That guy who you have been making sheep’s eyes at for weeks in the coffee shop has finally taken your number, called, and asked you out (yay!).
I shan’t bombard you will a long list of clichés about how important the first date is, but it is vital: a first date sets the pace and the expectations between the two of you. Unfortunately, first dates involve tedious amounts of social etiquette. But luckily for us, it is not impossible to navigate your way through its rocky, stormy waters… all you need are a few basic rules.
Now when addressing a first date, it should be done according to the rules of any old job interview. Yes, I do realise ‘girlfriend’ (or boyfriend) is not a job description, and no, you are not required to bring a CV ‘outlining past experiences’ . You ARE required to dress nicely, impress the other person and surmise if it’s a good fit.
Rules of The First Date:
1. Show up separately. If it doesn’t work out you do NOT want to spend an extra hour in the car with someone you don’t like and have to make polite conversation. Arrange to meet there.
2. Location, location, location! Choose something simple, either a quiet bar or a coffee shop. I know, I know, what about originality? BAD IDEA! If you go out to a five star, seven course meal with a guy who you can’t stand to be around after the salad, trust me, you will regret it.
This way you keep it simple, thus keeping the pressure off. Keep it short and to the point.
3. Dress code: clean up nicely, but don’t overdo it. Find the balance between your bridesmaid’s dress from your sister’s wedding and your work clothes. (I always where heels to a first date so I can assess how tall I am next to a guy, I love my heels and a guy who is shorter than me is a deal-breaker). There is no valid reason to dress too fancy on a casual first date.
4. Does length matter? YES it does! Keep it short, get to know each other, have a few laughs and end it! It is perfectly fine to leave each other intrigued.
5. Conversation: get to know each other (that’s the point, right?). LISTEN. Being attentive is the most important thing here (make mental notes of likes, dislikes). Flirt. SHOW interest (only if you actually are, of course). If you are not interested in the male specimen in front of you, just be polite and let him down gently at the end of the evening (we will talk about that in a later post).
Most importantly, keep your cool, have fun and be relaxed (when asked what your plans for the future are, blurting out that you hope to be married by the end of the year is a big no-no)
6. The tab. Let the one who asked you out pay. Just like if someone asks you out on a business lunch, you let them pay, here too it’s perfectly acceptable). Having said that, offer to pay (it’s only polite). That is why you should keep it simple, choose a reasonably priced place and only order one drink. You will feel very guilty letting him pay for an expensive sushi dinner when you plan on dumping his ass after it.
7. Ending the night. This is the thing that worries most people, and for just reason. A short sweet kiss is a great way to end a first date. It is just enough to show your interested, and just enough to leave him wanting more. As for sex; this a totally personal matter that I shan’t get into, do what feels right (always keep in mind, as one of my favourite TV shows put it , “a guy that dumps you after sleeping with you on the first date is just as likely to dump you as a guy who you slept with on the fifth”).
And finally, don’t forget to have fun and enjoy yourself!