Last week, I went on a date with a “Match Man” who sounded like quite the catch. A 28-year-old, fun-loving, but still smart and normal guy is harder to find than it seems. He winked at me. I winked back. Next thing you know, we are texting while both out-of-town and making plans to meet up when we both returned to the city. We settled on a local bar on a Wednesday night at 9PM. I’ll let this list of things not to do on a first date demonstrate how miserable that evening was.
1. Don’t drink too much. This fool downed 3 vodka & tonics in the hour and a half that we were at the bar. He also arrived before I did, so I have no idea what kind of shots were taken or how many drinks he had before I got there. Bottom line: boy was tanked and it wasn’t cute.
2. Don’t talk about your alcoholic tendencies. Some girls might be into that sort of thing. Some girls aren’t. The point is, you don’t know your audience very well and it’s probably a good idea to save alcohol and drug dependency, weird fetishes or habits, and illegitimate children for at least the third date. Very little is attractive about admitting that you have “lost three days before” from an alcoholic binge.
3. If you run into a friend, politely say, “Hi” and move on. I was literally stuck for five minutes in the crossfire of a conversation between “Bro” and “Dude” about something that I stopped paying attention to. At the end, I was left sitting with “Bro” while “Dude” remarked that it was nice to meet me. Problem — you didn’t meet me, sir. If you’re going to have a conversation with a friend or stranger when on a first date, introduce your date or politely excuse yourselves for a moment.
4. Breathe. This kid was literally foaming at the mouth he was talking so much and so quickly. I can’t make this up and there’s not a whole lot more for me to say. Just relax.
5. Don’t talk about work too much. Yes, work is an interesting and important part of everyone’s lives. But, I am not down to sit and listen to you talk for hours about your job and how great everyone thinks you are. And the worst part — I still have no idea what this guy does for a living.
6. If I ask a question, answer it honestly. I could tell he was lying right through his teeth. I asked about his family and if they were close. Obviously, the desired answer is, “Yes, I am close with my siblings, I look up to my dad, and I love my mom.” That’s the answer I got, but I could tell it wasn’t the truth. Don’t lie. Ever.
7. Respect the servers. We were at a busy local bar on dollar beer night (a whole separate issue), so of course the server is going to be going in 30 different directions. Subtly jabbing her might ease your tension, but it also makes you look like a jerk. Think before you speak.
8. Choose the venue wisely. I got lucky on this one. The place we went has a nice patio (which I love) and was perfectly casual and relaxed. Also, a group of guy friends regularly has Boys’ Night there on Wednesday nights so if I needed an SOS, I was golden. However, I would suggest people be careful when deciding on a first date location. I know times are hard and money is tight, but going somewhere specifically because, “It’s cheap!” might not send the message you intend.
9. Pay. Or at least offer to. Again, I got lucky. Dollar beer night meant that my two beers and his 3 vodka/tonics totalled $10. You might not get so lucky and a guy who doesn’t even put up a small fight about you paying isn’t worth it. I’m all about splitting costs at a certain point in a relationship, but he should be wooing me, damn it, and that does not involve a hit to my bank account.
10. Read signals before, during, and after the date. This poor guy had no idea I was miserable. He was oblivious (thankfully) to the fact that I was counting down minutes until it was socially acceptable to cut my losses and call it a night. He missed the fact that I was already on the phone talking about my misery before I left the parking lot. Worst of all, he kept texting me the next day and could not equate my simple, one-word answers to disinterest. Boys, think things through. Put pieces together to solve a puzzle. And most importantly, learn to detect annoyance and misery in a woman.
There you have it: my recommendations for first date dos and don’ts. Although this particular date was a royal failure on almost every account, I am learning from each date that I go on and each interaction I have with Match Men. Have I found love yet? Of course not. But I’m learning about myself and what I (don’t) want in relationships everyday.