How To Tell The Truth In The Moment When There’s Something “Off” On A Date

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The Question:

“Rori, I went out with a man last night who looked perfectly okay, he was really nice and smart – and he had bad breath. Maybe he ate something before the date, but I couldn’t help thinking he just never brushed his teeth.
He also talked a lot.
And – I never said anything, just smiled politely and went through the date, and just sidestepped him every time he came anywhere near close.
What should I have done? He might have been a great catch! Raquel”

My Answer:

Raquel, I once met a man at the gym many years ago and agreed to go out with him, the date being we’d meet at the gym, take class together then go out to dinner.
I got there he was cute enough, we enjoyed class, and I noticed he smelled pretty bad but chalked it up to the gym sweat and me being finicky.

Then, after I showered and changed, we met in the lobby to go out, and there he was, in sweat pants outfit, his hair DRY (therefore no shower) and smelling awful.
I kept it to myself, as you did the breath and the non-stop talk.
It was torment, I felt like gagging, stayed a few feet away from him all during the date, could barely eat from his smell, and STILL –  he called again, and offered to help me with the electrical in my house, and I accepted.
I thought – maybe a one-time smelly thing!
And he was a truly good guy, very masculine energy, very protective, solid – and he clearly liked me no matter how standoffish I was.
I didn’t accept another date (or he caught on and never called again don’t remember).
years later, I had moved to NY, and met another man who was totally HOT, and went home with him from an acting interview.
We had several dates, all sex – and he smelled even worse than this first guy. I could barely stand it while we were having sex, but he was SO hot, and sexy – weird, huh?
I showered when he left each time like I was scrubbing off ick, and could barely keep myself from stinking, too, from contact
The moral is – I tolerated the intolerable with a man who turned me on, and pushed away a good man with the same intolerable – without ever saying a word about it to either of them!
The kind of “cool” girl men love, the straightforward one, would’ve said – whoa – you stink, go take a shower – to the first guy, and, hey – he might’ve been a great boyfriend, for at least awhile.
It doesn’t mean the guy is “right” for you – if the chemistry is that off, probably not, because there are women out there who will “vibe” to that man’s smell that might be stinky to you, but not to them.  That’s chemistry.
And the weird conversation – I’ve been with both a non-stop taker and a man who couldn’t even LOOK at me much less talk to me (perhaps I had food in my teeth and he froze!) and said nothing.
A “cool,” congruent girl would say…”whoa, I feel weird, like I can’t speak.. it feels great to be asked about myself, and I don’t feel heard when I answer…”
In other words – this is how we USE Circular Dating – it’s what it’s FOR!!!
The Universe sending us impossible circumstances, that if you step back and look at them – bad breath, smelly, bad hygiene, narcissistic talking or behavior – are the MESSAGES!
Screaming (no subtlety whatever) – SPEAK!!!!!
Share your feelings with this poor, unconscious man who NO ONE has had the guts to address directly about his breath or hygiene.
That’s what he’s THERE for – to get it from SOMEONE!!!!
If you look at it this way, that every date is meant to TRIGGER you, and that when you don’t speak authentically what’s going on inside you – the effort to keep all that under wraps is EXHAUSTINGG!!!
Hope this re-motivates you and gets you to see what’s being asked of you here – to use EVERY moment (and to allow these moments to be created through Circular Dating, yes real dates) to keep learning how to be straight-forward, truthful, gentle, honest, kind , compassionate towards people who cross paths with you.
And not at the END of the date, where the poor guy flagellates himself afterwards – but right up front, first conversation!
“Oh my goodness – I feel embarrassed saying this to you, but I can feel myself closing down around this – perhaps you ate some garlic or onions, or didn’t have time to brush your teeth, and it feels hard for me to stand close to you and talk with you without instinctively backing up, and then not knowing what to say to you.  Shall we stop now and try again another time?”
Scripting is what makes the difference here – actually knowing, through practice and getting “Scripted” by a coach – what to say to a man in every situation you can think of.
Get out your pencils and start translating your natural silence into words!
Love, Rori
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  1.  #1Indigo on October 31, 2017 at 12:59 am


    I have no problem speaking up about things like this. Not on a first date perhaps… but definitely later on. If he came in for a hug or a kiss, I’d say “maybe a shower?” or “brush your teeth?” I’d say it gently and sweetly and with a HUGE smile on my face – the kind a man can’t argue with. Most guys want to be attractive to women, and they appreciate knowing this stuff as long as you don’t make them feel like an idiot.

    Someone whose smell I consistently didn’t like would be a dealbreaker for me… I’m really big on affection.

