First dates don’t have to be so nerve-wracking, and yet for so many guys they are. We’ve already told you in Part I of our first date series how to prep for said date. But now it’s time to actually go on said date. Be yourself. That’s a very important thing to remember going into the actual date. While you want to impress her, I’m sure, do not force her to be impressed. As I’ve repeatedly declared, a first date should be a time when you both have a great night out doing something, getting to know each other and then generally reflecting positively on the time you’ve spent together. So I’ll tell you how do to that with some great date ideas and some places and topics you should most certainly avoid.

Coffee can actually be a nice way for the girl to check you out with a lot less pressure than dinner, drinks or any other activity. This means that your second date is also more special, because she’s already evaluated whether you’re a huge piece of shit or not.

Good Ideas For a First Date -Get drinks at a bar, where you can actually get a reservation, that serves good drinks and isn’t so loud that you can’t hear each other. If you can’t get reservations but just gosh darnit wanna try, at least have some past experience as to whether you can just walk in and get a seat. From the other side: My girlfriend actually advises that her and a few friends don’t like going for drinks, counting the drinks the guy is putting away, and more importantly the date actually has the connotation that the guy “wants to get you drunk” for “potential intercourse.” This is why you want to go for drinks that are special, rather than just getting drinks because alcohol makes you calmer. -Get dinner at a restaurant that you really like and can pre-establish she will like, too. This requires one of those pesky conversations beforehand, but also puts you back into that mode of having a good time when you get there. Dinners can be super dicey, and oftentimes both sides are afraid to eat at places that are potentially messy (BBQ, burgers, wings). If you’re feeling lucky, you can do it. You probably shouldn’t. -Coffee can actually work: While a day date can be bad news, if you can establish that it’s a date, a real date, it can actually be a nice way for the girl to check you out with a lot less pressure than dinner, drinks or any other activity. This means that your second date is also more special, because she’s already evaluated whether you’re a huge piece of shit or not. -Try out a mutually enjoyable activity. Dave and Busters, mini golf, a batting cage, whatever it is—do something casual that’s fun and low-pressure. For example, Urban Putt in San Francisco is a place you can play mini-golf and have a beer. Relaxing. Fun. You’re doing something together. Side note: Do not do this if you’re ultra-competitive. If you are that guy who is going to be a big angry baby idiot because you lost at throwing balls in a hoop, don’t do this. If you get embarrassed when you’re bad at something, don’t do this. If you are the guy who yells “YEAH, HELL YEAH, IN YOUR FACE, WOOOOOO!” no matter what menial win you get, don’t do this. For example, I’m terrible at bowling and I become a big, grumpy asshole when I try (and fail), because I have the coordination skills of a drunk walrus. Also, don’t go if you’re really, really good at the thing. She probably won’t be impressed and you’ll probably be transparently trying to show off.

Go for drinks that are special, rather than just getting drinks because alcohol makes you calmer.

Bad Ideas For a First Date -Whatever you do, do not bring friends, do not let her bring friends, whatever you do, you do not want to do a group activity! Good lord, how many people do this? Why would you willingly make a thing about two people about more than two people? This is a guaranteed distraction from you. Hell, you’ll probably stare at some other girl and get in trouble, or she’ll fancy your friend and you’re screwed. -Avoid restaurants that only have tasting menus. If your date is going badly you are trapped there for a long, long time. A long, expensive, potentially not that tasty time. -Also avoid sports games, unless you’re both avid sports fans and this is seriously a mutual passion—in which case, move this to the “good” pile, especially with good seats. This is actually an okay thing if, for some reason, she really wants to learn the game. But, again, you are in danger of her being distracted from talking to you, or being bored, or both. This has serious potential to lead you to not be able to have a conversation or get to know each other. -Do not go to the movies. Wow, a date where you don’t talk to each other and deliberately look away from each other for two hours? Terrible idea! Not only that, you’re taking a girl into a dark room who doesn’t really know you. Don’t try and kiss her. Don’t try and make a move. Don’t go to the movies. -Don’t even suggest a trip. Seriously, guys say to girls as a first date, “Let’s go to my cabin in Tahoe,” or somesuch business. Dude, this is a transparent attempt to get into her pants. If it’s not, you’re moving about 10 dates too fast. -Physical activity that requires some level of fitness is not a first date. Unless you are both into fitness and want to go rock climbing or something along those lines, going for some sort of run, a marathon, a bike ride, whatever it is that you’re thinking, is probably a bad idea. One of you is going to be unhappy, if not both of you. Why an “active” first date is not recommended. -Your place—No, dude, come on. If you’re asking a girl over to your place on a first date you are either saying to her a) I have no ideas, ever, b) I’m too lazy to leave my own place (No, I don’t care if you think you’re a great cook, even if you are, good lord, go out, neutral territory is the idea here) or c) you want to have sex with her and want to get to that as quickly as possible. -Never take a first date to your favorite bar in town, in your favorite spot, where you’re a regular. This is lame and stupid and can poison your favorite place. Here’s how! The “Hey man! Remember last night!?” – your buddy Scrote behind the bar loudly says, “Hey man! Great seeing you! Man you really put them away the other day! You were really barfing!” or something along those lines. The “Hey, great seeing you again! Oh.” – your buddy Scrote incorrectly assumes that this girl is the last girl you brought there. The “Oh hey, he’s great!” – Your buddy Scrote is a bit weird and desperately tries to help you. He way, way over-sells you. In fact he won’t shut the hell up. The Horrible Date – The date goes horribly and you now have had a bad experience in your favorite bar. The Good Date That Leads To a Bad Breakup – You have a great time in your favorite place. What a memory! God, you guys talk about it all the time as your cute first date. Two years later you break up, and you will never, ever forget that special time that is now a bad memory. Whoops.

