First-Date Tips For Straight Guys

The girl is cute, the settings are right, the pressure is on. Time to make the best first impression you can because, if endless cliche has taught us anything, it’s that you’ll never have a second chance at this. So while you break out your shiniest 70s leisure suit, make sure to order only a vintage bottle of Andre, and seal this second-date deal right here and now, here are a few tips to make sure that all will go its best.

1. Do Not Bring Flowers. Allow me to clarify here. If you’re going to bring her flowers — which, it must be noted are always a lovely gesture, and something we will always appreciate — only give them to her at her house if you’re picking her up. Allow her to get the proper vase, cut the stems, and display them nicely on her entryway table before you guys enjoy your night on the town. If you meet her while out and show up with a bouquet of gardenias and a “Hope you like it” grimace, she’s going to have to pretend to be happy as she accepts her terrible fate: carrying around a giant bouquet the rest of the night like an enormous douchebag. At the restaurant, at the bar, out dancing — what the hell is she supposed to do with a giant-ass bouquet of flowers? Even at weddings, you throw them to a bunch of spinsters and let them deal with it. Don’t make your first date suffer like this. It’s just cruel.

2. Chill Out With The Cologne. Despite what those horrendous, horrendous Axe commercials may have convinced you, we do not want to be able to smell you coming from two blocks away. Our attraction to you is, in fact, inversely proportional to the amount of Drakkar Noir you’re wearing after a certain, crucial point. It’s almost preferable to smell vaguely of man and nervousness than an overwhelming tidal wave of musk. Just, please don’t. We’ll try to calm down with the Chanel No 5, too, if it makes you feel any better.

3. Even If You’re Planning On Hitting It Tonight, Try To Hide It. Let’s face it: Some guys (and girls) go into that first date looking to knock some serious boots at the end of the evening. And that’s fine, we’re all modern people here, there’s nothing wrong with a little barely-know-you nookie. The thing is, though, if you constantly hint at and joke about going home and having some well-condomed sex at the end of the evening (protection first, as you’ve known each other for a solid 3 hours), you’re going to make your date feel extremely uncomfortable. There is nothing worse than feeling the looming pressure of having to slither out of an overeager proposition to come to the guy’s house when you clearly just want to go home and Skype with your girlfriends about what happened. Let things happen naturally, there’s no need to make things awkward.

4. If You Invited, Pay. I believe, firmly, that whoever invites the other person out for the date should offer to pay (though let’s be real, even if the girl came up with the idea, the guy will often still want to break out his wallet). But if you invited a girl out for dinner or something similar, the idea that you would look to her with a “Hey, equality between the sexes” look and a vague gesture towards her purse is horrendous. You are out here to wine and dine, what would Don Draper do (besides smoke about 85 cigarettes and look painfully into the distance)? Yeah, exactly. If you can’t afford an afternoon out at Chipotle, you can’t afford to date.

5. Don’t Get Crazy Drunk. There is an exact amount of drinks — scientists are still busy in Geneva cracking the codes to the exact amount, they’re honing in somewhere around 2.7776 — that will allow you to be the perfect combination of calm and charming. After that, you become drunk guy (and, of course, this goes just as hard for ladies — but men are often foolishly convinced they have superhuman abilities to “hold their liquor”). Don’t be drunk guy. Not only do you risk breaking rule 3, but you also may very well tell her about that worrisome cyst, the one you’re going to go to the doctor about soon but just haven’t gotten around to doing yet. No one wants to hear about that cyst. Not on the first date. Trust me. TC mark

image – Shutterstock

Chelsea Fagan

Chelsea Fagan founded the blog The Financial Diet. She is on Twitter.


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  • marie

    This is not insightful in any way. But I’m not a guy, so maybe it is. 

    • Anonymous

      its not.

  • Alex Thayer

    my drink limit is definitely lower than that

  • Mkomar200

    Hahah the flower part made me laugh- “throw it to the spinsters and let them deal with it”. Awesome

  • Chelsea

    Oh god. No flowers on a
    first date EVER. Was just recently thinking how annoying it is to have to go
    inside, cut them, find a vase – all while, what? He’s waiting outside? I don’t
    clean up my apartment for first dates, sorry!

  • Joyce

    So this really is, as the headline reads.

  • Carisa

    Um, honestly, I don’t feel the guy has to pay for everything on a first date. Given that there isn’t a strong level of commitment, and both parties are unsure of any progression, it seems unfair to expect one party to foot the bill for everything.

    • Shawn

      For me, splitting the bill and the other guy paying are both alright, but send two signals. One says “I’m still debating”, the other says “I’m willing to invest in getting your attention”. Because come on; a guy isn’t going to invite you to DINNER if he can’t afford it.

      • Audrey

        I totally agree with you, Shawn. If we split it, I almost think “Hmm, maybe he just wants this to be a ‘friend’ thing afterward…” — Not that I expect it, but if he is willing to pay, I am more reassured that he’s making an effort to show me this could eventually be something more.

