The first date. It is either a trip through Hades or a night we remember forever. Admit it. You have sworn off dating and have contemplated joining the clergy after a few bad first dates. They can be like a three hour job interview with the Donald -long, boring and full of bad hair. In this day and age of Tinder, OkCupid and Match.com there are more first dates than ever and as a consequence more chances for the clueless to screw things up.
I would love to share a couple horror stories with you but I really don’t have any. I’ve had some pretty amazing first dates. I have turned a woman asking me for directions to the bus stop while I was walking the dog into a 9 year relationship. On another first date I went to met my date at an art opening at a coffee shop at 4 in the afternoon. By the way she asked me out. I still remember the smile on her face when I walked in. Afterwards we grabbed a drink across the street where we sat at the bar and stared at each other for an hour. I touched her amazingly soft cheek for the first time. Eventually, we walked a few blocks away for dinner in what turned out to be her favorite restaurant. Then I walked her to her car, even though it was in the wrong direction from mine, and we said goodbye in a freezing parking lot for at least two hours. All in all I spent over eight hours with her and I learned so much about her in that one single night. It was wonderful and the start of something amazing. On a different occasion I had a great first date where we did a picnic at a local beach. There was a moment where her silhouette cut through the setting sun with the Olympic Mountains in the background as we talked about living in the South, cooking, cowboys and a horse named Lard Ass. I still carry that picture in my mind.
So the moral of the story? First dates can be awesome and magical if you don’t “f” them up and if you are not sitting across the table from a socially inept wallflower.
So guys get out your pen and paper, fire up your iPad, tablet, notebook, gameboy , PSP or whatever other ridiculous piece of technology you use to keep your life from being a total waste of time. I want you to get this right. I’m going to try to break this down and help you out. Why? Because several of my lady friends are really hoping I can straighten some of you knuckleheaded, Tinder swiping, OKCupid messaging dopes out. Since I have a lot of foxy female friends I am going to hip you to what all the ladies are complaining about you lumbersexual, game playing fools, and give you some tips on how not to be such a loser. I am no Cyrano de Bergerac so I can’t make you sound cool, interesting or funny but I can help you avoid a lot of stupid mistakes. So shut up and take notes so you don’t screw up your next chance to make a first impression.
First, a couple of general statements about dating. Women want to have fun on dates. Yes fun. You know laugh, smile, giggle and, when she closes the door at the end of the night, feel that there is excitement about the next date. She is hoping to have a night that she hopes never ends, the night where you don’t have to work at it, where it clicks, where cupid’s arrow strikes true. Before you freak out from all of the pressure to be Prince Charming, the truth is she will be happy with a night of laughter, thoughtful conversations and possibility of it developing into more. This is not where your fancy car, awesome job or desirable address come into play.
I thought I told those kids to GET OFF MY LAWN!
Another general rule: There is a certain part of salesmanship that goes into dating, especially the first few evenings. You want to present yourself in the best light. You should do what you can to show your best side. Try to look good. Even if she isn’t blown away by your appearance, it shows you made an effort and she is not Date No. 23 on your list of 35 potential matches from some stupid internet site. One thing you should never do is lie about yourself on first dates. EVER. This will come back to haunt you. But you may also not want to start by listing all of your least desirable traits within the first ten minutes of the date. It’s like the old song goes: “Accentuate the positive, eliminate the negative”. Be positive. No one wants to a date with Bitter Beer Face Man. No one. I’m serious. No one. Don’t complain about work and Never Ever Never complain about your last date. At least not at first. There may come a time when you can humorously trade horrible date stories. Try to be happy. It is much more attractive than miserable.
