Apr 16, 2014

First Date Etiquette- 23 Back Pocket Tips

First dates can be one of two things:  A) just...

First dates can be one of two things: 

A) just another night out with some intriguing companion, or  

B) a night with someone you’re really into.  Regardless, there are a few things that guys should keep in mind, and perhaps revisit when it comes to the subject of The First Date.  The following apply mostly to the traditional "dinner date," though many of these are applicable to non-traditional first dates.  

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 1.     First and foremost: Have fun and keep it light. This goes for the rest of your dating life. Women are attracted to humor and confidence over all other attributes. Going in with a positive and light-hearted demeanor sets the tone for the rest of your interactions. 

2.       Have a plan. No one likes to feel like they are in the twilight zone right off the bat. Your best bet: make it personal. Anyone can make a random reservation. If you take her somewhere you really enjoy, she can get to know you and the things you like (keeping in mind that she might not eat meat, so a steakhouse is not a great idea).  Personalization is always a plus.

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3.       Set it up in advance. There’s a big difference between texting a lady a few days in advance to ask her when she’s free, and texting her the day-of because you just got busy. If you wait until the last minute, it may be interpreted as if you’re not really that interested. In case you want to go alpha male on her, and really beat out any looming competition: A phone call a few days before to set it up =  #winning like JT. (Hint: It’s easy to appear confident behind your smartphone screen, but a phone call shows real confidence).

4.       If you pick her up at her place, understand that those points do not entitle you to more access of her than she wants to give. Furthermore, picking her up rather than having her meet you… Huge points. Major.

5.       Let her choose her seat. Basics here. Take note of her position. She might not notice that the light is going to be directly in her eyes in that seat, so suggesting that she take yours instead is you paying attention to detail. It’s the kind of detail that people remember. #winningcontinued

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6.       Bring your A Game.  Offer the opening compliment. You lose nothing by telling her that she looks beautiful/fantastic/gorgeous (all great adjectives), or that you love that dress/skirt, within the first moments of your interaction. (She probably took some time to choose this outfit, after all). Use your own lingo here -- it has to be natural. Traditional values of opening doors, being polite, having manners, and letting her order first do not go unnoticed.

7.       Put your phone away. If you’re expecting a phone call from the powers that be, or a family member for some specific reason, let her know. It’s a thoughtful gesture to facilitate having to excuse yourself later. Otherwise, seriously, put your phone away.

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8.       Be aware of her body language. Recognize that crossed arms may not be a good sign and that open, closer conversation expresses interest. Play on her cues. And keep your hands in check. She may not be comfortable with your urges to rub her knee, or her thigh or her face. Anticipation is the key to seduction.

9.       If your nerves generally drive you to talk too much, take a breath. This is not a performance. You’re not Matthew McConaughey. The sooner she has a better understanding of you and the sooner you have a better understanding of her, the sooner you will know if this is actually something worth pursuing.

10.       Drinking rules: Keep pace with her, and keep it casual. Don’t make her have another one if she doesn’t want it. Conversely, if she seems down to party, join her if that’s your pleasure. This is crucial as to what kind of date it is. Is it one of those  dates, or a first date? Decide.

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11.     Boundaries in conversation: There’s a difference between being provocative and being overtly sexual. You can ask provocative questions and give provocative answers, but holding your tongue a bit (intended) is in your best interest. Talking to her about your junk or sexual history—not attractive. God forbid she pulls a Sally. 

12.     Make connections to the things she discusses if you actually have them, but admit when you know absolutely nothing about what she is discussing. Don’t pretend to know what it’s like to grow up in rural Vermont, if you don’t. Honesty is refreshing.

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13.     Be curious about getting into her head, understanding what she thinks about things and why she thinks this way.

14.     Pay attention to how she treats EVERYONE, from the hostess to the server/bartender, cab driver, etc… All telling. Also, she is paying attention to how YOU treat them.

15.     Topics: Family - brothers, sisters? Big family? Small family? Travel? Seasonal hobbies/activities? Music festival kind of gal? Does her musical taste line up with yours? Because if you don’t like EDM now, chances are you’ll never like it, no matter how into her you are. Upstate in the fall kind of girl? LA, Miami in the winter kind of girl? Hamptons in the summer or local dweller? It’s all expository, and all the information you can gather serves as a clue to who she is and where she’s coming from. Unless you happen to be severely passionate about politics, save that topic for a future date. It can really sour an introduction. Religion is debatable.

16.     Being honest and talkative is great, but try to keep a balance in the conversation. Take note if she talks a lot about herself. It might be nerves, but it can also be insight as to how she thinks of herself, which is important.

17.     Hear what she says, not what you want to hear. People tell us who they are, and sometimes we don’t want to hear it. In the case of a first date, listening to what they actually say will save you time and effort in the future. Has she committed to things, jobs, opportunities? Does she have long-term friendships? Does she care about her family? These are inside cues into whether or not she is someone you can trust and enjoy your valuable time with. 

18.     Unless your roommate/friend/family member is seriously distraught somewhere, there is NO reason they should be invited to or interrupting this date—before, after or during. This may seem obvious, but we thought we should throw it in here. A lady may seem alright with your buddy joining you guys, but most likely, she’s too polite to tell you that she thinks it’s rude. And it is.

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19.     Eye contact. How long people can actually look you in the eye when in conversation says a lot about them. Check her on this. Also, be aware that she notices when you’re checking out other women. Be a gent. Focus on her.  

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20.     Always end with dessert. Come on. Everyone loves dessert, no matter who you are. And if she is intolerant in some way of gluten, nuts or dairy, find an alternative. Maybe it’s a nice port, or sorbet—something. End on sweet terms. Unless you both declare that you absolutely LOATHE dessert (in which case you are M.F.E.O.), then you can pass.

21.     Don’t send your date home on the subway. Bonus points if you actually walk her to her doorstep, but a nice alternative could be hailing a cab and shooting the driver a $20.  It may not seem like that big of an issue being that city dwellers are used to public transit and are usually very independent—but it is.

22.  Don’t be afraid to tell her you want to see her again before the date is over, if that’s the case. The testing/waiting period to see if she can handle herself is nonsense; it can also send the wrong signal. If you want to see her again, tell her. If that is not the case, remain the gentleman that you are and roll with it like a film that will eventually end. This city is not  that big. Walls talk. 

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23. Finally- Don’t show your cards too soon, and keep time with the other player. It’s all fun and games until there is no longer a game.

By: Vanessa Velasquez  

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