15 Ways To Dazzle On Your First Date
Eager to make a great first impression? Sail through your first date with these 15 smart moves from The Bachelor’s British hottie, Matt Grant.
ormer Bachelor hottie Matt Grant (yes, he’s the British one!) knows a thing or two about women. Especially after his stint trying to date 25 of them at the same time — on television, no less. “When I was on the show The Bachelor, I remember how overwhelming it was to have 25 women with one objective — to win over ME — coming at me from the limos. Some definitely made a stronger impact than others. What things stood out to me, you
ask? Well, aside from the obvious qualities — hey, I’m a guy, and beauty registers — there are definitely characteristics and mannerisms that make a great or a bad first impression, whether on TV or in real life.”
|“Don’t create your own I’m-late-for-my-first-date stress…”|
Here, Matt offers all you future Match.com “catches” his fresh-from-the-dating-field advice, divulging what really he’s found works when it comes to making your meet-and-greet time with someone new truly memorable. So, go on and snag that “first impression” rose… or, at least, a second date!
1. Don’t be more than five minutes late.
Sitting around in a coffee shop/restaurant waiting 45 minutes all by your lonesome for a date for is so not cool. This could be the match of your dreams and, if you’re too tardy, Mr. Wonderful might have split the scene by the time you finally arrive. “When we were filming my season of The Bachelor, the weather was really, really bad on the first night and they kept delaying the limousine arrivals. So, these women had to sit in their amazing dresses for hours and hours while I was standing outside in a typhoon, which added a lot of stress to the whole occasion,” says Grant. “Don’t create your own I’m-late-for-my-first-date stress — show up on time, hailstorm or not!”
2. Watch your breath.
“This may seem like an obvious tip, but I’ve had my face melted off a few times — which is not a good way to start,” says Grant, who claims that all the women on his season of The Bachelor had good breath with the exception of two ladies, “…and they were sent home right away!” In other words, make it a rule to pop a breath mint pre-first-date.
3. Speaking of breath, remember to B-R-E-A-T-H-E.
It’s important to be relaxed, says Grant: “Some of the girls on the show were so tense that I think they forgot the inhale/exhale thing. First dates can be nerve-wracking, but a woman needs to remember that the guy is probably a bit nervous too — I know I was when I was filming The Bachelor — so if everyone breathes and just acts natural instead of, well…acting, then things will go much better!”
4. Turn that frown upside down.
Nothing makes a guy relax more than a warm, inviting smile. You may be jittery, but if you can remember to flash your pearly whites, you’ll have a better shot at putting both you and your date at ease. One caveat, however: Try to control the occasionally hyena-like “you’re so clever” laugh commonly produced by nerves. “I like to think I possess a dry British sense of humor, but I’m not so funny that a woman needs to laugh at absolutely everything I say,” says Grant. “That always feels fake and it definitely turns me off.”
5. Wear date-appropriate attire.
If you’re dressing for a first date, Grant suggests that women think classy, not trashy. “Even though all the bachelorettes were wearing gowns that first night, some of them donned classy dresses and some were wearing things that were a little out there or put ‘other things’ a bit too much in my face,” says Grant, who sent home the most scantily clad with haste. Try to find out where you’re going in advance and dress accordingly. For example, if you’re heading to a high-end restaurant, pick a sophisticated outfit; if the destination is a funky, chill lounge, go for relaxed-but-fashionable garb. “Turning up at the Ritz in some Hudsons, Cons and a tight Gap shirt just ain’t gonna do it,” jokes Grant.
6. Listen up!
“In the 21st century, what with our lives being essentially 24/7 craziness, it’s incredibly refreshing and a real turn-on to have someone stop and take the time to actually listen to you,” says Grant, who emphasized how important this was to him personally on the first night of The Bachelor. Initially, Grant had 25 women from which to choose and had to immediately break it down to 15 candidates during those first 8-10 hours of filming. “There was a lot of pressure with the cameras everywhere, and it was definitely high-octane and intense, so the women who remembered something about me from when I first spoke to them on the doorstep and then followed up on that later with me at the cocktail party made a huge impression. Those are the ones I kept around,” says Grant. “It may seem simple and obvious advice, but you’d be surprised how many people don’t actually pay attention to what you’re saying…listening shows interest.”
7. Don’t try too hard.
You know those reality dating show hopefuls who write poems, get tattoos, or give key chains to the “star” in the hopes of their gesture being heartwarming instead of cringe-worthy? (Yeah, we’re cringing, too.) They don’t work because it’s just too much. “If it’s a first meeting, please don’t bring gifts, recite poetry or juggle. Just be yourself!” begs Grant. “A couple of the women tried to sing to me on that first night and all I could think was, ‘You don’t know me, that’s really weird and you’re freaking me out.’”
