first impressions

We’ve all been there. Freshly arrived at your date venue, waiting for your, as yet unmet, internet date to wander suavely through the door and greet you.


They enter. They seem to be normal. They look like their profile picture. They smile and kiss you on the cheek to say hello. Thus, they have lured you into falsely having hope that maybe, just maybe, they will be The One.


Then it happens. Something about them, during the course of your date will be revealed and you will fixate on it. I mean, obsess. Completely and utterly be unable to remove it from your mind. The date will end and you will go home disappointed and ready to tell anyone who will listen about, well, that thing. What was it again? You know it was something awful…


Are you guilty of this behavior? Working yourself up to meet a person you connected with on Free and Single, only to convince yourself it could never work as a relationship within the first thirty minutes due to some indefinable characteristic? I don’t suppose you are just being picky, are you?


We all have little things that annoy us. For me, its the sound of people eating with their mouth open. Bleurgh. If a date lacked basic table manners or grammatical ability, I’d immediately downgrade them from ‘Possible Mate’ to ‘No way, Jose!’


So, in order to help us make a favourable first impression, I have a little list of no-nos that could be the difference between thirty minutes and thirty dates.

What not to do on a first date

Top Ten List of What NOT to do on a Date

  1. Leaving your coat/hat/gloves on during your posh dinner for no apparent reason.
  2. Not knowing when to stop drinking and having to be carried home or put into a taxi which charges extra in case you throw up on the upholstery.
  3. Talking exhaustively about your ex, your relationship, what went wrong, how you could have done better and ending by sobbing uncontrollably. (Hint: You’re not ready to date yet!)
  4. Berating the waiter, maitre’d, hostess, manager, or indeed, anyone at all is bad manners.
  5. Picking your nose, burping loudly, farting, dribbling, or any other private bodily functions should remain private. At least until your thirtieth wedding anniversary.
  6. Ordering lots of food, sending it back to the kitchen, getting continual refills, eating everything in sight and then patting your pockets at the end of the meal with a ‘Sorry, left my card at home!’
  7. Talking of ordering, let your date order for themselves unless they expressly ask you to do it for them. There is nothing more annoying than someone you have just met choosing your meal for you.
  8. Top up drinks unless you have both agreed. (Also see No. 2). No-one wants to be pressured into drinking more than they feel comfortable with, or feel forced into matching you drink for drink, even if you can down twenty pints with no ill effect. (Ha!)
  9. Start an interrogation. Medical history, past relationships, daily routines and dietary activity are all subjects that have no place at the first date table.
  10. Stand them up. No matter how nervous you are, or how much you are immediately convinced on catching a glimpse of them at the bar that they hold no interest for you, never, never,  stand someone up. You are not to hurt someone who is just out, putting themselves on the line and looking for love, same as you. Always give them a chance. Always.


Dating at breakfast time - what to wear?

‘Fancy a Bagel?’ Breakfast Date


If you’re off to breakfast together, make an effort. To be fair, this goes for every date, but the last thing you want is for her to start her day staring across the table at a bleary eyed, hair-mussed, scraggly shaved example of manhood. Go to bed early, get up on time, shower! Dress in lighter colours but stick to smart silhouettes – ironed trousers, soft shirt, layering jumper. Come prepared to discuss the day ahead.


Obviously, you have to dress for the day in front of you but stick in something special to give a nod to the fact you’re meeting a date first. Make sure you give yourself time in the morning do do your hair and make-up to your satisfaction and wear softer colours than you would in the evening. A white shirt and colourful silk scarf is a fail safe option every women can pull out of the wardrobe to look classy and pulled together early in the morning.


Take a date to lunch to get to know them better


‘Let’s do Lunch’ Date


It’s lunchtime, your morning passed in a blur, you feel run ragged already. Head to the bathroom! Splash some cold water on your face and wrists, re-apply deodorant and re-style your hair if necessary. If you were super prepared, slip on the spare shirt you brought with you and be fresh as a daisy when you walk into the lunch date. Smart shoes are a must, unless you’re doing street vendor food, in which case have a back-up plan for where to sit if it rains.


Your head is still concentrating on the details for that afternoon meeting and your nervous hair twirling has caused a frizz situation. To the ladies room! A wash of the hands, a spritz of perfume and a bouff up of the hair under the blowdryer serves to have you ready to charm and chat all through lunch. Take a smaller bag with you to keep your focus on your date and not your iphone. Slip a cosy cardigan on to break down the ‘I’m at work’ barriers and help you relax over lunchtime.


What to wear to the date you know is breaking up with you


‘We Need to Talk’ Break-up Date


If you are about to ditch someone, tone down your look. Dress in sombre colours and at least look like you spent the last few nights in anguish over your decision. If you think you are about to be subjected to the ‘It’s not you, it’s me’ line yourself, dress like you own your own very successful company, have legions of adoring fans awaiting you around every corner and have only to buy a new deodorant to have women swarming all over you. Think smart shoes, fresh haircut, dab of fresh cologne. You’ve already moved on, baby.


If you are about to commence break-up speech number two with your unfortunate date, have the decency to look average, or better, plain. Dark colours, nothing fancy with your hair or make-up, simple clothes. No need to twist the dagger, as it were. However, if you suspect you’re about to get dumped, look fabulous. Accentuate your figure, get a blow dry, wear your favorite lipstick and don some sexy (but walkable) heels. Accept the dumping with a glossy smile, then sashay out of there like you’re off to meet the President for drinks.


What to wear for your engagement


‘Will you Marry Me’ Date


If you’re getting down on one knee, start off with a good quality, dark trouser – no need to have dirt decorating your knees for the rest of the day, especially as you’re likely to be either wining and dining your new fiancee or else drowning your sorrows in the pub with your mates. Depending on how you plan to pop the question, add a suitable top half of the outfit (polo shirt if active, ironed shirt if dressed up and tee shirt…no, never a tee shirt. Make some effort, please). Make sure you have a jacket with a secure inner pocket, natch.


If you’re the one trying to make an honest man of him, good for you. See above. If you merely suspect that you are about to be proposed to, put some extra effort in. After all, there will likely be photos and these pictures will stick around for the entire rest of your life, so no pressure. Get your hair done before your date, keep your make-up simple and classic – anything trendy will date so fast and have you hiding those pictures within the year. Dress appropriately for the venue and get a French manicure, you know. Just in case.



More advice on what to wear for a first date

Get some date ideas that nix the classic ‘I have nothing to wear’ wail by their very nature.

Planning your outfit along with your date