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If you don’t date a lot, or you’re just getting back in the game, the whole process can take a toll on your nerves. First dates are scary as shit, and even if you’re a gold-star bumble user, you’re bound to run into a date every now and again that gets you all jittery and sweaty. I know this because, while I have been known to go on my fair share of dates, I went out with a gentleman on Sunday night and on my way I nearly asked the Uber driver to turn around. I don’t know what it was about this kid, but he had my head all sloshy and my body all tingly before I walked through the door.
If you get nervous or anxious or queasy before a date do not trip, you’re not alone. People don’t talk about it, but walking into a first date (no matter how hot or confident you are) can do all types of things to your emotional stability. I get it.
There’s a reason we put up with endless vodka-sodas and Ubers across town, however, and it’s all for the L word. Lust or Love, you pick. Either way, I’m proud of you for getting out there. Take the below five tips on how to combat first date nervousness as an offering, from me to you, in honor of your goddamn cajones.
Call before the date.
When you’re en route in an Uber, or a block away on foot, give your date a ring. I know, it sounds a little crazy in an era of texting using mostly emojis, but just trust me on this one. I bet you met your date on an app, right? So this call will be the first time you’ve heard the person’s voice. Talking on the phone breaks the ice, it gets the awkward out and demystifies the other person. All you have to say is, “Hey! I’m close. Are you here?” and immediately they transform from an intimidating member of the opposite sex to a normal person with a normal voice.
Pump up song.
Now before you throw on “Eye of the Tiger” full throttle, please know that’s not what I mean by pump up song. The pre-date pump up song should not be a fist bumper or a locker room classic, it needs to be the type of song that gets you in the zone. The type of song that makes you want to get tipsy and talk to a stranger, the type of song that, after one listen, reminds you that you’d rather go out and shoot your shot than strip and watch Netflix after work. My song? Sometimes it’s “Rock Your Body” by Justin Timberlake and sometimes it’s “No Role Modelz” by J. Cole. Either way, my pump up song reminds me that even though I’m exhausted from work, life’s too short to go home and drink water.
Order their drink.
If you get there early, order their drink. Text your date, “Hey, just got to the bar, what are you drinking?” or conversely, if you’re late, “Ahh I’m running late! Order me a martini?” There’s something about doing a favor (even a tiny favor) like ordering a drink for someone that creates a connection, it’s a bit of comradery to make you feel comfortable and get the date rolling.
Wash your hands.
I mean, yes, please wash your hands before every date. That’s just generally courteous. Also though, use the hand washing excuse as a chance to take a breath and re-group. After you walk into the bar, see your date, approach with caution, and cheek kiss them hello, say the following; “I’m just going to run to the restroom and wash my hands.” It gives you a second, after the initial hello, to take a breath, collect your thoughts, freak out about how hot they are, and get back out there.
Admit you’re nervous.
There’s nothing more endearing than being slightly vulnerable whilst courting a potential lover. Being honest about your first date jitters is both flattering to the person across the table and diffuses any tension or anxiety. It says, “Hey, you’re cool enough for me to be nervous about,” which would make anyone feel good. Plus, admit you’re nervous and it’s instantly a breath of fresh air. Nervous you is hotter than any facade you curate, I promise.
I practice what I preach, so trust me when I say these tips are tried and tested. Couple the above advice with the obligatory pre-date drink (two fingers Tequila on the rocks, duh) and you’ll be fine. Hell, you’ll be better than fine. You’ll be the charming, nerdy, interesting, funny person you always have been. Just this time, your nerves won’t get in the way. .