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What Makes A Great First Date?

March 22, 2009
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This post was prompted from a discussion with my neighbour who had been single for a couple of years. Out of the blue, he asked what my perfect first date would be. Stumped, I realised I had never actually thought about it. I had no idea. On the other hand, he had about ten great first date ideas straight off the bat. I guess two years is a long time to think about that.

Incidentally, a couple of guys asked me out over the coming weeks and I had a chance to whittle down my ideal first date possibilities. What is your idea of a perfect first date? Do you like the traditional dinner and drinks? Do you prefer a movie or a live show? How about something completely off-the-wall and random?

Dinner and Drinks

Personally, I find dinner and drinks as a first date to be synonymous with a job interview. It’s just the two of you, there is a set time frame you have to be sitting for while you wait for dinner and drinks to arrive, and there’s an awkward social and conversation barrier before the ice breaks. I went on one of these dates with a guy I had met once. I wasn’t sure whether I liked him or not, so I wanted to suss him out. My conclusion was that he was a nice enough guy, but just not for me. There was no chemistry.

No chemistry on a dinner-and-drinks date makes for an awkward night. Though if you are fortunate enough as I was to be out with someone who rather enjoys talking about themselves, it’s not too hard to keep the conversation flowing. My verdict on the old dinner-and-drinks is that it’s something you’d do after you’ve been dating a while, after that initial social awkwardness has dissipated. It’s not really a great first date activity. It’s formal, takes no imagination whatsoever, and it’s been done to death.

Movie Date

How about movies? Well, they aren’t exactly an imaginative first date. They’re a pretty traditional ‘teenage’ first date excuse to go somewhere dark and make out for a couple of hours, but I’m actually quite a fan of the old movie. You’re in the company of the person you like, but not in a high pressure interview situation. You’re near them, and if you’re attracted to them it’s exciting, but you’re not forced to talk the whole time. And you have something to distract you if they happen to be a fail on the personality front. Maybe this just shows my inner introvert. I enjoy talking to people, but in my own time. I don’t like being forced to talk. Besides, if you like each other’s company enough to want to talk more, there’s always the option of job-interview coffee afterwards. 😉

Random and Spontaneous Date!

My personal favourite is the totally random spontaneous date. I’ve got a pretty quirky personality, so I’ve had a couple of spontaneous first dates that were really memorable.

I went on a first date a while back that was totally casual and disorgansed; only planned about half an hour before we actually went. It was to a national park at night with torches to find and photograph glow worms, preceded by a late-night junk food binge in the car while we waited for the last tour group of the night to bugger off, and followed by stargazing on the beach with chocolate. Now that was what I call an awesome fly-by-the-seat-of-your-pants first date! It was definitely one of my most memorable, but what made it so different?

Well, first of all it took a bit more imagination and spontaneity than suggesting dinner and a movie. It takes a couple of adventurous people to agree to such a crazy thing in the first place. And you don’t really know what to expect because the situation isn’t a common one, so you don’t have past experiences with which to compare. There was no expectation about the date, because it was a totally new experience. There was none of that awkwardness of who pays, or small talk about how long the food is taking or any of that crap. It was just fun! See, if you’ve planned ahead for a vanilla movies-or-dinner type of date then you’ve had time to build it up in your head, or picture bad scenes, or have a general idea of how it is going to go. We’ve all been taken out to dinner and movies. If the night doesn’t live up to your pre-conceived expectations, then chances are your date has left you with a negative impression from the word go. On the other hand, the random, spontaneous date is much harder to classify as either negative or positive. It’s all about the experience.

So, What Was Your First Time Like?

I’d love to hear about your best first date! If you would like to share your best first date experience, please do so using the form below.

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