Advice for First Dates

By Daniel Mermelstein

Alright, you got through the awkwardness of picking someone up.  You’ve set a date, a time, and a location.  Now what? I asked experienced daters around me what goes through their minds when getting ready for a first date.  Apparently, it’s the hair.

Commonly portrayed in high school comedies, romantic comedies, and comedies in general, many of us know that women can spend extraordinary amounts of time fixing their hair.  And many of us know how late for a date it can sometimes make them.

However, when I questioned my female interviewees I found that the guy’ hair is also an important factor.  For women, hair is a major indicator of how a man will treat himself, and possibly them.  It gives women insight into our personality.  One interviewee was careful to point out: “Too much gel isn’t cool.  You don’t want someone who puts more work into their hair than you do.”  So dudes, if it’s been a couple days and you’re wondering whether you should shower and comb, the shower is a good start.  The combing I’ll leave to your discretion.

As for men, well, it’s shape; body as well as face.  Physique is what makes us take notice, but conversation is what holds us in place.  My male references were also quick to point out that posture is very noticeable.   How a woman holds herself is a personality tip to those around her, and to those looking to get closer.

Both sexes expressed the concern of conversation.  It seems to be everyone’s fear that they will run out of subjects to talk about and enter a period of awkward silence.  That is unlikely to happen if you’re on a date with someone you know, but if it’s someone totally new it is a possibility.  I say don’t fear the silence; if it’s awkward, then maybe that’s a sign of incompatibility; if the silence is appropriate, then maybe they know something of talking, or not, when the moment is right.

A specific tip from the guys to other men was to yes, get ready for it, actually talk to your date.  It’s true, we have very pretty faces, but most of the time both of you need more than good looks to keep it going past the first sixty seconds.  Humor is a great invention; use it well.  Jock humor might have worked in high school, but when you’re 25 and making fun at someone else’s expense you tend to look like a shallow fool.

Teasing, on the other hand, is great for building sexual tension.  There is a distinction.

An example which can be put to use by either sex is based on a concern that was voiced by whoever was on the receiving end of the first date:  Am I dressing appropriately?  To whichever person is doing the asking out, not telling your date exactly where you’re going can lead to an exciting surprise, but you are allowed to give them a hint as to what to wear.  That way they will feel more comfortable with putting themselves in your guiding hands.

As for behavior; to the men: be respectful.  Pay attention to the details, because many women do, and will appreciate that you notice their effort; however, I’m not saying compliment them on every item of their clothing.  I mean if your date has put some extra effort into preparing for the event, let them know you’ve noticed; you don’t necessarily have to make a compliment: “So tell me, how long did that hairdo take?”.

Behavioral tips for women:  many of you like to talk.  A lot.  This is acceptable, as long as you are also interested in getting to know your date.  You can do this by following your anecdote with a sincere “Has anything like that ever happened to you?” or “Now tell me about your family.  Are your family reunions as crazy as mine?”.  Believe it or not, there are men in the world who are have lives as well, and would like a minute or two to tell you about them and thus make you a part of it.

In ending, think of this: everyone wants to share.  They may think that others don’t want to listen, and so they hold back.  You want to make your date feel comfortable enough that they will want to be themselves around and in front of you, and not be wondering what is or isn’t acceptable to you.  So be a man, be confident, secure, and pay attention to what she does.  Be a woman; let him have his say and include him in your conversation, and let him think he’s in control.