With all the sombre posts I have been dishing out recently I thought it was time to remind y’all that I am not Trent Reznor on steroids but actually a real happy go lucky kinda guy. I enjoy dating, it’s an opportunity to spread your wings, meet new people and enhance your conversational skills. You start to learn how to deal with different personalities and if you allow yourself to play second fiddle for a while, you might also get to know the person next to you or across from you well enough to develop a relationship that may last the distance, be it a sprint or a marathon. Of course, like stand-up comedy, there will be nights when you just want to get back to your cosy bed and forget that the night you just had ever happened. We’ve all had shockers. But don’t let that put you off meeting up with someone who catches your eye, ear, hands, fingers, toes because it would be a shame to let a bad experience stop you from continuing to scout the field for a special man, lady or something in between.
I’m no expert, in fact I still get incredibly nervous and say some really stupid stuff but I enjoy it enough to call myself a serial dater. Thus I have decided to outline some advice for a first date you are really nervous about and perhaps you need an injection of self-confidence. You won’t get that here as my advice will probably just be some dilapidated drivel that will see you at some dingy pub where the waiter doesn’t understand that your lovely date doesn’t want a pint of Carlton Draught and a parma. Anyway, without further ado and disclaimers, here are some tips for a cold, hard first date. Also, obviously I have skewed this toward males. Women should ignore all my advice more than I have just strongly advised men to.
1. Find a date.
Pretty important this point. You should find a date first. Unless you are Ryan Gosling, don’t go into a nice bar knowing no one with the expectation of convincing a girl to come to dinner with you later that night. If you are remarkably charismatic and also pretty good looking this could be an option but even then it is an extremely tough one to pull off. You are better off ringing a girl you have had a crush on for a while and asking her out for dinner. It’s easier to start something with an acquaintance than a complete stranger, probably less chance of getting brutally dismembered too.
If no one fits that bill or you’ve burnt a lot of bridges, move to New York or check a dating app out. Tinder is good for the confidence but be prepared to be stood up or linked up with a transsexual if you don’t get to know the person during the chatting period first. Suggest to the person that you should ‘grab a drink’, ‘get a coffee’ or ‘do something fun’ but ensure that you don’t put on a suggestive voice for the latter as she may take that as you asking her for a night of casual sex and women aren’t usually into that on the first date unless they really, really like the look of your Tinder profile.
2. What type of date for a first date?
It really depends on three things.
- Her personality
- Your personality
- The time of the week/year
Why? Her personality is obviously important in assessing what type of activity she is into. Unless she is bitterly shy, do not take her to JUST a movie on the first date as this is just fostering the image that you are antisocial and not really interested in her for anything more than making out in a cinema. If she is the life of the party it could be a cool idea to take her to an upbeat salsa place for drinks and dancing but make sure you are either a reasonable dancer or a comically bad one. If she is conservative, maybe choose the coffee as it will give you a chance to chat and she won’t view you with suspicion for taking her to a drinking hole. There are many options. Just think about her prior to thinking about what you like to do. If you don’t know her well at all, the coffee or the drink at a nice place that can be construed as both social yet casual are the standard choices. These are safe options and although they don’t really set you apart, the first date is the foundation, the basting of the chicken prior to actually throwing it in the oven, spices and all.
Your personality is obviously an important criterium as you don’t want to be checking out Salvatore Dali if you’re used to a Shane Warne diet of baked bean toasted sandwiches and quaaludes in the early afternoon. That’s not to say that you can’t have both, I was more suggesting that if you don’t particularly enjoy heading to galleries that you shouldn’t take a girl there on your FD (first date baby). Work to your strengths whether that be your knowledge of parks, your passion for live music or your famous chicken curry. We’ve all been brutalised by meetings in clubs, bars, first dates, wedding days where we’ve discovered that the woman we walked up to wasn’t quite what we expected. She might’ve looked angelic, cute and charming but really she was just a dementor waiting to dish you up a kiss that will separate body and soul. If this happens, you can do two things. Play it real and stay true to yourself. You will both leave knowing that you can cross another person off your soulmate or souls to capture list and move on with your life. Or if you really want to end up unhappy, pretend you are someone you are not. Pretend you really like the OC, Gossip Girl and Jersey Shore and end up watching marathon after marathon when you are hungover with a person you are completely incompatible with. Or worse. You might get married to them or eat Mexican food despite the fact that you really do not like spicy food. A dangerous place to be. So, be yourself. Or an exaggerated version of yourself.
