In a time not too long ago, of men on white steeds and women in corseted frocks, it seemed that the pinnacle of a good upbringing was your etiquette. Or more accurately, if you knew the proper etiquette for any given situation. In those days, it was expected to stand up straight and know when it was your place to speak.
Lucky for us, the shackles of women speaking only when spoken to are melting away. Hardly anyone expects their knight in shining armour to show up on a literal horse because, let’s be honest, women are showing they aren’t damsels in distress and they can be their own damn knights (Woo Hoo! Girl Power!)
Nevertheless, while I’m grateful for not having to wait for a man to make the first move and for having a choice about whether I wear a corset, there are still some modern day etiquette tips that should be taken on board when thinking about how to act on a first date.
Manners maketh date.
How you act on a first date should be a fun interlude of what’s to come, an exclusive peek at what a possible relationship with you could entail, if you gave it a go. This is your first impression, your time to shine and prove to your date that they didn’t waste their latest oyster card top up on meeting up with you.
Of course it goes without saying that the best thing you can do when getting to know someone is…drumroll…be yourself! Beyond cliché? Yes. Absolutely true? Right again. Now I can hear some of you saying “that’s common sense” but, as my mum says, sense isn’t really all that common. That being said, being yourself does not mean you should forget your manners, assuming you had some to begin with. I cannot stress this enough; good manners will take you very, very far in life. As the great Colin Firth said in the equally great film Kingsman: The Secret Service (highly recommend it if you love a good spy film) “Manners. Maketh. Man.”
So don’t forget those little lessons your parents tirelessly drilled into your head as a kid. Say your p’s and q’s, chew with your mouth closed, don’t slouch (actually had a friend go on a date and the girl slouching was the ultimate faux pas for him.) Remember, you can never go wrong with taking advice from Colin Firth, the dude personifies what it means to be classy as f**k.
Your presence is requested.
In my humble opinion, there is nothing more irritating than someone claiming they want to spend time with you, and then not really being present when they finally get some of your precious time. Time is the one thing you cannot get back; it is one of the greatest gifts that anyone can give you. You know what else is a gift? Someone agreeing to go on a date with you at all, that’s what.
First dates can be as much nerve-wracking as they are exciting but what makes them such a big deal is that there’s potential for this person opposite you to become an important figure in your life. It’s a rare opportunity someone is giving you by going on a first date with you, assuming they don’t just go on dates with anyone and everyone who asks.
So for your first date, this may be hard for you, but put your phone away. In fact, pretend you don’t even have one for a few hours if that’s easier. You don’t need to reply to that gif your friend sent right this second. The group chat can wait a little while. Be present, listen, ask questions. Give this first date the chance that it deserves to possibly blossom into greatness. Let it possibly become a time you both remember fondly, not one that felt wasted because you may as well not have been there at all.
Blame it on the alcohol.
When it comes to how to act on a first date, the worst thing you can do is bring your drunk alter ego out to play. By all means, have a drink or two, but if you are adult enough to indulge in the wonderfulness that is alcohol (one of the few perks of adulting) then you should be adult enough to know your own limits.
Don’t let the nerves you’re feeling end with you overcompensating with the booze. Trust me, you may think that alcohol gives you a personality, but as any sober person who has hung out with a drunk friend will tell you, on a date your drunk tales will not be as entertaining as you think they are. Your slurred words will barely make sense, your dancing won’t be as sexy as you think it is, you will be shouting even if you think you’re whispering and yes, your face will be really close to theirs when you talk because your perception of distance will be skewered by shots.
Just rein it in people! Yes, it’s fine when you’re drunk with your friends, they know you so they know which bits of your behaviour are alcohol enhanced. However, your first date won’t normally have such privileged information. They’ll just think that’s how you are. No one wants to babysit someone who can’t handle their alcohol, especially on a date. Don’t make your date be your babysitter!
The good news is once you’ve got all that covered, you should be on to a winner… bar any natural disasters or other outside influences that can spoil a date which we can’t predict or control. Now off you go, nail that date! (Do what you will with that pun.)
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