5 Ways to Effectively Screw Up a First Date

I’m single. I have been for just over a year now. I don’t think there’s anything wrong with this, nor do I think there’s anything wrong with being in a long-term committed relationship, nor do I have anything against friends with benefits. I’m not decisively for any one specific relationship type at the moment. I often find mine defined completely by how much I care for the other party involved, so, for me at least, there’s no one-size-fits-all relationship style.

This can also make things really confusing.

Like, do I have to get my own wine, or will I date someone who can do that for me?

Like, do I have to get my own wine, or will I date someone who can do that for me?

I’m not here to condone or condemn any type of relationship either and I’m definitely not giving any advice, I’m just setting the context of how easy it is to get mixed signals and really fuck up a first date. These are some of the wonderful/terrible/hilarious mistakes I’ve made over the years. Mistakes like…

#5. Not Being Aware You’re On a Date

I like to chock this up to my innocuous lack of awareness in everyday life. I like to read into the signs that aren’t there and miss really obvious, in-your-face signals. When you’re just meeting someone, especially when it’s over the internet or text message, it can be difficult to get a sense of how they joke, or talk, or who they are. Some people are just overly flirty when they chat, I know a lot of my friends are. So keeping that in mind, I’ve stopped looking into every time I’m sent 4 ;)’s in a row. The result? Any subtle message of “I like you, let’s make out!” hidden between the lines of your sly emoticon wink will, inevitably, be lost on me.

Meeting someone for a drink and they’re thinking ‘date’ and you’re thinking ‘nachos’ really kills the mood.

Patio Season

“I like that we met on this patio for a completely platonic celebration with alcohol!”

Unless I’m getting an overly emphatic up and down, I rarely notice if or when I am being flirted with. Which leads me to…

#4. Being Terrible at Flirting

Which I am. Also, I am the awkward. It doesn’t help that multiple job descriptions make a simple question like, “What do you do for work?” take 15 minutes for me to explain. Ain’t nobody got time for that. Luckily, my close friends have learned to read my body language and will help me out once in a while. In fact, my best friend Ryan can usually tell when I’m into dude about 3 seconds before I know.

Me flirting can go one of three ways:

1) I meet you, you are friends with my friends, you are smokin’. The first thing I’m going to do to let you know I like you is never make eye contact, or talk to you, or draw attention to the fact that I’ve acknowledged you in any way. Sexy, right?

2) I haven’t met you, you sit a few tables away in this pub/restaurant/ICBC waiting room, I dig your face. I’ll probably stare at you continuously with one eye, raising my brow and/or nodding at you every time we ‘accidentally’ lock eyes until you ask if I had a stroke 6 months prior. I’ll keep looking at you and holding your gaze far too long and eventually you’ll run to the bathroom to see if there’s some food stuck on your face. Turned on yet?

3) I have met you or we hang out sometimes, let’s make out in this hallway for a few minutes while everyone else is busy. This is probably the least embarrassing way I’ll hit on you. We’ll be pally all night, and I’ll probably be all up in your grill. While I laugh at half-heard jokes, everyone else will be rolling their eyes at my humiliating attempts to gain your attention, all while you are painfully oblivious. The night won’t be a complete waste and we’ll have had a good time, but I’ll keep thinking “that could have gone better.”

And in the end, I'd rather just go home to him anyway.

In the end, I’d rather just go home to my cat anyway.

#3. Never Making a Move

My third terrible way of flirting could be considered partially analogous with this point, I suppose. Don’t chicken out. I know I said I wasn’t giving relationship advice, but that was obviously bullshit. Take a chance, make the move. You’ll regret more the things you didn’t do over the people you did do (as long as you’re safe & responsible).

How you do this is up to you. I’m for sure not an expert on this part. I’m honestly not even sure what happens between the point I realize I want to kiss someone and when it’s actually happening. It’s usually all a blur and is often impossible to replicate the same way twice. I have no advice here other than lock it down.

Don't let the distance between everyone fool you, the sexual tension was palpable.

Don’t let the distance between everyone fool you, the sexual tension was palpable.

#2. Drinking Too Much

I know this one seems like it shouldn’t be that difficult to avoid, but I’ve had a few doozies in my day. I remember one time going out with a bunch of friends in Victoria. We were staying with a couple close friends, and some of their local crew came out for the night. I had my eye on one person specifically and had a few martinis for a little liquid courage.

"Just this one? Oh ok."

“Just this one? Oh ok.”

I hit a wonderful plateau where we were being social, I was funny and entertaining. The body language was there and I built up the confidence to accuse “I know you want to make out with me right now.” Not the smoothest line maybe, but it worked. And that would have been the perfect way to end the story or stop drinking.

"After that 8th drink, I'm starting to get worried too."

“After that 8th drink, I’m starting to get worried too.”

Naturally we went out to another bar after and a nightclub after that. There was beer and shots and all of a sudden subtle jokes and kisses turned into a sloppy sideshow on the dance floor. Eventually he disappeared (see: begged his friends to take him home) and my friends had to get me out of there because I was dancing in broken glass.

I could go on with more stories here, but you get the point and I don’t want to ruin any chances I may have with any of you in the future. Know your limit, drink within it.

#1. Taking Dating Advice From Me

This last point is almost certainly because the thought of list with only 4 items shakes me to my OCD-addled core, but it really doesn’t change the fact that maybe you shouldn’t always listen to other people’s dating advice.

You're going to take the advice of a guy who's ideal date is 'Rumours' and a pound of bacon? I would too.

You’re going to take the advice of a guy whose ideal date is ‘Rumours’ and a pound of bacon? I would too.

Of course it’s important to have a point of reference — my other best friend Rob is always there to tell me I look like a total creep constantly rubbing my date’s shoulders throughout the night (guilty!) — but at the end of the day they’re not dating that person, you are. You’ll be the one dealing with the 2nd date, and the 3rd, the 1 year or the breakup. It really doesn’t matter what anyone else thinks, so be yourself and be fearless.

I’ll admit my very genuine fear of rejection and that, like everyone, I have my insecurities. It’s important to gain perspective; I remind myself that if I don’t make the move I’m essentially in the same place as if I’m rejected. Taking that chance usually means things either stay the same or end up better (Though this may not be great advice if you’re constantly falling in love with close friends).

If you’re awkward, be awkward. If you’re James Dean cool, rock your matchstick and rolled up sleeves. If you wear sweatpants to a night on the town… please don’t. But don’t feel you have to change key components of yourself to be the ideal mate for someone else. Love yourself, feel comfortable in your own skin. When the right person comes along, and when you’re not thinking about how long it’s taking for your nachos to get to you, things will work out if you really want them to.

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