These days, I have no trouble telling friends “Can’t make it out shopping with you; I have a date.” To which they generally respond, “Oooh, to who?” As if I’m going to give them a name. I do give them a description, though. “Fishing guide, Silver Spring, 5’12″, 28-years-old.” This is usually about as much as I know anyway.
After the date, they’ll generally ask “So, how was Mr. Fishing Guide?” And I’ll say, “A little fishy. I think he wasn’t 5’12″ – more like 6′. Lots of big fish stories. Would see again.” This strikes me as utterly reasonable, but somehow I don’t think I would have liked it five years ago.