      • Ruthlezz

        He NEVER just wants this to be a ‘friend’ thing if he invited you out for dinner in the first place. I repeat, NEVER. It just tells you he’s just cheap–which is why I always offer to pay. 8 out of 10 ladies will want to split the bill regardless. On the other hand, when a lady outright refuses to let the gentleman pay it all himself, or insists on paying a larger share, she may already be thinking of the man in ‘friend’ terms.     

      • Carisa

        I think it honestly depends on who invited who out. Women can ask men out as well–it’d be nice if we could agree that whomever was the inviter could pay, without it being a gendered thing. My current boyfriend did pay for our first date and continually offers to pay, which I *do* appreciate, but any time I propose we go out for a meal/coffee I like to pay, just because it was my idea, and my way of showing my appreciation.  

  • Rishtopher

    So when people date, does the guy always pay? I mean, even after the first date? I find it so strange that people don’t pay for themselves in this day and age. Then again, I have very, very little experience in dating so that’s probably the reason.

  • Anon

    Chelsea commited a new articled. Gasp.

  • CUinNYC

    All I learned from this is what an entryway table is actually used for.

    • EarthToNichole

      I don’t know anyone with an apartment big enough for an entryway, or entryway table.

  • Cake

    I don’t know, I’ve seen some pretty clueless violators of this. But they are so clueless, they probably have no idea what thought catalog is. 

  • guy

    while woman still do get paid less than men for equal work, woman for the most part can pay their own bills bills bills now which is no small freaking achievement!  i think the progressive nature of splitting the bill is far greater than the medieval style “courting” that puts woman in a submissive state. money is freedom, woman are become more free, it is an act of empowerment and literally makes them more equal 

    • beatrice

      Call me old-fashioned but I find it gentlemanly for a guy to pay for a date. And seriously, the amount of money a woman invests to look decent (by her own standards) for a date is probably equivalent or even more than the amount she was suppose to pay for dinner.

      • Stefan

        Re: paying for dates, I think whoever did the inviting (which realistically is most often the guy, perhaps) should be prepared to pay, but also if the person who was asked wants to help pay, I think it’s good to let them. I’ve gone out on dates where I’ve tried to split the bill or whatever and the other person wouldn’t let me pay anything and then I get annoyed/slightly insulted. If a girl is modern enough to invite the guy out, she’s modern enough to be prepared to pay.

        Of course, I think the personal relationship (if any) the two parties hold is also a factor. For example, if I were fairly good friends with someone and then we decided to try dating, I would expect the bill to be split regardless of who asked whom. But a stranger and I go back to the beginning.

        And about the idea that “women spend equivalent amounts beautifying themselves” line: like, alright, they spend money to make themselves look good or whatever but I don’t think that should give them a pass on paying for dinner (if they did the asking; otherwise, see first paragraph.)

      • Scott

        Is “modern enough” something?

  • Evan Hatch

    This is actually pretty good for an AskMen article.

  • Amanda Silvas

    Drakkar Noir… hahahah

  • Shawn

    The absolute worst is the “Even if you’re trying to hit it…” point. When someone hints at that stuff, it just raises so many potential red flags.
    A) You lack subtly, which might mean you lack depth.  
    B) You assume you got it in the bag (or in this case, bed), which might mean you’re cocky. 
    C) Your main priority isn’t to get to know me – it’s to get physical. If this is true, that means you’re putting up an entire act, which might mean you’re willing to lie to get what you want.
    D) You assume I’m loose.
    E) You assume I have the time/energy/emotional-currency to waste on people who don’t even respect me.

    Now obviously not all of these things are true 100% of the time (harmless flirting is alright!), and I probably wouldn’t be on a date with you if I weren’t at LEAST a little bit physically attracted to you… but let’s leave that stuff for a little later. Where’s the mystery? Where’s the suspense? If I wanted convenient and immediate gratification, I’d eat a Cookies N’ Cream chocolate bar. Yum.

    PS: If this article isn’t so “insightful”, why do 80% of men (even gay men…) fall into this trap? You guys are waaaay lucky that this stuff hasn’t happened to you.

  • Anonymous

    Apparently I can’t afford to date.

  • Anonymous

    Oh God. No public flowers on a first date. Please. I cringe at the thought.  One time my high school boyfriend thought he was being spontaneous and romantic and bought me flowers during our study hall period.  Everyone thought it was so precious and I just felt like a giant asshole carrying them down the hallway to store them in my locker.  At the end of the day, I was  too embarrassed to bring them home on the bus so they just wilted in my locker until the last day of school. Aw. Young love.

  • Guestropod

    but men are often foolishly convinced they have superhuman abilities to “hold their liquor””

    I will never understand this game.  Why drink as much as possible and then try to act as sober as possible?  Just be a drunkie.  

    • Anonymous1

      holding your liquor = not puking

  • Anonymous

    Men can in fact hold it.

  • Scott

    Good to know us dudes should aspire to be Don Draper. 

  • Guy

    first date. not marriage.

  • Bruno

    Be yourself, even if it means plainly going against the grain of Chelsea, and you’ll be sure to get as much ass as you would otherwise.

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