Avoid restaurants that only have tasting menus. If your date is going badly you are trapped there for a long, long time. A long, expensive, potentially not that tasty time.

First Date Topics Avoid the following: -Your dick. -Your ex. -Your sex life, such as how much sex you’ve had or how good a sex-haver you are. -Finding another girl attractive. -Religion or politics, unless you’ve established already that you’re on the same page, and even then this is WAY too intense. -How much money you have, or the expensive things you own. -How awesome you are at anything. There are guys who sit there and talk about how badass they are at X activity. It’s tacky. -An infection, a disease, a broken bone, unless it’s a funny story and not super gross. -Your bodily fluids. -Any story involving you getting super drunk or super high or arrested or you doing drugs. -Any crimes you’ve committed (I can’t believe I have to write this, but I’ve heard three separate stories involving this). Okay. Now to the date, and the conversations within—and this isn’t a script, so don’t just memorize it and try and hit each point: -Don’t show off. Don’t roll up in a Maserati. If you’re actually driving a Maserati because it’s your car, just park it and don’t mention it. Seriously, don’t mention it. If she brings it up, say, “Yeah that’s my car, I like it,” and move on. Don’t talk about how much you make. Don’t talk about your expensive things. Don’t talk about how big your apartment is. Don’t talk about how awesome you are at everything. Don’t boast! It’s just that easy. -Got a pet? Talk about your pet. Got a little sister or brother or adorable niece? Talk about them! This is a nice, fun, non-materialistic, boyfriend-material conversation topic. If she doesn’t like either, well, you didn’t talk to her beforehand, your goddamn fault. -Talk about your hobbies, but not too much (and not your action figure collection). -When it comes to your job, talk about it normally. I have never been on a date where I wasn’t asked about my job. Talk about your job. If she asks if you’re any good, and you are, by all means say, “Yeah, I do alright.” Just be normal about it. Have a normal conversation like you’d have with a friend. In the end, if it’s going really, really well, this will all come perfectly naturally. The cadence of a conversation with that special spark is very obvious. You’ll feel butterflies, she’ll be smiling, laughing, talking over you and with you and generally it’ll “feel” right. If you’re getting the gut feeling that she’s bored, or you’re bored, then she or you probably are and it’s not going well. This is why you should choose something that’s enjoyable or tasty. You are looking to salvage a bad night or enhance a good one.

Don’t show off. Don’t roll up in a Maserati. If you’re actually driving a Maserati because it’s your car, just park it and don’t mention it. Seriously, don’t mention it.

Finally… Kiss the Girl (Or Don’t) This is a much-disputed conclusion to this piece. If you’re walking her to get a cab, maybe test the waters by reaching to walk with her hand-in-hand. If she pulls away, in most cases you should know that your date is over; you have not scored; you will not see her again. Sorry, man. If she doesn’t want to hold your hand, she doesn’t want any other part of you either. If she takes your hand, hold it, maybe give it a squeeze, turn toward her and look in her eyes. Honestly, getting close to her face will probably say “I should kiss her,” but advice from women I’ve talked to on this very subject is “kiss her on the cheek.” However, this is one where your instinct should kick in. She may close that gap for you and go for a kiss. She may take that kiss on the cheek, and because you’re close, she’ll kiss you right the hell back. Do not wait for her to make a move—this is your job. If you do end up kissing her, go for a romantic one, do not attempt to make out with her in public. If she wants to do that, you’ll know when she starts making out with you. Really, a lot of this is common sense. Some of you will invariably tell me in the comments how obvious it is. Remember guys… Not everyone’s good at this. Or even mediocre. They’re bad. Your buddies that boast about being dating superstars may not even be good at it, as you’re not on the date to find out. Stay safe out there, lads. Photo Credit: Twenty20|@photo.awareness

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