How did I screw up? Well at first I couldn’t figure it out. I did everything right. Showed up on time. Wore a suit. Picked up the check. Waited with her as she hailed a cab. By every respectable metric, I scored mad points.
Which is the problem. I did everything she expected a guy to do. There was nothing differentiating me from the endless supply of cordial, tepid staffer drones populating this city.
Anyone can try and be a perfect gentleman. Let me throw my madras coat over your bare shoulders to protect you from this chill. There’s nothing endearing or enjoyable about that. And if the 90s taught us anything, it’s that trying is lame.
But it’s not just that. This is 2012. We have molecular gastronomy and black presidents and your phone can double as a flashlight. Conventions and norms are out.
Which is why everything guys are doing on first dates is wrong.
You’re selecting a place you think the girl will like: Fuck that. Everyone these days is deferential and polite. You are allergic to Thai food? We can just avoid Chinatown altogether. Why present yourself as an effete pushover before ever meeting someone?
No. Instead, don’t take any of her recommendations into account. In fact, don’t even solicit suggestions. When she asks what the plan is just text back “Martinis and pork belly.” She’ll be in awe of your brusque nature.
You’re shaving beforehand: Oh, you took the time to present your best face before this date? You’re already in trouble, because now she knows you are trying to impress her. And there’s nothing girls like less than guys who like them. You’d have a better chance showing up with a construction paper card stating your affection.
Instead, shave three days before. You’ll look like a cowboy or someone working undercover to infiltrate a terrorist organization. Plus, not shaving will mess with her head, putting into it a torrent of self-doubt. Does he not care?
You’re having a drink beforehand: Look at you, all cool and liquor-suave and loquacious. You’re so charming. That’s exactly what she’ll be thinking. Or, she’ll think you were so nervous you couldn’t arrive before putting back a cocktail. No, show up as sober as a horse—or any other teeotaling animal. If you need a vice to calm yourself, have a cigarette. It will baffle her. Why would he smoke before meeting me. That’s so rude. Because it’s about doing the unexpected.
And lest you think a woman would never date a man who smokes, remember, every girl loves doing things that will cause her to hate herself later in life.
You’re arriving on time: Do you have any idea what this says about you? Oh, hi. I was so excited for this date that I rearranged my entire day just to be punctual. No. Show up eighteen minutes late and she begins to think you aren’t interested. Appear frazzled when you arrive. Sorry, this, a client called, panicking and I just had to rearrange a ton of funds or—well, sorry. Never mind. Who cares if you don’t have clients? You should have clients. Women are insatiably attracted to men in the finance industry.
Then, after a moment, appear to noticeably calm down while looking at her. She will think it’s her presence that is easing you, which plays to her nurturing side.
You’re suggesting a second drink: Never do this. So what if you could sip sidecars in a corner booth with her for hours? That’s fucking adorable. But making a girl doubt herself is the quickest way into her pants. And if you don’t bring up another drink, just calmly staring as she swirls her slowly melting ice with a straw, she will internally freak out. Then it’ll be her hesitantly suggesting a continuation of the date.
To which you can warmly and affirmatively reply.
You’re automatically grabbing the check: At some point a bill will be placed on your table. The gentlemanly action is to grab it immediately so your date need not worry. You’re also supposed to stifle any effort she makes to contribute funds. Stop putting your dates at ease. Instead, let that little black folio sit there for a minute, screaming its presence. Then when she seems about to burst—women can’t stand clutter or unresolved situations—say this.
“Rock, paper, scissors?”
“What?” will be the reflexive reply.
“Rock, paper, scissors. For the check.”
She’ll be confused but pensively agree to it. If you lose, grab the check with an obviously fake sigh. But if you win, grab the check and say “I won. I get to pay.”
Look how funny and cool and different you just made yourself. Plus, the relief she feels from not paying will send endorphins and adrenaline cursing through her system. She will be screaming for sex by the time the waiter comes to pick up the bill.
You’re paying with a credit card: No one has cash these days. So pick some up before your date and throw down a fat wad on top of the receipt. When she looks askance at the action, tell her you just sold a gram of MDMA to the Secretary of Defense. She won’t believe you at first, but after a while, well, where else could all that money come from?
If she asks, smile, and tell her you’ll tell her some other time.
Boom. Second date acquired.
[First date image via ShutterStock]