First Dates...

First, read the Dating Safety Tips

Tips to de-stress the first date.

It's Supposed to be Fun!

If the thought of a face to face meeting with your new interest leaves you nauseous and stressed, you might want to back it off for a while. Make sure that you feel comfortable enough with this person to really want to spend some time getting to know them better. If you don't feel that way, there are two reasons for it. One, your own self-esteem is flagging and you know that this person isn't going to like you. Don't go until you feel confident with yourself check out our self-improvement section for some tips on building your self-confidence. The second reason is that subconsciously, you're not really sure about this person. You may be intrigued, most definitely curious, but you don't have that I'm-sure-I'm-going-to-like-you feeling. Wait until you do.

First Impressions

It's undeniable that a bad first impression is almost impossible to undo. Before you go, take some time and do everything you can to make the best impression possible. Here are some tips:

Don't be late - cardinal sin #1.

Scrutinize yourself - maybe enlist the help of a friend, sister or your mother even to spruce you up. You can't drop several pounds instantly, but there's a lot you can do.

Trim it up - get rid of those offending nose and ear hairs; pluck those eyebrows (men too eyebrow hairs should not be long enough to curl); shave those legs and armpits. If you must have facial hair, trim it neatly (note that tobacco-stained facial hair is gross and smells disgusting).

Although we would never recommend tanning for anyone, think about using a little self-tanner to give you a golden glow. (There are some good ones now that don't turn you orange.) Don't try this for the first time on the day of the date; experiment beforehand to get a feel for it.

Don't wear too much makeup - if you don't know what too much is, ask a friend who will tell you honestly.

Go easy on showing skin - you don't want to send the wrong message. What's normal for you might be a green light for someone else.

Yellow teeth - there's just no excuse for this anymore. Try whitening strips.

Nails - take the time for a manicure and pedicure or at least a trim, and allow no grime under the nails.

Scent - a light scent is appealing. Too much is bad.

What to wear - We all have outfits that make us feel attractive (maybe even a little thinner or taller than we really are); they're comfortable and give us confidence. Wear one of these (as opposed to whatever you think they might want to see you in.) You don't want to spend your date pulling and tugging and adjusting straps on your clothes. Sometimes wearing your best lingerie boosts your confidence, (although if you're exceptionally weak, wear those torn, stained granny pants).

Don't try anything radical like a new hair style or hair color by all means, get a hair cut, but so often the 'whole new look' thing backfires.

BAD BREATH - #1 turnoff check with someone else to be sure your breath is okay because you can't always tell yourself; use mouthwash, floss daily, bring along breath mints.

The Bad Breath Report.

Smokers don't try to hide your habit; the smell is always there in your clothes, your hair, your breath. Be confident and happy with yourself. We all know people who are not that attractive yet always seem to have dates with good-looking members of the opposite sex. It's their confidence that makes them irresistible. If you're not happy with yourself, why should anyone else be?

Expectations

Go on the date to have a good time. If you go to a first date with the idea of meeting your soul mate, you're most likely going to be disappointed. Even if there are no sparks, you can make a friend. Just be honest; most people can deal with that and it shows that you have respect for them as a person. If your first impression isn't ideal, try to remember all the reasons why you wanted to meet them in the first place.

Where to Go

By far, the most popular place for a first date is a coffee shop. For one thing, no alcohol is served here, which eliminates the potential of drinking too much to bolster your courage and sociality (and then making a complete ass out of yourself.) It's also easier to walk away from this kind of date after a brief exchange.

On the other hand, if you don't like this person enough to commit to a 2-3 hour date, maybe you aren't really ready to meet them, and you should just go back to happy hours. Since this can be such an awkward situation, the first date should include some activity.

This gives you something to do and think about besides trying to impress your date; if you don't really like your date, at least you can enjoy the activity (something you might not ordinarily do by yourself); you don't feel the need or pressure of selling yourself in a short space of time it shouldn't feel like a job interview!

