10 First-Date Blunders

Don’t scare her off! Read on as lesbians reveal the most annoying things women do—or don’t do, as the case may be—on a first date.

By Jen Sincero

veryone knows that if your first date is bad, your second date is often nonexistent. The tricky part is knowing where on that critical first get-together you went wrong. As an advice columnist, I get letters all the time from confused women along the lines of: “I told her my deepest, darkest secrets and then never heard from her again.” Proof that other people’s mistakes are easier to spot than your own. So here are some tried and true first-date don’ts to help get you to date #2:

1. Getting too deep, too fast
Women are natural nurturers, which is great if you’re a farmer or babysitter, but it can make for a messy first date. “My date spent the whole night telling me how trapped she
Unless someone is sending clear “make out with me” signals, walk on the mild side.
felt at her sales job, and before I knew it, she was sobbing and I was consoling her,” says Mariah, 27, of Chicago. “The next time I saw her it was so awkward, it was like we’d slept together and had to play catch up.” Regardless of how good a listener your date is, keep in mind she’s not your shrink. Save the heavy stuff for later.

2. Being Braggy McFullofyourself
Yes, you need to tell her about yourself, but no, you don’t need to be a fathead about it. My friend Lindsay’s date overstepped the line between informative and insufferable by “dropping the names of her famous clients, rather than just telling me how exciting her job as a talent agent was. It was a real turnoff.” Think about it — discovering your date’s article in the New York Times through a Google search is much more impressive than hearing about it from the horse’s mouth. Humble is hot; in-your-face is not.

3. Getting too sexual, too soon
A woman recently asked me this question: “I offered a date my cheek at the end of the night, and got her tongue in my mouth instead. Am I being a prude, or was she out of line?” Unless someone is sending you loud and clear “make out with me” signals (that is, breaking the touch barrier herself, leaning in or against you and so forth), walk on the mild side. If she doesn’t invite you in for a nightcap, take the hint. There will be plenty of time for getting physical with each other down the road. This also goes for things like showing her the scar on your upper thigh or suggesting that her red nail polish would look great against your new satin sheets — it’s better to err on the side of prudish than pervy the first time out.

4. Making too many self-deprecating jokes
Even though this is an easy way to get a laugh and can show that you’re humble and can poke fun at yourself, don’t do this too often; it sends out a bad message. Joking about how lazy or manic you are crosses the line from endearing to unattractive very quickly. She’s just getting to know you, and if you say you’re all that, why would she want to continue?

5. Showing up smelling like a chicken fajita
Elvis Costello said it best: “Good manners and bad breath will get you nowhere.” No matter how charming your charms, if her nose says no, you’ll be out of luck. Michelle, 42, experienced a nasal nightmare when she met a blind date for a cocktail in her
Joking about how lazy or manic you are crosses the line from endearing to unattractive.
hometown of Los Angeles. “She was cute, but she reeked of Mexican food. I couldn’t think about her afterwards without making a face.” Make sure you’ve got all your senses covered — hose off before leaving the house, look your best, check your teeth for stowaways and keep things like gum and mints in your bag in case your breath betrays you.

6. Trashing your past dates
Contrary to popular belief, making fun of someone else doesn’t make you look better. Only nastier. And it had Kathy, 29, walking on eggshells during a date in NYC. “She described, in great detail, the annoying little hiccup-type laugh her last date put at the end of every sentence. I kept thinking, ‘Well, maybe that date was uncomfortable.’ Just like I was!”

7. Being overly excited
I recently advised someone to give the heave-ho to a first date who had “too clingy” written all over her. Here’s what this woman shared with me: “I told her how a friend of mine always talks on her cell phone when we’re hanging out and she said, ‘Oh, you’d never do something like that.’ She also complimented me on how punk rock I was for sending my steak back when it was undercooked — meanwhile, she hardly knows me! Then she called me the second I got home and wrote a long email about how much she enjoyed our date. Is it that I don’t want to be a member of any club that would have me, or is this chick a little weird?” Enthusiasm is a beautiful thing, but don’t go overboard — let your excitement unfold slowly.

8. Being a sour, one-note song
I went on a date with a woman who’d just found out she was getting audited. A gruesome spot to be in, yes, but it wound up being the topic of conversation the entire evening. Even worse are people who think they’re being entertaining by telling “Omigod, my boss is such a creep!” stories. Dates are supposed to be fun. If there’s something negative on your mind and you can’t crawl out from under it, reschedule. Complaining is a bore — it’s best to save it for someone who knows you better.

9. Being indecisive
Not caring where you go or what you do on a date shows not only a lack of conviction, but a lack of enthusiasm — neither of which is sexy. Mary, 26, of Los Angeles, noted: “My last date was completely ‘whatever’ about our night out. I chose the date, time and the restaurant, which was fine, but then it took her fifteen minutes to decide between a burger and a Cobb salad, and my suggestion that we go out dancing afterwards was met with a lackluster ‘I dunno.’” Sparking to someone’s ideas — or offering some of your own — sends off the signal that you’re interested and excited. Being a wet rag does not.

10. Inviting your friends along
“I’ve been on a lot of bad dates,” Laura, 32, from San Francisco reports, “but the worst was the time I met my date at a bar and found her at a table surrounded by her friends. They were laughing and talking about people I didn’t know, and when I suggested we head out for a walk alone, she acted like I was crazy. I felt like the fifth wheel, not a first date.” If you can’t make someone feel special on your first night out, chances are good it’ll only get worse down the road. This is the time to put your best foot forward.

I hear so many stories about all the crazy things people do on first dates, but in my opinion, dating is a win/win situation: Either you’ll meet somebody fabulous, or you’ll score some valuable tips on how to up your game for the next round. Hopefully, the stories above will help you do the latter!

Jen Sincero is the bestselling author of The Straight Girl’s Guide To Sleeping With Chicks and Don’t Sleep With Your Drummer.
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