The First Date Trap

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So, the poor sod has finally picked up the guts to ask you out. He’s kept it casual, because fear of rejection has been built into his psyche from years of being giggled at by hordes of raised-eyebrow mafia queens who have sashayed terrifying packs past his childhood.

Now that he’s asked you out and you’ve flippantly accepted, you are fairly convinced that the tables have turned and you are now wielding immense power. He knows this too. To you, who is nodding thus far in agreement, I would like to introduce the concept of MERCY – powerful stuff and doesn’t cost you a thing. Really.

DO NOT be late. He’s not going to smell particularly good when his Paco Rabanne mingles ad nauseum with the secretions of his sudoriferous glands and his nails have been bitten down to the quick.

DO SMILE. Do it right. Do it broadly. It’ll prevent the first words out of his mouth from sounding like an adenoidal girl, since he’s spent the last couple of days battling a dry mouth situation. You know the one. It comes from fear.

GET OFF YOUR PHONE. Now we all know that once the date was planned, you ‘armied’ up with military precision. Your girlfriends intend to be at this date via the minute-byminute- broadcasts that is about to be the third entity at the table. He’s asked you out. Not the entire class of 2004.

LOOK AT THE RIGHT HAND COLUMN OF THE MENU. It’s the one where the prices are listed. It might make you look worldly and fabulous when you order the escargot. The truth of course, is that it just makes you pretentious and high-maintenance. NOTE: Be highmaintenance all you like, just try to make sure you’re the one doing the maintaining. Don’t pick and choose when you want to be an equal.

BRING YOUR NATURAL CURIOSITY TO DINNER. Now, we know that you are not only an overflowing font of information of both the verified and the purely fictitious, you’re an insatiable sponge of anything coming out of another person’s mouth. But this poor soul is probably going to be reticent to talk too much because he would have been advised by his army to not ‘pakao’. So, him acting like a cloistered nun, coupled with you with your Madam Tussad’s imitation is not helping any. Think awkward – and you’ve hit it bang on.

FLATTERY IS A TWO WAY STREET. Read that line again. Don’t need to explain it. You’re a bright girl.

DUMP THE LINGUISTIC MONSTROSITIES. Unless you are a big fan of the simile family, there is absolutely no call to use the word ‘like’ on repeat. It is perfectly possible to say ‘I loved what Angelina Jolie said on TV’ without having it disintegrate into ‘I , like, like LOVED, what Angelina Jolie like said on like TV, you know? ‘ No. He doesn’t know.

DO NOT DISAGREE WITH ALL THINGS MALE. The first date is not an open invitation in indulge in your favorite pastime of male bashing with a captive audience. A squirming apologetic demeanor is not a good color on him. Time and place, darling.

DO NOT ORDER [OR EAT] THE TOMATO ROSE. Eat properly. It’s dinner. It’s NOT an exhibition of your willpower. If the clasp on your pants in conjunction with the industrial strength Spanx you have strangled yourself into ain’t working, pick another outfit. Picking at what is essentially the decoration on the plate communicates absolutely nothing about you, other than you are a card-carrying member of Anorexics Anonymous.

DO NOT OFFER TO PAY. He asked you out. He’s got this. This is his moment. Your innate thunder-stealing capabilities can hold till the second date. If you’re particularly OCD, offer once and then retreat.

A SIMPLE THANK YOU IS DE RIGEUR. I know you feel like you’ve done him a favor by bestowing the pleasure of your company on him. He’s read the memo. Accordingly, he rolled out the color of carpet he could afford. Thank him. It’ll put a spring in his step and that warm benevolent buzz on your face and that’s the kind of glow that no night cream can give you. And like I said at the top, it’s free.

Consider yourself advised.