You have made that daring step into the unknown and asked someone you like, out to spend time with you and get to know each other better. Then the panic sets in, so breathe and let the team at the Perfect Gentleman guide you through our easy steps to have a great 1st date.
Firstly, what lies behind the date. The key elements are that you want to get to know each other better and show your good elements, if not even you very best side.
Taking that into consideration you want to go somewhere where it is easy to talk and interact. This is why one of the main reasons that a dinner date is generally and most frequently a great first date.
The key to a good first date is making it easy for everyone, especially the partner that you are taking out on the date so think ahead. As with all Perfect Gentleman elements you have to prepare for the first date and try and take the possible headaches away.
Location, Location, Location:
Where you are going and what you are doing is important, it sets a tone for the date and helps your date choose the clothing appropriately. Before you rush out and book your favourite Steak restaurant, check with your date that she isn’t a Vegetarian (which has happened to one of Gentle Lady friends).
Ask a few questions of date, such as, What does she like to eat? And probably more importantly what she does not eat! Ask her what she likes to do, if you are not planning a Dinner Date you are going to need a few ideas to base your plans on.
For first dates, we would avoid the following – Loud Music Concerts, Films and Theatre. After the first date, then these things come back into the mix, but as we said the first date is really about conversation not action. For outside of the box dates, think a walk, a museum, a picnic out (weather permitting) a historical walk with a private guide and there are many others. The PG team have taken dates to Bookstores, the Zoo, the Planetarium, Wine Tastings and many more.
If you are choosing a restaurant, think about the food choices, simple and good is best, try and avoid messy food restaurants on the first date, you might think it is fun until your crisp white shirt is covered in some kind of sauce and you look like a slob.
Preferably choose a restaurant with No or very long turnaround times. You don’t want to be in the middle of a great conversation when the Bill is placed in front of you!
If it is a dinner date, do let her know the restaurant, so she can look to dress appropriately. If you are doing something else, then do give your date the opportunity to be able to dress appropriately, you don’t want her in High Heels, if you are planning a work through the park.
Finally, think about the impression you want to give of yourself, the date you choose will reflect that. Planning a walk round a Museum and then a casual lunch? Think about what message that conveys as does dinner at a very fancy restaurant that is generally out of your price bracket.
Think comfortable for you and the date. Think about your choice and make it relevant.
Clean, Style & Smooth:
This is a date, it’s about showing yourself off and therefore you should look your best.
Make sure you have showered, teeth brushed, shaved (for those with beards make sure its clean and trimmed) and you are wearing a subtle fragrance, please don’t bathe in the fragrance, its about subtlety. Oh and make sure the nails are clean and trimmed too!
As for style, dress appropriately to your date. We would always say dress one level higher than you think, as your date generally will. If it’s dinner wear a suit and a good shirt, in more formal restaurants you should also wear a tie. If you are going out during the weekend, perhaps a good pair of trousers, a shirt and a jacket. Please wear good shoes, not trainers as they make a stylish statement that you are no longer a boy.
Check out some of our style posts or Pintrest pages to get a few ideas for a stylish look.
Shhh Listen First:
The art to any relationship is the ability to actively listen and this is no different on your first dates. One of the secrets to being charming is to be really interested in other people. This is even more the case during 1st dates.
Conversation should flow naturally though you should listen more than you speak. You should ask questions about your date, their likes and dislikes and fully listen to their answers. Hopefully this will lead to discussions on those areas that you share a mutual passion. We are not saying be passive in your conversation, interrupted to agree or confirm points.
To get you going, good and open ended topics of conversation are about places you have or want to travel; music, movies or books that you like. You should be willing to open up and share your feelings about people and things BUT you should always avoid previous relationships at any level, you should be focused on this budding one not previously fallen ones. The level of sharing should be fun without being too intimate or needy.
Sometimes, it is even best to let silence happen. It is good way to judge whether the silence is comfortable, which can indicate that you feel relaxed in each other’s presence or a more awkward one, where you are searching for conversation.
Whatever the outcome of your date, you should always be interested in the other person and their life. It is not yours and therefore is interesting.
Eyes, Hands and Bodies:
Before you embark on the date, make sure you are in a good positive frame of mind. If you are not play some music that makes you happy and positive. Put a smile on your face. These things have been shown to change your mental state the fastest.
Eye contact is important in the 1st date and there is a line between good, flirtatious eye contact and staring, domineering eye contact. Studies say on dates holding eye contact between 7-10 seconds at a time is about the right length.
Body language is key to any successful building of rapport, it is said that about over half of our communication is non-verbal, non-spoken. Our Bodies give us away silently. Generally, you should appear relaxed and comfortable. So as a male, keep your gestures smaller and movements slower, the person across from you is a stranger after all and you don’t want to trigger their limbic system to run away! As you become more relaxed in each others company then the gestures can get bigger, though it is best not to turn into a Over the Top Preacher!
Physical touching is intimate and can be misconstrued, if you are out and about on your date and you have to guide her, gently touch the small of her back and make sure you don’t touch skin. If you are walking along, perhaps offer your arm for her to loop through. It is a chivalrous gesture without placing any pressure on the situation. (Don’t forget to walk on the road side of the pavement)
Dessert & the Bill?
Who pays the bill? Previously, this conversation would never have raised it’s head but in these enlightened and equal times it does. We at the Perfect Gentleman say, the first date should be on the Gentleman, as it should adhere to our general rule that the person who does the asking should foot the bill and as we Gentleman should have done the asking then it is up to us to pay the Bill. If there is any argument, politely insist once but if it goes beyond that then agree to share.
The date is coming to a close and things have gone exceptionally well, now what do you do? We would say escort your date to a point of safety, her door; a cab, her car, the tube/train station and if the opportunity arises a good night kiss is sufficient. It is only a first date after all.
Some other things that have not been covered as should already know these; A Gentleman is never late and should be early. If you are picking your date up then you should be a few minutes ahead of time.
If you have a mobile phone, unless you are expecting a family emergency, it should be on silent and not removed from your pocket for any reason except to find a location if you are lost! You attention should be on the date and nothing else, looking at the phone will break the spell of intimacy.
Don’t forget to send a some kind of Thank You for your lovely evening, even if it will not go beyond that. The very least should be a phone call (do not text it lacks intimacy), but even better and if the date has gone well would be a handwritten card or note as well. It shows thought.
We hope that this has given you some food for thought and helps you with hurdles of the First Date. If you have anymore questions either ask in the comments below or drop Uncle Henry a question on Twitter using the #askhenry.