So you’ve used our advice on what NOT to do on your dating profile (if you haven’t, then read this PRONTO), and you’ve managed to bag a date! Good for you, the hard part is out of the way. Now, here comes the REALLY hard part: The Actual First Date.
We didn’t really seem to have the same dating mentality here in Ireland as they would in, say, the States, where you could just approach an absolute stranger on the street and ask for their number and a date without warning. Here it was more of a “get drunk with your mates, see if you score in the club” kind of situation.
But with the advent, and subsequent social acceptance, of online dating, that’s all changed. You can practically ask a stranger you’ve never met before out for a date. So here’s what you should and should not do to make sure that date goes well…
DO NOT: Go for food!
This is your first date, so you’ve got your Date Face on. This is the side of you that you want seen on a first date; the perfect, flawless, I woke up like this amazingness that is you. You don’t want that covered with bits of food, do you? No, no you do not.
Is your date vegetarian? Allergic to seafood? Are they on a diet and you’re bringing them to a place that serves only cheesecake burgers? There’s too many things that can go wrong here, plus you’ll be constantly covering your mouth while talking so as not to spray them with bits of steak. Dinner is a GREAT second date. But not a good first date. Avoid.
DO: Go for drinks!
Alcohol, the great social lubricator, is a necessity. But the where of the drinks is just as important. Too fancy, and they’ll think you’re a snob. Too grotty, and they’ll think you’re ashamed to be seen with them. There’s a nice middle ground there, somewhere that might serve well-made cocktails but also have a well-pulled pint. A place you know will have people in it on the night of your date, but won’t be too packed to talk or too empty to feel comfortable in. Also, if they don’t want or drink alcohol, coffee dates are perfectly acceptable, too. Lots of nice, trendy coffee places around the city centre to get relaxed and chatty in.
DO NOT: Go to the cinema!
Cinema dates are great for the third, fourth or fifth date in, but if this your very first time meeting this person, the last thing you want to do is be sitting in a dark room with a couple of hundred other people, not talking to each other, not even looking at each other for two hours. This is the getting-to-know-you part, and you’re not going to get to do that in a cinema. Although, talking about the cinema on a first date is a great way to get a little insight into their personality, as if they have similar taste in films as you, then you’re on to a winner already.
DO: Go somewhere different!
Maybe you don’t want to go for drinks on your first date, maybe you want it to be a little bit more memorable. Bowling is a good one, or even playing pool. If you’re both a bit more active, you could try a first date hike, or laser-tag. Or if you’re feeling a bit more laid-back, you could check out a museum exhibition or a comedy show. Or… now you might call me crazy… a nice walk? Whatever happened to a nice walk in the park? Get some ice-cream, look at the duckies, that sounds lovely to us!
DO NOT: Keep talking about how crappy your dating life has been so far.
You’re both here because you’re single, so there’s really no need to keep hammering home that point to each other. Talking about ex’s should be completely off the table on Date One, with perhaps the only talk of previous encounters being confirmation of your current single-hood. Also, talking about how difficult it is to find someone, or how many weirdos there are out there in the dating pool is not a fantastic topic of conversation. And don’t talk about how hot your ex’s were, and what a survivor you are for still putting yourself out there. Move on. Have you asked if they’ve watched Breaking Bad yet?
DO: be a good listener.
Oh, they’ve never watched Breaking Bad? Then you remember that for (potentially) Date Two and bring along the box-set of Season One of Breaking Bad for them to watch. Because stuff like that is ADORABLE and will win you serious brownie points. There is nothing more attractive than someone who finds you interesting, and proving your interest is very simple. Listen, and remember. That’s it.
DO NOT: stand them up.
Have you ever been stood up? No? Then consider yourself lucky. If you absolutely need to cancel, then do it with as much warning time as possible, and come up with a new day ASAP. But you must never, EVER, under ANY circumstances walk into the location of your date, scope them out in real life, decide they’re not for you and bail. That shit is not cool. Even if they’re not what you expected them to be in the flesh, and supposing that during the date you realise they’re not for you, there is still potential there that you might have a new friend. Now, we know that’s not what you’re here for, but it’s better than being an asshole.
DO: have an exit strategy.
As much as you should keep an open mind, some scenarios do require a pre-planned way out. This is 2014, and you’ve probably already done your internet recon already, but we’ve also seen Catfish, and now that these things can go awry. That attractive, smart and funny 25 year old could end up being a decrepit 60 year old of the opposite gender you were expecting. So while you probably shouldn’t be so clichéd as to have a friend ring you with “an emergency”, you probably should mention early a time you might have to leave at. You might not need it, but it’s better to have it and not need it, than to need it and not have it.
DO NOT: try to get the ride.
Now, we’re not ruling out the ride. Sometimes everything just goes really well, and the chemistry is AMAZING and you can’t help yourself and before you know it: The Ride. But this isn’t really what the goal is, is it? If you’re just looking for the ride, then you really shouldn’t be dating. You should be out in the clubs, looking for the ride. No, dates is the foundation for a relationship, and this is really more about the chats and the personality. Besides, if you get the ride in on the first date, there’s nowhere left to go from there. Nothing left to look forward to. Bravo, you got sex. Now what?
DO: try to get a kiss.
While the ride should be out of the question, a kiss at the end of the date should be the ultimate goal. Some kind of signal that there is a mutual physical attraction going on here. Anything less – a hand-shake, a fist-bump, a hug, the dreaded shoulder-pat – is usually a sign that one or both of you aren’t really that hot for the other / each other. So right at the end of the night, there’s usually a moment when things are aligning for a snog, and that’s when you should snog. Now, some people might want to hold off the snog from date one, but they should leave desire in its place. “I really wanted to kiss you tonight, maybe next time.” Nothing gets the fires burning like anticipation.
So that’s it. The rules of the first date. Let us know how you get on!