Friday, September 5, 2014
Inquirer Daily News

What to do on the first date

What should you suggest doing on a first date with someone you found on an online dating site?

There is a section on several online dating sites that says, “My perfect first date.”  As I peruse people’s responses, I’m overwhelmed by the sheer number of people who say, “Dinner,” or worse, “A long, romantic dinner.”  I don’t know about you, but I’d be hard-pressed to devote two hours (or more) of my life to someone I’ve never met in person.  Now, I’m not saying you can’t have dinner with someone on the first date – quite the opposite.  But instead of scheduling it ahead of time, you should just leave the option open.  You can always add dinner, but you can’t take it back.

On my first date with a former boyfriend, we made plans to meet after work for a drink.  I had arranged to meet a friend at a party later that evening, so that when the drink was over (or if the date wasn’t going well), I had my excuse to leave.  And I had actually been looking forward to the party!  I warned my friend, though, that if I ended up really liking this guy, I wouldn’t be joining her and the others.  Lo and behold, I did have fun, and I did like this guy.  He asked me if I wanted to have dinner after the drink, and I agreed.  (Even though I had already eaten after work since I didn’t know when I’d have a chance to have dinner!)  It ended up being a six-hour date.

It’s okay to make plans that aren’t set in stone after a date.  You shouldn’t schedule one-on-one plans because you don’t want to stand your friend up, but it’s great to have plans with a group or a party… or with a glass of wine on your couch watching Orange is the New Black if you’re so inclined.  That way, if the date doesn’t go well, it’s no biggie – you have other plans to look forward to and can salvage the night.  And if it does go well, you can continue the fun date.  Back-to-back booking is okay?  You bet.

So, rather than committing to dinner on “your perfect first date,” how about this instead:  “We start out with a drink, and a few hours, some dinner, and some flirtatious banter later, we’re still enjoying each other’s company.”  That sounds pretty perfect to me.

Also, for chivalry’s sake (please don’t let it die!), the gentleman should choose a location that is more convenient to the woman.  She will appreciate a simple question like, “Is there a particular area of town that works best for you?”  If you’re not familiar with the area she says, rather than asking her to choose a location (that puts a lot of pressure on the woman, especially if she doesn’t know what sort of place you had in mind), you can instead give her a few choices but caveat it with, “But if you have something else you prefer, that would work as well.”  This way, she knows you put some thought into it.  If you simply choose a location closer to you without asking, it appears to be a bit selfish because you’re essentially saying, “I’m going to make the date convenient for me… and only me.”  

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