after that.”

Lesson: These kinds of clumsy missteps are sometimes inevitable, and provided neither of you end up in the hospital, survivable. It’s not possible to make a klutz stop being a klutz, but if you’re clumsy, keep the gesticulating at bay, don’t order food you have to eat with your hands, don’t try to carry five glasses back to the table in one trip and don’t chase after a cab. Accidents happen, but don’t tempt fate by juggling knives.   …REGALE YOUR DATE WITH INSULTS AND YOUR WELL-DESERVED PRISON HISTORY… “I was on a date with a girl, and my friend texted me to ask me how it was going, and I accidentally texted, ‘She’s a bitch’ to the girl I was on the date with.” “I asked a girl if she was a swimmer because she had broad shoulders. She looked at me like I was the weirdest person in the world. Yeah, that was awkward.” “A date once told me that he had been to jail. When I asked him why, he said, ‘Attempted murder.'” Lesson: Abraham Lincoln once said, “‘Tis better to be silent and be thought a fool than to speak and remove all doubt.” Ask her questions and keep the conversation light until you really start to get to know each other. Don’t pay her any compliments that go too in-depth and have the potential to confuse and/or offend her. A simple, “You look really nice,” will work wonders. If you have a felonious past, save it for a future date after you’ve already proved that you’re rehabilitated. And, for chrissakes, don’t use your phone.   …IF, BY SOME MIRACLE, SHE STILL WANTS TO GO HOME WITH YOU, MAKE SURE YOU’VE NEGLECTED ALL PERSONAL HYGIENE… “She wasn’t happy with my grooming situation… down there.” Lesson: You never know when a date is going to go really well, so be prepared for every possible outcome. Don’t wear underwear with ducks on it, keep the garden tidy, trim your talons, bathe, wear deodorant.   …THOUGH THAT PROBABLY MEANS SHE’S CRAZY… “I left a girl outside my house and told her to leave. Thirty minutes later, I peeked outside my window and she was still standing out there. I went to sleep.” Lesson: Don’t stick your d$@k in crazy.   IF ALL ELSE SUCCEEDS, BE THIS GUY “I went on an online date with a guy who lied about his height, was already drunk when I got to the bar, talked nonstop about a tattoo of himself he was getting on his leg the next day, spilled his beer all over me and then got upset because he thought the bartender was going to cut him off.” Lesson: Don’t lie. Don’t get too drunk. Don’t get tattoos of yourself, on yourself. If you spill your beer on your date, apologize. Don’t be an asshole.