Take a second and think back to all of the lovey-dovey stuff you’ve seen in films—calling up her father to ask if you can take her out, laying your coat down over puddles, walking on the outside of the sidewalk to shield her from traffic. Now… burn it out of your brain. First dates can be nerve-wracking, but a lot of your anxiety is self-inflicted. If you’re stressing about any of the following, you shouldn’t be—because it’s 2016 and she isn’t either.
Dressing Up: Just do you. Unless you’re headed somewhere that requires you to be dressed to the nines (it’s far too early for that anyway), don’t worry about it. Because when you show up in exactly not that by date two, she’ll wish she knew that before she agreed to seeing you again. Wear what you want to wear and if she digs it, she digs it. If she doesn’t, someone else will like your graphic tee (fingers crossed).
Picking Her Up: This is not a make or break. If you live in the ’burbs, absolutely offer to pick her up. She may say no if she doesn’t feel comfortable hopping in an enclosed vehicle with you or wants an easy escape later. Or maybe she has a sweet whip and just likes driving. Just offer and she’ll tell you. If you live in the city, meet her there and, if you so choose, offer to grab her an uber back.
Bringing Flowers: “He didn’t bring me flowers on the first date,” complained no girl ever. Showing up without flowers is like showing up to your clown gig with a red nose and big shoes… a.k.a. very normal. Flowers could be that bonus confetti-popper that gets kids excited—or that bonus confetti-popper that freaks some kids out because you went overboard. So take it easy, Uncle Majic.
Going Somewhere Fancy: First dates are about confirming each other’s statuses as mostly-law-abiding humans who incite some sort of fuzzy feeling when you “accidentally” brush knees under the table. Nothing more. So long as you pick somewhere you can converse comfortably, and it isn’t an inconvenience to her, you’re fine. Just don’t do the whole back-and-forth thing; if you ask her out, pick a place, tell her said place, go to said place.
Ordering an Expensive Dish: Going for something cheap doesn’t make you look cheap, so long as you don’t order an appetizer as your meal. Just pick somewhere you can afford (not sure why this must be said but, contrary to popular belief, Five Guys is not a date) or skip food and just grab drinks. It’s all good.
Talking Yourself Up: Talking a lot is one thing. Talking a lot about yourself is an entirely other thing. Chatting it up probably indicates that conversation is easily flowing, or that you’ve lasted long enough to have enough drinks to make you so darn chatty. That said, if you’re talking about yourself and not asking much of anything about her, you’re talking too much.
Chivalrous Gestures: Holding doors and pulling out chairs are simply polite things to do, not because she needs you to do it, but because you have manners. Doing so might show her that your momma raised you right. But doing so obnoxiously—like running in front of her to grab the door and gesturing her to enter—is just stupid. No need to throw elbows to get the door first.
Waiting Two Days After the Date to Text Her Again: Whose idea was this? This rule perpetuates absurd notions like good guys finish last and expressing interest is a verbal manifestation of desperation. Really, all it does is drive women to question if they were good enough and offers validation to playboys. In 2016, calling or texting someone the next day to say, “I had a great time,” is nothing but a kind thing to do.