1. The Initial Greet
You know, when you
drive up to her house in that ’87 Chevy Caprice, knock politely on the door, and tell her father you’ll be back by 9, no funny business meet her outside the restaurant that has food but is mostly for drinks, and aren’t sure who is supposed to initiate the hug. How long is the hug supposed to last? Is this even a situation for a hug?
2. The First Joke
The key, I think, is to make a joke that isn’t too funny (you don’t want to create an impossible expectation), but gets the job done and is decidedly in your voice.
I went on a date once (why I am qualified to write this article), and while we were walking to the restaurant, I abruptly stopped at a Subway and noted that this is where we were eating. What happened after that was that everyone on in the vicinity stopped what they were doing, uniformly started bawling, and then my lovely date got down on one knee and asked for my hand in marriage.
Actually, she just kinda chuckled. But that enabled the date to take on this sarcastic-humor sort of tone, which proved to be rather excellent for our chemistry. So if there’s anything to be gleaned from this article, it’s “when in doubt, just make fun of Subway.”
3. The First Lull
The first time you have nothing to say to each other is a truly terrifying. But remember that when it comes to lulls, they are likely just as panicked as you are.
The key is simply to recover — the same sort of resiliency will be needed during year 8 of your marriage.
4. The Bathroom Departure
For guys, this is really just a time to ensure we’re not sweating profusely, and enables us to check the score of the game — thus allowing us to maintain the 3 week-long charade that we are different than all the other dudes.
For girls, I’ve always gotten the sense that this is the date equivalent of the Super Bowl Halftime show. So just know that while you’re in the bathroom deep in crucial text convos that determine our fate, we’re probably just sitting there wishing they’d bring out more bread.
5. The Obligatory Chunk About TV Shows
Have at least one TV show in common, just so you could spent 5 minutes-plus talking about Matt Saracen.
6. The (Gasp!) Bill
My first thought was to generalize complicated and highly situational social issues into one paragraph, thus ensuring everybody gets angry at this article, and then completely forgets why they were so angry 5 minutes later.
Anyway, regarding the bill — the best strategy is to probably just read the situation, and react accordingly. If the situation calls for the “reach,” go for the reach. If you (the dude) insists on paying but she’s super adamant about splitting the bill, split the bill. And if paying stuff gets weird or disagreeable, remember that you never have to eat Hummus with this person again. Also remember that you can make a thinly veiled Facebook status about them, thus losing the respect of half the people on your newsfeed.
7. The Departure
Too many variables here to consider (did it go well? is the departure in the morning? is the fire department involved?), but if the goodbye is awkward and makes you feel like you completely blew it, this is probably a good thing — it means that the chase is officially on, and that you’ve got 24 hours to perfect every single word of that crucial follow-up text.