There are many motivating reasons to ask someone out on a date. Most objectives are rooted in social needs that include a basic human need for companionship. Dates are also motivated by romantic and sexual desires as well. Regardless of the reasons for asking someone out, it is important to carefully plan a first date to insure the best possible outcome.
Men and women often prepare differently for first dates. It’s no surprise, of course, that a woman’s expectations of a first date may be significantly different from a man’s. If we were to believe old gender stereotypes, men are more likely to be looking for a sexual encounter than their female counterparts. However, in the 21st century, diversity is the key.
Today, a dating couple may be more traditional, a man dating a woman, or it could be a first date for a gay or lesbian couple. A transgender individual may have different preparations and objectives for an upcoming date. Point-in-fact, a first date isn’t even limited to just two people! Couples or other small groups may be involved.
Therefore, the following list will contain preparations that are gender neutral and could apply to any person preparing for almost any kind of date:
In the Days Leading up to the First Date
1. Get a Health Checkup. Before you even contemplate engaging in basic social contact, a prospective date should have a clean bill of health from their family physician or, at the very least, the results of a blood test from a local clinic.
Older adults should consider their heart health and generally physical condition as well. It is important to know and understand the rigors of a physical relationship, as well as to be prepared for the mental stressors that often accompany dating relationships.
2. Learn about STDs. As a primary objective of most dating relationships is intimacy, it is important that we are assured that we are disease free, as well as being able to assure our potential dating partners. With foreknowledge, those with medical issues can take adequate precautions to protect themselves and their partners.
While sexually active adults are usually most concerned about contracting HIV and AIDS, there are numerous other pesky and potentially life threatening STDs that are rampant in American society. The Center for Disease Control estimates that one in six adults between the ages of 14 and 49 have contracted genital herpes.
3. Remember Your Birth Control. While you’re thinking about disease prevention, it is also important to make sure you have an adequate supply of condoms, morning after pills, etc, to prevent unwanted pregnancies. Women should make sure that they are taking any birth control medications as prescribed.
4. Pick up Some Enhancers. Stop at the drug store for some more enjoyable supplies. If you’ve been watching late night cable TV shows, you’ll know that there are a number of products on the market designed to stimulate and enhance sexual pleasure. These include, but are not limited to, lubricants and gels, specially designed condoms, and medications such as Cialis and Viagra, which are used to prolong a male erection.
5. Don’t Forget the Toys. Stop at the adult specialty store near you. It may be difficult to determine your partner’s sexual proclivities on a first date, but for the more daring, adult stores generally carry many more items than just pornographic magazines and DVDs. There are adult “toys” to fit almost any form of sexual activity. Of course, for many, pornography is often helpful in setting a mood for intimacy.
6. Stop at the Grocery or Liquor Store. While you’re out shopping, remember to pick up snacks, sodas, iced teas or other soft drinks, beer, wine, and mixers. Check the liquor cabinet to be sure you’ll have a reasonable selection of adult beverages to go with the adult toys above.
7. Make Sure the Wheels Are Good to Go. While you’re out and about, make sure you have gas in the car. Check your tires and oil pressure while you’re at it. Often, it’s the routine day-to-day things that trip us up when we’re looking forward to a special evening and want everything to go perfectly.
I remember one first date when I was in college. I had borrowed my father’s car at the last minute on a very cold and snowy January evening. Before the date was over, I’d locked myself out of the car, had a flat tire, and ran out of gas. I ended up having to call to a friend to pick us up and get us home. Needless to say, there wasn’t a second date.
8. Plan the Date. Don’t leave planning until the last minute. Be decisive and determine where you’d like to go in advance. Check on the times for the movie you’d like to see. Make reservations at your favorite restaurant. Get addresses and phone numbers of the places you’re likely to be. Women with small children will definitely want to let their babysitter know where they can be reached in case of an emergency.
9. Go Public vs. Private. On first dates, you may want to plan to visit more public places. If the date goes well, there will be plenty of time for quiet secluded romantic evenings later.
On the Day of the Date
10. Focus on the Date. Most importantly, take some time out of the day to sit and think about your upcoming date. Ezine suggests that daters reflect on the goals and expectations for the day or evening ahead. This period of reflection will also offer an opportunity to adopt a positive mind set and to overcome nervousness that might detract from the date.
11. Clean Your Place. Even if you don’t invite your date back to your house, apartment, or dorm room, or they refuse your invitation, you’ll feel much better returning to a clean house after your date. If your date comes home with you, you’ll definitely be glad you took the time to sweep, vacuum, and dust.
12. Change Your Sheets. If there is chance you’ll end up in the bedroom, change your sheets! Make believe you’re staying overnight in a swanky hotel–your date will be impressed with crisp clean sheets. A chocolate mint on the pillow is never a bad idea either. Make sure any supplies that were purchased in earlier steps are close at hand.
13. Groom! Bathe, shave, and trim your hair, mustache, or beard. Pluck or tweeze your eyebrows. Use a depilatory. Go easy on any aftershave or perfume, as you never know what fragrances your date might favor or object to–or worse, be highly allergic to.
14. Get Rid of Bad Breath. Brush your teeth and use a good mouthwash to eliminate the possibility of bad breath later in the evening. Pack some gum or mints in your purse or pocket. Even if you don’t generally use them, they’re often useful to have around.
15. Hide any Body Odor. If you’ve been out of the shower for awhile, freshen up your deodorant. Nervousness before a date can often cause excess perspiration. Plan enough time to dress slowly and prepare for the date calmly.
16. Plan Your Outfit. Pick out your clothes ahead of time and then stick to your selections. If there is a particular suit or dress you want to wear, make sure it is cleaned and pressed and ready for your date.
17. Know Where You’re Going. Make sure you know your date’s address if you are picking her up. Get directions online ahead of time or program the address in your GPS before you leave your house. Make sure you get a contact phone number for your date just in case something comes up at the last minute.
18. Set the Mood. Once you’ve cleaned your living quarters, make sure you select appropriate background music, lighting, candles, etc. It’s also helpful to have an assortment of music choices available in your car.
19. Develop Conversation Topics. Think about some things to talk about while you’re on your date. Long periods of silence during a date can make both parties uncomfortable; the end result being that neither party will be able to enjoy the date.
20. Limit Your Drinking. Have a drink to calm your nerves, if you must, but be careful not to overdo it. Many people won’t touch alcohol on a first date and, in any event, may not appreciate that you’ve had a head start.
21. Rest Up. Cosmopolitan says that daters should make sure they’re well rested for the big first date. If you didn’t get a good night’s sleep, it’s okay to take a nap before the date. Even a short nap can revive you after a long day at work. However, just make sure you set an alarm and have sufficient time to get ready.
At Your Date
22. Arrive on Time! As the old saying goes, you only get one chance to make a first impression. People hate to be kept waiting, wondering whether their date is really going to show up.
23. Stay Focused and Relaxed. Make sure to listen as much as you talk. Keep the conversation light and friendly with topics that seem interesting or important to your date. Beware of the “dangerous” topics like politics and religion.
24. Keep It Real. Remember, it’s important to show your date a good time, but it’s also important to show that person who you are. Avoid undue bragging and boasting. Don’t pressure your date to stay any longer than their comfort level may permit. Sometimes less is more!
25. Enjoy the Date!!