First dates can be stressful. Between picking a venue, not sweating thru your shirt and looking like you have your sh!t together, these dates feel like the first day of school, preparing for the SAT’s, or having your clothes on backwards. Stressed out yet? Relax. I got your back. Here are some useful tips that’ll help you knock that first date out of the park!
1. Have a plan
We want to see effort and consideration, and that you’ve listened to us. Check the place out and read the reviews. Don’t take us somewhere only to find out the food and ambience are hot garbage. And now, you have to apologize because you, “didn’t know.” It’s the age of the Internet guys. Listen to us. Do your research. It’s your job to know.
I once had a guy take me to a “great burger spot” that ended up being cash only, worse, it didn’t even have seating. At the time, I wasn’t eating red meat and I’m 100% positive I told him this. My date left me at the establishment while he hunted down an ATM. Needless to say, we didn’t go out again. No matter, I had more fun chatting with the host waiting for him to return. #SorryNotSorry
Bonus points: Ask if we have any dietary restrictions whether it’s a food allergy, personal lifestyle choice, or maybe we just hate a certain kind of food—we appreciate you taking into consideration our needs.
2. Be a gentleman
Chivalry goes a long way, and sets you apart from the basic bro’s we’ve become so used to dating. You know the ones I’m taking about: fratty lite in one hand, the classic gingham shirt they got “ironically” to make fun of the hipster dudes, and can often be found saying “dude, I got so lit last night after [insert favorite sports team] won last night.” Open the door for us. If you’re picking us up, get out of the car and greet us. Notice the look of surprise and delight in our eyes? That’s the glimpse of Prince Charming, and we liked it.
Please, have table manners. We’re not saying you have to attend whatever finishing school the royal family attended before going out with us. All we’re asking is you ask us to order first, chew with your mouth closed and know how to use a fork and knife, when appropriate. No lie, I once saw a grown man eat steak with his hands. Like, no. That’s never a good look. Unless you took us to Medieval Times, in which case, I hope we’re really into the renaissance or something because that’s like a we’re basically married date.
3. Come prepared to carry a conversation
The onus isn’t just on you, and conversation is a two way street. However, in order to get the ball rolling you should ask us questions, listen to answers and share stories. We don’t want it to feel like we’re sitting in an interrogation room, and being a good communicator tells us you’re brains and not just good looks.
Sidenote: If your date just took a bite of food, don’t ask her a question; it puts her on the spot. She wants to talk to you but now her mouth is full, and the silence gets heavy as she chews that bite of food from the excellent restaurant you took the time to research.
4. Cell phone etiquette
After going back and forth and fighting through all our schedules, we set a date! Yeah! Don’t abuse having our number. You haven’t reached that level of friendship that requires multiple texts and telling me everything ever under the sun. Too much texting, and you run the risk of us thinking “OMG he’s like stage 5 clinger” or “OMG why can’t he spell?” thus, tainting your first impression with out ever meeting up.
Recently, a guy texted me endlessly from the time we met to our first date. If I didn’t respond right away, he’d send another text, and then another. He did a number of other things that turned me off, but it didn’t help matters either. Our first date was awful. Surprise, surprise.
Also, leave the distractions in your pocket. We’re all cellphone obsessed, at this point, we could consider our cellphones an extra appendage. However, on a date, leave it in your pocket. This will also encourage your date leave hers in her purse. Texting the whole time is rude, and if you aren’t interested enough to pay attention to your date for a few hours then why did you ask her out in the first place?
Engage with one another. Be a human. Again, just be a gentleman.
5. No, I don’t want to go to the movies
Don’t take us to the movies on the first date. We don’t care how much we’ve been dying to see the new blockbuster. We’ll see it eventually, maybe even with you. But that won’t happen if we never get to know you. Sitting in the dark for two hours and not talking will get you nowhere.
My first dinner and a movie date was in middle school. I’m 25 now … you get the picture.
There are exceptions: if your girl is truly a film fanatic and wants to go see that indie flick, take her. You know she’ll enjoy it, and it shows you took the time to consider what she’d like. However, for the sake of making a connection, plan to do something before or after that allows you to get to know each other.
6. Choose something active
I’m not saying run a Spartan race together on the first date. Unless, that’s something you’re both into, discussed beforehand, and agreed to do together. However, have some activity in mind. Activity centered dates are engaging and give you both something to do while you talk. I find it takes the pressure off a little and makes people more relaxed. Throw in a little friendly competition to add to the experience. As long as it is not who can shotgun a beer faster.
One of my favorite first dates was a trip to an aquarium. Why? I love sea creatures! I mentioned it and he remembered. Afterwards we went and got appetizers and drinks at a local bar where he taught me how to play darts (still not good at it, but hey it was fun learning!). Four years later and I still haven’t forgotten that date.
7. No sex. No ex.
Never talk about sex. We don’t care how good you think you are at it. Let’s save that conversation for if you make it past this date shall we?
No talking about your ex either. We know within minutes of you bringing her up where you stand. She is not as crazy as you paint her out to be. Or needy. Or evil. Or selfish. Or any slue of names you choose to call her. This kind of word vomit doesn’t get us to trust you; instead we now have an idea of how you’ll talk about us post break up.
Sidenote: Some girls are fine talking about ex’s and may even ask you about them on the first date. If that’s the case, go ahead and keep it brief like how you’d answer an interviewer that asked you why you left your last job (be genuine though). I mean you wouldn’t tell the hiring manager: My boss was kind of a douchebag-psycho and micro managed me until I finally set my desk on fire, would you?
8. Be on time
That’s it. Just be on time. If you’re late, tell us in advance. Not at the time you said you’d be there, but a reasonable time prior. We get it, things happen. All we ask is to respect our time.
9. Adhere to a dress code
Dress appropriately for the date. Don’t have us decked out to the nines looking like a certified smoke show in heels at a nice restaurant, and you’re wearing something Yeezy adjacent straight off the runway borderline homeless chic. That’s never a good look no matter how much you paid for that outfit.
10. Personal space
Remember in kindergarten when they taught us to keep our hands to ourselves? Please, don’t get super touchy-feely immediately after meeting us. A light touch on the arm, a gentle guiding hand on the back, are acceptable, but also pay attention to our body language when we do that. That said don’t force a kiss either. Sometimes, we just don’t want to kiss you on the first date.
Everybody has different boundaries for personal space. Have you seen those back pocket couples, like instead of holding hands, they hold each other’s butts from inside the pocket of their jeans? I always imagine them waking up one day fused together. Whatever, don’t be the butt pocket guy.
11. Make a connection
With all the pressure put on the first date, we know that it may not be perfect. We’ll usually take at least two dates with you, as long as you didn’t reveal your idol is Patrick Bateman from American Psycho. Or that in your spare time you like to fake adopt orphans then leave them curbside at the orphanage. Too far? You get what I’m saying, first impressions are important, but making some type of connection is even more so. Focus on getting to know us and things may turn into magic soon enough.
12. Laugh with us
Even with all the careful planning the laws of the universe sometimes require that everything you touch become a sh!t storm. Play it off and show us your sense of humor. Didn’t some wise old lady say laughter is the best medicine?
Share some of your best first date stories! We’d love to hear them.