This is make-or-break. Not even being hot can save you here. If after our fortuitous meeting I find you don’t know how to spell ‘book’ let alone read one, are completely self-absorbed, and your only real concern in this world is who was wrong last night in Love and Hip-Hop: there will be no dating to speak of. You have to be at least mildly engaging or intelligent to prevent a chilly fear from coursing within me at the notion of sitting across a table from you for an hour or more.
Also, being that the only things you know about your Person of Interest (POI) at this point are where they frequent; their general level of attractiveness; and that they know English, it’s safe to ask a few questions to get to know each other and see if a date is even something you’d be interested in doing. It’s even safe to be mildly complimentary. However, do not pour it on so much as to appear sleazy and you most definitely should not be making any remotely sexual references at all. In any way, shape, or form. Because this will be the inevitable outcome:
Followed by going radio dark.
If you don’t make it out of the first week of texting successfully there is still hope for you. If you train really hard during cuffing season and come out of the winter with a great jump-shot and solid stats off the boards there is a chance you still may get drafted before the All-Star break. If not, just chalk it up to the game and take this approach:
“Add Me on Facebook!” – I know this is tempting… I know you’ve got the itch to find out whether it was bad lighting or if you really did book Halle Berry’s twin, but wait at least until after the first date to decide whether or not you should waste copious time and an embarrassing amount of cookies memory before stalking your newfound interest. There are a variety of reasons for this:
Preconceived notions – Once you’ve taken the bird’s eye view on someone’s life you can’t take it back. After looking at a mere 5 photos, 8 status updates, and the places they check into you’re probably comfortably residing somewhere in the spectrum of knowing a few of that person’s tendencies and believing you know all of what that person’s about. And all that before you’ve actually clicked the “send a friend request” button. The reality is you’ve only found out the things that this person decided to let the whole world know. And yet you somehow believe you know all of that person’s hang-ups or, inversely, what they’ll be like when they meet your mom… back away from your computer.
Paranoia – Finally there are always those that will see the other people involved in their POI’s life (…those people being the ones they actually know and didn’t meet on a fleeting run-in at a bar) and will inevitably start trying to make connections about the parameters of their relationships. They are wrong 95% of the time, but it’s too late, and even though you’ve only known this POI for 96 hours you find yourself feeling oddly jealous over the fact that someone they dined with 48 hours ago is sitting so close to them. Just shut off your device, go for a long walk, and revaluate where you are in life.
The “Oops” – After snooping and seeing the types of things and activities your POI is involved in it is also likely you will reference one of them in casual conversation on your first date. You’ll probably be talking about places you want to travel and then will say, “I’ve always wanted to go to Iceland. Was it amazing when you went?” And there will be an awkward pause while they try to figure out how on Earth you knew they’d been, while you simultaneously try to work up a quick lie about how you they had. Just throw your router into the street while you still have time.
After quasi-constant communication for a week or so do not ask your POI if they ‘want to meet up’ on Friday night with you and all of drunkard friends. No, not as the first rendezvous (although, this is on the assumption that you’re conversing with a relatively respectable subject.) Either rent a backbone at a hospital near you and ask your POI on an real date or revert back to your usual suspects of interest that know their roles and play them well (aka booty calls).
DMs – No. Don’t be this guy. If you DM someone asking them out you already reduced yourself as “that guy.” What guy? The Catfish guy, the loser guy, the no sense-having guy. In this regard attractiveness doesn’t even come into play, because if you ARE really attractive you’ve asked someone out via Direct Message either you’re a catfish or you have no level of self-respect or game. If you’re not deemed attractive, you’ve automatically been deemed a CREEP with no level of self-respect or game. Lose-lose.
There is indeed a low-pressure and easy way to incur a date. It’s called asking. It goes like this: We converse. We find we have mutual interests. Someone asks the other if they’d wish to partake in a mutual interest together. Not complicated, it’s simple. People get put off by the notion of failing or getting curved all too often. Think about it like this: if you do want to go on a date with your POI -> if you don’t ask, you have 0% chance of making that a reality. If you do ask, that chance is automatically raised to 50%. Even better, my friend has this saying, “if you get told no, then you didn’t ask it right.” And there is TRUTH in that. It’s pretty hard to say “never” to the guy that asks “when am I going get a chance to take such a stunning woman out to dinner?” or to the person that tells you they got 2 day passes to the ropes course you’ve been dying to go to for a year. Play your cards right people.
It’s hard out there for (pimps and) people to draw the line between being chivalrous and being a creep. Gone are the days where you can pick me up at my house because there is no way in the world I can allow you to know my place of residence until I’ve deduced that you’re not insane and have at least met a some of “your people” that can confirm that this conclusion is correct. And yes gentlemen, women are still in fact on their “we don’t need men, we can be bad all by ourselves” tip, but we still expect you to open our doors and pull out our chairs. I don’t want to hear any more about it being a double standard unless you can tell me your body count and the last time you referred to as anything more demeaning that “The Man”. That being said, be the southern gentleman prototype. We eat it up. Open doors, pull out our chairs, heck, if you get to that point: pump our gas. Anything you can do that shows good home training and humility are big bonuses in your favor.
