This scenario is an all too familiar one for me: I’ve spent hours getting ready for a first date and even longer pouring over his profile, while simultaneously trying to predict whether or not this is going to be a match made in Tinder heaven or a total flop. We finally meet, drinks are consumed, and our nerves start to soften. I begin to think this could be a great love connection and I might not die alone after all –and then it happens. He does something that totally turns me off and ruins the moment.
Guys, we need to have a little chat. I know you mean well, but we’ve gotta talk about some major dating offenses you’re committing. While every woman is unique and attracted to different things, there are certain actions that will ruin any date and turn almost any woman off. And I have a feeling most of you don’t even realize the damage you’re doing, or that you’re doing it at all.
If you’re a guy who’s looking for the one but is finding yourself unlucky in love. Read on for 5 ways guys can ruin the first date.
1. Forget Your Manners
I’m gonna tell you a quick story, and if you’re eating or have a weak stomach, you may want to scroll down. Ready? OK. I went out with a guy once who in the middle of our first date farted right in front of me. Loudly. Unapologetically. A full bodied, Mexican dinner display of flatulence right outside the upscale gallery we’d just visited. He even looked a little proud of himself.
I was mortified.
You’d think that not purposely farting right in front of your date would be an assumed basic rule of thumb, but apparently some men need a gentle reminder. Also, please remember your table manners. Don’t eat with your mouth open (Gross!) Do not belch, adjust your crotch, pick your nose or talk about bodily functions in general. If you wouldn’t do it in front of your grandmother, DON’T do it in front of your lovely date.
2. Cheapskate Out
It’s 2016 and I’m a strong advocate for equal rights. But I think a man should pay for dinner–At the very least the first one. If after that point the two of you hit it off, then you can come up with any financial arrangement that suits both of your needs. But for that very first date (especially if he initiates it) he really should pay. If your date puts up a fight and asks to split it, then be a gentleman and kindly refuse. That’s it. No splitting. No awkward glances while the bill lingers on the table.
A few years back, I went on a date with a cute hipster architect who lived in Williamsburg. We went to a fabulous Tapas restaurant, and everything was going swimmingly until the bill came. He grabbed it, hooted and hollered over getting charged 2 extra dollars, and then suggested that we “join forces.” In one fell swoop, all of my fondness for him crumbled. I didn’t feel special anymore. I felt like a commodity. Let me be clear: I’m not in the least bit cheap, and I can surely afford to pay for both of our dinners. But ask any woman and she will tell you the same. Do the right thing and pay the damn check.
3. Bring out the Skeletons
I’ve been known at times to dredge up the past at the wrong time. We’ve all been guilty at one point or another of bringing up our past relationships way too soon. I’ve been on dates with men who within the first 30 minutes brought their skeletons out of the dating closet. Some even made totally disparaging remarks about their exes, which is a major no-no. One special bloke told me before the drinks had arrived, “Just so you knooooow, If you ever break up with me — That’s it. You’re dead to me. You won’t even exist.” He then went on to bash his last girlfriend for lying and cheating on him. (I’d guessed that she was now dead to him too.) The thing is that these were all completely valid feelings he was expressing. Being hurt by past lovers can affect all of us, but this was neither the time nor the place to express those feeling to me. I was turned off and saw him as a man with some serious baggage.
My advice in terms of bringing up your past is simply to wait. Wait just a little bit. You don’t have to play dumb. If she asks you when your last relationship was and how long was it, tell the truth. But then move on to the next topic. Save those nitty gritty details for when the time is right and you’ve grown a bit closer.
4. Too Sexually Aggressive
This doesn’t just include saying stupid things like “Your place or mine?” or “That dress is so pretty but would look better on my bedroom floor.” (Ew) If this is just a casual hook-up situation, then go for it. But if you’re both looking for something real, then you’ve really got to harness some of that sexual energy and show a little self-control. I’m all for some friendly arm touching, flirtatious innuendo, and a good night kiss. But for a first date you really should not be venturing too far away from these. Don’t ask what her favorite positions are, how sexually experienced she is, or if she’s into threesomes. Not only is that wildly offensive, but it immediately makes her think you’re only in this for one thing. She’ll be asking for the check before you even get chance to order dessert.
I’ll never forget Josh from OkCupid. He seemed like such a gentleman in his messages, describing himself as “a nice Jewish boy every any mother would love.” Then in our first phone conversation he asked me to “describe my ass in three words.” Ummm, What? I thought it was a joke, but sadly it wasn’t. Immediately I was skeeved out. I felt sexualized and dirty. Where was the nice Jewish boy to bring home to mom? We shall never know, because our first date never happened.
5. Treat Her Like One of the Guys
I’m not saying that girls don’t like sports, swearing, and shots just as much as the boys do. But if you’re with a lady, then please treat her like one. Don’t drop the F-bomb profusely. You can swear for effect, but anything more than that may be offensive. And for the love of God DON’T get drunk and act like an animal. Remember this isn’t a night out with the boys. Don’t take her out to a loud and fratty sports bar and then watch the game over her shoulder. Instead, invite her to a romantic lounge or restaurant where the music is low and the mood is sexy. Remember that this could potentially be your future wife (if you play your cards right, of course.)
How to Turn Things Around
Okay, so you’ve committed one of my heinous dating offenses. She’s pissed and it looks like things are over. But wait! Not all is lost! There’s always a way to turn things around if you’ve made a misstep.
Be honest. If you’ve said or done something offensive, nip it right in the bud. First, simply apologize. Tell her that you’re nervous and that sometimes that causes you to put your foot in your mouth. Maybe you got a little fresh or found yourself looking at your phone instead of listening to her story. Just own it and move on. Nine times out of ten, she’ll appreciate your candor and forget about it just as fast.
Flattery will get you everywhere. Women are highly verbal creatures, and we like to receive genuine compliments. Instead of complimenting her physique by grabbing her ass (btw please don’t,) a better option would be to say, “You look so beautiful and fit. You must work out all the time.” She’ll be delighted that you noticed all of her hard work and that you expressed it in a respectful and appropriate manner.
Chivalry is not dead…or at least it doesn’t have to be. Even though it is 2016, women still like to be taken care of. We aren’t necessarily looking for our white knight to rescue us, but all it takes is opening the door, pulling out her chair, and maybe even a small bouquet of flowers to make us feel really special. A little goes such a long way.
Relax. I’ve found that many men who ruin their dates with these ridiculous offenses do so because they’re simply nervous and not being themselves. Maybe they’re trying to act machismo or defensively putting walls up. Dating isn’t rocket science. Be sweet. Compliment. Use common sense, and treat her with respect. I promise if you follow these simple rules, you’ll get a second date. And hopefully, many more to come.