My dearest readers, welcome back. Great to have you all here once again!
They say that first impressions last a lifetime, but does this apply to the world of dating? Anyone who’s ever been on a first date, knows how exciting, overwhelming, frustrating and nervously horrifying it can be. Do you dress up? Should you wear your hair a certain way? Do you go somewhere nice or casual? What happens if you absolutely hate the date? And worst of all, what comes afterwards?!
Yes, first dates can be equally wonderful as they can be scary. And there’s three phases to them: Before, during and after. In attempt to make the process just slightly easier for you all, here’s a simple guide on some dos and don’ts of first dates and how to judge if a first date is fabulous fun or a frightening flop.
Whether you are a guy asking out a lady for a night on the town or a gal building up enough courage to ask if the gentleman in question would like to grab coffee sometime, I always advise simplicity. Don’t overcomplicate it, don’t plan the “asking” part too much. Make it casual and say: “Hey, I’d like to take you out to do X sometime.” Alternatively, to lift the pressure off, you could say: “I would love to do X with you sometime.” The second option is less direct, gives the other person space to confirm their interest and tends to work better for ladies who are too shy to make the first move. If the other person refuses, I always say that cracking a light joke like: “Oh come on! Everyone has to eat at some point!” or “Just one date, if you hate it, you can leave and I won’t ask any questions” tends to loosen most people up. Now, if the other person absolutely refuses, drop it and move on. No one wants a potential stalker.
Once you’ve got the date locked in, your next step is to figure out just what you’re going to be doing, and how long of a time you should plan for. Here’s something you can NEVER go wrong with: Plan for dinner with a coffee place nearby. If dinner goes well, you can go to a coffee shop for a drink and dessert after. If it sucks, you can just say pleasant goodbyes and part ways. While proposing a fun activity such as going to an amusement park or bungee jumping (NEVER EVER TAKE A FIRST DATE BUNGEE JUMPING) can be tempting, I generally advise that you steer clear of it. That works better in a subsequent date, but in your first date you really want to get to know the other person as much as you can. Never ever take a first date to a movie because you might as well be going on your own. There is no need to be over the top fancy with dinner, just a favorite restaurant will do. This will give you a chance if the potential of a relationship develops to surprise your loved one with a fancy dinner date at another time. But for a first date, stick to casual or mid-range.
So you’ve got the girl or guy, you’ve got a time and a place. WHAT ON EARTH DO YOU WEAR?!?!?!?! Ladies, calm down. Be comfortable. Don’t go in pajamas but don’t show up in Oscar de la Renta’s latest off the runway. It’s not a slumber party and it’s not dinner at Buckingham Palace. It’s just a first date and you will look your most gorgeous when you are comfortable in your own skin. Usually, I apply a simple rule: If I’m dressed nice on top, I wear flat shoes and if I’m dressed plain or casual on top, I wear heels and I accessorize. My hair and makeup on a first date are the same as I wear them everyday, where it looks decent, but not overstepping into fake. It shows that you care enough to make the effort to look nice, but you’re not showing up in your wedding dress getting ready to get hitched the same night. If your first date is in a pedestrian-friendly area, it’s always nice to go for a walk after dinner or coffee, so make sure your shoes are comfortable. There is nothing worse than falling on your face on a first date.
Be yourself. Be yourself. BE YOURSELF. But…. Be appropriate. There’s no need to talk about what an absolute jerk your ex was. In fact,
don’t mention ex’s on a first date. It is likely to make you sound paranoid and bitter. Also, there is no need to discuss what you want the centerpieces at your wedding to look like. Don’t get carried away on your first (or second or third or twentieth date) with marriage talk, no matter how “perfect” the other person seems to be. Don’t talk a lot about your cat or dog either. No one wants to be perceived as a crazy pet person. As an example, good topics of discussion are: What you like doing in your free time, what kind of work you do or what you’re studying and places you have traveled or want to travel. While they are considered to be topics of “small talk,” they are light-hearted and sufficient enough to tell you if you’re interested in seeing this person again. Overall, let the conversation flow naturally and smoothly. And no matter what you do, do NOT tap away at your phone. That’s just rude.
Now it’s common courtesy to stay for a date until the end, even if you dislike the person. But in case your time is an absolute misery, or your date is borderline serial killer material, feel free to use any of the cliche getaway tricks, like the “emergency phone call from the hospital” (God bless the person who came up with that golden excuse). Yes, it’s not a nice thing to do, but if you’re potentially going to suffer trauma, it’s better to be tacky than emotionally disturbed for life. Now ladies, assuming you make it to the end of the date alive, do the check dance. I know it’s nice for a guy to pay for the first date at least, but you should always offer. And there’s nothing wrong with a guy who lets you pay. More and more couples are realizing the financial burden of relationships and marriages and are going 50-50. Now knowing Arab men and their pride, I don’t recommend you commence a World War to ensure you pay. If he insists, let him pick up the check. It’s always a very nice gesture.
Once a date is over, if you’ve found that you liked the other person, a simple “Hope we can do this again soon,” is sufficient. Don’t be dramatic about it and go on and on about how great of a time you had. Don’t set a date and time for your next meet up just yet, go home and let it linger for a while. It’s easy to get carried away on an emotional high after a good first date, and expect too much too soon, so taking it slow will help you manage your expectations. As a general rule, if the date runs longer than two hours, then it’s safe to say the other party had a great time (unless they were really really bored and were just killing time). If the other person texts or calls you the same evening or the next day, it’s a good sign. If they ask to see you again in the next few days, then it’s an absolute yes that they had a great time with you and are officially interested in getting to know you better (again, assuming they’re not just bored).
As always, these are not rules, and every person out there has different ways of going about these things. So just make sure to trust your instinct and have a good time. And remember, the good thing about a bad first date is that it only happens once.
Kisses and hugs,