One last general rule. Women still like real men. You can grow a beard, put on your horned rim glasses (that you don’t even need!), wear flannel, and roll up your jeans all you want but that does not make you a “real” man. Know what you want. This wishy-washy bullsh*t that passes as a hipster attitude these days is just a bunch of peter pan boys who don’t want to grow
You mean I have to do more than stop shaving?
up. You need to make the first move. You will need to suggest a place to meet (suggest not demand) and you will need to be able to articulate what you are looking for in a relationship if you want a woman to truly respect you. Real men know how to be decisive. What she isn’t telling you is that she finds it attractive when you make decisions and are decisive. What she is telling you is that she hates it when she doesn’t like your decisions. Those are two different things. Just trust me on this. She wants you to have a plan but she also wants to be included so don’t try to boss her around and act like you own her. I’m going way out on a limb here but I doubt you are going to have much success with that approach. It’s not that hard though. Examples that work: “Why don’t we try this new place I have been hearing about tonight? It sounds like it’s off the chain” vs. “I want to go to the hot new place that Bobby No Game has been bragging about at work for the last week.” One is a statement a Man makes and the other is the utterings of a sniveling adolescent trying to get laid for the first time. Which one do you want to be?
Alright without further adieu, here are the top 5 things the hot ladies are complaining about and how to fix them:
1. Talking about yourself too much
This is by far the number one complaint I hear from women. Case in point: I have a SUPER interesting friend who is an outdoor adventurer, world traveler and has a unique and interesting job. In fact, she is so interesting that she is one of the people who inspired me to write a blog! She was on a first date with a guy and all he did was talk about himself. His job. His college. His hobbies. Blah. Blah. Blah. The sad part was they had A LOT of common interests and if he had only gotten his head out of his backside and ASKED her about herself there was a chance they would have hit it off.
It is easy to get trapped into the mentality that a date is like a job interview and you need to impress a lady, so you start listing all your accomplishments, like the 10 times you made the honor role, the one time you made it on TV (in a background shot at a football game) or how many times you climbed Mt. Si in one day (Twice-you lost your wallet and had to go back and look for it). Trust me: she is now bored to death and thinks that you are too into yourself. The truth of the matter is woman…wait for it…want to have fun on a date. I know that sounds so crazy but it is true. She is not that concerned about your 401k or sperm count on the first date. She wants to have fun and enjoy herself. News flash-a relationship is where she figures out if she wants to raise your kids and wipe your chin when you are old NOT the first f*cking date, so don’t lay out your financials, work history or personal references on the first date and DO NOT act like you are on job interview.
Solution: Ask Her Questions
Use caution here because you DO NOT want to make her feel like she is being interviewed by the CIA. While it is always good to know what she does for a living, that may not really be where her passion and personality lies, especially in this tech world we live in here in Seattle. It may be hard for her to even describe what she does. Asking open ended questions will help. For those of you who did not pay attention to your 6th grade English class, these are questions that require a STORY instead of a “yes” or “no” answer because you are trying to get to know her, remember?
Example: “Where are you from originally?” (Good) vs. “Are you from Seattle?” (Ugh!) One allows her to tell you a cute childhood story about how she hated the freezing cold in the Midwest and the other she answers “No. How about you?” and you are right back to blabbing about yourself and wondering why she doesn’t return your texts a few days later.
What do you like to do for fun?
What brought you here? (If you are in Seattle you can assume they are from somewhere else. If they are a Seattleite then RUN! J/k)
Do you like to ski? Have you ever been back country skiing? Do you like to cook?-Though these are closed ended questions they allow you to bring up your hobbies to find common interests. She will feel you are interested in her and trying to find out about her versus if you say “I like skiing” I really want to try backcountry skiing” or “I really like to cook”
Follow up questions are a great way to get someone talking about themselves. If she says “I moved here when I went to the University of _________” you can ask “Why did you choose that University?’ or “What did you study at the University of _____?”
Now I know these questions sound a little canned and square. Like I said I am no Cyrano de Bergerac so you are going to have to do some of the work and put these into your own voice. God do I have to do everything?
2. Bragging About Yourself
This is similar to No. 1 but different. As confusing as it maybe, women like men that are confident and successful but NOT men who talk about how confident and successful they are. Women like to find this out in the course of things and it is much more impressive to a woman to actually see your nice car or condo then it is to hear about how much you make or how many times in the last year you have been promoted. Once again this is the difference between a job interview and a date. Here you are trying to get her to LIKE you not hire you. For some of you out there that is a much harder task. Oh and DO NOT brag about how great you are in bed either. I don’t care if you are Duan Juan, just don’t do it!
