Friday, October 2, 2009

First Dates 101


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 need to tell stories.

Now, since this list is getting longer than I wanted it to, let's get to some first date ideas.

Daytime Dates

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:

mini golf
amusement parks
pumpkin picking
wine tasting
cooking class
zoo or aquarium

Double Dates

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 pressure to be witty all by yourself :-)

Seasonal Dates

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.

Fun Dates

- 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!

Have fun!



Serena W. said...


annamaria said...

First bitches!

Anonymous said...

Serena wins !!


Anonymous said...

Why does every first date have to be a restaurant? (esp of women)

I believe the best dates are the interactive ones: cook together, paintballing, go to the shooting range (if legal in your state).

Movies are a No-No for 1st date. Fellas, if she offers to split the bill or at least get the tip; she's a keeper (no matter what level she happens to be on)

Brooke said...

Wow, Annamaria, you just missed it!

She's warming up her shank now :)

Brooke said...

I mean her tazer...I guess a hot shank would hurt too tho :)

Brooke said...

I've offered to split a bill or get the tip before and most men don't allow me to do it on first dates. I'm curious to know expectations on who should pay for a first date.

Personally, I think whoever does the asking should pay - but that's just me :)

Serena W. said...

I love the cooking together date and even having an indoor picnic :)

I'm going to repost what I put up last night since it was so late.

"Rameer if you are still on here what would impress me a lot is a guy tapping into what I love! He can take me to an open mic at Bus Boys and Poets here and we can shoot the breeze, sip on a chai tea and chill. Or even a spot with live music like Jazz, R&B, etc. Its all about tapping into my inner being and taking note as to what I like :) great convo, a warm drink and the right atmosphere is worth more than a man that has no convo, soul, passion, etc but is spending duckets on me. That's my two cents."

Annamaria...don't tase me too bad lol! But I was officially first ;-)

Serena W. said...

Brooke I love your ideas as well!

annamaria said...

Damn you Serena!
Austin & I had a great first date. We went to play pool. Fun & very flirty! Although that's not the date that sticks out in my head. When we first started talking my birthday fell on Easter sunday. He wanted to hang out but my mother planned to throw a little get together for me in her house & I wasn't ready to introduce him to the fam yet. I woke up excited about my birthday. Went to moms house & since it was a rainy Sunday everyone went home by 4. I was really sad. Austin called to tell me happy birthday & to see how my day was going. I told him it sucked & why. 20 minutes later he was in front of my mom's building to take me out! We went to a movie & I got sick but to this day it was my favorite date because it was sooo sweet!

Brooke said...

I read your comment last night Serena and I agree - it's about finding out what you both like and going from there - doesn't have to be fancy or cookie cutter like dinner and a movie.

Brooke said...

awwww Annamaria and Austin - so sweet (gag!) LOL!!


Roc said...

My first date was taking my wife to the 40/40 club with Dee Brown! What an expensive night! Thanks Dee I have been paying ever since! What the hell was I thinking?

Anonymous said...

Pool (billiards) is a great first date. Yes who ever offers should pay but keep it real ladies, you really don't expect to sponsor even when you suggest and pick the place in most cases.

It also depends on who the chick is. Some chicks may think it is a date and to the guy, it's just hanging out. For instance, taking a female to applebees is hanging out to me, she may think it's a date. He may be into her or whatever but doesn't justify taking her seriously.

I think the words "first date" or "dating" are used too loosely, especially by women in 2009. People have agendas, what a date may be to one person is just hanging out to the next. Agree/disagree?

Brooke said...

To me, a date is when a guy calls you up, says "can I take you to dinner" and picks you up and knocks on the door. If a guy says "wanna catch a movie" - then I don't assume it's a date. I think depending on the familiarity, you can gauge if it's a date or not.

I've asked men out on dates and fully expected to pay because I did the asking. I have no problem with it. MY problem is when a guy DOES pay for the date and expects you to owe him the world for it. If your intention is to get sex, and THAT'S why you paid, then I'm good - better yet...let ME pay for this so you don't get any funny ideas. I've also gone on dates with guys who always REMIND you of the fact that they paid. It's like, "dude...really?"

