[Note: I posted about the protocol for men (link below) and now it's time for the woman. My intended readership is for folks over a certain age but this advice for women does fit a wider demographic.]
So a man has stated (not asked) that you and he are going on a first date. If he was smart he would have proposed something fairly modest and certainly in public. If a man invites you to his place or worse, to your place, for a first date, he’s after sex and nothing more. If he proposed a fancy dinner or dinner and a movie, he’s not educated about Dating 2.0. It’s your job to suggest something more modest. There are a lot of clueless guys out there.
Let’s assume that it’s a weekend date during the day and you’ve been invited for ice cream or something at the bookstore cafe. The day before, he should be confirming via text or phone call. If not, you text him to confirm. This is just good manners and helps to avoid the flake factor. Yes, men flake too.
A good flake (from either party) will involve a counter offer via voice or text. “Something’s come up and I’d like to reschedule for another time.” That’s a good flake because he still wants to see you. A bad flake has no counter offer. Don’t ask for one. Tell him you’ll call him another time (you won’t) or ignore the text. Then block his online dating profile. He’s done. The worst flake is when he simply doesn’t show up with no notice at all. Even grown-up men do this. Get used to it.
As it’s a weekend, day time date, it’s not necessary to dress like it’s Saturday night. However, it’s important to look good. Do your hair and makeup to maximize femininity. Most men like long hair that’s not tied up. Depending on the climate, your clothes must also be feminine. If you want to be successful in dating, looking feminine is an obligation. You have been warned. Dating could very well involve breaking long-standing patterns of behavior.
Before the date, arrange with a friend to call you during the date or send you a text. If he’s smart, he’s likely done the same thing. This is the “bail out!” option. If your date is obviously not going well – for whatever reason – that phone call will save you without an awkward way out. “Oh darn, I have an emergency I have to deal with, I am so sorry.” It’s a nice excuse and protects feelings. Just be aware that it can be used on you, too.
Since you’ll be late (yeah, I’m generalizing about feminine behavior, sue me), send a text stating when you’ll be arriving and be sure to apologize in that text. Humility is a nicely attractive feminine characteristic and exceedingly rare, sadly. Honesty is another good characteristic and you can show your honesty by having accurate online dating profile photos and that includes a whole body shot. If those aren’t accurate, your first date could be very brief. Internalize this: Men are visual, if you can catch his eye, you can catch his heart.
When you arrive at the date venue, find your date. If he looks or acts nervous, that’s a good sign because he’s neither a player nor a serial dater. However, you’re facing a huge dilemma. Nervousness is not a sign of confidence and it’s confidence that you’re attracted to. A smoothly confident man on your first date will likely spark some serious attraction. But if he’s confident from the get go, make a note of it. If your date loosens up and regains his confidence, that’s a very good thing.
The date should be light-hearted and fun. Make jokes, laugh, tease, flirt. In your conversation, avoid the heavy topics like religion, politics, and past relationships. Here’s a great rule of thumb – if you feel compelled to talk about your exes, you are not ready for dating. The same applies to him. If he starts bad-mouthing his exes, that’s a huge red-flag. Talk of the exes is a dating killer. Don’t ask about his past relationships and deflect any questions about yours. Those are questions for possible future dates.
Should you find yourself becoming attracted to the guy, you’ll be giving off signals that you think are obvious. Most guys won’t pick up on those signals. The guys who pick up on those signals easily are very likely players and/or serial daters. There are women who are perfectly content to play the field. If you are one of those and you’ve found a player, rejoice and have fun. Players can be great fun. Just know that commitment isn’t likely in the cards.
Most guys really don’t know how to act on dates and this applies doubly when dealing with a woman who is attracted to him. It’s your job to escalate a bit with a light tough to his hand, gazing intently at his eyes, and actually telling him “I’m having a really good time, thank you.” Gratitude is such a rare commodity that he will likely be quite smitten.
If you two are hitting it off, he might recommend moving to another location, perhaps for a drink. This is a player alert. The pick up artistry guys call this “bouncing” and it serves as an interruption to your mood so he can maintain his confident “frame” (state of mind). However, if the bounce is to an early dinner, he’s likely not a serious player. Those guys avoid dinners on most “dates”. They go straight for drinks of the alcoholic kind.
During the bounce, take his arm so you can walk together a bit more intimately. Hopefully he will offer you his arm. Also, if the attraction level is high between you both, he will hopefully be bold enough to stop, hold your waist lightly and kiss you on the mouth. Let him because there is mutual attraction. For us folks over a certain age, a kiss is simply a kiss, a sign of attraction and affection. It doesn’t automatically mean sex on the first date. Hell, our lives are complicated with kids, elderly parents, work, the whole catastrophe. It’s just a kiss.
If you’re just that not attracted enough for a second date, let the date play out and if offered the bounce to another venue, avoid it politely. “I’d rather stay, I like it here.” Be polite and gracious even if your date isn’t. If he offers a hug, take it. If he goes to kiss you on the mouth, turn your head to offer the cheek. It’s a bit cheesy but avoids awkwardness.
Despite the lack of attraction on your part, some guys might get assertive at this point and I hate that. Do your best with that and do it politely. If he asks for a second date, tell him you will text him or email him. When you do text or email him, let him down easy: “I had a very nice time with you and I appreciate your thoughtfulness. But I must say that we’re not a good fit and I wish you the best of luck.” You will likely be sending out quite a few of those messages. Unfortunately, you might get some nasty responses. Ignore those, please.
While first dates can be filled with anxiety and nervousness (for both of you), they can also be quite fun if you go in with a happy and positive vibe. Being happy and fun can make a man’s heart melt with desire and affection. Use that power for good, not evil.