Time of the week/year obviously relates to the climate, both metaphorically and meteorically. I didn’t believe that sentence would actually work but it does, it really does. If it is cold, the beach isn’t going to float her boat but it might smash it with waves. If it is hot, get some flesh out there and enjoy the UV rays. Same goes with the time of the week. People are buzzing on the weekend so feel the vibe and follow it, it will ultimately have you paraded around in a new light.
The best way to do this is by writing a list of possible topics on your hand and reeling them off one by one as one topic begins to dampen. So you’ll have ‘1. weather, 2. footy, 3. Uni, 4. family, 5. Australia’s funniest home videos’ and then wo-lah. You are cruising through the 5 gears of delicious homegrown conversation…
Believe it or not, I tried the old topics on hand technique a long time ago. January 2014 was a bad time for me, hohoho. A lack of confidence can actually lead you to consider such a preposterous idea when in reality all you have to do is speak candidly about things. No one expects the fluidity of conversation to be completely salient on the first date. It’s all about scratching out the cobwebs, starting with the basics and building to the Empire State buildings. The Empire States Buildings may not come on the first date or even the fifth date but they will come if there is a genuine compatibility with the other.
The Empire State Buildings I speak about are the life and death questions. I’m talking figuratively life and death, not ‘so what is the meaning of life?’ and ‘how do you feel about death?’ I’m talking about the questions about the person’s passion, what makes them get up in the morning and where do they want to be in ten years. These questions should only arise when you start to feel comfortable with the other person as the answers will lack the same magnitude if they are asked willy-nilly. Thus, sweat on the small stuff, gain a mutual understanding and a knowledge of the woman’s origin and roots and then work up to something with a bit more fervour.
Why so serious though? Laughter is the key to unloading the pressure. You make a woman laugh and they will probably want you somewhere in their life. Obviously not always in a romantic way but it’s a start. You never know where it will take you. So don’t take yourself too seriously and start reeling off all the internships you were offered in the Summer of 1976. No one really gives a shit. Know who you are and be proud of that but poke fun at it as well. No one likes smug, not even the person who is smug. Unfortunately you can’t give yourself oral sex so too much self-satisfaction is just not a fun and enriching trait to hold in the palm of your hand… ironically that we can all manage.
Speaking about your exes. Talking too much about yourself. Eating with your mouth full. All of these are seen as follies on the first date or more accurately, every date. However, I am not sure how poisonous it is to ‘speak about your ex’ on a first date. It’s all about the context. If she is speaking about ‘bad’ experiences, like when your ex made scrambled eggs and they tasted so beautiful that she cried and it was like ‘so totes embarrassing!’ then you should probably be extremely worried. She’s definitely still in love with the ex. If she refers to ‘bad experiences’ in a way where she openly laughs in his face and his insecurities, well, it might not be such a bad thing. However, even when they are lambasting the ex for accidentally throwing the beloved hamster out of the 34th floor of the hotel, there might be a hint of sentimentality and nostalgia that is very inconveniently being aired. I understand why it is taboo and it is probably best left to being a very indirect topic. Nonetheless, it would be ridiculous to deny that the past has happened. We have all come across people we have previously been fond of and they have reciprocated our affection to some extent. 22 year old females and males have most likely been involved intimately with another being during their time and thus these ‘awkward’ situations will arise. Handle it like a man and face the facts. It will distinguish you from the pack of jealous, rabid and domineering future or past boyfriends who can’t handle knowing about the previous chapters of the young lady’s life.
Other etiquette matters include your table manners. This is a no-brainer. Unless you are Jim Carrey and can play on your inadequate table manners, don’t eat as you would when you are by yourself. Licking your fingers bone-dry is a no-no, excreting gas from both your mouth and your abdomen should be reduced to a bare minimum and picking at your opposite numbers’ plate should be an activity only partaken in with consent.
Also, don’t pay more attention to the lovely waitress than your own date. There’s negging and there’s hardcore negging that leaves you penniless and peerless.
