I just read a post by Stefanie Mullen titled “11 Things Girls Should Know Before Their First Date” over at Ooph (thanks to Jessi for sharing that on Facebook). It was a good list (aimed at tweens and teens), but what struck me as unfortunate was that five of the items were “things girls should know so that they don’t get raped”.
It’s unfortunate because our society still hasn’t evolved to the point that sexual assault has been eliminated. Maybe it never will. I know that I’ve read enough about women who have felt victimized or pressured to say yes or pushed to do things with which they were later uncomfortable that I’m sometimes afraid to date. I watch every word and action to make sure that it can’t be construed as aggressive or convincing or even guilt-inducing. I work myself into a frenzy of complete inaction, trying to make sure that there is absolutely no pressure to do anything.
With that said, I feel comfortable coming up with my own list of things that a girl should know before she goes on a first date with me specifically. This list is not aimed at tweens or teens (does 19 count?), but at the woman who decides to throw her luck to the wind, give up on dating anyone of value, and go on a date with me:
- You don’t need to do that fake “pull out the wallet like you’re going to pay” thing. It may be chauvinistic, but I don’t care. I’ll be paying for everything. I’m getting the benefit of your time and your attention, and paying the bill(s) is one way, along with listening and engaging you in conversation, of showing my appreciation.
- I don’t expect anything in return. This is a corollary to the first point. The fact that I’m paying for everything means absolutely nothing with regards to my expectations. An expensive dinner does not equate to sex in my head, nor should it with any date.
- Don’t lie. Since my divorce, honesty and transparency have been the cornerstone of my life, and the truth is of utmost importance. There is no reason to be anything other than honest with me. I know I’ll be honest in return. I’ll talk about my divorce, my weight loss, my comedy, my business, and even the fact that sometimes I get pedicures and paint my toenails. Just be you, and I’ll appreciate that more than any illusion you think you could create.
- I won’t play games. I don’t understand the need of someone to wait three days before calling or texting. If a date goes well, I will call or text you the next day if possible. If a date goes poorly and there won’t be another one, I will call or text you as well. Games are for people who aren’t confident that they’re worth my time.
- Eat and drink what you want. I’ve been on dates where she ordered the cheapest item on the menu or ordered a salad to look healthy when she really wanted a steak. If you like beer, order a beer. If you want a fruity drink with umbrellas and fruit and a giant novelty glass, I’ll probably be drinking the same thing!
- I don’t judge. I’m fully aware of the mistakes that people can make in their lives, and I make a concerted effort never to judge someone for their past. In the recent months, I dated a woman who hid the fact that she used to be an escort when she was in her twenties. I didn’t judge her for what she did, but I told her that the fact she wasn’t willing to share that information with me meant that I couldn’t be with her. Don’t avoid saying or doing something because you’re worried about being vocally or silently judged by me – it is not going to happen.
- I can talk. A lot. Sometimes I worry that by asking questions of my date, I’m bordering on interrogation, when I’m only genuinely interested in her life. This means that I tend to talk about myself a lot, something that is bolstered by the fact that I have an enormous ego and am completely narcissistic. Tell me to shut up if I’m talking too much, and I will, gratefully.
- Be aggressive. It’s rare that I’ll make the first move. A recent girl I dated laughed when I asked her before I kissed her, but the fear of being too pushy outweighs the body language and signs that I am reading from you. You can never be too aggressive for me, and if your intentions are clear, I can let myself relax.
- Have fun. This is about two people getting together to talk and enjoy each other’s company. There are no obligations, no responsibilities, and there is no pressure. Just take deep breaths, relax, and have a good time!
So, who’s up for drinks and dinner?