Going on a first date with a new person is stressful enough. Take a look at this list of the 8 things you…
So. You’ve arrived at the promised land: The hot date. You’ve been scoping someone out for a few weeks, and you like what you see. Maybe you’ve been flirting in the elevator at work. Maybe you’ve been Facebook messaging each other like there’s no tomorrow. Maybe you got her number when you helped her recover all those groceries she dropped in the parking lot.
No matter how you slice it, she likes what she’s seen so far, and she’s willing to give you a chance to be the only guy she kisses for the foreseeable future.
Before the first date, there’s a lot going through your head, naturally. You want to make sure you’ve assessed every possible fun date idea and carefully selected the right one. You’re wondering if you picked the right movie to see. You’re wondering if she’ll want you to pay for the whole dinner. You’re wondering how she’ll feel about taking things back to your place when the whole thing’s over — or whether you’ll even get a goodnight kiss.
It’s a lot to keep track of, which is why you might overlook these eight things when, in reality, you should be double-checking them to make sure all’s well before the date ends in shambles.
8. Check In With Her
Have you ever seen Hitch? Probably not, but we’ll cut to the chase. Will Smith has a date ruined when he develops a disgusting allergic reaction to seafood. While she’s unlikely to be comically in the dark about her food allergies, close to nothing will ruin your date worse than a situation like that. So don’t corner yourself by coming up with a “surprise” date idea and springing a total non-starter on her at the last minute.
If she’s allergic to seafood, the hip new sushi place isn’t going to fly. If she’s got gluten allergies, pizza was maybe not the best choice. And vegetarians tend not to enjoy steakhouses. You don’t need to grill her about her dietary needs, but it won’t kill you to subtly (subtly!) drop hints about stuff that could massively backfire, just to make sure she’s on board. You can avoid her hastily backing out of your house at the end of the night if you let her know you have a cat before her rapidly constricting airways bring her up to speed — and the two of you can retire to her apartment, instead.
7. Check That It’s Cool
Quick question: How did you meet? If it was through a mutual friend, one of your siblings, an ex, at work, or any potentially sticky situation, it’s might be a good idea to be above-board to the person in question so they don’t find out about your hot date after the fact and feel blindsided. If you’ve had your eye on your buddy’s younger sister for the past few years and it’s only now falling into place for the two of you, don’t head out on the sly and let him find out when she Instagrams a hilarious picture of you guys on a date at the cooking workshop. At the very least, do your due diligence so your date (and potential subsequent relationship) doesn’t produce any collateral emotional damage from the get-go.
6. Check That You’ve Got A Condom (Or Two)
While bringing a condom along on a first date might strike some as arrogant, in reality, it’s just called being prepared. Since you’re a mere mortal, you don’t know where things are going to end up by the evening’s end and, in all likelihood, if she’s willing, you’re going to be willing, too. So don’t put your possibly drunker, definitely hornier future self in a position to make a potentially life-altering decision in the heat of the moment by being too modest to bring a condom.
Doing this will also save her the embarrassment of admitting she has some herself — since men are expected to be the more ravenous ones, many women feel self-conscious admitting they’ve got a condom at the ready. Skip through any of that potential first-date awkwardness. Just don’t mention it until it’s necessary or you’ll come off as an unsubtle horndog. (And if you’re already bringing one — bring two.)
5. Check Your Wallet
Of course, condoms aren’t the only thing you should have in your wallet. Before you leave on your date, make sure you have enough cash to cover all the activities planned, and then some, in case you make extra plans while out. While it’s not necessarily on the guy to pay for a date anymore, most people would agree that guys are still expected to pay for first dates, especially if you were the one who did the asking. Either way, showing up with little or no cash could turn an evening that’s going great into a series of tragicomic misadventures.
You don’t want to be telling your buddies about how the maitre-d had to hold your date hostage while you sprinted to the nearest ATM, Usain Bolt-style. Lots of things can happen when it comes to those cards we take for granted — some places don’t take plastic; sometimes places have tech snafus and lose service, and sometimes your card will get cancelled without you knowing about it because a scammer in Arkansas used it to buy flat-screen TVs. Even if you choose to roll with credit or debit in the end — or the two of you end up splitting the bill — you buy yourself a lot of peace of mind leaving the house with a full wallet.