5. Broaching Payment.
Ah, you’ve approached the end of your first date. It may have gone swimmingly or you may have run out of conversation 45 minutes ago. Either way, there is surely a bill to be paid unless you’ve decided to go with the delightful prebook option which certainly does leave the awkward bill paying moment well and truly on the back burner. On one of my earliest dates I continually made an awkward joke out of the bill and her paying. Till this day she brings it up and calls me a tightass. Chloe, if you are reading this, you will be delighted to know that I have paid for basically every first date I’ve been on since. But is this really the way to go about things?
The positives that come with paying for dates, or at the very least the first date certainly outweigh the negatives. You come across as an affable guy who doesn’t care too much about material objects despite secretly lamenting that your 30 hour working week has effectively been reduced to 24 in financial terms. It also shows how keen you are to impress unless you’ve just shouted her a meal at some McDonalds drive thru for a couple of 30 cent pig fat ice creams (don’t sue me please, I love powerful corporations). Finally, it’s just a nice old-fashioned romantic notion to adhere to.
Nonetheless, you’ve also got to consider the negatives. If you’ve picked up strong feminist vibes on the first date, approach the payment with care. It is extremely unlikely, but she might take offence to you picking up the bill without consulting her. On the opposite end of the spectrum, some women may take it as a sign of what is to come. Free food and drinks in exchange for putting up with a seedy bloke would certainly be enough for me if I was in that position… Yet again my knowledge of the fairer sex is clouded by my own ridiculous hypotheticals.
Let’s face it, students are poor and other students understand that so there will probably be a mutual understanding between you two. If not, pay for the first date and test the waters on the later dates. If it starts becoming a habit that you are footing the bill again and again and again and again, you probably should just broach the forbidden topic and subtly mention that you are struggling with funds. She’ll probably offer to pay and you’ll laugh about it. Or she’ll call you a tightass and you’ll walk away with an empty wallet and an empty heart. You’ll still have your integrity at least.
5A. If things really heat up…
I can’t vouch for this enough. Do not have sex on the first date… or the second… not even the third! Unless you just don’t care about the woman you are dating… but even then, a bit of respect. What else is there to look forward to if you can’t even allow the sexual tension to simmer for a few weeks? It’s an exciting time so why ruin that innate bubbling of the senses by an alcohol-fuelled night of raucous sex with an awkward breakfast the next day? Keep in control and allow that fire to keep burning until it feels so damn right.
6. Setting up the second date.
The first date goes well. You kiss her on the cheek, she kisses you back. You look at each other just a little too long at the end of the date and the butterflies are churning away. You are not sure if she’s totally into you but you are definitely smitten and can see those wedding bells in your peripherals. Do you ask on the spot or do you let it linger for a couple of days and then shoot her a text or give her a call to talk about another date?
You certainly don’t want to wait too long because momentum is a HUGE thing in dating. The memories of a first date only last so long before she starts considering other men who are lavishing their attention on her. Then again, being Mr Keen is not always the greatest option. Personally, I am of the belief that you just have to go for it and get it out in the open. If it fails, it really wasn’t supposed to be and if she gets cold feet because you are too keen, she’s stuck in Year 10. Playing by the book is simply not an option in my world. You go with your gut and you back your own decisions in. Sure, you can ask for advice or read about how these dating experts go about their business, but really in the end it’s your life and she fits the mould as a woman you are into. Games can be fun, but they can grow tiresome very quickly. You don’t want to get stuck in a frustrating and drawn out game of cat and mouse. You just want to see her again. Right?
Again, this is all so subjective that it kind of becomes redundant but you’ve just got to back yourself. Everyone knows that the old cliche, women love guys who have the confidence to back themselves in and make a decision. I can’t make a decision to save myself but I am pretty good at bluffing so bluff like you’ve never bluffed before men! Take the initiative, call her up, crack a couple of jokes and get yourself on that second date. Dating, like life, is all about chance opportunities and making hay whilst the sun shines. Don’t let things slip just because you have no confidence in yourself or the situation. Not every woman you start seeing is going to work out so when the feeling is right, stay calm, stay confident and ride that wave of emotion baby. All the way to that third date. It’s a long road comrade, believe in yourself.
but if you keep persisting it could move to the next step…
Cross promotion is a terrible thing.