THIS WEEK’S TIP:

When one of your dates inevitably returns from a bathroom break with an entirely brutal and unexplained flesh-wound, feel free to mention it in a polite way.

Time to take a trip down memory lane, folks. Remember all those times you were out for the evening, keeping good company, having a grand ol’ time, only for your date to take a brief bathroom break and return a near fatal wound? We’ve all been there, but if you followed that up by awkwardly trying to avoid at staring at their repugnant lacerations while cursing yourself for wasting another night out, you done did wrong, kiddo.

The times they are-a-changin’. In the 21st century, it’s no longer taboo to politely lean in to your date and say “hey there, champ, you have a cavernous gash in your forehead. It looks like it’s becoming infected real fast.” I know what you’re thinking: If you don’t have anything nice to say, don’t say anything at all. The old maxim still holds true, but take a moment to stop and think about it.

If, for example, a section of your forearm appeared to be succumbing to necrosis at an alarmingly visible rate, wouldn’t you want to know? Just in case you missed it? If a good friend tells you when your fly is down or if you’ve got something stuck in your teeth, why would it be rude to bring up your many fresh wounds, each one defying explanation in its own way? What’s so wrong about saying “hey, are you aware that all of your exposed regular skin is slowly turning into what I can only describe as nipple skin before my very eyes?”

­­Is chivalry dead? I don’t know, fellas, but one thing’s for sure: you won’t come off as clingy by asking if your date is alright. Please note the difference between merely asking if your date is okay (that’s an uh-huh) with asking what happened in the bathroom that could’ve possibly caused such a foul-smelling wound, let alone one so rapidly accumulating a foul, blighted fungi (that’s a nuh-uh).

First, don’t ask about the goings-on of your date’s potty-potty-fun-time. I shouldn’t have to say this. I do, though, because my editors won’t publish this under any circumstance if I don’t mention it. That’s what it’s like dating these days, though. It’s now necessary, on pain of censorship, for me, a bum (by any account) to remind you of basic etiquette. ­If you’re looking for someone to blame for this sordid state of affairs, look no further the nearest mirror.

Second, you’re not a doctor. I know it. Your date knows it. ­­­Everyone knows it. And if you are a doctor who happens to be reading this, it’s probably because of one those honorary doctorates. Like whatever Shaq has. Don’t ask how a trip to the bathroom turned your date into a walking Cronenberg film like you’re going to get to the bottom of it. It’s condescending. It borders on body-shaming. Maybe that fresh hemorrhaging is just part of an normal allergic reaction. Maybe that piece of scaffolding that’s currently impaling your date’s forearm is a make-up trick to throw your attention away from a fresh pimple.

If your date returns from the bathroom with innumerable nauseating lesions, politely mention it in a mumbled vagary but question nothing. If you’re concern borders on panic, order a round of waters. Size up the server. Wink, nod, and send a gaze into the general direction of the trauma. Then raise one eyebrow and slip a fiver into their pocket. If it’s serious, your server will call an ambulance.

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