4. Check Your Phone
Your wallet isn’t the only thing in your pocket you should be conscious of, though. Your phone, your one true love, your digital brain-extender gadget, is also an important part of your date. Or rather, its absence is. Before you leave on a date, put that phone in Airplane mode. If you’re going to a movie (or a play, classy guy) you’d do it anyway. If you’re afraid you’ll miss something crucial, call or text your parents or your buddies beforehand and let them know about your radio silence.
Having an unintrusive phone allows you the best of both worlds — while it won’t be buzzing and ringing and butting its way into your flirtatious conversation (or other steamy stuff), it’ll still be ready at your beck and call should you need to Google other nearby sushi restaurants that are open on Tuesdays or call a cab when you’re too drunk to walk her home. (And after you’re done reading this, find a cab company you trust and put their number in your phone or download a cab-hailing app). In conclusion, putting your phone on Airplane mode is important because it saves your date from things you can’t control: your friends and acquaintances, and your own worst, Twitter-checking impulses. The date is about the two of you — and it should stay that way.
3. Check Your Laptop
After your phone, there’s another gadget you should remember to check in on before you go out. Your computer could be just as important to the night. Suppose the date’s gone well. You’ve paid for everything in style and your phone stayed tight-lipped while the two of you chatted away. She’s agreed to come back to your place. You’re doing great — but your computer could be a huge potential pitfall. More than just a tool for you to use Microsoft Office and Netflix, your computer is a major source of information about you. Which could boost your profile in her eyes — or it could spell the hasty end of your date.
Before you head out the door, clean your computer up like it’s your digital bedroom. Desktop background of an underwear model? Swap out for something less objectifying that won’t turn her off when she grabs your MacBook to show you something on YouTube. Minimized browser window with porn open? Admitting you have a sexy nurse fetish should be fine after you’ve dated for a few months, but it’s a major no-no at this stage of the game. Clean up the clutter on your desktop (including all the Word files of the crummy poetry you’ve written) and go through your browser history with a fine-toothed comb. We’re not saying that you should delete everything (that’ll just make you look more guilty), but if there’s anything you wouldn’t want her to get a peek at, now’s the time to do away with it.
2. Check Your Bathroom
Your computer’s not the only thing you should remember to scrub clean before you head out. It may be the smallest and least exciting room in your place, but for God’s sake, clean your bathroom before you leave. Even if it’s your roommate’s turn to do it this week and he’s too busy with his midterms. Even if you don’t think there’s a chance in hell she’ll agree to come back to your place. If she does, and she visits your bathroom at any point (she’s only human, after all) and it’s a horrifying mess of human body grossness, things could be over in no time. Bust out the baking soda and clean your sink thoroughly.
Buy some toilet cleaner and give your porcelain throne the makeover it so sorely needs. And once you’ve gotten the essentials out of the way, don’t forget to clean your mirror ’til it sparkles. Then make sure there’s nothing too gross in the bathroom garbage can and there aren’t any moldy towels lying on the floor. If she uses your bathroom at any point, she should come out feeling mortified at having peed in the cleanest toilet ever, not horrified by the mess you slowly let build up.
1. Check Yourself
That clean mirror will come in handy when you double-check the most important aspect of all: your self. Of course, you probably didn’t have to remember to wear clean, stylish, occasion-appropriate clothes, shower, shave (or trim, depending on the look you’re going for), brush your teeth, trim your nails, clean your glasses or pop a mint or a stick of gum to keep your mouth kissably fresh. You’re obviously going to try to look your best. But it might be worth looking at yourself in another way: your mental mirror. What’s your mindset like going into the date? If you head out to meet her looking like Prince Charming but with your head in the clouds, the whole thing could be over faster than you can say, “I want to take you on a magic carpet ride.”
You should keep your expectations upbeat, but manageable. Don’t expect that she’ll definitely want to stay the night, but don’t be surprised if she’s willing to get hot and heavy. Don’t expect that a second date’s guaranteed, but also don’t spend the whole evening trying too hard to impress her. If you find it’s going well in an organic way and you sense she feels the same, ask her out at the end of the night. When she talks, listen; steer clear of intense, mood-ruining topics like politics and religion, and don’t pepper the evening’s parlay with constant references to your boss, your ex, your parents, or your close female friends. The date is about the two of you. You should be sober, relaxed, and a generous listener — and don’t forget to smile now and again.
This article originally appeared on Ask Men. For more like this from Ask Men, try:
Photo credit: Nathan Congleton /flickr