First dates are beautiful, magical occasions where two souls meet for the very first time and the most glorious journey through life begins. In films.
In reality, first dates are a more likely to be a nightmare of nerves, awkward silences and too much Prosecco. The politics of first dates alone can make you want to go celibate.
Here are five key things to bear in mind when you’re on a first date:
Even the most gregarious, confident person can turn into a nonsense-spouting fool on a date. Stick to open-ended conversations such as favourite artists/books/films; a quick-fire question round isn’t enjoyable for anybody.
Always be honest and only extrapolate on subjects you actually know about. Admitting you are ignorant about a subject is less embarrassing than getting caught out whilst trying to portray yourself as an all-knowing god of information. If Aladdin is your favourite film, say so.
Footing the Bill
One of the most awkward moments of a first date is almost always the point at which the bill arrives. In heterosexual relationships, a man was traditionally not a man unless he footed the entirety of the bill. However, as the structure of gender is less easily defined than ever – who pays for the bill?
Is the man not a gentleman is he agrees to split?
Is the woman aggressive to a fault if she forces her way onto the bill?
Both completely rubbish, of course. For years, the ‘slip and pay’ technique has been utilised to circumnavigate this problem. If you want to pay without the awkwardness, simply excuse yourself and pay at the register. Then return to your date and humbly admit what you have done and what a lovely person you are. Additionally, this can help break the ice about securing a second date because they ‘owe you’.
Whilst many people *claim* to stick to the old ‘Three Date Rule’ because they believe it is the implied norm, it can take the magic of spontaneity out of what should be a really fun night. When recounting first time at the behest of nosey friends in the future, you don’t want to reply with “we pencilled it into the calendar and met the deadline accordingly”.
An anonymous poll carried out by Match.com determined that out of 5,237 singles, 12.74% of those polled revealed they get intimate on the first date.
The reality? You should have sex when you’re comfortable to do so; whether this is on the first date or the eleventh. If you are going to have sex on the first date, just make sure you’re safe and in control of the situation. Always make sure you’re stocked with protection, whether you are going to their place or yours (try the Freedoms shop – they are one of the cheapest ways to get condoms and are run by the NHS ).
Make the walk of shame a stride of pride.
So the date isn’t quite going the way you thought it was and your date isn’t as interesting as they seemed at work/gym/school or on their incredibly flattering dating profile. It is naturally kinder for you to end the date before it extends inappropriately long, but can be difficult. If tough talking doesn’t come naturally to you, then you may struggle to segue your way out of this awkward situation.
The feigned phone call from a friend/employee/ill family member is far too well-known and well-trodden to fool anybody now (there’s even an app for it!) – so unlike secretly paying the bill, trickery is out. Unless you’re particularly worried about your date and their intentions, finish your drink/meal/film and politely excuse yourself, simply making it seem as though the date has reached its natural conclusion.
It can be incredibly tempting to calm your nerves with a little Dutch courage, but know your limitations. Drinking too much on a first date, even if you handle it well, is not a good idea. Demonstrate you have a healthy respect for alcohol and want to get to know your date sober.
Never feel pressured into drinking as much as your date. Going at your own pace will help you retain control of your actions and demonstrate your strength in personality – an attractive trait in itself.