I don't think there are any rules on who pays, so long as you both are on the same page. I don't think every time I spend time with a man, it's a date - however, I do feel that alot of men nowadays don't ask you on or take you on REAL DATES anymore. And by that, I mean taking the time to thoughtfully plan something where you two can genuinely get to know each other.

Rameer said...

This honestly made my day! I didn't think you would make it a topic so soon...thank you!

I was arguing about this subject with a bunch of guys yesterday. I took Brooke-Ra and Serena's view about it; the guys were equating everything to having to seriously impress a woman with flossing. Car, clothes, jewelry, fancy restaurants, etc. I even tried to use my self as an example - these guys have met some of the women I've dated in the past - and they simply said "whatever". They argued if the women I dated had dated another guy who flossed on them on a first date the same week I had taken them out on a first date, they would've chosen the other man, no matter how much we vibed.

Brooke-Ra - I agree on whomever asked the other out should pay. But I think it's cool when a woman offers to pay or picks up later tabs as well. Truth be told...I won't let any woman I'm really cool with or know well pay for ANYTHING unless she really stresses it. Even ones who we're just friends. But the ones I know well are all women who have no problem naturally picking up a bill or offering. Because I already know their hearts and generosity, I tend to not let them pay.

Getting to know someone? It's a great sign if she offers to pay, even partially on the first date or on one of the initial ones.

I LOVE the list of ideas you posted! BTW...I'm currently printing this entire thread to carry on my argument, so thank you all. And Serena - your response is GREAT.

And Thank you all who have offered condolences about my Uncle. Not to alter the mood...but I think I'm a bit in denial...

annamaria said...

Serena is getting tased & shanked! Brooke I agree with you 100%. Another thing first dates can be great but don't stop dating after that! A few years and a 2 month old & I still enjoy a good date! I even suggested one the other day!

Serena W. said...

Pool is sexy! I like that as a first date. But love what Austin did for you Annamaria, that is so sweet!

I also saw a few people out at the park off of the river front in Old Town Alexandria. They packed dinner, a bottle of wine and laid out on a blanket. I thought that was a nice way to get to know each other as well :)

Brooke said...

I'm sorry about your uncle Rameer. You've been in my thoughts.

As for the men on your job, it says a lot about what they think of themselves. If they think the only way to get a woman interested in them is by throwing money at them, then they're probably right - because they have no imagination. And that's sad.

Annamaria, I agree. I think we tend to stop "Dating" each other after we get comfortable. Dates NEVER get old!

-V- said...

Whatever you decide to do on the date, just bone & get it over with.

In the end, if that's not compatible there is not future.


Serena W. said...

I tell folks, "Don't let the bling, rims and flashiness fool you." He can have all of that and impress you by taking you out on the town and paying a lot of money on your date and not have a dime to his name.

I guess it's a part of getting older, but I'm not into that. I want him to be grounded, have his priorities in check, treat me like a lady and I can go on and on...just be a man and be my friend before anything.

Brooke said...

V - that's a topic for another day :) As a matter of fact, I was going to use that as a Friday Sexy Survey question - can you fall in love with someone you're not sexually compatible with? We don't have to answer that now since we're talking about dating - but I DO want to hear the answers to that later :)

Pretty Ricky What Dey Call'em said...

Here's is my best advice on the whole first date thing. (This does not apply if you are only trying to knock it down. ) Get to know the person thoroughly first..whether it's phone conversation, email , whatever. Especially if you plan on spending your hard earned dough on this woman!!!! There is nothing worse then having to spend a certain amount of time with someone and figuring out you really don't like them or you really have nothing in common. (unless you just tryna get the twizods!!!)

DMoe said...

Excellent handbook items on this blog.

Sadly, I think a bit of the creative art of dating has been lost these days. The concept of the "thought that counts" goes a long way in the game, and many of us (both sexes) really seem to glide over the mark with things that will tickle the fancy of those we are dating. We just do what we know how to do within the dating box.

