All of the rules are irrelevant: either you are getting along or you are not getting along.
Note: once again, I’m inspired to write a (male heteronormative) response to a list from IDatedThatDouche.com called 10 Points of Advice to Men When on a First Date With a Girl.
- Dress Like You Give a Shit – This may sound obvious, but you would be surprised how many dates I’ve gone on with women who threw on the most casual outfit imaginable, were all sweaty from biking, and acted like they could care less. I mean, fair enough…maybe they weren’t into it. But why show up in the first place then? I’m not saying you need to wear an evening gown, but if you know you are going to a nice restaurant, dress for the occasion.
- Don’t Have Sex – Ok, here is the reality: some (but definitely not all) men are looking to get laid as soon as possible. If we sleep together after the first or second date then we may get the message that this was a one-night stand, and split. The caveat here is if the guy really likes you, sleeping with him on the first night probably won’t make a difference; he will still want a relationship (also if you have been friends for a long time, then this isn’t really a ‘first date’). To hedge your bets, it’s probably best to be flirtatious and make it clear that you are interested in a romantic relationship, but to hold off on sex until the both of you are interested in something stronger. You will lose some douchebags on the way and will avoid a lot of mistakes.
- Turn Off Your Phone - Honestly. Show some respect and stop texting/Facebooking long enough to have a conversation. You can ‘like’ Melanie’s Cabo vacation photos when you get home.
- Relate – I have gone on enough dates to learn that the success or failure of a first date is a witches’ brew of attraction and good conversational flow. It doesn’t matter what you talk about; it matters how you are relating. All of the rules (don’t talk about exes, don’t brag, listen more than talk, etc.) are irrelevant: either you are getting along or you are not getting along. If you are both having a riot of a time making fun of your exes, go nuts. If you both enjoying the silence, or joking and talking over each other, enjoy it. If you don’t relate, it doesn’t matter anyway; just move on.
- Relax – Relax. Have fun. The less you stress the better it will go. If you both want to go get hammered at a bar, go nuts. If you just want a glass of wine, treat yo’self. Just don’t be so stressed out or uptight that all of your walls are up and you are on the defensive. Yes, your ex was horrible, and you had this crappy one-night stand with this guy you liked and he didn’t call…I get it. Trust me, I’ve been there too. Men have just as many insecurities. Being cautious doesn’t mean shutting yourself off because of your past. Learn from your mistakes, but don’t be afraid to have fun, be honest, and be vulnerable again with somebody new.
- Money Isn’t Everything – It isn’t. Really. Stability is far more important. Surface level wealth is deceptive. If a man drives a BMW and wears an Armani suit, it may mean he is eyeball deep in debt. It may also mean he makes impulse purchases for himself before he thinks about his future or other people. Drive around a wealthy neighbourhood; you will see a lot of older men and women wearing relatively frumpy clothes with modest sedans. Read “The Automatic Millionaire“. I’ve often been in an unstable place in my life (moving to a new city, in flux with work, casually dating), and when I have been in that place, I was not interested in a relationship.
- Don’t Judge Him For Having Too Many/Too Few Sexual Partners – This goes both ways, of course. I think it is smart that both of you get tested and use protection, particularly in the early stages of a relationship. That being said, when people are single, they sometimes sleep around, and over a few years that can add up. This doesn’t mean they are incapable of having a relationship. Then again, sometimes you just don’t really meet anybody until later in life, and that’s fine too. Some of the best, coolest people I know lost their virginity late in life. They spent their early years becoming really, really awesome.
- A First Date Isn’t Everything - Oh, you ‘caught a friend vibe’ the first date, so that’s it? You are moving on? You may have missed out on something great. A lot of solid guys aren’t sexually aggressive on the first date, because of all the years of being told that we should be gentlemen. No, we are not grinding our dicks on you in a nightclub. We want to, you know, get to know you first. Ok maybe it’s just that, in North America particularly, a lot of young men don’t have the vocabulary we need to express sexual interest in the way that is 100% smooth. Either you have guys who are way too forward, or you have guys who seem almost asexual. I guess what I’m saying is, you may want to account for this general confusion…
- Be Honest From The Start – If it isn’t working, fair enough. Just keep it real. It might hurt, but it’s better than being strung along. At the same time, be honest with yourself; are you cutting yourself off because of your past? What is it you really want in a partner? Be honest about where you are in your life, but understand that if you are really depressed and really sad, it might be a tough sell. Be honest about what you like and who you are. You might be surprised! That thug might be really into classical music; That nerd might love hip-hop.
- No Tests – I hate tests. Tests are a great way to piss somebody off and accomplish nothing. Don’t test your boyfriend. Don’t try to trick them into fucking up. If you want to know something, ask. You test too much, and you might just get the result you were looking for.
Image of woman and man on a bench courtesy of Shutterstock