Anyone who’s been on more than a handful of dates will tell you that dating can be a hell of an experience. Sometimes you’re lucky. You have a great date, it leads to more and maybe you end up in a long term relationship. Sometimes you have dates that are totally forgettable, the type where you remember the movie you saw but not who you saw it with.
Then there are the bad dates. You know exactly what I’m talking about. The kind where you have your favorite wingman call you with an “emergency”, or say you’re going to the bathroom and haul ass through the first door you see. Being stuck with a dud on an ill-fated night out is bad enough, but being the reason the date was a failure is even worse.
Let’s explore a few ways not to impress your new love interest.
What’s That Smell?
That I need to bring this up at all is slightly disturbing. I remember getting “the hygiene talk” from my P.E. teacher in fifth grade, and I’m pretty sure most of you do too. So why is it that some people will show up on a date reeking of B.O., with their hair disheveled and clothes filthy? Ask anyone you meet, no one’s favorite Peanuts character is Pig Pen. Take a shower, brush your hair and wear some clean clothes. Society will smile upon you, even if your date doesn’t.
Have You Met My Friend, Jim?
Group dates are a fantastic way to keep things casual if you’re nervous about meeting someone new. That is, of course, if you planned to go on a group date. Springing a surprise guest on your partner is one of the worst things you can possibly do. Leave your friends and family at home unless they were invited. After all, nothing quite says romance like bringing your mom on the first date.
Just a Little Tipsy
Having a few drinks during dinner is a great way to loosen up. Having a few too many is a great way to look like an ass. And showing up drunk? That’s just a cry for help. Keep count of how many drinks you’ve had and know your limits. You don’t want to end up looking like an overeager teenager who can’t hold their liquor.
I’m Paying Attention, I Swear
The next time you’re out at a busy restaurant, take a quick glance around and count how many people are looking at their phones rather than their dining partners. While smartphones are a fantastic tool for modern day life, they’re putting a strain on our interpersonal relationships. If you’re out with your new lady love/boy toy, put your phone down and pay attention. Barring some crazy international disaster, Facebook will still be there when you get home.
Speaking of paying attention, asking questions is a great way to break the ice and get to know each other. However, asking rapid fire or overly personal questions will make you look like you’re too interested, if you get my drift. Personal space is more than just a physical concept. Play it cool, keep your queries appropriate and give your date plenty of time to ask a few questions of their own.
You’ve made a connection with a great girl/guy and you want to find out a little more about them before that first date. So, you do a little poking around on Facebook and find out their favorite bands, who their best friend is and what they had for dinner the night before. Under no circumstances should you bring any of this to their attention during the course of the date. Listen, we’ve all done a bit of Facebook stalking in our time, but when you put that knowledge into words, it comes across as unbelievably creepy.
Let’s discuss what not to discuss on a first date:
Exes and one night stands
Anything that might be construed as baggage (painful but true)
Just One More Tip
Ladies and gentlemen, I cannot stress this one enough. You are constantly being judged on how you treat and tip your servers. If you are rude, demanding, unkind or stingy, you will not be getting a second or third date. Nothing is more telling of your personality than how you treat those who are serving you. And you don’t even want to know what the restaurant staff will do if you piss them off.
So there you have it! Following my advice may not make you the greatest lover, but at least it will save you from being the subject of a cringe-worthy story shared by coworkers at the water-cooler. Go forth my children, and be adequate.
Mary Shroedinger survived dating by collecting cocktail umbrellas and eating box after box of Shari’s Berries. She’s been happily married for eight years and enjoys torturing her husband with reminders of their disastrous first date.