8. Watch the heavy makeup.
Believe it or not, men love it when a woman looks naturally gorgeous — even if it took you hours of skillfully light-handed application to make yourself look that way. That said, if you’re in a gown (like the women on The Bachelor that first night), Grant says that going a little glam is great, but if you arrive looking like you needed a trowel to spackle on your face, don’t expect a second date. “Too much makeup leaves me wondering what you’re trying to hide,” says Grant. “The most dolled-up girls, makeup wise, were some of the first to be booted off my show!”
9. Tell your date about yourself but leave some mystery, too.
Grant recommends that you don’t give away all your classic anecdotes, hilarious stories or other secrets on the first night because you want to give the guy a reason to see you again and learn more about you. “One girl took her thong off and tried stuffing it in my pocket — it was gross and made me want to vomit. She was sent packing straightaway,” says Grant. “Keep your underwear on and preserve a little mystery…well, at least until the second date. Kidding, only kidding!”
10. Maintain eye contact.
“Focus on your date’s eyes, not the hunky waiter’s or the handsome husband at the table next to you…if they’re too much of a distraction then you shouldn’t be on this date,” advises
Grant, who claims that women can really screw up their chances if they hone in on the superficial surroundings during a date. “When I was filming the show, there were cameras everywhere all the time, and the women who were constantly distracted and looking around the room — whether they were checking out a cameraman or hoping for a close-up — went home,” says Grant. “The ones that made an impression were the ones who made and kept eye contact with me and not with the camera.” In other words, keep your first-impression focus where it should be: on your date.
|“It’s about intelligence, which is a turn-on…”|
11. Watch the catty remarks about other women.
Ladies, these comments only reveal your own insecurities and your date will see right through it. “Men think drama is bad news, and if catty remarks about other women appear early on in your conversations, then a guy will think he’s with a drama queen and want to run for the door!” says Grant. “There was a lot of this on my show — too much of it, honestly — and though I’m sure it was also built up by the producers to make the show more entertaining, rest assured that men, myself included, want to avoid cattiness. Big time.”
12. Keep your technology toys hidden.
“Obviously the women on the show didn’t have access to their phones, but dating post-Bachelor in the United States, I have been on dates where women seemed to have their phones glued to their hands or were texting while talking to me,” says Grant. “I know that we are now slaves to our devices, but for the love of God, just turn it off for the two hours!” If you’re worried that you might miss an important message or call, then give that person the telephone number of the place you’re meeting up together beforehand and have them ask the manager to find you (or reschedule the date for a better time, when you can get to know each other without interruptions).
13. Don’t talk about your last relationship.
Guys who might be very interested in you don’t want to hear about other guys — not best ‘male’ friends or, even more importantly, ex-boyfriends. “What guy wants to hear about an ex on the first date? And yet, I think it came up on just about every date I had during the show,” says Grant. “You’re on a TV show and you put yourself out there to find love and you’re talking about your ex? It’s weird enough in real life, but on TV, and with a film crew around? Even the cameramen would mouth things to me like, ‘Awkward!’ I mean, how am I supposed to respond? ‘Oh really? So what was his relationship like with his mother?’” Yes, he was important in your life, but to another guy, an ex looks like baggage. Shut it if you want a second date.
14. Ask questions that show you’re interested.
“Some girls on the show would ask the same old questions — ‘Do you like America?’ was a question I got all the time and I so wanted to answer, ‘No, I hate it…that’s why I’m here doing a TV show,’” says Grant, who claims he was also asked if they have palm trees in London and if they celebrate the 4th of July (seriously?). “A few of them, however, said things like, ‘I noticed you went to college in Cambridge, what did you study there?’ which meant they were looking to find out more about me, which was attractive,” admits Grant, who says that the ones who also looked for shared commonalities, such as, “Oh, I studied in the UK for a semester when I was in college,” were the ones who stayed on the longest. “It’s about intelligence, which is a turn-on, and looking for a real connection,” says Grant.
15. Be diplomatic about the check.
Obviously The Bachelor is like an all-inclusive resort so no one has to deal with this on TV, but in real life, it can be a tricky moment on a first date. “Don’t get me wrong, I’m ‘old school’ on this issue, but being single in Los Angeles after the show led me to the conclusion that there are thousands of women in this town who survive off free meals and drinks from guys,” says Grant. “Therefore, the guy will have a lot of respect if you offer to pick up the cocktails or an after-dinner round, which shows class and that you’re genuinely interested.”
And if you use all the tips included in this list, then hear “Will you accept this rose?” — or, more realistically, “When can I see you again?” —you’ll know you’ve really made a great first impression!
Kimberly Dawn Neumann (www.KDNeumann.com) is a New York City-based freelance writer whose work has appeared in Cosmopolitan, Redbook, Women’s Health, Marie Claire, Maxim and more. A frequent online contributor for Match.com’s Happen magazine, she’s also the author of The Real Reasons Men Commit and Sex Comes First as well as the founder of www.DatingDivaDaily.com. For years, one of her favorite answers when people ask her why she’s still single has been: “Well, things were just never the same after the last rose ceremony.”