I love that feeling that pops up in the time between scoring a date and actually going on one. I get butterflies, my mind wanders through fantastic scenarios, I have entire conversations in my head while I daydream about how things will go. I love the uncertainty, the raw potential of meeting a new guy. Will he be funny? Sweet? What kind of meat is he packing? Does he like dogs? Will we live happily ever after or simply have a night of raw, animal sex and part ways forever? I wasn't always like that, though.
When I was younger and just starting out in the dating scene, those butterflies in my stomach felt more like bees and instead of dreaming up idyllic scenarios, I concocted nightmare visions of apocalyptic proportions. Instead of focusing on would could be great about the date, I focused on how I was going to fuck it up.
Countless dates and more than a few therapy sessions later, and I feel like I have finally gotten to a place where I can confidently say I am pretty damn good at this shit. It took a lot of hard-learned lessons to get here, but here I am all the same.
If you're a young guy who finds themselves having trouble getting the hang of dating, I hope these tips can help you get a better handle on it all so you can finally just get down to the business of enjoying your dates instead of worrying about them. Which brings us right up to our first piece of advice...
1. Calm The Fuck Down
You're not choosing a new Pope here. Throngs of people aren't going to gather outside the coffee shop where you meet this guy to anxiously await the moment you send up a silly smoke signal heralding the news that "This guy's a keeper!". When you get down to it, you're just two people meeting up to get to know each other. Objectively, the stakes couldn't be much lower.
I used to get so wound up about how things would turn out that I would come off as squirrelly and weird to my dates. I would get so distracted with how I thought things should be going that I wasn't paying attention to how they actually were going. I seemed distant, aloof, and disinterested in what my date was saying. Pro-tip: Those are not attractive signals to broadcast on a first date.
Even more important than the signals I was giving off, I wasn't present in the moment enough to take stock of the signals my date was sending out to me. I wasn't picking up on the fact that I was boring the shit out of this guy or coming off as fake AF because I was trying to be someone I wasn't. Worse still, I would find myself getting caught up with guys who tossed out red flags like they were confetti at a Pride parade and wondering why my relationships were all shitty.
The most important thing you can do on a first date is to actually be present for the date.
2. Don't Stifle Your Sense Of Humor
A good sense of humor is crucial in any relationship. I would go so far as to say that having a compatible sense of humor is just as important, if not more, important to a long-term relationship than sexual compatibility. Life can get pretty ugly at times and being able to laugh off the hardships with your partner is one of the greatest gifts we receive for committing to another person.
Unfortunately, you're going to be spending way more time commiserating and coping together than you will ever spend gettin' nasty between the sheets. If you can't find humor in the same or similar ways as your partner, your ability to face the vicissitudes of life as a team will suffer.
I have an extremely dark, irreverent sense of humor that doesn't always play well with some guys. I used to hide that fact by keeping my jokes to myself on dates. Then, when something would come along later in the relationship that I needed to cope with through humor, I'd end up shocking my partner with a sudden burst of dark, sarcastic comments that, to them, seemed like they came out of nowhere. Which is to say, a well-timed joke can cut the tension and clear the air like nothing else really can, but a poorly- timed, ill-targeted one can easily be the final straw that brings the whole relationship crashing down.
Just like fucking, you won't know if you're compatible or not until you put it all out there on display. Don't hold back! Make that joke, see how it lands, and if he's a good fit, he'll be laughing with you. The flipside of that is also true. If your date's jokes are constantly falling flat in a way that isn't exactly charming you, it's a good indicator that you aren't meant to be together.
3. Go Ahead And Fuck On The First Date (If You Want To)
If I could go back in time and give myself one piece of advice about dating, it would be that you should fuck any potential partners as soon as possible, even on the first date. I hate to think how much time I wasted trying to build relationships with guys who turned out to be completely incompatible with my sexual needs to the point that things ended on a sour note.
Sexual satisfaction is one of the most important factors in determining the compatibility of a couple. Don't like that? Fight me. Google the reasons why people get divorced so much these days and try to keep a straight face while telling me I'm wrong.
While the physical aspects of compatibility aren't the most important thing to consider, I would say it's just as important as having compatible personalities. You are on a date to get to know one another and test the waters for something bigger. Why leave out sex?
Of course, you might not feel comfortable enough with a person to fuck on a first date and that's fine. However, you should probably get the physical aspects sorted out sooner rather than later. Even if you don't have sex on the first date, you should probably at least talk about it!
4. Shine The Spotlight On Him
Don't spend all of your time talking about yourself. Ask him questions and actually listen to his answers. If you spend the whole evening focusing on you, your date will get the impression that you are a narcissist or, at the very least, disinterested in what they have to say. They will not be sending you a follow-up text if you make them feel that way.
Ask about his job, his family, hobbies, or whatever else keeps the ball rolling. Remember, you are assessing this guy as a potential partner- The more you know about him, the better you can decide if he's a good fit or not. On the other hand...
5. Leave Space To talk About Yourself Too
You have to strike a nice balance between learning about him and opening up about yourself. If you spend all night asking him questions about himself and never revealing anything about you, he's going to feel like he's being grilled. You might as well just shine a light in his face and treat him like a perp in a procedural crime drama.
Conversely, if the guy doesn't leave you space to talk about yourself or is more than happy to continue answering questions and talk about himself, you might have a narcissist on your hands. Unless you are particularly attracted to self-centered douchebags who only want to use you, the revelation that you are on a date with a narcissist is a good sign that you might want to make some excuse to GTFO.
6. Wear The Right Clothes
This doesn't mean you should contrive an outfit specially-designed to catch this specific guy's eye, it means you should wear the clothes that best express your style and that you feel most comfortable wearing.
What you wear sends a message about who you are and you should always strive to send honest messages. Don't wear what everyone thinks is fabulous, wear what you love and it will be fabulous because you are wearing it. Clothes don't make the man- the man makes the clothes.
Wear what you want to, wear it with confidence, and he will either like it or not. Someone who will like it is always just a swipe away. Don't sweat it too much.
7. Danger: Cliche Advice Ahead
You knew it was coming and here it is: Just be yourself!
I know, I know, I know but seriously- It's cliche advice for a reason. A date is a meeting whose main purpose is to get to know the other person on the date. If you are both pretending to be something you are not, nothing real is gained from going out together. Whatever you are trying to hide is eventually going to manifest in your future interactions and it will usually happen in a messy way.
For the same reason you should put your humor on display and get the sex stuff sorted out as soon and as honestly as possible, you should be your most authentic self on a date to avoid wasting everyone's time and emotional investment. They'll either like you or they won't. You'll either like them or you won't. Those are the bare facts of the situation. It's stupid to pretend it is any other way.
Act naturally and nature will take its course. Simple as that.