Written by: Charlotte
Most twenty-somethings have to endure a handful, or several handfuls, of first dates. Now, with the invention of Bumble and Tinder, you could go on five dates a day if you so choose. I know a girl who once, through the magic of dating apps, went on eight dates in the span of five days, just to see what would happen. She went in a hero, she emerged a legend.
For me, first dates are a source of anxiety, but only in the hours beforehand. Though I by no means have enough experience in this field to be anywhere near an expert, I have developed some failsafe tips for a foolproof, reduced-anxiety, pre-date regimen:
- Tell everyone
The first step to overcoming the first date jitters is to tell everyone that you are embarking on a first date. This step has several benefits. Firstly, you have a group of people who will alert law enforcement if you are abducted, or your parents if you have to go into hiding. Secondly, talking about the potential pros and cons of the person you are about to meet with people who have never seen/met said person is strangely comforting. I’ve found that if you inform all available friends/coworkers/neighbors/store clerks that the person you are going on the first date with has nice teeth, is employed and has no google-able criminal record, they will be strongly in favor of your date–often to the point of following up in subsequent days with several questions about your impending nuptials.
- Eat something
Many first dates, most in fact, happen over drinks. But, here’s the thing about drinks: you go get drinks with your potential soulmate at the exact time when you would typically be having dinner. Then, if the date goes well, you continue chatting until a point (for me this is between 8:30pm and 9:00pm) when you are so hungry that you forget you’re hungry: a.k.a. The Danger Zone. This can end one of two ways: you either become slightly delusional and end the evening thinking you have definitely met your soulmate only to find out later that your hungry stupor led you to believe you had infinite things in common with someone who looooooooves camping in the winter; OR your hunger translates to a bitterness that can only be described as unpleasant, at best, for your company and you blow your chances at a potentially wonderful relationship with a person who actually shares your interest in not camping ever. The moral of the story is, scarf a granola bar or a sandwich on the way there. You will thank me later when you are logically assessing the possibility of a second date without wondering if, out of hunger-induced rage, you told your suitor that his tie was stupid.
- Occupy your brain
After you’ve talked your co-workers’ ears off and determined a route to the date that includes a snack stop, jump into a menial task that you can get deeply involved in. This can take the form of entering numbers into an Excel spreadsheet–maybe experiment with all those Excel equations you learned in middle school and never found a good use for; prepping for a meeting that might happen someday; sifting through a month’s worth of emails from LinkedIn; scrolling through your date’s sister’s Instagram account. Just kidding, don’t do that last one…again. Putting your brain to work means less time to stress about whether or not you and your date will have enough stuff to talk about and less time to think about all the reasons you shouldn’t go. Then, all of a sudden, it’s time to go on your date and you leave feeling like a strong business woman who will act surprised when your date tells you he has one sister who just got a cute dog even though you learned that factoid days ago when you began your descent into the internet rabbit hole.
Follow these steps, and you will have a clear mind going into date numero uno. Or, at least, you’ll have a clearer mind and there is less of a chance that you’ll have already nervous-sweat through your clothes by the time you reach the date location.
- First dates are difficult and everyone involved is nervous–but with the right regimen beforehand, you’ll feel much calmer and less throw-up-y when you walk in the door.
- Most likely, everyone around you at any given time (over the age of 16) has been on a first date. Talking about it, getting your nerves out in the open is a nice feeling. But don’t get carried away because if the date doesn’t work out, it’ll be tough to break the hearts of all your co-workers who were depending on you for a spring wedding in Napa.
- Plan ahead. Eat a sandwich.