However, shouldn't it essentially be about being "a man/woman apart" when it comes to what we do, where we go, or even where we eat. A basic philosophy should be: "you can be here with any clown, but...THIS is what you get with me."

For instance, its one thing to go to a restaurant to eat on a date, but when you've made nice with the maitre'd with a quick call ahead, and he has your date's favorite cocktail poured as you both sit down, and her favorite dish prepared before she looks at the menu, she should be all over the part where you listened to what she said in a phone conversation days before about those faves.

That's a small example, but ya'll see where I'm coming from.

Nice blog Brookey. Hopefully, the bruhs on here got the good sense to know the tips. Hopefully, the ladies on here got the good sense to recognize a dude that knows them, and practices them also.

Stay thirsty my friends.

annamaria said...

Not only that but if dudes are throwing money trying to impress from day 1 what kind of chicks are they attracting? I'd rather a sweet cheap date before an expensive impersonal one! You should want to know you enjoy each others company whether you spend $200 or $2 on a dirty water dog and a walk thru the park!

Anonymous said...

WOW, Another great blog topic. You have provided great suggestions for first dates. I'd like to add Central Park to that list. ( For those of us that are on a budget) you can still have a great first date and not break the bank. Save that extra cash for your hot and sexy 2nd or 3rd date. My boyfriend and I spend a lot of time at the park all year round. There is so much to do such as roller skating, walking tours, concerts, and painting. Many of these activities are free, especially during the summertime.Don't forget the Central Park Zoo, the Carousel ( for the kid in you, bring your fun),the Bethesda fountain, the Boathouse, Strawberry fields and the amazing Belvedere Castle. Who knew there is a castle in CP.also check out Time Out magazine for their weekly publication that tells you all that is on and poppin in our fabulous city.Enjoy


Brooke said...

dirty water dog? ewwww!

ooooh, I wanna go on a date with DMoe. I you have my drink ready - even though i don't really drink - I might kiss you on the face :)

Pretty Ricky, agreed - you should know SOMETHING about your date before the actual DATE. Jus a lil somethin!

Brooke said...

Stephanie! I love those ideas!

Making a list as we speak...uh, type! Thanks!


I don't like to go to dinner for a first date. It can get awkward if he's blah...

A lot of good ideas were thrown out there!!!

Here's a post I did on it awhile ago too. 10 First Dates Besides Dinner & A Movie

Serena W. said...

I think a manual would be great and a lot has been lost DMoe, great point. People are so worried about impressing people and like Annamaria said you're not impressing them if it's an empty date pretty much.

I love Sunday brunch as a first date or a nice boat ride. I'm not talking the expensive ones but out here in Alexandria they have cheap ones for $16. I know in NYC the Circle Line is a cool thing to do. You get to sit and chat.

But yes...get to know a brother or sista. Worst date was a dude who had no convo, didn't want to do anything and kept flipping the questions on me but went around the bend with his answers to my questions...wick...wick...whack!

Serena W. said...

DC Diva I just read your post, great top ten!

Anonymous said...

Rameer said

Getting to know someone? It's a great sign if she offers to pay, even partially on the first date or on one of the initial ones.
I don't even know this guy but he pretty much co-signed to my point of view (see above). Lot of women in general want to be "traditional" (guy pick up woman at her residence, open doors, pay/sponsor her evening through dinner, movies, drinks, all entertainment), drop her off, kiss on cheek and be out. That chivalry stuff for most part has left the funeral and procession is starting at the graveyard for burial. That chivalry stuff has died over the years since women have "received rights". Today's woman aren't being courted because they are now single, "independent", they got their own (you hear it all the time). Even in the blog from the other day with the french fry factor, that french fryer (guy) probably would had a chance 20-30 years ago with chivalry; today--forget about it. It's a double edge sword, in the beginning women can get away with murder if they choose to on the "first date" allegedly. Only the female will know if she's feeling him or not.

A woman "offering" to at least pay the tip shows character. I use it as a test very often to see where she stands. If she offers, I reject it knowing she at least showed that she was down to help what she help do damage with.

