It doesn’t matter if you’ve known your date your entire life or you connected over dating apps, you always want to leave a good impression on a first date. So, what steps should you take to be a true gentleman? I wrote about what I think are the basics, so keep on reading for my handy guide to first dates.
Decide on the location
The location of the date says a lot about you. First of all, you should ask your date whether they have any preferences when it comes to where you should go. Some people prefer a sit-down dinner where you can get to know each other better, while others find this boring and unnecessary and prefer getting a couple of drinks at a local bar. If your date lets you plan the evening, you can choose a fancy restaurant but keep in mind that you might have to make reservations ahead of time as the last thing you want is to show up and be told that there is no space for you. So, put some thought into it and call ahead or reserve your table online if possible. On the other hand, if you don’t want a potentially expensive dinner, there are plenty of other options. For example, you can go see a show, visit a museum, or do something else your city offers that you know your date is interested in. The most important thing is that you prepare properly and ahead of time, as winging it often gives the impression that you are not interested in your date.
Groom well before the date
To leave a good impression, you should also spend some time on grooming. If you didn’t get a haircut in some time, you should consider setting an appointment with your hairdresser. If you have long hair, style it so that it looks nice. Trim your facial hair and remove any unwanted hair. File your nails, take a shower, and put on deodorant. Don’t overdo it with cologne. Even if that is your signature scent, keep it subtle as you don’t want to overwhelm your date.
Wear nice clothes
Nice clothes are also a must. Of course, what you wear will depend on where you are going. For instance, you will probably not wear the same thing to a restaurant and to a museum. However, you still have to look nice and put some thought into the outfit. You don’t want to go to any extremes, so avoid suits and anything that is too formal but also remember not to make it too casual by going in surfer shorts and flip-flops. Jeans or a nice pair of slacks will do just fine and you can combine them with a wide range of shirts, from collared button-downs to sweaters. You can top it all off with a smart jacket or a blazer. The shoes are important as well. Dress shoes are not necessary and sneakers are definitely something you can opt for if you don’t own any boots. However, make sure they are clean and not completely worn-out. Accessories also play a big role, so don’t overlook your socks, belt, and watch.
Bring flowers to surprise your date
I know you think it’s a cliché and old-fashioned, but that is what makes it unexpected, right? If you’re looking for something to surprise your date with and show them that you put a lot of effort into the night, consider getting them flowers. You can easily order flower arrangements and have them delivered to your home on the day of the date if you don’t have time to go to a local flower shop. Whether you opt for a single red rose or a bouquet of pink tulips, your date will surely appreciate the gesture.
Arrive on time
Once you decide on the time, you should offer to pick up your date. If they say yes, make sure you are there on time. Don’t be late but don’t be too early either as they might not be ready. When you get there, don’t just send them a text but go up to their door. On the other hand, if you agree to meet at a certain place, you should get there a bit early in order to scope out the place, ensure your reservation is still on, get the tickets you need, or just calm yourself down before your date arrives. Greet them with a hug, give them the flowers, and compliment their appearance.
Be polite to everyone
While you will surely be nice to your date and show how chivalrous you are, you have to remember to treat other people with kindness as well. Therefore, be polite towards the waiter and don’t badmouth the people around you. Your date will surely notice your negativity and might not be interested in a second date.
Come up with interesting topics to talk about
Seeing as how you are probably going to spend the majority of the date getting to know each other, you should think of some interesting topics you can talk about. For example, some people hate small talk so don’t be scared to talk about the future and deep fears. You can offer some info about yourself and ask your date questions. Show interest in what they like and you will have no troubles holding a steady conversation. Nod and smile to show that you are paying attention. On the other hand, a topic you should definitely steer clear of is past relationships and badmouthing your exes.
Pay for the meal
If you’re going to a restaurant, you need to pay the bill, especially if you suggested the spot. Your date might offer to split the bill but don’t let them. Tell them they can do it next time. This can be a charming way to suggest that you want another date.
Don’t have an end goal
Finally, you should not set any goals for yourself at the end of the date. Sure, you might want a kiss but if the situation doesn’t feel right, don’t feel obligated to rush anything. If you think the time is right, ask your date for permission. Tell them you had a great time, thank them for the date, and see whether they would like to meet you again soon.
From deciding on the right location and putting some effort into how you look to knowing how to act and what to say, this guide should help you act like a real gentleman when you go on a date.
Alexis is a Sydney-based part-time writer and a full-time mom of two. Her words carry the richness and offer advice and inspiration to those who desire to improve their lives. Outside of the office, she takes pleasure in spending precious time with her youngsters and absorbing the happiness they constantly radiate.