The Handbook

Pull Off the Perfect First Date

First dates are intimidating because if you're not prepared, they can be awkward and uncomfortable. When that happens, that first date turns into a last date real quick. But fear not. Though it's a path historically fraught with obstacles, we've got the game plan to help you get through it without a hitch.

Give Options When Scheduling

Life is hectic and you want to be accommodating, so plan ahead and give your date some options. Nancy Slotnick, founder of the dating app Matchmaker Cafe, suggests offering three days to set up a date. Asking, "Are you free Wednesday, Thursday or Sunday?" makes for an easy choice, without being too open ended.

Choose the
Location Wisely

It doesn't matter if you're picking them up or meeting them there, it's courteous to choose a place that's closer to your date's home than yours. As for where to go, you want to keep it light and fun but active—this will provide ample opportunities to talk and get to know each other. A meal is a great start, perhaps followed by a walk through an art museum or maybe drinks at a bar with a pool table. The point is, have a plan. It makes you look confident and put-together.

No Movies

Too predictable and not effective. The point of a first date is to get to know the person. You won't be able to do this if you're both silently staring at a movie screen.


As the big date approaches, many women say they worry that they'll be stood up. Consider 4 pm your deadline to confirm. If you don't contact them between noon and 4, there's a good chance they've made other plans to protect themselves from rejection.

Be Attentive

Your date spent some time getting ready. Respond to their efforts with a simple, but specific compliment right off the bat. Then you just have to be present. Maintain eye contact (don't even think about checking your phone) and let the conversation develop organically. Be polite, be positive and watch your date's glass. When it starts running low, ask if they'd like another.


Pay the Check

Call us old fashioned, but if you asked for the date, you pay. It's nice if your date offers, but simply say, "It's my pleasure," and hand the waiter your credit card.


Make a Move,
But Don't Go Inside

There's no hard or fast rule on whether you should kiss on the first date. But if things have gone well and the chemistry has developed, leaving things with a kiss is nice. It also communicates to your date that you're definitely interested in pursuing things further. If you're not sure how it'll be received, you can always go for a peck on the cheek or a hug. But make it a genuine hug, not a lazy side hug. Above all else, don't go inside after a first date. Even if she asks, decline. It will show you're a gentleman and truthfully, it creates a romantic anticipation that will have them looking forward to the second date.

Bring Cash

It's always smart to have some cash on hand. It's good for greasing palms, paying for parking, drinks or other incidentals.