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Column: Big date coming up? Here’s what NOT to do…

Wondering how to turn that first date into a second? Follow these tips and watch the sparks fly, writes Rena Maycock.

Rena Maycock

FOLLOWING ON FROM our “How to get an F on your first date” advice section for the gentleman, we’re now looking at what the ladies can do to ensure that a first date turns into a second.

Based on the feedback we have received on thousands of matches, here’s what we have learned about what most men consider no-nos on date #1:

  • Arriving “fashionably late”. Keep the fashion to clothing – rocking up 25 minutes after your date has already begun is just plain rude. You’re disrespecting his time and he won’t like you for it.
  • Drama! “I’ll have the burger please but can you hold the bun, leave the mayo on the side and can you tell me what kind of oil the chips are cooked in?” = high maintenance. One of the biggest things men tell us they DON’T want in a woman is high maintenance and if you make a meal (pun intended) out of ordering your food, alarm bells will start to sound…
  • Spanish Inquisition-style questioning. Yes, I know it’s tempting to establish a man’s suitability and general long-term-partner potential inside the first 10 minutes, but any attempt to get answers to the burning questions like whether he wants children or not or owns his own property will send him legging it off to the airy freedom of the nearest nightclub. Fight the urges to bombard him with questions and just enjoy the night. Regardless of whether he has his own flat or not – so what? If you get on like a house on fire and fall madly in love with him, all of those other “fundamentals” won’t matter!
  • Asking about exes or dating history. For a variety of reasons this is an absolute no-no. If you bring it up, he may think you’ve got possessive tendencies – that you want to own him and no other woman should ever have existed in his life, bunny-boiler style. Worse still, he’ll return the question and ask you to elaborate on your own dating history and – let’s face it – there’s no winning here. If you talk about having had lots of dates and lots of relationships then he may think all those other guys didn’t want you so why should he?! (harsh, but true) Or you could go all virginal and claim you’ve had a fairly sparse dating existence thus far, in which case he’ll wonder why no other guys have been interested in dating you. Lose-lose.
  • The wish list. Chances are if you’re on the dating scene you know the format – probably a little too well – and you’re getting sick of the process so you want to find a way to speed it up. This may be the fourth guy you’ve dated in as many weeks and you “just know” immediately he’s not for you. So, rather impatiently (and rudely because you don’t care what he thinks) you start rhyming off the qualities you simply MUST have in a man (and which he obviously is not). This subtle-as-a-brick, passive aggressive brush-off is just plain unnecessary. Foolishly, a lot of women come and tell us they “just know” as soon as they meet someone whether they are for them or not… their expectation is love at first sight – which exists, but primarily amongst horny 18-year-olds that are genetically primed for reproduction! Expecting love at first sight is a big ask, so give yourself a chance to get to know the guy – you’d be very surprised how different a person can look after a bit of Dutch courage and chance to impress you.
  • Trying too hard. A date is like an interview; you try and bring along the very best version of yourself. When you’re standing in front of the wardrobe in your pants, finger on lip and hand on hip, resist the urge to wear your most “flattering” clubbing get-up and instead go for the outfit that gives an accurate picture of you as a person (except if it’s a tracksuit or GAA jersey, in which case get a stylish friend to dress you). When preparing for a date, the phrase ‘less is more’ only applies to make-up – if you feel the skirt might be too short, then it is; if you feel the neckline may be too low, wear something else. We are told often by men that they only want women they can take home to mammy, women that respect themselves but look after themselves. They don’t want truck-loads of make-up and the buzzword for the type of look they want is “classy” so if in doubt, aim for that.
  • Drinking pints. Sorry female beer-lovers, but swilling pints doesn’t create the best first impression (ref. “classy” above). You can’t go wrong with a glass of wine or a G&T.
  • Not attempting to go Dutch. Men are ordinarily happy to treat you to a nice dinner, but most often that’s provided you make at least an attempt to reach for your purse when the bill arrives. No one’s entitled to a free meal, so be gracious.
  • Sleeping over on date #1. It’s absolutely fine to give in to temptation and dabble in a bit of evening delight when you’ve just met a man, however expecting him to whisk you down the aisle following your introductory fumble is probably unrealistic. That’s not to say there aren’t extremely open-minded male exceptions out there but, on the whole, men generally want to do a little bit of chasing – that old hunter-gatherer, chest-beating nonsense is an unfortunate genetic hangover we must tolerate. So if you want to see them again, maintain a little mystery to make him want more, go home to your own leaba and hold off until around date number three.

In short, to ace that date keep in mind that men generally want easygoing, ladylike women that respect and look after themselves. Sounds simple but bear in mind they DON’T want high-maintenance, uptight, loud/brash, easy dollybirds with a sense of entitlement.

And finally: good luck!

Did you miss Rena’s dating tips for men? Check them out here.

Rena Maycock is the founder of Intro matchmaking, a nationwide matchmaking service based in Dublin which has arranged more than 3,000 matches.

Column: How to score an “F” on your first date

Read: How to tell if an Irish guy likes you

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Rena Maycock

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