Let’s face it – we aren’t 100% Casanovas. Dating can be as confusing, messy and imperfect as we are, and there’s always the chance that we’ll fudge something on that precious introduction. Cringe-worthy first date mistakes are enough to make us wish we had tails, just so we could tuck them between our legs and whimper beseechingly at our partner to say nothing of this to anyone, ever.
But, alas, life isn’t that rosy. It’s much more preferable to avoid these faux pas before they cannon your date to dust. Here are some thoughts for dodging romantic shrapnel…
1. Late appearances
The only adorably bad timekeeper was a certain white rabbit, and even he was moments from an aneurysm at the best of times. Running late stresses you the heck out, and gives your toe-tapping beau the impression of being a second thought. Arriving 10-15 minutes ahead of schedule gives you room to compose yourself, and erases the possibility of turning someone off before you’ve even said “hello”.
2. Getting deep
You grab their hand out of some misplaced permission, stroke it tenderly, and stare with meaning into the slowly-terrified eyes of your opposite number. “You know,” comes the whisper, “I think your cheekbones remind me of my best friend from high school. We’re not in touch anymore. Actually…” And before they know it, you’re knee-deep in an intense recollection, one that might sink this early, light-hearted stage of the courting process.
3. Regurgitating exes
When you organise a date, the implications are writ large on your pre-meet texts: this is a time for both of you to be in the here and now, to focus on what one person can represent for you. Therefore, it’s very, very advisable to swerve away from any ex-girlfriend/boyfriend talk. Even if someone royally screwed you over, there’s no cause to bring it up at this moment – you might look resentful, obsessive, or plain ignorant.
So we all want to make a splash with the venue of choice, evidencing how cultured and wholesome we are. The scales, however, can tilt too much towards pretension. Do you really need to have a £40 steak to impress someone, or order a bottle of champagne five minutes before her taxi’s due? Pomposity takes many forms, and one of those is trying too hard. Being okay with the basics is infinitely more virtuous.
5. Gift buying
News flash – it’s not the 1940’s! Seriously, you can create untold levels of awkwardness if you bring a gift to the meet-up. If you’re walking around for hours, your date now has to carry an expensive bouquet, don’t they, or wear some kind of novelty charm bracelet whilst ignoring your obvious glances at their wrist? Buying a present for someone before you’ve ascertained whether there’s ‘match potential’ is akin to slapping a big label on your head reading “I’m desperate”.
Now that you’ve seen what not to do, think before you date, and make that first meeting a bomb-free time for the two of you. It can be sweet to fail at seduction, but only if you do it in small doses. Any huge leaps into the waters of cringe will sink your stab at love, so keep it a casual, prepared, and moderate experience, with plenty of tact on the side.