First dates are a nerve-wracking and often perplexing affair. I would know. As a cheerfully single girl living in the lesbian Mecca that is West Hollywood, I’ve gone on what feels like hundreds of first dates: some horrible, most forgettable, and occasionally magical. There’s no one way to guarantee a great first date, but here are some common slip ups you’d be wise to avoid.
1. Failing To Knock
Women are people, not slacks, and your date does not and should not have a curbside pick up policy. I dislike interaction with the outside world as much as the next writer, but civilizations are cobbled together by petty social niceties such as ringing the doorbell or chewing with your mouth closed. Seventeen-year-old boys remain slouching outside some ranch style abomination to avoid exchanging basic pleasantries from the father of the girl from whom they’re about to coax a BJ. Adult lesbians knock, exchange a warm hug, and say “What a lovely home.” Even if her home is not lovely in the slightest.
2. Latching Onto Your Phone
As engrossing as we all find our rich virtual lives, the real world can be so much more rewarding—if you live in it. Dates are exciting! Girls are awesome! There is the potential for sex! So why can’t you stop pressing refresh? When you’re on a date, put your phone on silent and then put it away. Don’t be that horrible couple sitting over a beautiful plate on a gorgeous night and only having eyes for their iPhone screen. Cell phones and the internet are intensely tempting, so do yourself a favor and eliminate the temptation by putting your phone away. Away does not mean face up on the table or nestled lovingly between your thighs. When someone can’t put down their phone, it tells me that person is insecure and so uncomfortable in their own skin that they must constantly escape it. Not to mention an inconsiderate bore.
3. Putting Forth Zero Effort
There’s a million little ways not to put in effort, and as a consummate slacker I’m reasonably well-acquainted with most of them. Asking a girl out is a massive feat in it’s own right, so why do so many lesbos fuck up the follow through? The #1 first date not putting in effort faux pas is basic and infuriating: pick a damn date spot. Personal anecdote time: Last month, I was asked on a date by a former flame who I disposed of after learning she had a secret boyfriend. She ditched the boyfriend, moved to L.A. and blew up my phone with heart wrenching texts like, “For the past year, you’ve been the voice in my head.” This appealed to my narcissism, so I gave her another shot and she showed up for the date by parking outside my apartment, violating rule 1. When I got in the car, she said, “So where are we going?” and I barely suppressed the urge to jump out. Within two minutes, I knew that this girl wasn’t hung up on me, she was hung up on herself.
4. Revealing Traumatic Anecdotes
We all have our shit. Some of us have unusually potent, sticky shit. That does not mean you can wipe it on others. Emotionally intimacy is not a great personal strength of mine; I admit that freely. As a southern Catholic, my approach to personal crap is, “If you don’t talk about it, it doesn’t exist.” When a girl tells me all about her childhood/teen/recent trauma right off the bat, I don’t think, “What extraordinary depths this fine young lady possesses” or “How impressive that you overcome so many obstacles.” I think “Emotionally unstable,” “Can’t let go of baggage,” and even “Victim complex much?” Save the sorrows for your BFF and focus on having fun and being entertaining. No one wants to date a deb.
5. Shifty Eyes
On our third date, a former girlfriend noted that I “make even less eye contact than service industry professionals.” Scathing, but accurate. There’s something disconcerting about meeting another person’s gaze, especially when that person (like a date) is someone I want to impress; I wonder if they might look behind the blue of my iris and see into my soul. I don’t even want to peer into that cesspit, much less let my date have a looksy. According to my extensive research, increased eye contact significantly improves your general appeal while simultaneously improving an interaction’s quality; “Eye contact imparts a sense of intimacy to your exchanges, and leaves the receiver of your gaze feeling more positive about your interaction and connected to you.” Hold your date’s gaze for about five seconds at a time, let your eyes flick away, return and repeat.
Good luck out there!