First Date Etiquette

Yet another use for Twitter!

MissElle @galadarling Sushi land of horrors. Pre-mature balding and open palm on unwelcoming knees. Escaping through BFF phonecall, no turning back.

sugaducks @galadarling the guy tried to hold my hand. with ZERO chemistry. IN public. What happened to personal space?

daynadesastre @galadarling It was so awkward it only lasted 1 date. Afterwards I found out he tried to rape my friend’s boyfriend. 140 isn’t enough …

juliettemaxwell @galadarling Worst first date, involves a movie a bad car ride and the fact that he made me touch his beard eugh!

paulgerhardt @galadarling I got hit by a car 15 minutes before the date started; then watched “Freaky Friday” (2003); that sums up the whole relationship

birdiepie @galadarling – haha got hit in the head with a kendo staff by a goofy boy, trying to impress. went home alone shortly after, v. unimpressed

expat_erin @galadarling model gorgeous Macedonian guy (19 to my 24) who would not reciprocate oral. I shamed him into doing it and then I went home.

AnnieSpandex @galadarling The only two blind dates I’ve been on have been horrible miscalculations on my friend’s part. Zero chemistry = bad first date.

msjeanneb @galadarling Went to a movie, wound up holding hands and cringing away from the screen and each other. It was all kinda lame ultimately.

ferrouswheel @galadarling: worse date, girl went home with another guy while I was stuck DJing.

evilolive @galadarling We saw the movie Psycho, and then his car broke down in the rain. Police officers drove me home. We didn’t have a second date.

flutterby3 @galadarling Old friend took me to dinner, we got along great, then in the driveway he slurped my face & tried 2 handcuff me 2 the door. 0_o

rachelhills @galadarling My worst date would have to be the one where I literally ran away from the guy at the end of it.

mary_bee @galadarling the guy was missing his two front teeth, but kept it secret until he lunged at me for a kiss. he was really good at hiding it

mary_bee @galadarling – there’s nothing like the prospect of a date who can french kiss without opening his mouth. EEEWWW!!!!

skipp @galadarling this fellow Sandy seemed nice but immature. we lay down to watch TV and he immediately started trying to dry hump me. AWKWARD.

Oh, baby. These are not pretty stories. In fact, some of them are downright horrifying. It’s evident that some people just don’t know how to make a good impression! Avoid being a cautionary tale (or terrifying anecdote) by considering the following guidelines!

Remember, none of these are hard & fast rules — obviously the hope is that you & your date connect so well that none of these things even enter your mind — but they’re good parameters!

By Gay Head?!

Be on time
I wrote about this in my article on How To Ace A Job Interview, but that’s because being punctual is really important! Arriving on time & being somewhere at the time you said you’d be shows that you respect whoever you’re meeting. I’m pretty tolerant these days but people running late still makes me feel pretty miffed!

It’s all about first impressions, & if you don’t show up on time, whoever’s waiting for you is probably going to feel pretty pissed off, as well as second-rate. A couple of minutes here or there is not such a big deal, but if you’re running 15 or 30 minutes behind time, make sure you text or call to let your date know! Like I’ve said before, people’s time is valuable to them — it’s one of the few things you can’t really buy — so be courteous & keep them in the loop!

Make an effort!
Let me put this plainly: looking like you just rolled out of bed is totally unacceptable… unless of course you’re doing that tousled sex kitten thing, which, done properly, takes hours to perfect! For most people, this is not something that needs to be said, but for some… well, they might need the odd reminder. So here it is.

I mean, you’re on a date! It’s one of the most potential-laden situations of all time! Anything could happen from here. You could fall madly in love, get pregnant, decide to elope, meet your new best friend or even the best friend of your future lover! This is just one of those events that demands a little extra prep.

Even if it’s not the ideal scenario for primping & preening — say you’re going for dinner straight after work — you can still take a couple of seconds to brush your teeth, change your shoes, apply some more mascara or spritz some fragrance. After all, you never know what might happen… !

Avoid arguments
Most people go out on dates to have a good time & maybe find someone to snuggle — not to prove that they were once on the debating team! Basically, arguing with someone you’ve just met is not always the most charming thing. Yes, of course, some people have ridiculous opinions on everything under the sun, but if you can just shake that off & not take the bait, your evening will be much more pleasant & conflict-free. Staying away from subjects like politics & religion are usually a good tactic; at least on the first date.

