I’ve spent half my life in the dating scene, and again and again, I run into 30-40-something, 21st-century idiot men who don’t understand how to do a first date properly. They’re bewildered, totally in the dark on why high-value women don’t go out with them again. So, I know I’m gonna get some hell for this one, but I don’t care… these guys are desperately in need of a PSA.
Rules for the first date, according to me
Note: I’m a heterosexual woman, so I am directing this blog at men. (Try not to take it personally guys, and props to those of you who got all this down pat!) Anyway, feel free to interchange “he/she” and “him/her” in the below based on your preference. I am also directing this blog at North American men – this blog isn’t long enough to tackle centuries of cultural norms where this concept is totally foreign.
#1. Whoever does the asking, does the paying.
So you asked a girl out and she, whether immediately or eventually, said yes. Great! Are you interested in a relationship with this girl? Are you pursuing this girl? Then please, forget splitting and forget ‘going Dutch.’ Show her that you’re for real and can prove it by putting your money where your mouth is. She accepted your request for a date, forgoing all other options. She invested her time. Do not scoff at that and do not expect her to also open her pockets… not if you want to be taken seriously as a potential romantic partner.
#2. If you’re interested in her, DON’T play games.
We ladies get fed up with ambivalence or playing hard to get (don’t you?). She should not wonder if you’re interested. It should not cross her mind that maybe you just wanna be friends. If you have the hots for her, tell her she looks nice. If you can barely keep your hands to yourself, gently brush your hand against hers. Don’t assault the girl or go in for a premature kiss (a cardinal sin)… and don’t be aloof and cold. Please, take your cues.
#3. Ohmygod. Do not ask to share a meal.
She doesn’t care if you’re not really hungry. She doesn’t care if you “don’t normally eat a lot.” Do not make her a needless victim of your weird diet, disordered eating habits, or cheapness. Please choose a restaurant where you can afford two servings and let her order her own meal.
#4. If you do the asking, do not let her do any paying.
Usually, a classy girl will offer to chip in. Do not take her up on it. Do not look the other way or go oddly silent when she puts her card down. Do not go to the bathroom after the bartender has brought the “last call.” Do not reason with yourself and say, “It’s just one round” or “Well, she lost a bet,” or, and this is the most pathetic, “I’ll let her be a feminist.” Women’s suffrage, reproductive rights, equal pay… that’s what feminism is about. Do not denigrate the women’s rights movement by associating it with something as trivial as who pays for the first date. It’s the first date: if you asked for it, it should be your treat.
#5. If somehow, someway, she circumvents you (be it paying a little, half, or all)…
SAY. THANK. YOU. Be gracious. Be appreciative of the gesture and the expense. BE EMPHATIC. It was unnecessary, but she clearly made a great effort if she got ‘round your blockages. THANK HER… profusely. (Clearly, she’s a clever one.) Being gracious goes such a long way.
To recap: First dates
In no way am I suggesting that a good first date means spending a lot of money, not at all. The suggester of the date should be prepared for the cost of the date (times two, obviously), so let your interest level be your guide. (Just sayin’, coffee is always an option, and it’s cheap.)
What makes a good first date, besides the obvious things like shared interests, world views, and chemistry? Women (like me and especially me) are looking to feel appreciated, valued, and desired. It’s a simple formula, but often overlooked.
The bottom line: it’s the first date. Be your best self. Set yourself up for success – it may be your only shot.