Few things suck more than going on a first date, with the exception of running, movies that have Jennifer Lopez in them, and raisin cookies (because raisins LOOK like chocolate chip, but SIT ON A THROWN OF LIES!).
What I’ve found is first dates are kind of like Transformers. You start out as one person and adapt to your audience and surroundings. Your date starts out one way, and then morphs from a Chevy Camaro into Bumblebee. You know, the usual.
It took me a long time to figure some things out about first dates. For a while I just thought I was bad at them. I used to feel like I could never fully be myself because that’d be like releasing the kraken at Chili’s. No one wants that. Trust me. My mentality shifted after being single for three years and starting to give zero fucks. What started out as, “Well, I have to come off slightly reserved and keep some of myself a mystery” turned into “I’m going to be myself completely. If you dig it, fabulous. Hate it? Cool. I’m not for you. No biggie.”
I tried to be the girly-girl. I tried to be the sporty-girl. I tried to be the guys-girl. The beer drinker. The whiskey enthusiast. The book nerd. The lover. The easy-going girl. The righteous moral-girl. The one-night-fun-time-girl. The fighter. The, the, the, the, the, the…
None of it worked. And holy crap, was I exhausted trying to be everything to everyone. Not to say that I’m not pieces of the perceived persona, but it was learning to tone down certain things I love and amplify the others, pending my dates interests, likes and dislikes.
Resolved that I would never go on a date that would be exceptionally pleasant or inspire me to go on a second date with anyone, possibly ever, I just resolved to be myself. But who was I? Who had I become? And what part of the first date schtick was real? Your friends are quick to give you all sorts of advice, without asking for it, that they feel is worth taking into consideration:
- Men don’t want you to be funny. They have to be the funny one.
- Men love funny women! Be you!
- You’re intimidating because your life is together and they want a damsel-in-distress.
- Men love confident women whose lives are SET. Be you!
- If he doesn’t like you, it’s his loss!
- Stop looking for it, it’ll come.
- Keep putting yourself out there, it’ll happen.
- No, really. Stop looking. Stop putting yourself out there. Maybe get a second dog. Dogs are cool.
- WHAT DID YOU DO TO MAKE HIM NOT LIKE YOU AND WHY AREN’T YOU GIVING ME GRANDCHILDREN?
Whoops…that last one…was said…by a friend.
We’ve all been on enough dates to know the difference between a good date where you two vibe well and there’s a spark-of-electricity (AKA I-could- rip-your-clothes-off-and-mount-you-here-in-public!), versus a bad date where the conversation lulls, you wonder who’s texted you about plans you COULD be enjoying instead, or you find your eyes wandering to other tables where people who are on GOOD dates are ogling each other and falling into a deep hormone induced like. This year I’ve gone on a couple excellent dates. Several “ok” dates. Multiple “DEAR-DOG-WHY-WOULD-YOU-DO-THIS-TO-ME!?” dates.
Unfortunately, we now go back to the Transformers and where things go wrong.
It took me a long time to figure out why I’m not good on a first date. Why I sweat it. Why I try so hard to be who I need to be based on the situation. For a long time now, I’ve let situations dictate who I am and who I should be. What kind of person and lady I am. It turns out my self-esteem or confidence isn’t the issue. It’s that both of them are just as confused as I am.
“Ok dude, I showed up, but now what version of me do you want me to ‘let free’ and show?”- Self-Esteem
“Fuck them. Let me free and let’s just see what happens!”- Confidence
If you act like a down-to-earth, cool chick, who is confident and has her life together, you’re “intimidating.”
If you just shake your head and say, “Oh, for sure!” all the time, you seem weak and like you have no opinions.
Be demure. Be strong. Be confident. Be funny. Be timid. Be human. Be, be, be, be…
Be so concerned with who you should be, you forget who you are. Be so concerned with who you should be, that the person you’re with can’t figure it out either. Be so concerned with who you should be, you forget to have a good time.
Forgetting who you are leaves your self-esteem and confidence staring at each other like, “Houston, we have a problem. Well, Allyson, it’s been a privilege flying with you. Now, much like Apollo 13, we’re going to spontaneously blow this joint up.”
What I’ve found to be true of the men-folk on first dates:
When They’re Genuinely Interested In Getting to Know You
- They ask questions.
- They keep their eyes on you, not your boobs.
- They try as hard, if not harder than women to try to find the commonalities.
- They set a second date before the first date even ends.
- They don’t try to grope you, because they’re not in a hurry or concerned if they don’t try to bang you now, that you’ll wake up tomorrow suddenly not interested.
- They don’t try to bullshit you. They’re honest and open despite the topic (as much as they can be on a first date).
