I’ve been on a couple of first dates.
No, that’s a lie.
I’ve been on MANY first dates.

During my first year living in California, a friend of mine said to me: “Roz, if a man asks me on a first date, I will always go. I will always give him that first date – because it takes a lot of courage for a man to ask out the woman he is interested in. And by giving him that chance, I might be pleasantly surprised by him.”
And so began my ‘season’ of first dates, where I tried to honour the courage of every man who approached me.

Of course by now you must have figured out that my very first date with the very first guy was not destiny.
You’re right – it was not destiny. It was a disaster.

And so were many of the other dates I went on. Granted, there have been a few success stories (hope in humanity restored), although the good ones have been few and far between.
The sad part is (and this breaks my heart) that most of the guys I went on dates with were genuinely really great guys. But somehow, certain things that they did or said during those first dates were enough to make me not want to stick around for more. Looking back, I am able to identify the crucial deal-breaking moments  – and I feel that by having this information, it is now my human responsibility to pass it on to the good guys out there who are just not making it to those second dates.

So, let me guide you through these common first date mistakes that most men seem to make:

1) PRESENTATION

The very first thing a girl will notice is how her date presents himself. This includes his car (if he has one). No, the car does not need to be an amazing top-of-the-range car, but it should be clean.

And the same applies to you. You should be clean, your clothes should be clean, your breath should be fresh, and you should look neat, tidy and… appropriately dressed! Wearing crumpled grey shorts with egg stains on them paired with a cat-haired covered shirt that smells of sweat is NOT going to help you ace this date (yes, I have experienced this). In fact, I could say that this will disqualify you from the game immediately.

2) TIMELINESS

I once agreed to a first date where we decided to meet at the entrance of the local cinema. They guy showed up 20 minutes late. With his parents. HIS PARENTS!!

3) RESPECT

There is nothing worse than going out with someone who is rude to the waitron, the staff and people around you. The moment a guy treats someone with disrespect (no matter who the person is), I’m out. This indicates a major character issue that I and most women do not want to have to deal with. The same goes for how he speaks about his family, his friends, his co-workers and himself. If he is putting people down, criticizing them or saying nasty things about them – well then, I can be fairly certain he will say the same about me someday.

4) CONFIDENCE

A man who constantly puts himself down is not humble. He is insecure and has a low self-esteem. Which means that he has some serious stuff to work out before he is dateable (and this ‘stuff’ CAN be worked out – but it takes effort and a willingness to become a better, healthier and more secure person).

On the flip side, arrogance is just as unattractive – if not more so.

 5) HUMOUR

Making inappropriate jokes is not cool. I’m not a prude and I can enjoy a bit of dirty humour – but there is a line. On a first date you are still testing the waters and you don’t want to go plunging in with your penis jokes. It most likely won’t be appreciated.
Also, any kind of discriminatory or twisted humour is not funny. Jokes that are prejudiced against race, women, homeosexuals, or anyone else is not okay. Stay away from those completely.

However, worse than having bad humour is having no humour at all. Or maybe they are on par with each other. I’m still trying to figure out which is worse.

6) CONVERSATION

Bad topics of conversation include (but are not confined to):

  1. Anything where you find yourself droning on and on about any one topic
  2. Anything too technical
  3. Anything too intense or deeply personal
  4. Making the conversation all about you, and not about her
  5. Anything too controversial
  6. Talking too loudly

A GOOD conversation looks like:

  1. Asking her questions about herself
  2. Finding common ground and DISCUSSING mutual interests (where BOTH people are talking)

I have sat through long lectures on cement, bugs, and CUTS OF MEAT.
Don’t do that to your date.
Just don’t.

She doesn’t care.

7) MONEY

When it comes to the check (or the ‘bill’) it’s a bit of a controversial topic. Should the man pay, or should both parties pay? I don’t know the universal answer to that, but I will go ahead and tell you that most women do not consider it a date unless the man pays – or at least offers to pay.
But more than the check, there is a bigger turn off: A man who has a poverty mindset. I’m talking about the kind of guy who will constantly be fretting about every penny he spends, working out the check to the very last dime and who is always commenting on the prices of things.
I can’t even tell you how much of a turn-off this is.

