Friday, October 2, 2009
Today's blog topic is a continuation of a discussion from yesterday's comments. Our very own Rameer posed this question: What would make a first date memorable and should men go all out to impress a woman on the first date?
Serena and I weighed in on that, but I figured I'd explore it a little more today with some cool first date ideas, as well as first date etiquette - just in time for the weekend. Please feel free to add your own thoughts and ideas on this one.
Now, in my opinion, first dates are for gauging chemistry, compatibility, and communication. I find that if you have an extravagant first date, you may be misinterpreting your feelings for the guy/girl based on how impressed you are with the date, rather than the person. I'm not saying your first date should be like watching paint dry, but less is more. The most successful first dates are the ones in which both parties feel completely at ease. Although it's tempting to go all out on the first date, low-key plans are better. If the date goes well, you'll have plenty of time later to wow your boo with your elaborate plans. When thinking about the perfect first date, consider the following first date tips:
- The less complicated, the better. Avoid drawn-out, multi-part dates. These leave too much room for unexpected surprises. An evening that flows is much more relaxing.
- Pick a nice, simple restaurant. No one wants to be worried about the proper fork to use or how to pronounce restaurant items. And try to find a place where you both will find something on the menu you like. Unless she told you about her fondness for Indian or Ethiopian food, don't take her somewhere where she'll be eating bread all night because she doesn't like anything on the menu.
- A laid back, fun date will allow both parties to relax. Comedy clubs, sporting events, and concerts are good bets to lighten the mood.
- As cheesy as they sound, bowling, miniature golf, go-carts and video arcades can all be fun, icebreaking dates. Laughing over a crashed go-cart can quickly erase tension and lead to an air of familiarity.
This should go without saying, but when you’re planning a first date, remember to plan something you will both enjoy. A first date should be a magical time and fun for the BOTH of you. Don’t plan a first date that your date won’t feel comfortable. We'll get back to more suggestions in a bit..but first...
Here are some rules:
- Be on time. You can't show up late on a first date - just not cool. Leave early and give yourself some time in case there's traffic or public transportation issues. But if you ARE going to be late and can't get around it, then call and say so. Be courteous. In a time of text messages, it may take three keystrokes to say you'll be late, but a call is better.
- Dress properly, be presentable. Don't be a slouch on your first date. Wear socks that match and iron your shirt. We'll notice...and we'll talk about you later. You should smell nice too...but that's just me ;) Ladies, don't dress too seductively. If you're going to a basketball game, you'll look silly with a dress on that's hiked up your ass. Be a lady.
- Make eye contact. When you look away or focus on your date's body while talking, you are giving the impression that either you don't care what he or she has to say, or that you're only interested in sex.
- Speaking of sex, don't expect to get any. Assume that sex on a first date is off-limits and just relax. Sex too early in the game can actually be an obstacle later if a long term commitment is what you're looking for. Now...about that kiss...
- Follow your heart...and your hormones. Times have changed in this department, and kissing on the first date no longer has negative connotations. If you enjoyed the date, felt a real spark, and would love to have a second date - go ahead and give him a smack :)...on the lips.
- Stay with your date. I know that sounds obvious, but you'd be surprised the stories I've heard. If you take your date somewhere, don't abandon him or her. Your date should feel important to you.
- Compliment your date. You and your date are both making an effort, so you should compliment what you like and keep what you don't like to yourself.
- Never cancel a first date at the last minute. If you can't give your date advanced notice, don't cancel, don't stand them up and don't call him or her unless it's an emergency.
- Avoid rudeness and crass behavior. Be courteous to waiters or waitresses serving you. You can't treat your date like a million bucks and everyone else like the bottom of your shoe. They'll think you're an asshole - and you probably are.
- Listen to your date. The conversation is probably the most important part of the date. Through talking to your date, you'll quickly find out if you have anything in common and if you are at all compatible. But, a date is a mutual experience of talking and listening. Don't take up all the time you have together running off at the mouth telling your date your whole life story. However...
- You should be interesting. While it's important to be yourself, it's more important to be your best self. You are just getting to know each other and certain things are better left unsaid - for now. Some first date tip conversation pointers to keep in mind...
- Avoid potentially polarizing debates. The first date is not the appropriate time to discuss views on the death penalty, abortion, same-sex marriage, or any other hot topics.
- Leave the past behind. Resist the urge to entertain your date with stories of your abusive childhood, painful divorce, or complicated relationships. Although these subjects are part of who you are and may very well need to be discussed, this is not the right time.
- Be upbeat. We are naturally more attractive when we're being positive. Now is not the time to launch into a tirade about your simple baby mama, terrible year, or stupid job/boss. Find something pleasant to discuss.
- Avoid one-upping your date. A competitive spirit can be charming, but if you seek to beat your date at everything from sports to funny stories; you're not charming, you're just a jerk.
- Don't compare your date to others. Don't compare your date to other people - especially any former boyfriends or girlfriends. And PLEASE don't discuss past sexual experiences.
- Be honest. Don't promise to call your date again if you have no plans on doing it. Don't make up stories to impress him or her. Don't say let's do it again if you're having a terrible time. Just be yourself and have fun...no need to tell stories.
Now, since this list is getting longer than I wanted it to, let's get to some first date ideas.
If this is the first time you and your date will be alone together, plan a daytime date. Daytime hours alleviate the pressure of intimacy during an evening hours date. Lunch and coffee dates are informal and relaxing opportunities to get to know each other. Some ideas include:
zoo or aquarium
A double date alleviates the pressure of conversational topics. By adding more people to the mix, you can keep conversations on safe topics and keep it flowing.
Double dates are great for dates to places like an amusement park, dinner in a restaurant, playing pool, or bowling. Relaxing activities where you can play games, laugh and enjoy each other promotes an opportunity for future dates. A comedy club, for example, is a lot more fun on a double date because you can laugh and share the experience...no pressure to be witty all by yourself :-)
Depending on where you live and the types of seasons you and your date enjoy, seasonal opportunities make for unique dates. Autumn in New England, for example, can mean drives through fall foliage. You can talk about the sights you see and your favorite fall memories. You can stop along the way for a bite to eat at local spots, drink hot cider, go apple picking and just soak up the atmosphere.
In the winter time, you might want to take your date skiing, snowboarding or simply build a snow man. The beauty of a first date is that it should be about the opportunity to enjoy each other. Winter sports can be fun and engaging, earning you some cool points if you can actually ski. Sitting down in front of a nice fire with hot chocolate and marshmallows is also a great way to spend time talking and getting to know each other.
Attend local area events like balloon festivals, 4th of July celebrations, fall festivals and more. The outdoor atmosphere is relaxed and you can explore and enjoy together.
- Do something you’ve never done before. If you’re typically indoors, try an outdoor activity and if you love the outdoors, consider an indoor one.
- Go roller skating. Most people know how to roller skate, and even if you don't and you fall down - just feel silly and laugh it off.
- Go sight-seeing in your city. Many locals never see their own sights because they live or work there - use a first date as an opportunity to visit your own area.
- Be kids again and go to the park. The great thing about kids is they can have fun anywhere - remember that feeling and enjoy it with this new person in your life.
Okay, I think that's enough. Feel free to add more if you want! And if you're going on a first date this weekend, let us know what you did and how it goes!