Eight Simple Rules for the First Date (Really Nine)
1. Show up on time. Try coming fifteen minutes early, just to be safe. She can be late; you can't.
2. Keep it short and sweet. Never have a first date at dinner. If she's not for you and a slow eater, you're in the weeds. Think of those construction-paper chains you made for the Christmas tree when you were a kid: You could always make them longer, but if you wanted to shorten them, you had to rip something.
3. Come up with a plan. Take it upon yourself to suggest a place you like for coffee or a drink. Take the lead. Most girls will appreciate it if you make a plan so they don't have to.
4. Keep it simple, make it fun. "I always walk my dog on Saturday mornings. Want to come?" How about a trip to Chinatown to sample those dumplings you can't get enough of. Take turns guessing if that really was chicken. Think of the first date as research, an opportunity to collect data to see if there is going to be a second date.
5. Invite her into your life. Let your date see you in your natural habitat and get a glimpse into your real, "I'm not on a date" life. Show her your neighborhood, your favorite bar, or take her on your favorite hike. Don't take her to the bar where you and your old girlfriend used to hang out unless you are absolutely sure your ex is not going to be there. New prospects like to be invited into your life but not into your last relationship.
6. Don't bare your soul. "I'm more of a coffee cake guy than a bagel man" is much better than "My mother never breast-fed me."
7. Show interest in her life. We're not talking about her dreams and aspirations (check out rule number 6); this is more on the order of "What's your favorite bad movie?," "What's funnier, a fork or a spoon?," or "What's your secret junk food?"
8. Be polite to the person behind the counter. Tip well. Your behavior in the world at large tells a date a lot about you. Nothing will end this date faster than by bullying the high school kid who is making your latte.
9. Don't move too fast. You've just met. It's great to be comfortable and be yourself, but throwing your arm around her, nuzzling her forehead, or rubbing her hair is creepy and will make her feel uncomfortable. Unless she specifically lets you know otherwise, play it safe, and don't do anything beyond a kiss on the first date.
Excerpted from A PRACTICAL HANDBOOK FOR THE BOYFRIEND: For Every Guy Who Wants to Be One, For Every Girl Who Wants to Build One by Felicity Huffman and Patricia Wolff. Copyright 2007 Velocity, Ltd and Patricia Wolff. All rights reserved. Published by Hyperion. Available wherever books are sold. First date
What he sees/What she sees
"I'll meet you there... "
HE SEES: A hassle-free way of showing up at the restaurant, a way for both parties to keep their options open.
SHE SEES: A clueless loner who won't even pick her up. Sure, a lot of women would rather get themselves to the restaurant (car, cab, canoe) and give themselves the chance to make an early exit, but it's the offer that's important here.
"Let's go Dutch."
HE SEES: A way to prove he supports women's rights.
SHE SEES: A cheapskate who won't spring for a cocktail and obviously doesn't want to see her again.
"My ex was such a b--ch."
HE SEES: Proof that he is honest and open, not to mention way over his last girlfriend. He doesn't miss her at all and is ready for a new relationship.
SHE SEES: A guy who talks trash about his old girlfriend and blames other people for everything. She assumes she'll be next.
"Wow, I didn't think you'd be so attractive."
HE SEES: A way to let her know right off the bat that he thinks she's smart and sexy, and he's really excited to be out with her.
SHE SEES: A buffoon who talks before he thinks. And why wouldn't I be attractive? Did I sound fat on the phone?
"Hey, you're actually funny!"
HE SEES: An obvious compliment.
SHE SEES: An arrogant guy who underestimates her and has appointment himself the arbiter of humor. Who does he think he is, a judge from Last Comic Standing?
What her really thinks about one-night stands, and you should too!
Excerpted from A PRACTICAL HANDBOOK FOR THE BOYFRIEND: For Every Guy Who Wants to Be One, For Every Girl Who Wants to Build One by Felicity Huffman and Patricia Wolff. Copyright 2007 Velocity, Ltd and Patricia Wolff. All rights reserved. Published by Hyperion. Available wherever books are sold.