How to have an excellent first date

I don’t care if you’ve been on 10 dates or 10,000 the first date with a new person is always pretty nerve racking.

Will they be boring? Will they fancy me? Will I fancy them? Will they be a nipple pinching psycho who orders me to search for their sunglasses in a bush?! oh the possibilities!

Whilst there’s not a whole hell of a lot you can do if your date hitched a ride to the pub on the crazy train direct from Loonville, there are a few simple things you can do to make sure your date goes as swimmingly as possible.

Make sure you’re on the same page

Unless you met on an online dating app, (where the purpose of your meetup is implied) it’s important to make sure that you and your date are on the same page about your agenda.

After all no one likes to be blindsided and if you’re all ready for the romantic night of your dreams and he thinks he’s hitting the pub with his gal pal you might be end up going home disappointed*

*crying into a tub of peanut butter and texting every boy you have ever met in the last year ‘hey, What up?’

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Blindingly obvious? Perhaps.

All I’ll say is don’t come crying to me when you go to meet the MAN OF YOUR DREAMS in a bloody midi skirt and HEELS only to realise that he thought your ‘date’ was in fact some sort of business meeting and had decided to take you to an outdoor café that sells sandwiches from a portable hut.

Hypothetically that would be quite rubbish wouldn’t it.

Hypothetically if he also got his laptop out and showed you a spreadsheet he had created for this meeting you might end up going home devastated and subsequently texting a guy who had once referred to you as a ‘super fly honey’ and then have been lumbered with his declarations of love for months on end.

Hypothetically that would be a bit more rubbish wouldn’t it.

DON’T COME CRYING TO ME

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Don’t drink yourself into oblivion

Ok so this one is kind of tough because unless you are in a rom com starring Ryan Reynolds, first dates are usually pretty hard work. When faced with the prospect of sitting across from a (often) total stranger and trying to convince them that they should wed you forthwith it can be tempting to take the edge off with a bucket of wine or two.

A cautionary tale for you here.

I once went on a date with a really nice man called Patrick. Unfortunately, before my date with lovely Patrick I decided to go for a ‘quick drink’ with a friend of mine who proceeded to pour three large glasses of wine down my throat. On no food.

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If you think you know where this story is going…. yes, you’re absolutely right, it does end with me lying in a spiral of shame in my bed and not with a picture of us both beaming on Facebook with him pointing at me and the caption ‘I liked a thing so I put a ring on it’.

I can confirm that he did not and has never since expressed any interest in putting a ring on it.

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Anyway to cut a long story short I obviously turned up borderline plastered and then proceeded to tip myself over the edge into that ‘so trashed it’s hard to know where the booze stops and the mental problems begin’ type of drunk. You know, that state that boys like so much.

I was so drunk that I did the following things in the following order

  • Tried to climb inside his jumper in the pub
  • Tried to show him my ‘sexy walk’ and ended up knocking over a huge vase of flowers that smashed everywhere
  • Was unable to remember where I lived despite residing there for at least three years
  • Burst into tears because I was hungry
  • Marched him into a corner shop and made him buy me crisps before stealing a snickers bar and sprinting out of the shop
  • Responded to him following me out of the shops and saying ‘I just paid for your snickers bar…You didn’t have to steal it I would have bought it for you’ with ‘oooooooooohhhh good for you DADDY WARBUCKS’. Apparently the only rich person I could think of.
  • Had to go back to his house as I couldn’t remember where I lived.
  • On entering his room I saw a poster of the Vaccines. Instead of saying what I meant to say ‘oh I like that band. I saw them once at Glastonbury’ I said ‘I am friends with that band’. Him: ‘Umm no you are not’ me: ‘Yes I am’ him: ‘Ok what’s the drummers name then?’ Me: ‘…..Neil’.
  • He left me in his room to go and pour me more wine (come on Patrick – to an extent you brought this on yourself) and when he came back I was naked. Posing. On an inflatable exercise ball. Yes, really.

So yeah – maybe don’t have the best part of a bottle of wine to yourself before a date. Have a sandwich and a nice san Pellegrino can that makes you feel like you’re on holiday. Much better.

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Choose a good location

There’s an argument that, if you’re with the right person, you could go anywhere and do anything and it just wouldn’t matter. Your first date could consist of an all you can eat buffet in Swindon and you’d still find yourself shacked up in relationship bliss a few months down the line, all in love and saying things like ‘it’s not what you said, it’s the way you said it’. Grand!

