A first date is the same today as it was 20 years ago. All the expected awkwardness that happened in an intimate meeting between any two individuals from back then still happens today. People are the same. And, since people have not changed, the way that they respond to each other has not changed either. Other than a few subtleties, if a guy follows a few simple rules, he should do well with his date. There may or may not be chemistry, but if he sticks to the script and the woman is not a total putz, then both parties should at least have a good time. A little known secret amongst guys in the know is that it’s actually much easier for a guy in the digital age to score a win on the first date because of the inherent advantage of open dialogue through technology. Here are 4 simple rules men must follow to have a successful first date in the digital age.
Obviously things are going to progress differently if the lady was found on eHarmony, Match.com, or at a bar on St. Patrick’s Day. If you desire just a romp in the bed, proceed appropriately. If potential long term success is what you crave, treat her and the scenario as such. Women generally always know what they want out of a man and the situation, so it’s important to go into things with a game plan. Back in the days of Bill Walsh, the San Francisco 49ers used to script their first 15 or so plays. It’s always better to be prepared, and the first step in preparation is deciding what you actually want. If you’ve been talking online for several day or weeks you can easily construct a date plan around the things you know she enjoys. It’s even easier than talking on the phone because you don’t have to remember anything; a transcript of the conversation already exists! Speaking of the phone, while communicating, excess emoticons can be a death sentence, so tread carefully if you actually like the girl you’re pursuing. Facebook, texting, and online dating have taken a lot of the natural anxiety out of the courting process, so use that to your advantage.
Everyone loves GPS devices; they make everything easier … except when they don’t. Whether you’re picking up the woman or not, have the address of the destination already programmed into the device. Don’t wait until you’re leaving her house or yours to do this. If the GPS can’t find the location, you’re screwed, will be late, and/or look like an idiot. It also doesn’t hurt to actually Google map or MapQuest the place, send it to your phone, write it down, or have a general idea of where it’s located. Furthermore, I know you have those 30 followers on Twitter, and I know you just have to make status updates every 1 hour on Facebook, but leave the cell phone alone. There is nothing ruder than a date playing with their phone every 10 minutes. Constant phone alerts for texts, calls, or tweets is also very distracting. Please turn your phone to silent or vibrate. If you really have to check your phone, excuse yourself to the restroom, or well in advance tell your date that you have a very important work call or email that you have to attend to at a certain time. After you’re done, apologize, put the phone away, and give her your undivided attention. The last tech trick to get an edge is in reference to music. Even if you don’t pick her up, at some point she may be in your car (you guys go to a second location that has terrible parking, you drive her back to her car after the date), so preparation is key. Make sure the car is clean, and make sure you have good music on CD or iPod. You don’t have to fake what you like, but with a sweet lady in the car, it’s probably not the best time to be blasting anything extreme like gangster rap or death metal. Even if those are your preferred genres of music, I guarantee that you have something softer that you can dig up for the evening.
That picture of you online from high school when you had the six-pack is nice, but it happened 10 years ago. If you don’t still look like that (and even if you do), it’s important to look great for your date. Get a haircut, shave, trim your fingernails, use mouthwash, iron your clothes (don’t just throw them in the dryer for a few minutes), wear cologne, and get rid of the unibrow … unless your name is Anthony Davis. People generally post online pictures of themselves looking their best or absolute worst, so by date time, the lucky lady already has seen various pics of you. Give her a good impression, and show her that those good images of you are the norm, not the outlier. It would probably also be best to not post or be tagged in any possibly concerning or salacious pictures in the days leading up to the date happening. In all reality, it’s probably best to not broadcast such encounters at any time.
Talking … in person
There is no keyboard, monitor, or cell phone. Everything has to be in person, gasp! Feel free to reference things you know she enjoys, things you have in common, or silly things you can tease her about. This is much easier to do in 2012 because all of those things have been elucidated well before you meet up. Trust me, even if you’re not yet dating, a quick perusal of most women’s Facebook page lets you know exactly what they like, their patterns of behavior, and their turnoffs. They’ve given you a free road map to their heart! The great thing is that if things ever start to get away from you, you can always steer the discussion back to a neutral and safe territory. This was much harder 20 years ago, when everyone is starting from scratch, and the date was more of a means of detective work, not a test of compatibility. This may be obvious, but try to avoid bringing up stupid things that are trending on Twitter, how many friends, followers, likes, or whatever you have on social media sites. This date is now happening in the real world, not some nebulous virtual realm where nothing is actually real.