Ah first dates. Don’t we all love ‘em? *watches tumbleweed flow through the internet* well as someone who has been on maybe 15 first dates in his life (yeah – rock on b’s & g’s) I am actually pretty awful at getting dates and even less proficient at doing well at getting the second date. However I am great at the theory (so the total opposite to my degree – awful at the theory but waltzed the practical) and knowing many women who have talked me through their first date encounters I thought I’d use that wisdom coupled with my own inadequacies and put together a very simple list of things that guys you really should do on – and think about – before your first date with a lovely lady.
First things first what are you going to wear? Now you see women are different to men in many ways but the most stark difference dating wise is clothes. To a guy what a lady is wearing is not all that important. If they wear a dress or a skirt or jeans and a t-shirt most guys won’t make an initial judgement. Now women on the other hand do. Oh boy do they. If you rock up in tatty trainers and jogging bottoms then you are in a bad place my friend – a bad place. So think about what you are going to wear. Make sure it looks like you’ve made an effort because if it looks like you can’t make an effort on date one then the question ‘will they make an effort at any point?’ will be reverberating around the mind of your date.
Second is remember why you are on the date in the first place. You are there to get to know someone. So be prepared for conversation. A first date is essentially a prolonged interview in a less formal setting. Both parties are there to work out whether they want to get to know each other better. Therefore do not talk about yourself all the time. I know you have a few stories that you think are hilarious and show you in a good light but don’t ram-rod them down her throat. Ask questions and go with the flow of conversation. Remember you are there to find out about the other person as much as you are there to try and impress her. You will impress her by listening to what she has to say and following up on her thoughts.
Planning is essential. Look I’m about as anti-plan as you can get. I hate making plans and like to just go with the flow. However if you can’t be bothered to plan a first plan then when will you ever be bothered to make a plan? Even if the plan is as simple as ‘lets go for a walk along the beach and if we get on go for an ice cream/chips/a drink at a pub along the seafront. That is a plan of sorts. Just ‘lets meet at 1PM at x and see what we fancy’ is not a acceptable plan.
Honesty is good – up to a point. We all have secrets and we are always told that women love honesty. They do – up to a point. If you have been dating someone for a year then you might be able to bring up the fact that you have a toe sucking fetish and your partner may think ‘weird but I’ll try it’. If you tell her on a first date that you have a toe sucking fetish then your odds of a second date are deeply diminished. So being a total open book is great in theory but in reality unless you are lucky enough to have a date with someone who is incredibly open and liberal to fetishes then keep them locked away – for now.
The whole payment issue if you go somewhere that involves money. Look I’m a modern man. Straight up I’m a very modern man and believe that women should pay as much as guys do over the course of a relationship but on the first date it is the guys responsibility so pay and don’t think about it. If your date asks you to go dutch or say she’ll pay then politely decline and say that they can pay next time. If they kick up a fuss then of course let them pay whatever they like. I’ve found that if you say they can pay next time and they say ok that there will definitely be a next time.
The debate about taking charge is an interesting one. I’m not a dominant personality. I’m certainly no Alpha Male but on first dates women seem to want a guy to make the decisions so take charge or at the very least make suggestions. This is linked to the planning issue that I wrote about earlier. Planning is winning boys. Planning is very much winning.
Watch your body language and watch that of your date. Shakira once wrote that hips don’t lie and I’m unsure as to the accuracy of this but one thing that doesn’t lie is body language. I am a negative nelly with women. Deep down I think they all hate me. However sometimes I get confused as I see positive body language and this doesn’t compute with my self-doubt issues. Ignore your brain and listen to your instincts. We all know about body language and we know the positive and negative types. If a date is clearly displaying one or the other then go with it. Also remember to smile. Smiling is the simplest body language around and a genuine smile is the best reassurance anyone can get.
Use flattery wisely. Women do not like OTT flattery. It makes them uneasy. If you are going to give out a compliment then make it specific. If you notice for example that they are wearing ladybugs earrings ask about them and say they look nice. This shows you are noticing something specific. Just saying something like ‘you look amazing’ and saying that 17 times within an hour is awkward. Flattery should be used sparingly and for specific things. Non-stop flattery makes it sound like you don’t know what to say.
I think that there is nothing wrong with manners. Having basic manners will never be a bad thing. You may want this bad boy image and think a woman swoons at that but as you get older you’ll realise that women look for a good guy. The younger you are the more pure sexual attraction and chemistry weighs in your factor. They say the geeks shall inherit the Earth and that isn’t too inaccurate. Women always want looks and chemistry. Always. However in time acting like a gentleman and being there for them become far more important. Just showing basic manners like opening doors, being attentive, engaged, happy, act like you are genuine and a woman will certainly think ‘well he’s not like my ex…’
Respect personal space. This is a big one. Don’t be too touchy feely on a first date. Not unless the positive body language is overwhelming. Most women will have a first date and straight away talk to their best friend(s) about it and personal space is a huge issue as is respect. Respect is so key that I can’t stress it enough. Show respect and class and do not repeatedly touch your date.
The goodbyes. A hug I think is the best way to end a date. Not a handshake and not a kiss. Say it was good to meet them and if you are interested in a second date tell them that you enjoyed yourself and that you want to see them again. If you say that you will call her then darn well call her. Women are as insecure as men. Reassurance is something both sexes like and the onus is still on the guy to ask for that second date. So tell them straight up and even though a woman may say yes out of politeness but deep down mean no that is fine. If they say yes then follow up within three days and ask if they fancy doing x, y or z. If they say yes then hooray. If they say no then no problem.
Lastly and most importantly. If they decide that they do not want to see you again then don’t keep asking. The moment you don’t take no for an answer you stop being a date and start to become a worry. Women are always fearful for their personal safety whereas guys are far less so. If a girl you didn’t like kept texting you or e-mailing you repeatedly then how would you feel? Uneasy and freaked out I suspect. If you do that to a woman then they’ll feel the same but 5-10x worse. So if a girl says no to a second date then say no worries and wish them well and move on. If they want to speak to you or see you again then they’ll contact you.
So there we have it. Neil’s top tips for how to act on a first date. I think it’s pretty good. If you follow all that then you’ll be fine. If things don’t work out then they don’t work out. Sometimes it isn’t anyone’s fault. If a first date doesn’t turn into a second then seriously don’t worry about it – and certainly don’t ask why. We’d hate it if women asked us ‘why don’t you fancy me?’ so it only makes sense that women would hate hearing the same question from a guy they’ve turned down.
Most importantly folks have fun, stay safe and have respect.
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