When I moved to Chicago a year ago, I had probably three total first date experiences under my belt. I had been in a series of relationships throughout college and the following year, and didn’t really know anything about the post-grad dating scene. After moving here and realizing I had left all my fuck buddy options across the country, I decided it was time to get some experience and dove headfirst into dating. In the past year, I’ve been on dates with girls that weren’t right for me, dates with girls that were probably just using me for a free meal, and countless dates with girls that I just didn’t click with. Whether it was not laughing at my jokes (I’m funny, if you’re not laughing, that’s on you), half-joking about wanting to get married in the next year, or just giving me one-word answers to all my questions, I’ve seen my share of bad dates, and even a couple good ones.
eHarmony came out with a list of Ten First Date Tips For Women, and I think as a (self-titled) dating expert, I’m qualified to respond with a guy’s perspective. The original text is in italics.
1. Relax. Don’t put pressure on yourself to be witty, smart or alluring. Don’t get caught up in the version of yourself you wish you were. He wants to date the real you.
Swing and a miss, eHarmony. You should definitely put pressure on yourself to be all three of those things. I’m out here with my game face on, doing my best to make you laugh and think I’m smart. You should definitely be doing the same. I understand the logic behind showing “the real you,” but you can definitely present yourself in a way that is appealing. If you’re not witty, smart, or alluring, this date is either going to end in a one-night stand or a lackluster “I’ll call you” (depending on how hot you are and how long it has been since I last got laid).
2. Dress smart. First impressions matter, yes, but so does comfort. Don’t wear heels to a picnic date, for example. Pick an outfit that makes you feel great, look great, doesn’t reveal too much and is age-appropriate.
I generally agree with this. My go-to first date attire is an oxford button down, nice jeans, and even nicer shoes. I’m all for my date being comfortable, but if you can dress up without looking like you’re trying too hard, that will definitely score you points in my book. If you meet me out in heels, I’m going to be awestruck from the get-go, even if it’s at a picnic (unless you’re taller than 5’6”, then I’m going to get a cramp in my neck from looking up at you all night).
3. Show respect. Show up on time, be polite to the wait staff, and give your date your undivided attention.
I go on a first date probably once or twice a month, and in zero percent of them has the girl been “on time,” in the sense of “the actual time that we agreed upon.” My rule of thumb is if the girl has given me no indication that she’s running late, I will wait up to 20 minutes for her. If she’s in communication with me and is apologetic, I’m willing to wait longer. If being super late is already a problem on the first date, I can tell a potential relationship would be very frustrating for me. For other etiquette, it really all comes down to being a good person. If you’re rude to the wait staff for no reason, I’m going to leave you at the restaurant. No one is attracted to mean-spirited people.
4. Turn off your phone. Your friends and Twitter followers are not invited on the date.
You don’t have to literally turn off your phone, but if you respond to more than a couple texts throughout the date, I’m going to start getting annoyed. Also, no Snapchats. I had a girl try and snap a picture of us, and while I understand that the ice skating date was cute as fuck, putting a guy she just met on her snap story made me think she was a stage five clinger (or more likely using me to make her ex-boyfriend jealous).
5. Let him lead. If he wants to pay, let him pay. Remember that he’s likely nervous and is trying to figure out first-date rules, too. You’ll have plenty of time in the future to figure out gender-role stuff if you develop a relationship. In the meantime, respect his wishes to lead. Let him follow up after the date, too.
This is horrible advice. I would never make a girl pay for a first date (or any date I initiate), but best believe the “reaching for your wallet” move is going to score you brownie points. I polled a bunch of my guy friends about this and they all agreed that while they wouldn’t want the girl to pay, offering shows that paying is appreciated and not automatically expected. However, once I’ve agreed to pay, please don’t fight me on it. I went out with a girl who demanded that I let her pay for dinner. It totally killed the mood, but at least I got out of a bad date with no financial damage.
6. Be decisive. Hemming and hawing all night — “I don’t know, what do you think? What do you want to do? It’s your call.” — isn’t attractive. If your date gives you options, pick one.
Much like being late, this is one of those things I kind of expect. I’m sure there are decision-making, take-charge girls out there, but I haven’t met any of them. I usually avoid this situation by having the night planned out preemptively. If I do give you options and you make an immediate decision, then more power to you. This will definitely make you go up a notch in most guys’ eyes as they imagine all the free time they would have while dating you that would normally be wasted asking a girlfriend what she wants for dinner for 45 minutes.
7. Be present. Show interest in your date and be an active listener. Don’t let it be all about you. (If you talk non-stop when you’re nervous, try to be aware of this and intentionally refocus the conversation on him.)
YES. This isn’t an interview; this should be a conversation. Nothing has made me more acutely aware of how bad a date is as when a girl is simply answering all my questions with brief answers and not asking me any in return. At the very least, just give me a long enough answer or a story that I can respond to or make a joke about. I went on a date last month, and within twenty minutes I had ran through all of my questions to ask her, as she just gave me one-word answers the entire time. I rallied by drinking until she got more interesting, but it was an uphill battle.
8. Address the elephant in the room. If something feels awkward, if you wish you could take back something you said, or if your mind just went blank and you can’t remember your mom’s name, speak up. By acknowledging that your brain just failed you, you’ll be breaking the ice and making him more comfortable, too.
Highly disagree. I do a lot of presentations in my line of work, and one thing I’ve always been told is to never apologize or take something back. If you just said something stupid or awkward, I promise you stammering out an apology followed by a self-deprecating joke about how awkward you are is not going to make things better. More often than not, guys are not going to notice or care that much. I would say most of my game is saying stupid/weird things with a lot of confidence so that it appears to be funny. If you feel like your brain is always stuck in second gear (don’t try and pretend you didn’t read that in the Friends theme song tune), just make sure your date keeps drinking. Alcohol makes you funnier and wittier.
9. Establish boundaries. Be careful to not share too much on a first date. This isn’t an arranged marriage; you’ll have second and third dates to share more. Be clear about physical boundaries if he’s over-eager. Sex on a first date is never, ever a good idea.
Sex on a first date could be a great idea or a horrible idea, but it has nothing to do with the timing. If a guy likes you and wants a relationship, getting nasty on the first date isn’t going to change that. If he’s just trying to get it in, he will have no problem waiting three dates and then ghosting you in the morning. Just use your judgment on the situation. Don’t go home with a guy who you don’t have chemistry with in an attempt to spark something, and don’t feel like you need wait a certain predetermined time if you actually like the person.
10. Don’t drink too much. A glass of wine is fine, but try to get to know each other sober. You can always drink on your honeymoon.
Oh yeah. Definitely remain completely sober up until marriage, and then show him what drunk-you is like on the honeymoon. Get off your high horse, eHarmony, everyone is drinking on first dates. Without booze, how do you know when to make a move? Just randomly kiss someone sober like a psychopath? Fuck no. I’d rather get sloppy drunk with a girl (assuming it’s a good time) than have a polite (boring) conversation about our hobbies and shit. Alcohol shows the real you, and wasn’t that the first tip on this list? What a hypocrite.
There you go, ladies. Take these secret insights into the male mind and use them to your advantage. You can trust me. I hardly ever blackout and make a fool of myself on first dates..
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