First dates are hard. Robin Juliet has ten ways to make them easier for both of you.
- Quoting Christian Bale’s character in American Hustle, I encourage men to start from the feet up. In the movie, the quote means paying attention to the details of a con, here I literally mean paying attention to the feet. While it’s a stereotype to say that women love shoes, it’s also true that attending to the basics in footwear is a good idea for a first date. Yes, that means you should not wear sneakers unless you plan on hitting a few balls on the tennis court. I also encourage you to pay attention to what she might wear. If you plan a night out where she will probably choose to wear a dress, chances are she will also wear high heels. Choose a venue where she can valet park her car (you may also want to offer to pay the charge). Think about how many blocks you will be walking from one destination to the next, and don’t get all creepy and offer to rub her feet afterward.
- Check in a few days before the date. It seems as though men love to text—and for the most part—women don’t. Here is one opportunity where a text may be preferable to actually calling a woman. A simple, Looking forward to meeting you on Friday 6:00pm at ___________, is a pleasant reminder that you are still on board. Flakes abound, so NOT getting a check-in text a couple of days before a first date can leave the person you invited feeling anxious. If she responds, you do not need to keep on texting. It’s a check-in: leaving a little mystery keeps you desirable.
- Going on a date that does not revolve around alcohol is a nice change of pace for a single woman these days. All too often, a first date means meeting for a cocktail. Why not come up with something a little different? Tossing a Frisbee at a dog park, getting a scoop at the ice cream parlor, or perusing an outdoor farmer’s market can be a fun, stress-free way to spend an hour or two together.
- When a woman meets a new man, one of the things that’s on her mind that may not be on yours is safety. Do not offer to pick her up at her place. Do not choose a venue where she will have difficulty finding a parking space. Do not suggest you go on a hike out in the wilderness. Do not order her drink before she gets there—even her coffee.
- Another “Don’t” is planning on taking a new woman friend to your favorite haunt. While you may feel more comfortable being chummy with the owner, the plan will backfire because you are on your turf and she probably feels uncomfortable. Along the same vein, you may want to have at least visited the venue of your first date before offering to take her there. Know the environment that you are taking her into—just don’t have it be as intimate as your living room.
- The women I talk to about first dates that go well love it when a man takes charge and actually plans their time out together. Make a plan—and imagine what you can do in one hour—no more than two hours. During this hour, there should be plenty of talking, it needs to be in public (see #4), and do your best to get comfortable enough to have fun.
- Keep the innuendo to a minimum. Flirting is about seduction—not about sex. Being playful and light while you interact before meeting is much, much different than flashing selfies in your underwear (or asking her to show you hers).
- Establish your own, personal comfort zone with money. Because you really cannot gracefully encourage going Dutch in advance (and no one likes having that sprung on them), plan as if you’re going to treat. This goes back to choosing a terrific venue that may be more interactive than expensive. Knowing she’s sporty and taking her to the batting cages does not look cheap—it looks ingenious. Going to a park is free. So are art walks on First Fridays in many cities.
- Leave your excess baggage at home. Take care of business calls ahead of time so you can put your phone away. Take some deep breaths so anything bothering you from your work life doesn’t seep into your conversation. Any ex-girlfriend or ex-wife stories need to be zip locked shut and disposed of in their proper receptacle.
- Overall, prepare for the date as if you care. Pay attention to your personal grooming. Be on time. Save her a seat. Look around and see where you can offer to hang her coat. Text her what you’re wearing or where you are sitting so she can find you easily. Think about small ways you can prove you’re a gentleman through your actions and words.