Oh yea, and for those of you that don’t know simple things: don’t be late, don’t be rude, make sure you’re appropriately dressed for the location of the date, don’t be on your phone the whole time, and don’t say the L-word. Things I shouldn’t have to say and yet…
If you’re drilling someone with questions you’ve previously thought up, you’re either not really engaging or don’t know how to carry on normal conversation. Generally, a conversation goes like this: question, answer, response and/or additive and or tangent and/or story. Any of those “and/or” options is better than merely being met by another readily prepared question. A first date should not resemble an interview of any kind. The last thing anyone wants to do is go to something they intended on enjoying and, instead, be met with calculated questions and wondering if they’re answering them in a fashion in which they will be granted the position. YOUR POI IS NOT APPLYING TO BE YOUR S/O (Significant Other) ON THE FIRST DATE, in fact, they’re vetting you and you’re failing miserably. Take this approach and you will fail your dating class and will subsequently either have to repeat the course or take supplemental friendzone classes during cuffing season.
The Braggart – Don’t brag about yourself or tell your POI exactly what it is about you that they should be impressed by. I know you’re itching to inform them of the plethora of reasons they should fall madly in love with you, but trying to do that will ensure your plan’s demise. Making blanketed assertions about your character is generally doomed from the beginning. To list humility as one of your redeeming quality traits and then give your POI a detailed description of your house, salary, and car, not only makes you pompous, but now you’re also a liar. When in turn, if you drop some of those accomplishments nonchalantly in the course of conversation (instead of by way of bloviating), your POI gets to come to the conclusion that you’re impressive AND humble on their own, and now, also gets to compliment you on it. Magic.
Don’t tell your POI you’ve googled them until you’ve received verbal affirmation that they’ve deduced that you’re not a weirdo, or as seen above, never. I understand googling is almost a necessary evil at this point. But don’t use that information as a way to strike up a conversation with someone on your first date. Why? Your POI likely already knows what’s there. I feel as though it’s common practice that you look yourself up as soon as you find out your google-able to ensure there’s nothing slanderous there. (And of course to feed your vanity) Also, what do you really expect your POI to say? You didn’t find anything about them they don’t already know. And the idea of a date is that you’re there to learn more about them, not confirm the 9 articles you read. And you know what you just told your POI by mentioning those articles? That you’re a creep with no good sense or social awareness, and they didn’t need google to help them with that.
The Basics –the guy, pays for the first date. This is not optional. If you do not, you have just bought yourself a one-way ticket into the friendzone via the express lane. Now, it gets a little tricky when certain women, as I often do, offer to pay half of the bill. Do not take girls up on the offer. We’re just trying not to look like gold-digging ice queens, but we still expect you to decline and handle your business. (*Disclaimer* this is merely my sentiment regarding the first date. I will get to other dates in other posts.) While I’m on that rift – dating doesn’t have to be expensive. The standard ‘dinner and a movie’ is as expensive as it is lame. If that’s your first date of choice not only did you drop over $100, but you likely bored me to tears and worse than friend-zoning yourself have slid to the “DNR” (Do Not Respond) list. Also, the objective of the first date is to get to know one another in dinner and a movie dates you shift from, not being allowed to talk without getting the scathing “shhhh” hiss from other viewers, to, having your sole and undivided attention on your POI while simultaneously trying to slop food into your mouth in a (hopefully) mildly attractive manner while trying to answer and/or ask an array of questions.
You will get insane kudos points for coming up with something original, which is also often cheap. I.e. picnic near the river, hiking, traipsing around museums, free outdoor concerts the list goes on. Know what else dates like that are, BESIDES free?? Memorable. If I leave a date and the most memorable thing was that there weren’t enough scenes of Tom Hardy without a shirt on, you did something terribly wrong. Well, you likely did A LOT of things terribly wrong, but you get my point.
He tried it –
Don’t be that guy. Don’t be the guy where your POI has to say anything along the lines of “No, you cannot come up” “I don’t do that on the first date” or “I barely even know you” at the end of the date Haven’t you guys learned by now that those females aren’t the ones you have to wine and/or dine to get the invite for breakfast tomorrow? (See what I did there?)
The Goodnight Kiss – Just watch Hitch if you struggle with this. Lol the reason for the lingering goodnight farewell is real. As is the “you come 90 – I come 10”. #SageAdvice
The Three Day Rule – The rule isn’t real folks. I know. You think I’m setting you up for failure, but I’m serious. I don’t know who came up with the ‘3 Day’ rule, but if we go on a date and you don’t hear from me for 3 days something during the date went terribly wrong and you likely won’t hear from me by day 46 either. The Text Me #SoIKnowItsReal (aka so I know you made it home safely) routine is always a good way to go. You get your closure, and will likely be given an array of positive affirmations, complete with smiley emojis and some vague insinuation of a second date, if you nailed it.
*Disclaimer* Send a heart for eyes emoji after the first date at your own risk.
Upon having the idea for this series I became convinced that the real reason I’m devoid of all emotion and have remained single is so I would have material for these posts. And yes, this self-soothing lie is in fact how I get to sleep at night. I know the saying goes, “you don’t take marriage advice from someone who’s single,” but as I am practiced in the ominous dating realm, please, take at least some of my advice and save yourself some time. However, I will leave the “How to Make Your Marriage Last” series for Mrs. Hillary Rodham or Jada Pinkett because they must have the sauce.
My next post (note that I didn’t say next week’s post, I’ve gotta stop promising ya’ll deadlines, this summer’s been too hectic!) will be “Don’t Be That Girl”. I was going to make it “Don’t be THOT Girl,” but the reference would be over anyone’s head who doesn’t deem Two Chainz as an integral part of their day, and it will encompass many more types than THOTs… like how not to be a stage 12 clinger and how not to be deemed a crazy bish. Applicable lessons for all of us enduring the phases of the moon ( i.e. women, for those of you that missed that.) Men, you can tune in too. In this post I will take a small break from giving you a hard time. Furthermore, I recommend highlighting the applicable portions, having your boy on call as an alibi, and anonymously slipping the upcoming post under the door of some crazy bish near you.