Most people have been there, trapped on an awkward date that is going nowhere. But relief could be on the way with a new app that provides an incoming rescue call.
The Bad Date Rescue app, which was launched by the dating website eHarmony.com this week, lets users arrange for a call to appear on their iPhone to graciously allow them to bow out if a date isn't going well.
"There are all sorts of reasons for why people would want to get out of a date," said Arvind Mishra, director of product management at eHarmony. "We can all sympathize because we have all been on bad dates in our lifetime."
The free app includes several ways to set up a rescue. Users can pick a number from their address book for the call, for example from their mother or a friend. It the person's picture is stored on the app it will appear on the screen when the call comes through.
Scripts are available giving the reason for the call, such as a neighbour calling about a leaky pipe; a mother informing that a sister just had a baby; or a boss saying he needs help immediately.
"It graciously allows you to play along and to get out of that situation," Mr. Mishra explained.
The free app can be pre-set before the date to call at a specific time and there is a quick rescue that can be triggered on the spot to ring in a few seconds or minutes.
"There are all sorts of reasons for why people want to get out of a date. We are helping them do it in a way that is fun and light and not abrupt," he added.