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Dating tips for men (Part Two) - The first date!

So you've got her number, now what?

First of all, don't leave it too long before calling. I'm not saying you must call the next day but if you leave it more than three days, she'll think either that you aren't very interested or that you're trying to appear disinterested.

Now for the phone call

First step, be prepared. Have a few places in mind that you can suggest. Ask her if she'd prefer meeting for a coffee or a drink and have a few cafes and bars in mind to suggest. She might live miles away so try to think of places that are easy to get to, easy to find or well known.

Some people are comfortable chatting on the phone and some aren't, so how long you spend talking is up to you. At the minimum you want to ask how she is and let her know how much you enjoyed your brief chat before. Hopefully she'll say that she enjoyed speaking to you too. Then try to find a day and time when you can meet up.

Once you've made the arrangement you can just let the call end naturally and wait until you meet in person for some in-depth chat. Long initial calls can be awkward and you may say more than you should at this stage.


Where to go on a first date

If you're wondering why I say meet up for coffee or a drink rather than a full three-course meal, the answer is simple. A meal requires you to spend at least a couple of hours together (unless you're planning on taking her to McDonalds, which I really don't recommend!) whereas a drink/coffee date is open ended.

It can be cut short after the first round or extended indefinitely if you're getting on well. You can both feel more pressure if your first meeting is too long.


Now, what to wear?

If you're meeting straight from work or in the lunch hour, business attire is fine but at any other time, smart casual is the way to go. You can wear jeans, but pair them with a smart top or jacket.

You can wear a suit, but team it with an open shirt or t-shirt. We've often put a lot of thought into our outfit; trying to make a good impression, so try to look as if you've made some effort as well. Ripped, torn, stained or old clothing is a big 'no', it doesn't matter how comfortable it is.

Leave plenty of time to get there.

After all you wouldn't arrive late to a business meeting so it's just disrespectful to your date to leave them sitting waiting for you. If circumstances mean you will be late, call and let her know.

When she arrives a kiss on the cheek is good, anything more will seem too forward.


Where to begin?

If conversation is a little stilted to begin with, ask questions because a full conversation will often spring from their answers. Hopefully they'll be interested enough in you to ask you questions too.

Who pays? Assuming everything went really well and it's now time to pay the bill, what's the modern etiquette? Will you offend her if you offer to pay? Should you go Dutch on a first date?

The answer to both is 'no'. You should offer to pay the whole bill and you shouldn't go Dutch. Most self-respecting women will offer to go halves with you but you should politely refuse.

Modern women expect to pay their way (and would probably offer to pay the next time) but it doesn't look good if you're being a cheapskate on the first date, when you should be trying to impress her. If she's insistent on contributing, suggest she leaves the tip.


Will there be a next time?

With that out of the way there's nothing to do but head home. Suggest walking her to her home/car/bus/train so that you can talk privately on the way. If she refuses, don't force it but just stop outside for a quick chat instead.

Tell her you had a great time (assuming you did) and ask if she'd be interested in meeting up again. If she says 'yes', then things have gone well and a light goodnight kiss when you part would probably be welcome.

If she says 'no', don't take it personally, it just means that the spark wasn't there. End things on good terms and give her a kiss on the cheek before you part.

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