Where Not To Go On A First Date

The first date can seem like it’s bound up with all sorts of pressure, anxiety, and ridiculous criteria, but there are a few cardinal rules to abide by. Always open the car door, and never be rude to a waiter. If you’re still nervous, though, there are way more don’ts than dos. Here are a few things to be aware of when you take that first step.

  1. For the love of God, don’t go for Indian food. You would think this went without saying but it really doesn’t. It may be your favorite cuisine but you can hold that card for a later date. Maybe the fourth or fifth. But definitely not in a situation in which you want to look suave and cool and potentially go for a kiss or stay the night with after. There are certain unaltering ramifications to an Indian curry that are not pretty for first dates. Particularly if you are the specific defender of a kind of masculinity that is tied up in how spicy you take your food. Enough said.
  2. Avoid the movies. That’s such an overdone cliche. It’s no longer even a classic option. Like, going to see the latest Marvel film with your date and talking right through it is not the vibe. Nor is mansplaining the plot, or presuming that she won’t be interested in a superhero flick. Just don’t do it, no one wants that. Show her that you’re interested in her and learning about her life, not just telling her about well educated you are.
  3. Just say no to Netflix and chill. We as a society are better than this. There’s no reason to stoop so low. Frankly, if I got ready for a date night all up to the nines and they just escorted me to their lumpy couch to watch Family Guy, I’d leave. It’s a no from me. Be more adventurous and set the tone for the future of your relationship, Don’t settle for mediocrity.
  4. Avoid super fancy meals. There’s always way too much pressure on these kinds of events. While I want to feel cool and sophisticated, there are other ways of doing that than just throwing money at it. That’s not always the most meaningful way of expressing emotion, even if it’s the only way that you know how to. Be open to new alternatives and don’t just use the first date as a reason to show off. Find a more humble less ostentatious place that you really like and she will appreciate how your passion and good taste shines through rather than your performance of what you think she wants to hear.
  5. Don’t book a hotel. This is a little sleazy. I know long-distance relationships get a little dicey if you haven’t seen each other in ages and certain sexual steps are necessary, but that’s not really the case for the first date. Get to know each other – or at least pretend to – before admitting that all you want is something physical. That’s perfectly fine, but the casual relationship is not what a first date is for.
  6. Bowling is a bit corny. Maybe there’s a time and place for nostalgia for the past, but this isn’t it. Be assured that if you take me bowling, I will think you’re either 12 or laboring under the misplaced illusion that I am.
  7. Don’t go to your parent’s house. Even if you’re just a teenager living at home, don’t use your home base as a first date. It’s too intimate and unsexy and uncontrollable to use as your first impression. No one wants a younger brother running through or a mother leaning in to offer snacks and ruin the mood. Think through the logistics.
  8. Skip the Zoom date. I know that zoom dates were necessary and essential for the peak of covid times, but now that things are starting to move out of that initial zone, we need to press pause. It’s just a difficult in-between stage of physical contact and attention, but it doesn’t really do either. It’s best to leave that until you can commit and figure out what you want.

I have the utmost respect for the couples I know that met in those conditions, but they are the exception to the rule, not the proof. Remember that when you plan out your first dates for your situationship.

Hannah has a Masters degree in Romantic and Victorian literature in Scotland and spends her spare time writing anything from essays to short fiction about the life and times of the frogs in her local pond! She loves musical theatre, football, anything with potatoes, and remains a firm believer that most of the problems in this world can be solved by dancing around the kitchen to ABBA. You can find her on Instagram at @_hannahvic.