Every marriage or week-long fling begins somewhere, and more often than not they blossom out of a first date. But, whether you’re at a local teppanyaki eatery or a destination wine bar, the occasion has the potential to be filled with awkward silences, inappropriate puns and, worst of all, a conversation about the touchy topic of Brexit. So, to help you master the riddle of the first date and impress the person opposite you, here’s everything you need to know…
Dress well, but don’t overdress
Yes, the age-old saying that a man’s shoes says a lot about himself is true – at least when it comes to first dates. While some battered converse will resonate lazy adolescent vibes, a pair of well-kempt desert boots will convince others that you have your act together.
But don’t just ensure that your footwear game is up to scratch – everything else you wear has to be equally as stylish and clean. Steer away from wearing anything overly formal (unless you’re coming from work, and in that case, lose the tie and pop open that top button) and go for something you’d wear on a Saturday afternoon. Think Sunspel polos, Harrington jackets, slim-fit jeans or basically anything Steve McQueen would wear. It’s a cliché, but first impressions will immediately set the tone for the rest of your evening.
Choose somewhere you know is good
Avoid going anywhere you’re unfamiliar with. At all costs. There may be a queuing system, the staff could be unfriendly, it may be a reservations-only venue, you could have had a past relationship with the maître D’. All these scenarios (and more) could kill any mood, so opt for somewhere you know is a certified winner, whether it be a classic bistro or a charming bar. That way you won’t encounter any surprises or hiccups when trying to impress.
Talk about yourself
There’s a fine line between being a good listener and being a complete mute, so not only should you listen to everything your date has to say, but also contribute to the conversation. Start with the basics, such as family and interests, and then branch out into discussions about any mutual interests you both may have.
You’re basically selling an idea of yourself to the person opposite you, and giving them a glimpse into your life is the most obvious way to do so. Just don’t share too many personal details and remain self-deprecated throughout the evenings; boasting about your six-figure pay packet or that time you found yourself when trekking across the Andes in 2011 are guaranteed turn-offs.
Watch your drink
It’s most likely the case that you’ll be at a cocktail bar or a restaurant with a piquant wine offering, but – for the sake of your dignity – refrain from maxing out on your alcohol intake, even if inebriation helps you relax. Sure, if your date decides to race ahead on the booze, then by all means go ahead and join them; just try and avoid being a solo drunk.
Your joke may not land well as you wanted it to (in fact, stay away from any unbefitting one-liners altogether), you could end up babbling on about how great your ex was at getting the best out of you and, god forbid, you may even end up flirting with the waiting staff. A good flow of drinks may spark some romantic fuel between you both, but at the same time it can be your enemy.
My place or yours?
If the night has gone well and you’ve both felt a connection, then what’s stopping you? However, if the designated destination is your apartment, make sure your abode is looking the best it can (or at least, the lighting is dim enough so that your guest won’t notice the unwashed pile of laundry in the corner).
However, not all great dates lead to sex. So, if you want a second rendezvous with that person, then walk them to whichever mode of transport they’re about to take home and send a message straight after – a small message letting them know that you had a great time and want to meet up again will suffice. After all, a gentleman keeps things classy and simple.
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