My name is Emily, and I am riding the online dating train. For the past 10 months, I have been trying my luck online in hopes of meeting a great guy who likes to travel, appreciates Philadelphia sports teams, and makes me laugh. (It also wouldn’t hurt if he had a job & didn’t live with his mother.) On my first few dates, I was nervous, just like everyone else. But after over 30 first dates and meeting many, many different types of men, I’ve settled upon a few basic principles that make meeting a new guy a few times a month no big deal.
1. Suggest your own date location. For me, I only feel comfortable doing drinks on a first date, so I have a few select bars I use in rotation for my first date spots. Home court advantage means you’ll know how crowded the bar gets on certain nights, have a go-to drink to order or recommend, and feel comfortable overall.
2. Before you leave the house, give yourself 10 minutes to review your date’s photos and your online conversation. This helps your recognize your potential match quickly when meeting at a crowded spot, and gives you the confidence to reference things you’ve spoken about prior (and not ask men who are not nurses how their nursing job is going).
3. If you haven’t spoken on the phone yet, give your date a call on your way to meet him. Hearing his voice always makes me more comfortable as it takes away one layer of surprise. Plus, a quick chat on the phone gives you a chance to figure out exactly where he will be positioned at the meeting spot.
4. This one pains me to say, but, be prepared to pay. I am slightly spiteful about this point, but believe me, even the men you’re sure will pick up the tab can surprise you. Having cash on hand (and not just twenties, grab a few of those small bills) will make a potentially awkward situation a little bit less awkward.
5. Smile, breathe, and remember it’s just. a. date. Give yourself a few moments before you round the corner. Check your lip gloss, fix your hair, and take a deep breath. You are beautiful, fabulous, smart, and this date will go well. And if it doesn’t, cities are big, and the chance that you’ll ever see this man again is slim to none.