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However, in my humble opinion, most first dates are greatly improved by going somewhere you actually like. Somewhere with comfortable seating (ever tried to perch attractively on a high stool whilst wearing a dress so tight you have to take very small shallow breaths? Unless you are Claudia Schiffers thinner sister you invariably look like a pile of pillows wearing a bin liner #justsayin) and busy but not ‘scream over the music whilst crammed into a sweaty corner’ busy. Somewhere relaxed, preferably with loos with a good mirror and a bar you can get too with minimal scrummage.

Now I don’t mean to stereotype here but ladies, this probably means you’re going to have to take the reins here or hope that the man you are going on a date with has a nice female friend who can steer him in the right direction.

This may not be true of all men but when discussing potential date locations for my male friend H the other day all of his suggestions were mad, bad and had one thing in common: they were really close to his flat.

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So if he casually suggests you go to bloody Bounce of all places, home of the team building work night out (sorry H I outed you, you truly did deserve it for that one) for your first date, be brave and say

‘oh lovely idea! Although we could go to that lovely pub that does huge boards of cheese and nice wine and has big sofas in it and just never ever EVER go to Bounce again?’

Problem solved.

Don’t bring all your mates along with you

I mean this one sounds obvious doesn’t it. Surely any idiot could work out that, no matter how many excellent belly laughs you have with your ‘crew’, bringing them along on a first date will only end in disaster.

Apparently not.

I once ended up on a date with a gentleman who decided that said date would be greatly improved by the presence of his three co-workers. In one of the most bizarre dates ever I ended up playing on the pub quiz machine with Barry from accounts whilst my date ignored me and instead chose to stand outside and chain smoke with his other work pals who, for the purposes of this article, I’ll simply refer to as ‘fatty mc pervs a lot’ and ‘beardy von snorefest’.

When I suggested that we might, you know, leave his work drinks and go somewhere just the two of us (I know – I was desperate guys. It was winter and I’d shaved my legs. That level of desperate) he looked really surprised and said ‘but Barry just bought you a rosé.’

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SIGH

I had to politely explain to him that the last time I found myself on a date with more than one person was when I was 13 and the ginger boy from down the road took me ice skating and his mum came.

And to be honest that date was a hell of lot sexier than this one. Yay me.

So yeah come on people – be normal humans and turn up on your own. Just so fundamental I can’t believe I have to say it out loud but needs must.

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Leave plenty of time

Jane Austen once wrote: ‘It’s the truth universally acknowledged that there is ne’er a more off putting sight than your date profusely sweating from their face’.

Ok I might be paraphrasing (if paraphrasing meant making things up) but it’s not wrong either! Simple fact of the matter is tube + brisk walk/run on account of being late + entering warm booze house + unquashable nerves = upper lip sweat. There’s no two ways about it. And upper lip sweat never EVER = undying love.

You have two options here

  • Become a master of the old hand-over-mouth-giggle-surreptitious-wipe-of-sweat-on-arm-of-jumper. Stressful and not foolproof.
  • Leave as early as possible without being a psycho and walk at a nice steady pace. Let the crowded tube go and get on the next one.

I think we can agree option 2 is a winner. First impressions count for everything apparently so unless you have the good fortune to find a man whose ideal woman is ‘flustered, sweaty mess’ it’s probably best not to rush.

If you’re not one of life’s sweaty people then well done you. Feel free to jog to every date you have. I hope you enjoy wearing cashmere polo necks and layering your knitwear. Tell me, what’s it like to wander round a city centre in July without having to wear a linen muu muu and scrape your hair in a teletubby bun? Is it nice not to have your boyfriend turn to you and say ‘good god what is wrong with your face?’ as you wince because the sweat is STINGING YOUR EYES?!  Never mind…

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Don’t be a dick

Again, another fundamental point but an important one that people seem want to forget.

I think a good rule of thumb is to think about how you would behave if you were having drinks with a friend. Would you ask them questions and be warm and friendly…yes. Would you expect them to pay for all your drinks and then leave abruptly…no. Would you turn to your friend and say ‘I once nearly got to bang Binky from Made in Chelsea but I fucked it up at the last minute. Oh well you’re posh with brown hair and look a bit like her if I squint’. No sir you would not.

On a serious note, neither of you has to be on that date. So if you’re not feeling it, just politely excuse yourself and leave.

or you know don’t – your prerogative babe!

Don’t bang on about your ex/be passive aggressive/check your phone loads/hit on the waitress/be rude to the waiter/make her buy all the drinks and then leave/spill your dates drink and call her ‘an uptight bitch’ for being mildly annoyed*

*fun fact – all the same guy. I know right!

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Instead remember that this is actually supposed to be fun and what will be will be and you probably most definitely won’t end up alone eating your knitting whilst cats yowl in the background.

probably.

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