Rameer said...

Thanks, anonymous! I completely agree.

and the suggestions have been great. I personally LOVE pool as a first's a very fun, casual first date that u can have a lot of fun on. Lets down the wall of tension both sides may have on the first date...

Poetry can be really good too. But one of my greatest first dates was walking around the mall and the Lincoln Memorial in DC...just checking out all the history and talking. We watched the sun go down by the Capitol Building...all we did was walk, talk and look at American history for hours. And it was GREAT.

Anonymous said...

Brooke said....

I've asked men out on dates and fully expected to pay because I did the asking. I have no problem with it. MY problem is when a guy DOES pay for the date and expects you to owe him the world for it. If your intention is to get sex, and THAT'S why you paid, then I'm good - better yet...let ME pay for this so you don't get any funny ideas. I've also gone on dates with guys who always REMIND you of the fact that they paid. It's like, "dude...really?"


I will add to the above. A female friend of mine told me she had went on a date to a restaurant with some guy as a 1st date. It was a trendy place and she browsed the selections. My female friend flipped the menu and asked her date about the selections and why priced significantly higher..."What are these items?" He replied..."That's the 'We are fuckkin at the end of the night' side of the menu" :-)

"First date" advice to the ladies. Be generous, don't go overboard. Know your limits & stay in your lane. If you think asking for sex from a girl is overboard, then don't overboard in his wallet. Don't spazz, I'm just the messenger


Thanks Serena!

I think people just have to realize there's so much more to do besides dinner & a movie...

PS now & days it's not safe for a guy to come to my place & pick me up on the first date. I prefer meeting him there.

Brooke said...

"We fuckking side of the menu"?


Well, if that's the case, I'LL PAY! That way I can order what I want! LOL!!

DC Diva - you're right, not always a good idea to have a guy come to your house. Could be stalker.

And great post!

Sunday brunch is also another great idea Serena!

LaNeitria said...

Hey this is a great topic. I am always lurking but I wanted to weigh in.

First off, sorry about your uncle Rameer. Don't know you, but I hate to hear of anyone losing their loved one.

Now, to the topic. I agree that you should be presentable. I once had a first date with a guy and his clothes were wrinkled. Now mind you, my tongue can get a little sharp, but I asked him "Do you not own an iron?" (My friends still laugh at me for that)

I would not want anyone to come to my house on a first date, because you could be crazy.

I think pool is a great first date....

I believe that if YOU ask, YOU pay. Now I don't mind offering to split the tab, but some men are just cheap and trifling. With those kinds of men, when you start splitting the tab, they come to expect it EVERYTIME.

Also, to add to the list, another no-no for me would be to not talk, instant message, text or check emails while you are on a date unless it is an emergency. I HATE THAT. And besides, that's just RUDE. That tells me that you are not interested in me or what I have to say.

Brooke said...

I can't STAND when men check their phone every 5 minutes on a date, especially in the movies! That means there's someone else you'd rather be with or somewhere else you'd rather be. That's the rudest thing ever. Answering the phone during a date...ANY date, first, 3rd, 5th, LAST - plain wrong.

LaNeitria said...

I agree Brooke. I have a good friend who does that and IT DRIVES ME CRAZY! She acts as if she has to answer EVERY message, EVERY time. I especially hate it when we go out to eat. I'm like, if I just wanted to sit by myself with no interaction, I could have just ordered my food to go and sat at the house where I'm really comfortable.

I asked my friend if she does that on a date. She said no, so you know I was pissed right? How you not gonna do it on a date, but you're gonna do it when you are out with a good friend who's known you longer?!

Sorry for the tangent. I was on a rant, just had to get that out!

Now, back to our normal broadcast, lol........

Brooke said...

I hear you. I personally think that your phone should be on vibrate or OFF during a date. Now I understand that maybe you have a babysitter and you might want to be available for emergencies - that's one thing. But if you're carrying on a full blow conversation via text message with someone else while you're on a date, then you need to be fired!

Black History!

or...White History...or Latino History :) LOL!!

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