Short of enlisting to fight in any sort of armed conflict, going on a first-date can be one of the most nerve-wracking events a human being can experience. The fear engendered by having to choose an appropriate venue; the anxiety of coming across well, and simply the inescapable fear of calamitous personal humiliation, all weigh heavily on the mind of a prospective dater. Given the anxiety induced by dating, the staggering volume of supposedly sage advice and trite aphorisms to help guide, and assuage the fears of daters, comes as no surprise.
Chief among the pieces of advice you're likely to hear from someone giving advice will be to 'just be yourself'. We all know that this is a farce. If we all actually followed this advice on first dates, no human relationship would have lasted longer than one single date. A far more prudent piece of advice is to 'Try to mostly be yourself, but bury the more obviously unpalatable parts of your personality until the relationship has progressed to a point where it is either strong enough, or you are financially co-dependent to an extent, that it won't be worth breaking up over these unsavoury traits.' If you want the relationship to even stand a chance of progressing this far however, here are 10 things that you should absolutely avoid doing on a first date:
1) Choosing An Unsettling Venue:
Keep things simple when picking where you go for a first date. Either stick to the standard of going for coffee or a couple of drinks, or perhaps some activity based shindig will always prove a safe-bet. However, nothing is going to set a worrying tone on proceedings more than if you send a message saying, "How about a picnic? I know a fantastic piece of wasteland near a remote, derelict industrial estate, u keen?" Keep things standard.
2) Talking About The Future:
While everyone goes into a date hoping that it might lead to something more, if you're already Googling 'best joint-savings accounts' before the starter has even arrived, then you sir/madam, are taking things too fast.
3) Talking About The Past:
While this may seem, with the above point, to temporally limit your conversation to a ludicrous degree, it is simply to say that you shouldn't bring any emotional baggage with you. A first date is not the time to dissect just how unfair it was that your ex ended up claiming three of your favourite jumpers and your entire sense of self-worth. The past is a foreign country and, at least for one night, accept that it has expressly forbidden you from traveling there. You have been blacklisted and its borders are closed. No emotional baggage - and, on that note.
4) Bringing Actual Baggage:
Nothing screams 'suspicious' like arriving to a date with an unexplained pre-packed duffel-bag. Giving off the appearance of some low-level mobster primed to flee to the Costa del Sol at the first sign of any unwanted police attention will come across as disconcerting.
5) Getting Too Conversationally Heavy:
Benjamin Franklin said that we can only be certain of two things, death and taxes - well, if you spend any significant portion of the date talking about either of these topics, you will be able to add a third surety to that list: dying alone. Keep things light and frothy.
6) Wearing Anything Needlessly Flamboyant:
In what can only be described as a profoundly tragic nadir in human gender relations, at some point in the mid noughties a book came out that helped popularise the idea of 'peacocking'. It advocates that men should dress in ostentatious and eye-catching clothing to help attract and keep the attention of girls. While dressing well for a date is of course to be encouraged, if you arrive wearing a feather boa and a leather shirt you need to take a long hard look in the mirror and realise that 'peacocking' will not help find you a partner - unless, that is, you are actually specifically seeking to attract a female peacock as a sexual partner, in which case I would like you to cease reading this article and immediately hand yourself over to the relevant authorities.
7) Forgetting Their Name:
There is but one thing on this earth that is sure to immediately extinguish any spark that may have existed on a first date, and that is to get your datee's name wrong. For all that is sweet and pure in this world, take whatever steps are necessary to prevent this. Some options include: set aside about three seconds to try learn their name; undergo a course of hypnotherapy prior to the date so as to emblazen their name into your subconscious; set aside three seconds to learn their name; tattoo their name onto the back of your hand so that if ever you do forget it, all you have to do is look down - as well as deal with the inevitable questions engendered by such a creepy, evidently fresh tattoo or, set aside about three damn seconds to actually learn their name.
8) Ordering Any Of The More Complex Menu Items:
It is undeniable that some foods are considered sexy. Strawberries in chocolate are sexy. Oysters are an accepted aphrodisiac. However, forcing your date to sit and watch you try dismember the majority of a cow's carcass with your bare-hands because you had a hankering for the BBQ ribs is about the fastest way I can think of to ensure your date blocks you across any and all social media. Keep it simple and avoid all meats on the bone.
9) Coming Across Too Strongly:
While you want to make a good impression, coming across too strongly is date-suicide. Don't do anything that seems too impassioned - e.g. getting their name tattooed on the back of your hand. Not all of the advice will be consistent.
10) Being Rude To Waiting Staff:
This rule to be fair should not specifically be limited to a first date scenario...
11) Bonus Point!
So there you go, you are now equipped to avoid some of the major pitfalls of dating. Making sure the date actually goes well however, is a different story entirely. Thankfully though, Vodafone X have created a recipe for the perfect first date. Follow these tips and, well, responsibility for any future dating failures now solely rests in your court.