Ask Mathews: A Different Kind of First Date

First dates can really be nerve-wracking. You have to be your most impressive self and make a striking impression. One mistake and the date can turn into a colossal train wreck. Well, I have seen many guys confident that playing it safe is the best course of action. Alas, the lowest-stakes choices are not necessarily the most prudent ones. Thus, it is time to get your creative juices flowing and embrace a different approach to the make-it-or-break-it day. Do not let the first date be your last one.

First things first

Dates involve a lot of trial and error and that is just the way things are. Still, note that you can learn from other people’s mistakes, including mine, which were not so few and far between. The problem, of course, is that there is a lot to keep track of. You need to groom yourself, get dressed up to the nines, and arm yourself with a killer attitude. On top of it all, you are under pressure to pick the right stage for your persona to fully shine.

The location of the date is the key decision, which maximizes the potential for awesomeness. It sets the tone and mood for the whole thing. So, one of the first rules is to opt for surroundings you are sure the girl will be comfortable with. Going for drinks in a local bar may seem like a no-brainer, but that may not be the case every time. In fact, it is often a good idea to steer away from overcrowded places, where you will not be able to talk.

Alcohol does help with the nerves and serves as a conversational lubricant, but the bustling atmosphere can be a distraction. Besides, you could come across as lazy and unimaginative. Likewise, daytime coffee is a casual, no-pressure option, but again, it is not the most spectacular thing to do, and not overly romantic. Of course, you should not go overboard either and chose skydiving for the first date. The goal is to warm up and get to know the person better, right?

A breath of fresh air

That being said, I would encourage you to think outside the box. Think of something that is surprising and refreshing. Figure out the other person’s interests and taste: a swift Facebook research is a nice way to pull this off. In any event, there is a wide array of activity dates that are worth considering. You actually do something like ice skating, try an indoor zip line, or stick to good old biking, instead of exchanging a barrage of typical questions. Shared experiences bond like nothing else and you also have plenty of conversation material for later.

Some guys use movies and concerts as an ice breaker, but this tactic can really be a hit and miss. Instead, I have discovered that Zoo visits are pretty much a surefire location. Who doesn’t like cuddly animals or feels the thrill when observing dangerous predators? Also, feel free to pick exploration dates, which can be loads of fun. You get to know a new neighborhood, visit nice parks, art galleries or similar venues. Just do a bit of planning ahead in order not to wander aimlessly around.

You can hardly go wrong with a beautiful natural backdrop such as a scenic park. The same goes for waterfront walkways. And this is just the tip of the iceberg because the possibilities are virtually endless: from playing arcade video games to going to a planetarium. You can spend the night gazing at the stars or have a day of light sports and games. Oh, and one final piece of advice. Do not leave the lady guessing: send a crystal-clear message and wow her with more than just the ambiance.

Hit it off with flying colors

It always takes two to tango and it is best if both move around in a comfort zone. Nevertheless, do not shy away from unconventional date ideas. Skip traditional dinners and silence-filled movies and treat your date to something original. Ultimately, it all comes down to conversation and bonding. So, chose the location wisely and play your cards right. Take the stress and frustration out of the picture and avoid giving off the wrong impression. Get inspired, loosen up a bit, but try not to go wild right away.

Mathews McGarry, Associate Editor

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