Having said that, it all depends on what you’re there for. If you’re just looking for someone to sleep with, then knowing their political stance on tuna fishing is probably not that important. But if you’re a strict Catholic & you’re on the market for a relationship, you’re probably not going to be too amped if your date digs human sacrifice. Do it your own way, but proceed with caution!

Be charming & positive
Even if you just had the world’s worst week, think back to your last Things I Love Thursday list (wink wink!) &, well, in the words of Monty Python, look on the bright side of life! There’s nothing worse than being held hostage by someone who only wants to whinge & moan — while conversely, there’s nothing more fabulous than spending time with someone who is in love with life! That kind of energy is infectious… in a good way!

So turn it on & be happy. Remember that you’re trying to make the best possible impression — which probably means that angsting about your job is out!

Don’t talk about your ex
I would take it a step further from this & say that talking about relationships at all on the first date is pretty much a no-go. No one is deluded enough to think you don’t have a history, but it doesn’t need to be raised immediately. After all, if the first thing you talk about is your ex, whoever you’re with is going to conclude that your last relationship is still pretty close to the surface — & no one wants to be a rebound!

I think the truth is that no one ever really wants to hear about who came before them. It’s just a bit uncomfortable. It’s all too easy to start that ugly cycle of comparing yourself with them, & that never ends well. So do your date a favour, & keep your mouth shut on the subject.

Ask about the other person
A perennial truth: Everyone’s favourite thing to talk about is themselves! While this fact might initially make you feel slightly down in the mouth, recognise it for the blessing it is. It means that you never have to worry about being boring or fossicking around to come up with conversation — just ask about them! That’s it! That’s all you have to do! Ask them questions & take an interest. They will come away from the conversation thinking you are the most scintillating date ever. (Good trick, huh?!)

Hopefully they will ask about you too, but if they don’t, you’ll know they’re probably not worth seeing again!

Keep it clean
…Unless you’re absolutely certain they’re receptive to an in-depth discussion of your nun fetish or your penchant for telling filthy jokes! Most people don’t swear like pirates, & you might offend them if you do.

Although honestly, the more I think about it, the more controversial this point seems. I mean, if you love to curse your head off, or if you’re nothing without your collection of Japanese pornography (& if your partner not being able to cope with that is a deal-breaker), maybe it would be good for you to lay your cards on the table at the very start. Again, it all depends on what you’re looking for, & maybe how kinky whatever you’re considering sharing is!

Don’t criticise
I’ll keep this one simple: you’re not their mother, & they’re probably not interested in your opinion. Sweet! Let’s move on!

Respect their personal space!
This one is really important, & mostly it comes down to understanding social cues. If you’re not very good at guessing how people are feeling, now’s the time to learn! Go to the library & get out some books on body language as a starting point. Really though, what this means is that if you can accurately interpret other people’s behaviour, you hopefully won’t end up in one of those scary situations above — like totally-inappropriate-dry-humping or no-chemistry-hand-holding-in-public!

Drop the phone, buster
Okay, I know this is kind of controversial because a lot of us are in pretty unhealthy, codependent relationships with our phones. I don’t care about mine so much in New Zealand, but in America, where I could text for free, check my email & look at my site, I was chronic. It would have been embarrassing if I was more self-conscious. Anyway, my point is, the person you’re sitting with — who I’m assuming you have only recently met — is not going to feel too fabulous if you seem more intrigued by whoever is on the other side of your screen. Once you know each other a little bit, you can relax, send text messages & take phone calls, but honestly, if you’re on your phone all the way through the date, recognise that it’s probably not going to win you any popularity contests.

Really, it’s all about being in the moment. Sharing that with someone is one of the best gifts you can give them. But of course, the key lies in being in the moment with the person on the other side of the table, not your friend in Minnesota!


Now, the perennial question. Should you sleep with them on the first date?

I tend to think that it kind of takes the fun out of things. This has nothing to do with that old saying of “why buy the cow when you can get the milk for free” — which I think is sad — but really it’s more about the suspense & anticipation of finally sleeping with someone when you’ve been wanting to for ages! (Ages like… the second date. I kid, I kid!) It’s so much more fun that way, plus you get the thrill of the chase. Psychological titillation! There’s nothing like it for a good time!

What do you think?

Aw!Photo by Boston Bill (& a cute story, click the link!).

Best of luck in your dating endeavours! I hope you end up like the couple above — dancing, smiling & wearing silly hats!