Solution: Make Fun of Yourself
This is an area where self-depreciating humor can come in handy if you know how to work it. I have joked about how ridiculous I look doing yoga or dancing (“More like downward facing goat” or “a bear dancing with a ballerina” to describe my salsa dancing). To be honest I do look pretty ridiculous doing those things but women find these jokes more endearing than hearing how I ran my first 1/2 marathon after training for only two weeks or how I only started rock climbing a year ago and am now able to lead climb harder than many of my friends that have done it for years. This does come with a warning though. DO NOT sound like you have low self-esteem! Make sure you are making fun of yourself, ie it should be funny and not sounding pitiful and pathetic. Here’s an example. Pitiful-“I’m not sure why women don’t like me” Funny/Cute/Endearing/Charming” “I’m not use to all this attention from such an attractive woman [said with a sly grin]”
3. Mean, Rude or Self Centered Guys
You don’t want to give women the impression this is dating thing is all about you and that all you care about is getting what you want. RA[Rant Alert]* If that is all you care about and you just want to grab what you can and don’t care about building a relationship with a women the get the f*ck off my blog and stay away from me because I hate a**holes like you because you and your self-center d*icks f*ck everything up for the nice guys out there and we are tired of dealing with your mess so do us all a favor and just hire a f*cking prostitute because at least she knows up front she is going to get f*cked.
Hey guys guess what? She is really not that impressed with your six figure income, fancy furniture and good education if you are rude. One of the very very very first things a woman wants from a relationship is respect (Cue Aretha-R-E-S-P-E-C-T) so treating them like a lady and being courteous is never a bad thing.
Here is another news flash for the socially challenged: Just because you bought her dinner does not mean she is obligated to like you or want to sleep with you. Don’t be an ass like that jello pop selling charlatan Bill Cosby. Trust me. No woman likes that dude. Now there are women who will go out on a first date with anyone, even when they know it will not go anywhere, sometimes because it’s a free dinner. They drive me crazy but that is a whole other blog post. So the bottom line is being grumpy, irritable, demanding, cold, uninterested, bored, or expecting some action because you paid when you are on a date is never going to get you anywhere.
Don’t Be a D*ck!
Solution: Don’t be a d*ck
My experience has been women like to laugh and smile as much as possible when they meet someone and a rude, cold, or self-center dude is always a bummer. I know there is this idea that bad boys get the women and if you blow women off they want you more. That may be true in high school but most woman get burned and realize that bad boys are just bad. If not you don’t want those ladies anyway because they are emotional dumpster fires! So remember what your mom taught you and if not YouTube it or something and act like a gentleman. So showing manners, like eating with your mouth closed, being polite, asking her if she is ready to order is always a good start. Offering to walk her to her car if it is dark or raining are nice touches and she can always polite refuse but she will get the idea that you at least care and are thinking about her.
4. Not Getting Her Cues
While this is not always an easy task, I will try to help sort out reading a woman’s cues for you. Is she asking you questions? Does she seem interested or excited about your answers? Is she laughing- not that nervous I can’t wait to ditch this lameo but the holy crap you are funnier than Chris Rock ? These are all good signs that she is having a good time. If you haven’t talked too much about yourself, engaged her in conversation about HERSELF and made her laugh you are doing pretty well. Now don’t screw it up! In my experience if you don’t know if she wants you to kiss her at the end of the night she probably doesn’t ESPECIALLY on a first ! You can ruin a lot of your hard work laying a good foundation by moving too fast and especially on a first date it is better to error on the side of caution EVEN if she is really hot! Now I will say I almost always kiss on the first date but I am really really good at reading body language but hey I don’t really have bad dates either so there you go.
Solution: Pay Attention to Body Language and Ask Questions
Every girl is different. Yeah I am sorry you have to figure each and every one of them out. One girl’s bored look is another girl’s shy look. So the next thing I am going to suggest will freak a lot of you out. I know it is creepy, scary and down right out dated in this modern world of social media but you will need to look at your date. IN THE EYES. Yes. I know. It is crazy but you will need to look at her and watch her eyes and facial expressions. Notice her hand motions, the way she sits in the chair. Does she seem comfortable? Does she seem relaxed? Does she seem nervous? DO NOT STARE AT HER. This is creepy and she will think you are a serial killer. If you are a heterosexual male you should enjoy looking at a pretty woman as she talks to you and tell you silly stories of her travel with her best friend and how they got drunk and couldn’t find where they were staying in France.
