Reader question: How do you make a first date really special for a woman you are really into?
This definitely ranks up there with the most popular questions I hear from guys. This also ranks up there with the most popular stupid mistakes a guy makes. Let's put the shoe on the other foot for a second to see how this could turn out.
Vanessa likes Jack. Really likes him. He's so handsome and he's so funny; he makes everyone laugh. She asks him out. He's a little surprised, but he accepts.
Vanessa picks up Jack promptly at 7 and they proceed to the nicest steak house in town. Smooth jazz music wafts out the door as they enter. Beautiful people sit in candlelit corners, chatting merrily. The sommelier bustles about, popping champagne corks and festively pouring glasses all around. The maitre'd takes you to your reserved seats. Flowers, specially ordered in advance, adorn the table.
Now, is Jack thinking this is so romantic and that Vanessa is surely "the one"? Or is he thinking, "What the heck? This girl is trying too damn hard! I don't even know her middle name! Why is she so desperate?"
Listen mate, Hollywood has spoiled you into thinking relationships are "make or break" on the first date and that, if you do it perfectly, you'll steal her heart forever. Wrong, wrong, wrong! If this girl is important to you, try picturing what the 10th date will look like. And the 20th. Are they going to be even better than the first, or do they consist of settling down on your couch with a box of wine and a plan to watch NetFlix?
Trying to create the perfect first date typically means you're trying to impress her by being someone you're not and hoping that, by the time she figures out who you really are, she'll be so hooked she won't care. Are you freakin' kidding me?
I'm not saying your first date should be hanging at your local bar in your sweatpants. I'm saying stop putting so much importance on the details of the first date. The success or failure of your first date comes down to your behavior (and hers) and not the setting.
"So, Steve, you're really good at telling me what not do do. Great, I get it! But what should I do? What is the ideal first date?"
Good thing I'm here. An ideal first date is one that allows you to be yourself and allows her to be herself. If you're attracted to her enough to want to do a special first date, and I'm assuming this is not a stranger, you must have an idea of something you have in common. Maybe you're tennis fans and can go play a casual match together before grabbing a smoothie to relax and chat. Maybe you're art fans and you wander through a couple local galleries before grabbing a glass of wine at a quiet place. Make your dates about you (plural) and not about the stuff around you. Otherwise you come across as someone trying to seduce her rather than develop a relationship. Seduction is the next blog over.
On a side note, remember that it's about behavior. Not just how you treat her but how you treat the people around you. If you're at a restaurant or bar, treat the waitstaff with respect. If you have to wait in a queue at some event, don't be afraid to chat with the strangers next to you (as long as it isn't some beautiful woman - that could appear threatening to your date). Just a little. Be friendly, be charming, be respectful.
Be your special self.
In addition to being a “generally happy person”, Steven is the co-host of MODLove, a weekly radio show that discusses love in the modern world