Special shout-out to my best friend who will be going on her FIRST DATE EVER over Winter break!
Okay, so I’ve only been on a total of 1 first dates, but this is free advice, so what do you expect? I may not be the most “reliable” source, or an “expert” on “relationships” or know “when” exactly to “stop” using “quotation marks.” But I think I know enough to keep a guy from running in the opposite direction (and hopefully get you a second date to go with that first!). For instance, if the restaurant brings out ice cream with your bread, it’s much more likely that the ice cream is really just butter and normal human beings are weirded out if you eat a spoonful of butter in front of them.
So here’s my 100% guaranteed, worked-the-one-time-I-used-it method for going on a first date:The Pre-Date
Step 1: Stop freaking out. Good.
Step 2: Clothe yourself. You might need a little help with this. Get your most brutally honest friend to critique your outfit options. Understand that when they say, “Your butt looks big in that,” they really mean, “I treasure this friendship.”
Step 3: Do something about your face. If you never wear make-up, now is not the time to start experimenting. But if you usually wear a little foundation and you know how to apply eyeliner without poking your eye out, you can YouTube a few make-up tutorials. Keep it simple—you want to look like yourself, not that terrifying clown that drags little children into the sewers.
Step 4: Fix your hair. Again, keep it relatively normal. If you ever think to yourself, “Lady Gaga would be proud,” you need to stop what you’re doing and try again.
Step 5: Start freaking out.
Preliminary Small Talk
The potential for awkwardness is greatest here. Resist the urge to fill up every silent moment. Trust me when I say that 10 seconds of silence is MUCH better than explaining what you found in your ear last night. It doesn’t hurt to start with safe topics: school, the weather, known mutual interests. There will be plenty of time to get down and dirty later. Note: You probably shouldn’t use the phrase “down and dirty” on a first date… or ever really.
Some foods are just not date-friendly. For whatever reason, these are best eaten alone where no one else will see you, or at least with people who know you well enough to make fun of you for having something stuck in your teeth. These include:
- Spaghetti—Sure, it looked cute in Lady and the Tramp, but apparently it’s socially unacceptable to nudge a meatball with your nose.
- Salad—Maybe you’re trying to show that you’re health conscious and stuff, but there’s literally no classy way to eat a salad. The leaves are ginormous, it’s impossible to fork a crouton, and your stomach will start growling again 10 minutes later.
- Anything with garlic, onion, or sardines: It may taste good, but for the rest of the night your breath will stink. And no one wants to kiss a stinky breather.
Best case scenario: conversation flows smoothly—you’re both talking and listening and having a jolly good time. Worst case scenario: you both sort of stare at each other awkwardly in silence, occasionally bringing up the weather. Also, you have a piece of corn stuck on your tooth and it’s really distracting.
Talking + Listening = Conversation. It’s that easy! Try to get to know the guy. Ask about his favorite movies, things he likes to do, what he wants to do with that history major. You don’t need note cards or anything—just talk to him like another person and everything will be awesome.
As for talking about yourself, test the waters before you activate full-on geek mode. For example, start with something like this: “I really like Doctor Who. Have you ever seen it?” If he responds, “No, science fiction really isn’t my thing,” then you probably don’t want to launch into a detailed history of every Doctor Who episode ever and your collection of Doctor Who-themed memorabilia and the Doctor Who costume you made for last Halloween that you still wear around the house. Keep the crazy contained until at least the second or third date when your weirdness will be considered endearing.
Just one final note: It’s going to be awkward. Acknowledge this. Accept this. Embrace it. And have fun! Because you’ll only ever have your first first date once, so you might as well enjoy it!
Post stuff in the comments, y’all! If you have any tips or questions, leave ‘em and I’ll read ‘em.
Until next week,
Have you ever been on a first date?