  2.  #2Femininewoman on October 31, 2017 at 8:30 am

    Haha remind of a situation with a married guy who was attracted to me and kept trying to kiss when he came close. I deliberately ate fish once when I knew he was coming by and told him outright that I had eaten fish. He always reminds me of it whenever he calls and tries flirting.

  3.  #3Leela on November 5, 2017 at 6:31 am

    Had an issue where the guy wouldn’t make much of an effort in his physical appearance, if any at all, while I would always make sure I looked my best before seeing him. It was going on like this for a long time, because I have a nice girl syndrome like this- I’m too concerned about other people’s feelings. I always thought this was one of my biggest traits until recently I discovered it’s been my worst enemy my whole life. I was thought to be nice and sweet even to people who were horrible to me. Always had to be polite and put a sweet smile on my face. But now I’m becoming more and more defiant and it feels great!

    With us who are too nice and polite to speak up causes so many problems in our lives, goes far beyond enduring bad dates or things that feel ”off”. We tend to accept all kinds of behaviours from all kinds of people. For the past 5 years or so I always thought I’d become confident but there is still so much to learn. I’m still too nice and polite in many different ways, even though in less extreme forms than before. It’s a habit hard to break but it’s so worth it!

    Every time I do speak up it feels great, it felt great to tell the guy to make more effort. Surely he likes seeing a beautiful woman who takes pride in her appearance and if he wants to keep seeing that he must step up his game too. He agreed

    Speaking up feels authentic and empowering, regardless how it might be perceived by the other person. It’s very different from nagging though. Speaking up is a skill that has to be mastered. It has to be done in a leaning back kind of way. I’m still learning and I’m enjoying the process

  4.  #4Indigo on November 5, 2017 at 10:41 pm


    I love what you have said here. I too have been far too nice and polite and people-pleasing for most of my life, it’s very much how I was raised, and it feels great, now that I’m an adult, to put in boundaries and stand up for what I think, want and need. I also agree with you that speaking up is a skill and is different from nagging. I’ve found it has to come from a place of self-care and self-love and respect for oneself. The discomfort that might be experienced by the other person is secondary. But I’ve found that if you can do it in a calm, kind way, people mostly do not take it the wrong way, and if they do, they may not be the right person for you.

    I’ve experimented with speaking up with the guy I’m dating now, and it feels great. I’m not fully in love with him yet, so it’s a bit easier. I do not have that same anxiety that I had in the past about “how he will take it.” I just say what I feel and I let him deal with his own feelings about it. This relationship, after all, has got to work for me too. Luckily there is very little about him that rubs me up the wrong way. He’s incredibly sweet and affectionate and attentive – he’s very competent too in pretty much every area, so there are no hygiene or cleanliness issues. My instances of speaking up have had more to do with the circumstances under which we are dating. But it’s felt great to be able to speak up and not worry too much about how it would land, and also know at the same time that my heart is in the right place when I am doing so. I think I’d feel deeply uncomfortable about speaking up if it was in any way trying to manipulate or control the other person or if I knew it was to their detriment. Good motives go a long way, I believe.

  5.  #5LotsofLove on November 7, 2017 at 8:51 am

    Hi Ladies 🙂
    I felt all crampy and uncomfortable when I read this article.
    Sharing my feelings actually feels very exciting and romancey for me- what I feel all kinds of numb and worried about (almost every time) is in response to his reaction.
    Rather than feeling worried about his reaction before I speak, with certain responses from men I feel revolting.
    A guy I was seeing a while ago kept consistently showing up late and then when he arrived he would be so terribly disorganised, we’d be going to a movie, and he’d forget where to drive, I would sit quietly wouldn’t correct him, give him a chance to notice his mistake and make a correction, was open to maybe the evening turning out some other way, but it just kept happening over and over- and ultimately I kept feeling so incredibly tense and stressed and even a bit teary in my chest when we were out.
    Around the issue of lateness though I just felt plain mad.
    So eventually I said something to him. I picked my moment and said, “I feel really tense and frustrated when I am ready to go out at the time we chose and I have to wait, I start out feeling excited and happy to see you and then I end up just feeling tired, disappointed and really frustrated. I really don’t want to feel this way, I don’t like it at all, what do you think?”
    For the next 20 minutes to half an hour he ebbed between angry and sulky. That’s when I felt all unstable and yuck, I felt actually very frightened, I wanted to run away (not because he was actually threatening or dangerous, I just suddenly felt both numbed and intense fear). I don’t like feeling confused and paniced when men are responding to what I’ve said, I don’t want to feel so unsteady.
    I feel really curious to hear what you guys might have to say on this kind of topic, getting shaky in response to his response. Expressing yourself is one thing, managing to not fall over in response to his come back is another.
    Thanks for the opportunity to communicate ladies, it feels good to be able to be real and open about these little niggly feelings. 🙂

    LotsofLove 🙂