- They don’t check their phone at the table. (Seriously, the best way to give a woman the middle finger without doing it.)
- They want to let you into their world. What they like, what they’re interested in, what they nerd out over.
When They’re Genuinely Interested in Getting To Know Your Vageen
- It’s a race to the bedroom.
- They make HORRIBLE jokes that are ALWAYS sexual or passively sexual.
- They check their phone to let you know that someone more awesome, interesting or hot could be texting them right now…better hop on it before this stag heads to another racetrack.
- They forget you have eyes. Because, well, as a very funny movie once put it… “Eyes are the nipples of the face.” But boobs…are the face, of….of the face. I think I even just confused myself.
- They don’t make real plans. They make last minute plans (always after 11 PM) because of “hectic schedules,” “conflicting plans,” or ya know, “general disinterest.”
- They send pictures of their junk, before you even meet. If you’re lucky, that doesn’t start until after the first date, but definitely before the second date is even in the works.
- They want you to know how important and busy their world currently is. How much porn they watch, what kind of weird porn they watch, how many times they whack it a day, and how incredibly horny they are all the time. Even right now.
What I’ve found to be true of women-folk on first dates:
When They’re Genuinely Interested In Getting to Know You
- We laugh at your jokes. All of them. Bad, good, otherwise.
- We ask you questions about your life. We want to know what makes you tick and how we become one of those things.
- We’re constantly worried that we didn’t wear the right thing, say the right thing, played with our hair too much, didn’t say enough, said too much. OH MY DOG, WE’RE PANICKING. WE RUINED IT. ALL OF IT. FOREVER.
- We let ourselves enjoy the date.
- We let our guard down, just enough to show we’re “cool.”
- We hope for a little bit of intimacy – a hand touch, a quick kiss at the end of the night.
- We like what they like. I don’t know why that happens. I swear, I don’t. Not into Star Wars? Now you’ve seen them all…if he asks. Hate whiskey? Nope. Now we love it! Can’t get enough of it. Drink it breakfast, lunch and dinner.
- Then, we explain no…we don’t have a problem. But thanks for the concern.
Us being nervous is a good thing. It means we’re anxious in the best way possible. For those of you who are like me, extremely chatty and outgoing, if you’re able to silence us …you’re winning.
When They’re Genuinely Interested In Getting Away From You
The thing is, you’ll notice there’s no “when they’re trying to get into YOUR pants.” Despite it being 2014, women are still discouraged from going out with a guy and getting her “ya-ya’s” on the first date. Men? Heroes. Women? Hussies.
If something happens with her on the first date, consider yourself lucky. Don’t condemn her for her actions but perhaps celebrate the fact she’s comfortable enough in her own skin to do what she pleases, when she pleases.
That being said, if we’re not into you, we’re trying to get away from you.
Here’s how we act when that is happening.
- We go to the bathroom…a lot. Sure, we had a few vodka sodas, but five times in 30 minutes is still extreme. But how else are we supposed to text everyone we know how lame you are?
- We stop making eye contact. Mainly because the conversation at the next able is more interesting and engaging than you showing us your new computer watch and showing us how it connects to your phone and delivers text messages and…SHUT IT.
- Body language is everything. Crossed legs away from you mean no, crossed legs towards you mean go.
- We start to sigh a lot. Mainly because we now have to explain to the same “friend” above why she can’t have grandchildren, due to the fact the available suitors make us want to learn to be ok with her slightly masculine lady friend who keeps wanting to sleep over.
The worst part about the Transformers first date is when you DO transform. When you take a perfectly fine and powerful Chevy Camaro and transform into the silent, struggling for words, Bumblebee.
You do what you think is right, you follow your rules, you do it all…
Because you’re tired of being alone. Because you’re hoping this time will be different. Because maybe, you’ll finally meet someone who doesn’t make you want to pop your eyes out with the butter knife at J. Alexander’s.
Then, after you transform yourself the worst thing happens – no phone call, no text, no second date. But you did everything you thought would work? YOU SAID YOU LOVED STAR WARS, FOR DOGSSAKE.
It’s here I had the true “ah-ha” moment. That age old quote is seriously so powerfully accurate:
“Be who you are, everyone else is already taken.”-Oscar Wilde
If what’s in your head is a kraken of crazy, release it. If you’re a calm, quiet girl who doesn’t want to be asked how big her boobs are or her favorite position before you can get the cup of crappy coffee to her lips, be that girl.
There’s someone for everyone. Be the someone you would want to be with. Be the someone you’d be proud to date. Be the someone you can wake up every morning, look in the mirror and be thrilled to see her.
The rest will come.