Surviving the First Date
A 10-Step Program for Guys
- Pick her up or meet her on time. How do you do this? Show up early. I’m not kidding. Not much. 10 minutes or so. Any more than that and you go from looking anxious (which is good) to desperate (not so good).
- If there are roomies, family, or friends at the pick-up or meeting place, engage them in conversation. You never want to run in and whisk her off and leave her best friend standing there, still waiting to shake your hand. Why? It comes back to hurt you in the later rounds.
- Pick a nice place to go. This is, of course, unless she already suggested a place. If you’re doing dinner, go for a nice restaurant with a wide-ranging menu. This usually isn’t a good time to try an untested restaurant, and you also don’t want to take her out for, say, Italian, only to find out she’s allergic to tomatoes. If it’s a daytime date, try things like a museum or aquarium. You could do an amusement park or something, but make sure she’s not, like afraid of roller coasters.
Get the point? No matter what you do, don’t try surprising her with anything unless you already know she likes it. And, since it’s a first date, you probably don’t know her that well. And make a reservation. At the very least, call ahead. Do you really want to spend 60% of your date time in the foyer of the nice restaurant it took you a week to decide on? Or worse, trying to meet her at a bar that’s been closed for 3 months. Yeah, that’ll make you look cool.
- Don’t stare. I don’t care if she shows up naked. Don’t stare at her body. This could take every fiber of your being, especially if she’s wearing something sexy, but don’t do it. You’ll be labeled a pervert. Think about baseball. Recite the alphabet. Count the number of wines on the menu. But don’t stare at her body. Well, maybe a little, when she’s not looking.
- Don’t rush. Take your time. Relax. Big deal if you miss the early movie. Take time to enjoy your drink or dinner. And don’t keep looking at your watch. She’ll think you have another date waiting, or worse, that you can’t wait to take her home.
- Pay attention. You don’t have to hang on every word, but don’t zone out, either. You DID ask her out because you wanted to learn more about her, right?
- X is not in your vocabulary. Nothing can bring a first date down faster than talking about your ex. Nothing about that conversation will make you sound good. You’ll come off sounding like a jerk, a loser, an immature brat, or on the rebound. And for those keeping score, that won’t make the best impression.
- Follow her lead. She already knows you’re interested. You asked her out. So don’t feel like you have to stare into her eyes at dinner, hold her hand, or be overly affectionate. Wait for her. You stand a much lesser chance of having an awkward moment that way.
- Remember the “good” in goodbye. By now you should know your audience. Be a good guy. If it calls for a handshake, it’s a handshake. If it calls for a light hug or a shoulder peck, go for it. Nine times out of 10, it won’t call for French kissing, unless you’re in a Cinemax movie. This IS, after all, still your first date.
- Call when you say you will. Even if you decide that your first date will be your only date, if you said you’d call her, then call her. You are, after all, still a gentleman.