I hear the complaints from my girlfriends all the time; men are clueless when it comes to planning and carrying out a good first date. Not to offend any men out there (well-intentioned though you may be), but it seems that some of you have no idea what to do, where to go, how to act, or what to wear on the first date.
I know this first-hand. I’ve had my share of bad dates—really bad dates. However, one date lives in infamy as the worst date I ever had.
My date (we’ll call him Bob to protect the not-so-innocent) arrived at my house dressed in dirty jeans and a T-shirt; I, on the other hand, was wearing a nice black pants-suit. When I asked him where we were going on our date, he replied, incredulous, «Oh. You want to go somewhere?» At this point, I probably should have sent the boy packing, but I replied, somewhat sarcastically, «Yes, that would be nice.» I was thinking dinner, maybe a movie; what I got was a drive around our boring town which culminated in spending an hour on a deserted playground where he wanted to make out. When we finally arrived back at my place, he told me he had a great time and asked me if I wanted to go out again. I answered that I would «think about it,» as I let the door shut quietly on his surprised face.
O.K. So perhaps Bob really did have a good time on the date, and maybe he believed I did too, but it left me with the impression that Bob-o was a cheapskate and an unoriginal one at that. So, if you want to know how to really impress a woman on your first date (and not make the same mistakes as Bob) read on.
You’ve asked her out, and she said YES! What do you do now?
Making the Plans
phone.jpg (3014 bytes)Call your date prior to the rendezvous, preferably the day before; by this time, you should have already formulated tentative plans on where to go (see Where To Go, below). Discuss these suggested plans with your date. If she seems unenthusiastic about your choices and does not offer any alternatives, then ask her for some suggestions. If your date proposes someplace different from your original idea, go with it (unless she wants to go clogging or something, in which case cancel the date). Don’t make the destination a surprise. If for some reason you absolutely must, then give the woman an idea of what to wear. Stiletto heels and a miniskirt are not fun at a picnic.
What to Bring
Here’s a tip; I never met a woman that hated receiving flowers. Bringing flowers shows that you are thoughtful, generous, and have a sense of aesthetics, all good traits in a man. Daisies, tulips, and a half-dozen white or yellow roses are all good picks for a first date bouquet. Don’t bring carnations; as my friend Niru says, «They look cheap.» Also, a dozen red roses are too presumptuous for a first date. A woman wants a potential boyfriend, not a potential stalker.
Other good gifts include: a tasteful box of candy (French mints are a good pick, but buy the more expensive brand); a small, interesting plant; a favorite food of hers. Don’t be afraid to get creative. You want to leave a lasting impression—giving lingerie is not a good idea, unless you want to leave the impression of your cheek on her hand.
How To Act
Chivalry is not dead. Forget all the PC garbage; women love all the old-time gestures of courtesy. The majority of women will want you to open their doors, pull out their chairs, offer your coat, and let them go first. By far, women want a gentleman—these types of behaviors will display that you have class, good breeding, respect, and that you were raised right by your mother.
I cannot stress this enough; you must pay for all the money1.gif (34517 bytes)evening’s activities. I know that this may make women seem petty and selfish, but secretly every woman expects the man to pay on the first date. Unfair though it may seem this is tradition; don’t be a rebel. The woman will most likely attempt to pay for a check. Gently refute this by jokingly saying, «You can get it next time.» If you really like this woman, chances are you will have a second, third, and fourth date. Very soon she will return the favor.
Where To Go
The purpose of the first date is for the man and woman to get to know each other. To do this, you must talk. So, you can’t go wrong with dinner. Take her to a semi-fancy restaurant; McDonald’s won’t cut it. Conversely, don’t take her to a very expensive restaurant; she will feel uncomfortable if you pay for a $100+ check. Show your originality by taking her to a little-known local restaurant with a diverse menu. Discuss the type of restaurant fare before you plan; you don’t want to take her out for seafood only to discover that shrimp makes her swell up like a balloon. If an upscale local restaurant is out (or your budget can’t handle it), take her to a mid-range chain like T.G.I. Fridays or Chili’s. They have tasty food and fun atmosphere.
Dinner was great, but what should you two potential lovebirds do next? Dinner and a movie is now a dating cliche, so I wouldn’t recommend it. There is no chance for talking, too much chance for arguing («You actually like Steven Segal?»). There is also too much opportunity for worrying and committing a faux pas (Where should I put my hand? Can she tell I’m staring at her out of the corner of my eye?). If you and she like dancing, go dancing. However, if you look like a drunk monkey when you dance, maybe you should wait until you are more comfortable with each other before displaying your boogie-down inadequacies. Instead, take her out to a cool coffee bar or an intimate nightclub; make sure (subtly) that she drinks alcohol before placing her in a potentially uncomfortable situation. Don’t drink too much, though, or the only thing you’ll be kissing that night is the porcelain goddess.
After the Date
To kiss or not to kiss? Isn’t that really the question? Unfortunately, I don’t have a definitive answer for that one. Rely on your gut feeling—if the woman seems open to being kissed (stands close to you, seems a bit nervous, touches your arm or shoulder), then go for it. However, if you are not sure, don’t try to press the issue. If the woman is into you, there is always the next date. After the kiss (or lack thereof), make sure you tell your date how much fun you had and hint at a future date. You don’t want to leave her wondering whether you will ask her out again.
The Phone Call
Yes, I’ve seen the movie Swingers. And no you should not wait a whole week to call your date. If you really like this woman, call her the next day. As much as women like to play games, we don’t like to be on the receiving end of them. You will make the woman a nervous wreck waiting for your call. You will also seem too casual if you wait a long period of time to ring her up. Call for a quick chat, deep conversation, or heck, ask her out again. Thus, a woman will not have to analyze your feelings; they will be apparent. Please, though, don’t expect your date to call you; we are not programmed that way.
There you have it, the perfect first date. Now the rest is up to you. All these hints won’t amount to much if you are not your charming self. So be loose, have a good time, and let your personality show through. A second date can’t be far behind.
Dressing for Dummies
Face it. Looks are the first thing that attracts a woman. So, what do you wear on your first date so she’ll be clamoring for a second?
The date: picnic, outdoor concert.
Though I recommend these as second date activities, the more adventurous may want to take their date to a casual event. Jeans (not dirty or ripped) and polo shirt.
The date: dinner, movie.
These plans are the best for a first date . Khakis and a white-button down are my top pick. Alternate choices: wool sweater, corduroys/ black pants, fitted shirt (cool weather); khaki shorts and short-sleeved polo (warm weather).
The date: formal dinner, posh nightclub.
This type of date is probably too expensive for a new couple. Trendy suit; tie and blazer.
polished shoes, cologne, mouthwash, styled hair, clean shave.
Never, Ever Wear:
cowboy boots (or hat), vest with no shirt underneath, overabundance of jewelry, T-shirt, tank top, old sneakers, too much cologne, sweatshirt, baseball cap, dirty clothes.
Remember; Dress according to your destination, and you’ll never be inappropriately attired. Call ahead for dress-code if you are uncertain.
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