A Guide to Terrible First Dates

Looking to have an enjoyable first date? Then go out of your way to NOT do anything that Oliver Lee Bateman recommends in this article. 


Even in this fast-paced, globalized 21st century of ours, quite a few people in long-term relationships have managed to reach that stage by going on actual “dates” with their significant others. Instead of merely hanging out or chillaxing with their partners until both parties became too out of shape and infirm to seek greener pastures, many of your friends have taken the old-fashioned route to emotional satisfaction: scheduling activities with someone they find interesting and then waking up before the crack of 5 p.m. to carry them out.

If that sounds daunting to you … well, that’s because it is. Once you’ve located a cool person through texting or online dating or Facebooking — a topic I discussed in greater detail in an earlier column — you might be required to do something with her in order to win her affections. This will often entail going on a first date, which is the onerous prerequisite to second, third and any other subsequent dates.


Fortunately for you, I’ve gone on dozens of first dates. While the tips and tricks I learned during these encounters aren’t transferable to later dates — not that it would matter in my case, since I’ve been on but a handful of second and third dates — they’re guaranteed to ensure that you and your special someone wind up having the gr8est — nay, the gr9est — evening imaginable.

So where to commence this awesome outing? At a fancy restaurant, of course, but also one that’s safely within your price range. Remember: Money doesn’t grow on those pizza boxes you meant to throw out two months ago — mold does.

If you’re looking for a luxury dine-in experience on the cheap, consider a top-flight burger joint like Burger King (so named because it’s the “king” of burgers, natch). Budget about $15 for the hamburgers, fries and sodas you’ll be consuming — nothing impresses a date quite like a healthy appetite — while reminding her as frequently as possible that you plan to “go dutch” tonight. Here’s a classy example of how to break that news to her via text:

u: hey look I hope u know I’m not payin for u tonite

urdate: yeah ok

u: so make sure you bring your own money cause like I said I’m not payin for ur crap

urdate: got it

u: that means u should have cash in ur wallet cause the $15 I’m bringin is 4 my own food. I’m hardgainin wut wut!

urdate: all right dawg, chill the f out. I’ll bring $$$

When you arrive together at the restaurant, you’ll face another hurdle: small talk. Until now, you’ve probably been able to slide by with cute emoticons and monosyllabic texts. But how on earth are you going to fill those five or so minutes when you’re not stuffing your face with vinegar-soaked french fries and greasy bits of hamburger? Take a page from my book:

You: Hey, tell me an anecdote about your childhood. Anything will do, really.

Your date: Well, when I was seven, my parents took me to Busch Gardens, and I nearly drowned …

Here’s your chance. While your date drones on with this shaggy-dog story, you can resume your favorite activities: setting your Yahoo! Sports fantasy football lineup, checking Facebook on your celly, texting the person you’re dating a few hours from now, daydreaming about what it’d be like to have so much money that you’d never have to get out of bed again and the like. When your current date forces you to comment on her tall tale — and invariably she will — just do the following:

Your date: So what do you think about that?

You (after a pregnant pause): Huh, that sure was something you just said. Of the different parts, my favorite was the end.


After you’ve finished your meal, you might feel tempted to take your date to a movie or a club. I must urge you to resist these impulses and do the right thing: Invite her back to your efficiency apartment to chillax with your four roommates. If this person can’t hang with the besties you met six months ago, what good is she to you?

Once you two crowd into that filthy rat hole you call home, you should begin ignoring your date and focusing on those besties. You haven’t seen them for a few hours, and they deserve your total attention. Sit as far away from your date as you can, and make little to no eye contact. Start saying whatever it takes to alienate her. If she happens to be a sweet, gentle soul, here’s the kind of coarse dialogue that’s sure to put her in high dudgeon:

You: Hey dude, remember that time I puked all over the place, and there was all that puke, and we didn’t clean it up for a few months, and I kept stepping in the puke, and you thought it was awesome?

Your bestie: Yeah, it was so frigging awesome! Remember how our commode didn’t flush for four straight months, and we started wearing diapers but were too lazy to take them downstairs and just heaped them in the corner and eventually the place got swarmed by houseflies that laid eggs and then there were maggots everywhere and you were like, “Dude, what the f? Why are we wearing diapers?”

You: Ha ha ha, we are so gr9!

Since it’s a studio apartment, there won’t be any need to show your date the door. She should be able to find it unassisted, after which you can begin preparing for your second first date.

What’s that? Yes, as I hinted earlier, you should have scheduled a second first date for approximately two hours after this first one. If my experiences are any indication, you’ll have at least an hour to freshen up between dates. You know the drill: Febreze your sweatpants, pick some of the caked-up makeup off your face and squeeze a few drops of Visine into your eyes to kill off any remnants of early afternoon 420-friendliness.

Good luck, brahskis and broskerinos. It’s a jungle out there and so forth.





About Oliver Lee Bateman

Good Men Project contributing editor Oliver Lee Bateman is a columnist for Al-Jazeera America and Made Man Magazine. His writing has been featured in Salon, The Atlantic, Johnny America, Stymie: A Journal of Sport and Literature, the U.S. Intellectual History Blog, STIR Journal, Mic.com, and NAP Magazine. He is also one of the founders of the Moustache Club of America and Penny & Farthing, two blogzines specializing in flash fiction and creative nonfiction that he co-curates with web developer Erik Hinton, medical consultant Nathan Zimmerman, and freelance writers Christie Chapman and J. R. Powell. Oliver is a lawyer as well as an assistant professor at the University of Texas at Arlington. Follow him on Twitter @MoustacheClubUS or on Google+.

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