Best First-date Dos For Women

Single men explain the sometimes subtle difference between a great date—and a debacle. Here, tips to make it a night he won't forget.

By Mike Olson

adies: When it comes to how guys feel about first dates, we men are a little more observant and calculating than you might have realized. We notice more than you may give us credit for... and we respond to your presence and behavior in ways you may not have counted on. Want to learn more? Then read on. We put together our own panel of guys to discuss what a girl can do to make it a night he won’t forget.

The panel:
Stephen, 25, brand manager
Brett, 30, radio producer
Arthur, 27, marketing manager

You just arrived at your date. We’ve all heard that first impressions are everything, so do you read a lot into how she’s dressed?

Stephen: I do expect her to be made
Girls who are too made-up are usually more high-maintenance.
up a bit since she’s still in that “must impress my date” phase. Which I am, too, of course.

Brett: Absolutely. If she doesn’t make an effort to look good on the first date, how do you think she’ll look three months down the road when she’s “comfortable with you”?

Arthur: But girls who are too made-up are usually more high-maintenance. A big turn off for me is girls with overly manicured eyebrows. That’s a bad sign. That means she spends a lot — a lot — of time on her appearance.

Where do you take her on a first date—and why?

Stephen: A restaurant is kind of a given. You don’t want to pick someplace too fancy. After the initial “wow” factor wears off, you’ll both probably be uncomfortable.

Arthur: I prefer going for a drink or two because there’s less pressure, but assuming it’s dinner, I’ll pick a slightly hole-in-the-wall ethnic restaurant. That lets me see what she’s made of!

Brett: Either way, letting her pick the location is a bad move. You want to be in your element. If I’m at a restaurant that I’m familiar with, I’ll be more confident.

How can a woman impress you on a first date?

Stephen: Be polite to the staff. I’ve
I was on a first date once, and her mother called during dinner.
been on dates where the girl thought I cared about which fork she was using, but then she turned around and snapped at the waitress. That was it for me.

Brett: By never, ever bringing up something she read in Us Weekly. That tells me we’re just not going to click if that’s her idea of date-night conversation.

Arthur: And by not talking about her family too much. It’s a little early for me to hear all about mom and dad’s trip to Yellowstone. Even if they were my parents, I’d be bored!

What subtle signs can a woman send that lets you know the date is going well?

Arthur: That’s easy. If she’s not laughing, you haven’t got a chance. I’m not saying she should throw some canned laughter in my direction, but she can help things along with some teasing banter, that kind of thing.

Stephen: Right, it has to be sincere laughter. I can spot a fake laugh a mile away. Any physical contact is a good thing, even if it’s just brushing my hand briefly.

Brett: Eye contact is a big one. If she’s staring into my eyes, it’s clear that she’s interested.

OK, now for the fun one! What are your first date deal-breakers?

Stephen: If she shows up more than 10 minutes late without a word of apology. I hate that. Or if she answers her phone in front of me.

Brett: That’s my biggest! I was on a first date once, and her mother called during dinner. They talked for a good five minutes while I was sitting there pushing around my potatoes. And it wasn’t even important; they were just chit-chatting!

Arthur: If I buy dinner, she should always say, “Thank you.” You’d be amazed by how often that doesn’t happen.

Mike Olson is a New York-based writer who has contributed to Stuff magazine, among other publications. For the female perspective on best first-date moves, read Best First-date Moves For Men.
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