If you are not sure how she is doing you can always ask what she is thinking or feeling. Try to do it in a nice way like “I notice you are playing with your hair a lot. Are you a little nervous or is my conversation just making you want to run home and wash your hair? (with a smile)” [Ok the smart ass comments may be too advanced for some of you weenies so start slow and leave off the part about washing her hair] not “Are you nervous? Are you not having a good time? Are you bored?” A little tact goes a long way here. I’m pretty good are reading the ladies but I never will be able to read their minds so sometimes I just ask them point blank what they are thinking. Like “I was just wondering what you are thinking about right now because you have this funny expression on your face”. This gives her a chance to give you feedback on her signals so you can start to learn what her expressions mean. BTW Feedback is a good thing. Communication is key to understanding what is going on. “I noticed you yawning. We could leave if you want?” if it is getting late and she is yawning, “Do you like this place or would you prefer somewhere else” if the place is noisy and she seems irritated or “would you like another drink” before you order another round and keep her up too late because she has an alpine start tomorrow. (If you don’t know what an alpine start and you are dating in Seattle, I suggest you find out, because there are a lot of hot mountain climbers here).
5. Being a Mr. Know-It-All
Ok remember when I said woman like Real Men that are decisive. This does not mean she wants you to “explain” the world to her. I know a lot of very strong and independent woman and one of the LAST things they want to listen to is a guy giving them a lecture, especially if it is something they already have some knowledge in. A lot of woman find this completely and totally insulting, demeaning and downright rude. RA– If you want woman that hangs on your every word no matter whether you are blathering idiot the 1940’s are calling to tell you that you are totally f*cked and you should give up now and dedicate your life to charity because those days are long gone my friend.
You are SO interesting!
Woman have their choice of boring uninteresting guys so they aren’t afraid to ditch your “I Know Everything” self at the curb and move on to the next. So to be clear DO NOT launch into a webinar about how to fix her computer UNLESS she has asked you about it. For all you know she is a ninja tech person and can slay you with two keyboard strokes. In this case you just come across as a pompous ass when really all you are trying to do is impress her with your knowledge. Women are smart enough to tell you are smart without you acting smart. You want to know why? Because they go out with dumbasses all the time! By the off chance, if you are a dumb ass you are better to keep your mouth shut because you can at least seem mysterious instead of just stupid.
Solution: If she seems interested in something you have knowledge about find out her knowledge base and tailor your conversation to HER level, not yours
Let me be clear here. I am in no shape or form instructing you to talk down to her. You need to gauge not only her knowledge but her interest. You may both be in the tech industry but she may not give a sh*t about what you do because she finds it absolutely boring OR she may not want to talk about work and actually have some fun while she is on a date so talking about the latest tweaks to the product launch you are working on may not be that riveting. (See the part above where girls like dates to be fun!) So ask questions like “Do you know much about ______?” If she says “No” then move on to something she wants to talk about. If she says “No but I have always wanted to get into ______” then you can strut your stuff a bit but ALWAYS keep her involved. If the eyes start to wane this is the time to change the subject. Case in point, I know A LOT about jazz but I am aware that I can totally lose my audience with too much detail.
Alright class here is what we learned today. The ladies like to have fun on dates so entertain them, do not bore them. If you are covering the bullet points of your resume you are screwing it up. Even in the modern world women, believe it or not, still like to be treated like ladies and like men who treat them well and with respect. Oh yeah and can talk to them not at them and can carry on a conversation with something besides their hipster loafers.
Now none of this will create chemistry or a bond that it takes to have a lasting relationship. It is hard to find that someone special that makes your heart beat a little faster. None of this will make you able to find better woman on Tinder but it will help you when you are actually on the date to maximize you opportunities to meet that some special.
Ladies no need to thank me and guys you are welcome, but seriously… GET OFF MY LAWN!
* RA– Rant Alerts warn the reading a rant will immediately follow and allow the reader to skip ahead to avoid the angry onslaught of truths, bitterness, orneriness and downright cantankerous diatribes that are about to follow