Some date ideas

Buy tickets to a major sporting event (football, baseball, basketball, rodeo), arrange so the tickets can be picked up at the will call window, and meet your date in the seats!

A concert -- Meet at the front gate if there is no assigned seating use flowers or signs to identify each other.

(If you really want to impress your date, get tickets to a popular sold-out event. There's a really cool site called www.OpenSeats.com where you can get tickets to just about anything -- for a price.)

Museums

Bowling

Golfing

Arrange to meet each other at an art festival and meet at the fountain at 7PM. Each of you wear a red rose for identification. Or, you could pre-arrange a code question and answer and determine that destiny should bring you together. Keep asking people until you hit the right one.

Sign up for the same charity walk or function, 3k race, biking event, etc. and arrange a way to identify each other.

Do something touristy that is native to your area. For example, white-water rafting trip, dinner boat ride.

Comedy club or dinner theater playhouse

The Zoo

Farmer's market, flea market

Planetarium

Hot air balloon ride

Japanese restaurant where you eat with other couples you don't know and the chef throws food at you.

Wine and cheese tasting events

A dance place that gives free lessons followed by a dance

Meet at a small airport; explain that you're having your first flight lesson and thought they'd want to go -- OR -- say you thought skydiving might be a great first date

Bad Date Ideas:

At someone's residence, hotel room, etc.

At a family reunion, wedding or a party with friends

Isolated areas such as hiking or biking where areas could be remote

Who Pays?

The dating game: Who Pays?

Always come prepared to pay for yourself. If you are a guy, please note that if you don't offer to pay, she'll think you're cheap. Unfair, but true. Use your own judgment on whether to insist on paying; there are still assholes who think you owe them if they pay for your dinner.

Things NOT To Do

Top 4 first date do's and don'ts

Bad Table Manners (no matter how nice you are, this is a definite make it or break it for a lot of people.)

Don't SMAK!

No shoveling or slurping.

Use your napkin.

Don't scratch yourself with the table fork.

Cut your meat into bite-sized pieces (don't take bites off a huge slab.)

Watch out for the food-caught-in-the-facial-hair thing.

No Belching, Farting, or Picking Your Nose!

Cell Phones keep it on vibrate. Don't answer it unless: you're a doctor on call; it's your kids and they might need you. Anything else is rude. Of course, you may pre-arrange with a friend to call you 20 minutes into the date if you simply can't stand the thought of continuing the date, this can be your emergency ticket out!

Don't talk about past relationships, your divorce, how much you hate your ex, etc.

Don't talk about other current relationships.

Don't make jokes in poor taste (if you have a sick sense of humor, let this be one of those things you work into gradually.)

Don't touch. Don't kiss. Don't go to bed with this person. Shake hands or if you can pull it off, kiss her hand. Don't make overt sexual innuendos or convey sexual overtones in any way. Someone who is chasing you for sex is mostly a turnoff someone who acts like they could take you or leave you, is intriguing. (Don't be aloof, just wait for an invitation, a little patience will get you a lot further in the long run.)

Don't act desperate or make self-disparaging remarks (fishing for compliments.)

Don't talk too much always hold back some things for later. Leave a little mystery and let yourself unfold gradually. (Like your past visits to the shrink or jail time, etc.)

Don't look at other people, give your date your entire attention.

Don't take anything too seriously or too personally. Give them the benefit of the doubt.

Don't interrogate, ask questions, please, but don't grill. And never push someone to answer something that they don't want to answer.

Don't lie.

Things To Do

If you're uncomfortable or fear for your safety, do not hesitate to just leave use the back door if you have to.

Bring a small gift a flower, a small book of something which would be of interest to him, or his kids, etc.

Be positive. Be happy.

Bring enough money (in cash, if possible) to pay for yourself.

Be yourself don't try to fit someone else's image of who they want.

Enjoy yourself remember, this is supposed to be fun! More Reading: