‘I’m five minutes away’, he says, after being already at least thirty minutes late. Meanwhile, another time waster is attempting to chat-me-up, whilst I’m on the phone to my friend. All I really want to do is take off these uncomfortable heels, stuff my face with food after my long day at work and reunite with my ever-so-comfortable bed. But instead, I wait some more, because I’m clearly, an idiot. Suffice to say, he never showed up, I waited over an hour and then made my way home, pissed off and freezing; meanwhile being bombarded with messages from him offering to come to me, not happening. Note to self never go out of my way for a guy I don’t know again. But I guess when a guy is attractive it cuts off the logical side of your brain, as I ended up giving in, and agreeing to a first date attempt two. I should have trusted my gut instincts.
This time he was late, yet again, so I left, but luckily for him by the time he got there I was still around, as my friend had called me before I went underground so the date went ahead. He turned up in a very casual, boring outfit and isn’t half as attractive as I remembered (damn you misleading nightclub lighting!) I wish I hadn’t made such an effort. Ideally, women want a balance between someone good-looking and someone with a great personality that we can connect with. Attraction is very important; speaking from experience, when it’s not there and then his personality starts to lack it’s a one-stop trip to repulsion (which is never good). There is also the worry that if he is too good-looking, your insecurities will worsen and the green-eyed-monster will make an appearance. For the record, psycho-stalker is never a good look.
You’d think with all the messages about making it up to me for the first disastrous attempt he’d at least have something planned, but oh no. We end up walking around central London in the cold, while he brainstorms a plan, and after all this time the best he can come up with of all places is… Subway. You’ve got to be kidding, right? This guy has made it to his mid-twenties and still thinks a fast food restaurant is an acceptable place for a first date? I’m waiting for the laughter and the ‘I’m just joking’ line, it doesn’t happen though. After what felt like hours of aimlessly walking around he finally just gives in and agrees to Nandos, as it’s close-by and he’s rejected my many other suggestions. We take a seat and resume the awkward, forced conversation while we decide what to order. I go up to order with him just in case he expects me to pay for myself (god forbid) but thankfully he doesn’t. After many questions to the staff (who doesn’t understand how Nandos works? Like really?); we finally get our food. Thinking about conversation topics is so hard when you’ve lost interest in the guy and he’s acting shy; the fact that we seemed to have very little in common also made things difficult. I’m used to confident, talkative men who take charge of the conversation, demonstrating their so called ‘game’. I don’t know how to deal with shy.
After we finish eating he tries to prolong the date by suggesting drinks, but we ended up at an arcade, no, seriously; so I was expecting the smooth, predictable moves of him showing me how to play, and then letting me win, but oh no. He slaughters me in every single game, and then wonders why I’m not enjoying myself. Note to men reading this, competition should be with your friends not someone you’ve just met. After the arcade, we do more walking (guess I don’t have to bother with the gym this week). Until we end up in Soho, surrounded by gay clubs and sex shops, which I was very comfortable with; Steve* on the other hand then went into a homophobic rant, turning me off further, as ignorance is never a good sign. The rest of the conversation started flowing a bit easier, but he was coming across as a bit dumb; I need someone I can learn from, not someone I have to teach, especially as he was older than me. Home-time couldn’t have come soon enough, but then there was the uncomfortable saying goodbye situation. He’d already used corny lines to get his arm around me, was he going to attempt kissing me? Not sure I wanted that to happen. Thankfully he got the hint, yet remained a gentleman and made sure I got home OK.
I don’t know how some women can sleep with guys on the first date. It is always a bad idea if you are looking for a serious relationship, as he will see things as casual if it’s easy for him to get you into bed. He will also assume that it has been easy for other guys to sleep with you and therefore, will not see you as marriage material. Steve Harvey’s relationship guide ‘Act Like a Lady, Think Like a Man’ suggests the ninety day rule. Wherein you wait ninety days from your first date to sleep with the guy, but within that time see him regularly, so that he has to work harder to get sex and respects you more for not being easy. Sticking to this rule will also set you apart from his past experiences and make him see you as unique and something worth waiting for (allegedly). How you act on a first date can really change his perception of you, and lets him know whether to take you seriously or just see you as a casual booty call. For instance, mentioning your ex on a first date is a big NO, as it shows you are not over the past and there is the chance of drama he does not need. Mentioning weddings and children straight away is also a big NO, because even if he is ready to settle down, you rattling on like you want it to happen straightaway will scare off most men, they need to believe it is their choice and that they’re not being forced into it. Being too flirtatious and sexual on a first date is also a big NO, unless you’re happy with a casual arrangement; as in his eyes they are the tell-tale signs of a slut.
Despite the awful date, Steve* still assumed there would be another one, so eventually I had to tell him the truth, that I wasn’t interested in any more than friendship. Unsurprisingly, I haven’t heard from him since. Judging from social media opinion polls, I’m not the only one with bad dating experiences. As the results would suggest, some of the other major turn offs on a first date include; someone arrogant who is only interested in talking about themselves (yawn); someone who has bad personal hygiene and doesn’t take care of themselves; someone who is being antisocial and clearly has no manners; someone who doesn’t act like a gentleman; someone who constantly brags about material possessions to get your attention; someone who keeps bringing up his ex; someone who openly looks at and flirts with other women; someone who gets carried away talking about your future together too soon. All major dating no-no’s.
According to body language experts, men only have about ten different ways to show interest in a partner, whereas women have fifty-two. Some signals can have more than one meaning, so be aware to recognise them within the context of what he is actually saying to you, and the level of eye contact he is giving. Before a man even knows he likes you he may; lift an eyebrow, slightly open his mouth when looking at you (obviously drool is a sign he really, really likes you!), or stand apart from his friends to seem more approachable. Just like women, when a man finds you attractive he will resume certain gestures to make himself appear more attractive (their version of a compact check) to get your attention; for instance, playing with his tie, pulling up his socks, and running his fingers through his hair. In some respects, men still have not progressed past cavemen, and they feel the need to prove how macho they are to get the ladies. He may sit with his legs open to draw attention to his, ahem, package; place his hands on his hips or chest, or lean into your personal space to notch up the intensity. Things may feel as though someone has pressed the fast forward button at one point, because he needs things, like playing with an ashtray, smoking and drinking more, or to fiddle with his clothes to keep his hands busy, while he attempts to block dirty thoughts of what else his hands could be doing (you know what I’m implying). Once you have hooked him with your female prowess, he may begin to make some protective gestures to alert you, and all the men around you, that he likes you. This could mean putting his arm around the back of your chair; buying the drinks, or putting his jacket around you to keep you warm. When a guy is not sure about whether he likes you he will tug at his ear, stroke his chin or put his hand to his cheek, because how else could he possibly make a decision?
So here’s what I’ve learnt. Don’t put too much pressure on the guy being Mr Right, especially on a first date. The higher your expectations are, the more likely you are to be disappointed. First impressions, although important, do not always give an accurate depiction of the person. He may be nervous, just like you, and do things he wouldn’t normally do. Plus there’s only so much you can find out about a person after meeting them once, everyone has multiple layers that take time to reveal the real person. So do not be quick to dismiss someone for minor offences, but if there’s more than a few, feel free to kick his ass to the curb! And find your Mr Wonderful.
Despite some truly awful date experiences, checklist dating is still not the way to go find out why:
Getting ready for a first date can sometimes be a nerve-wracking experience, don’t let your hair and make up be some of the things stressing you.