Quite recently I have hurled myself into the oft-treacherous world of online dating. As you may or may not know, I've moved to Scotland (Edinburgh to be precise) alone, and dating online is a great way to meet a high volume of people in a short period of time. (No comment on the quality vs. quantity spectrum...)
After a few missteps (I was grossly out of practice), I have compiled what I believe is a good list of first date rules.
- Dress to impress. And that means shower, brush, floss, and generally look nice. This should be self-explanatory, but for some reason, it doesn't seem to be.
- Meet in a public place, and get there yourself. Pick a convenient place for both people so that one doesn't have to get picked up. It's a first date - if they turn out to be crazy, you don't want them to know where you live, and if it goes terribly wrong, you'll want witnesses.
- Don't go for a sit-down meal. I don't mind guys buying me drinks, and I also don't mind paying for my own. Going "dutch" isn't that awkward with just drinks. It certainly is though with a meal. And if he wants to pay for dinner but I'm not that into him, well, then I feel a little guilty, and no one needs that. Dinner or Lunch is a perfect second date, but a terrible first date.
- Don't get drunk. Drinking is okay, it loosens the nerves and helps conversation flow. Too much drinking, however, clouds judgement and may make you think you like your date a lot more than you would if you were sober. This is probably the most important rule, as most other rules are dependent on this one, and it is also the easiest to break. But, we all have our battles...
- No religion or politics (unless you already know you both agree), no family tragedies, and no marriage or babies talk. Not on a first date, anyway.
- Be yourself. Seriously. If they don't want to see you again after you were just being who you naturally are, then consider it a blessing you didn't have to go through a long, painful process to discover you aren't right for one another.
- Don't have sex. If you really like the person, there will be a second date, and you can go wild on that one. But having sex on the first date often leads to regret. If you like the person, you'll have left out all anticipation, and if you end up not liking the person, well, you have to live with the fact that you slept with them...
- Don't sleep over. Do you really want this person to see you in all your morning glory (breath and all) after the first date? Nuh uh.
- Don't make plans for a second date ON the first date. Leave room for making more plans later on the phone or whatever. You just may change your mind the next morning about wanting to see them again.
- Be honest with yourself. If it didn't go that well, don't see them again. It's that simple. This isn't your last chance at happiness - someone else will come along. If there are red flags or you think you would have to make too many sacrifices in order to deal with x, y and z, just chalk it up to an educational evening out. And believe me, after the first date, you don't owe them any explanation at all. Just don't call or text. At this stage in the game, it's fine.
So there you have it. You may have more rules, or don't agree with all of mine, and that's fine. But I do feel like these are very good guidelines for people who are as out of practice as I was for as positive a dating experience as possible.