Steph Perkins is an organized thinker. In the battle of the sexes, she is a latter-day Sun Tzu, or perhaps a John Churchill. Anyways, trust her advice.
Q- I find first dates totally awkward and nerve-wracking, probably more than the average person does. What are your rules for pulling off a successful first date?
Ah yes, I’m with you. First dates are the worst. Not much different than a job interview if you ask me, except you have to be charming and witty on top of dynamic and interesting. Wouldn’t it be nice if we could all start out on date number three? No cold sweats, less possibility for horrific surprises, perhaps even an inside joke or two to get the comfort-ball rolling?
But have no fear – I’ve had my share of first dates over the last while, so you’ve come to the right place. Meaning I am the queen of bunging up first dates with awkwardness and bad moves. So let’s take stock of what I’ve learned with another installment of my personal dos and don’ts, shall we?
Do have a plan. Whaddaya wanna do? Duhhhh I dunno, whaddayou wanna do? That’s annoying. Pick something, suggest it, and away we go.
Do OR Don’t have a drink. This is going to depend on the person, so weigh what works for you. For me a shot of whiskey before leaving the house chills me out. For others that could be a gateway to a rather messy, embarrassing evening. Can you keep your cool, stay in control while you’re drinking? Then a drinky-poo during the date can help with nerves too. I’ve gotten hammered on dates though; if it’s going well, you can lose track of how much you’ve had. While there’s no doubt you’re having fun, you want to actually remember the fun, right? So use your discretion and know your limits.
Do shut up for a second. If you’re a nervous rambler like me, this can be tough. Sometimes it’s easier to take the focus off yourself by asking a lot of questions and yammering like a ninny to fill the air. If you are feeling like you’re sick of your own voice, then you’re using it too much, so shut your trap. Allow for uncomfortable silences. Again, for me this is the most difficult, most uncomfortable act, but it’s necessary if you want the person you’re out with to have a minute to think to ask YOU something about yourself. Just chillll. Excuse yourself to go to the washroom, and when you get back, make it your beeswax to zip the lip. See what happens, you might be pleasantly surprised.
Guys- Do pay. I know that’s not very forward-thinking of me, but what can I say, there are certain things I appreciate the old-fashioned way. Going dutch is PERFECTLY acceptable, and I prefer it, especially the more often you go out with someone, but on the first date, I still consider it gentlemanly to pay. Bring enough cash and class to do this. It will be appreciated.
Don’t sleep together on the first date IF you can help it. Because let’s face it, sometimes it can’t be helped. Sometimes you’ve had too much to drink to turn back now. Sometimes the person you’re out with is too attractive to resist. Sometimes it’s been six months since you had sex. Just sayin’. But if you try, and you get out with your pants up, I believe there are very few circumstances where you’d regret that decision. The chances of seeing each other again and getting to know each other better improve greatly if you don’t sleep together right away. I believe this. A little mystery is power, I’m tellin ya. And I mean, how often is first-date sex good sex? Really. Is it worth it? In my experience usually not. But that being said, no judgment from me if you go there. We’re only human. (And be safe. But hopefully I don’t have to tell you that.)
I really feel for you. It’s a scary world out there, and the chances of winding up on a date with a total tool are way too high not to have some first-date anxiety. I have learned that each first date is easier than the last, and more fun. Just try and remember that the other person is most likely as nervous as you are, and just as concerned you may turn out to be a nutjob. But you aren’t – you’re cool as a cucumber, sharp as a tack, and you have a lot to offer this date and this whole datingsphere. So be confident, good luck, and I’ll see you out there.