My absolute favourite disaster-date moment when it came to sorting out the check between myself and a date was this:
The check came and he said casually, “Oh, you’ll have to pay. I left my wallet at home.”

And that is how I ended up hungry and petrol-less for a week because I was a student and I had spent my last bit of cash on HIM (who was neither a student nor jobless).

8) ENVIRONMENT

All I’m saying is: Pick a nice environment. Not a rushed or stressed environment. It doesn’t have to be the most pricey or fanciest restaurant, but a Big Mac or a KFC bucket is not going to help you win her heart.
Find out what she likes, but KNOW YOURSELF too.
I’ve spent many evenings alone at a table with the food while my dates were in the bathroom (doing only-the-Lord-knows-what) because they couldn’t handle the ethnic restaurant I had chosen or that they had tried to impress me with.

9) WANDERING EYES

Looking around and checking out other women while you are on a date is not okay.

We notice.

 10) QUESTIONS

You want to get to know the girl, not interrogate her or interview her for the role of Mrs (fill in the blank). I’ve had this interview process too many times. It’s pretty intense for a first date.
This actual dialogue happened between myself and a guy once:

Him: “So, what are your dreams and aspirations for your life? Like, what do you feel called to?”

Me: “Uh, well…”

Him: (interrupting me) “Because I can tell you right off the bat that I know my biggest calling in life is to be a really great father and husband.”

Me: “Uh… okay”

Him: “I just can’t wait to be a DAD!”

Me: “Oh.. well… good for you.”

Him: “Do you feel called to be a great wife and mother?”

Me: (I could see where this was going, so I began to mess with him) “No.”

Him: “What…? Why…? Are you joking??”

Me: “No, I’m not joking. I feel called to celibacy.”

Him: (gawking) “Oh. Wow. Well that’s… that’s a very special call…”

Me: (nodding my head solemnly) “Yes. Yes it is.”

He left pretty quickly after that. I saw him a week later asking another girl the exact same questions and using the same lines on her that he had used on me.

11) AMBITIONS/ LIFE GOALS

If you’re going nowhere and doing nothing with your life then don’t wonder why you’re still single.

12) TRYING TO IMPRESS

Trying too hard to impress is just as unattractive as the guy with nothing to show for himself. I once had a guy bend the cutlery of the restaurant into weird shapes in an attempt to prove his strength to me.

Aaaand you guessed it! No second date for him either.

13) NEGATIVITY

Negativity is a natural repellent for people. But worse, negatively commenting on her appearance or her choice of food is the absolute worst thing you can do on a date.

THE. ABSOLUTE. WORST.

I cannot stress this enough.
A guy once said to me:

Him: “You dress different to the other girls.”

Me: “Oh?”

Him: “Yes. You’re not exactly fashionable.”

Me: (completely stunned) “Uhm… we live in a TRUCK STOP of a town where the height of fashion is GAP hoodies and sweat pants. This dress was featured in this months Cosmo….”

This same guy then proceeded to tell me how much he liked girls with small boobs, and that mine were bigger than what he usually liked.

UHMMMM…. WHY WOULD ANYONE SAY THAT?????

It is not okay to EVER make negative comments on a woman’s body about something she cannot change (and even if she can change it… still not okay. Especially if you just met her.)

Even though I knew what he said wasn’t true (about the dress at least), I still felt crap about myself for days after that.

It is also not okay to comment on the fact that she has ordered fries instead of a salad…

 

I’m not claiming to have aced every first date myself (I KNOW that I haven’t), and from reading this you might draw up the conclusion that I have dated a bunch of freaks. But the truth is, they were all just ordinary guys who were all awesome in their own ways, but who just didn’t have a clue as to how to conduct themselves on a date. And because of that, they never got a second one.

Well, not from me anyway.

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