These are all words I’ve used to describe first dates.
For the most part, I look fondly back on all dates I’ve ever been on. Some of them I certainly reflect on more than others.
The best ones were surprisingly simple.
And the cringe ones are always fun to laugh (and die) at retrospectively.
So, before I spoil you with the secret to nailing the first date (figuratively … well maybe literally too), I want you to think about your best and worst first dates.
Mine … well, the two best first dates I’ve ever had were people I connected with online. Apparently you can meet girls outside of the internet (work and uni people say) – but I’m yet to believe it.
One of those dates was with an old acquaintance I matched with, and we caught the hour long bus from North West Sydney to the city talking shit about where life had taken us since our pre pubescent days in Primary School.
10 years on, our conversation had extended beyond whether noodles or pizza pockets were the better canteen choice. In the present day, we had awkward, cute banter about the boring, inevitable answer of ‘uni and/or work’ to the question ‘what do you do these days?’
It was nice. Awkward as fuck, but in a nice way.
The other was was a stranger I pub crawled with through Sydney CBD, ending in us stumbling through Hyde Park chasing a squirrel, and sloppily making out on a park bench.
Classy, I know.
It was awesome though. She liked Lord of the Rings.
My worst dates? They’re pretty standard bad dates.
Cringe dinner dates feat. stale food and staler conversation.
Movie dates where I wanted nothing more to leave. Sometimes, I was begging for the movie to end. Or for the demon in the movie to possess me with some interest in the human next to me. Or you know, to just kill me.
Reading through the ‘Worst thing you’ve ever done on a first date’ thread on Reddit made me feel a bit better. These were my favourite answers:
‘Took her to see The Girl With the Dragon Tatoo, which she had never head of.
So much ass rape.
There was no second date.’
‘I laughed too hard, started coughing, farted, pooped a little. It was a dealbreaker.’
‘Ate salad in such a nervous, clumsy way that I must have looked like an alien trying on a human suit for the first time.’
Hilariously cringe. But why do first dates lead us to do weird shit? Why do they lead us to a state of heightened anxiety?
Part of the issue, I feel, is the stress of location choice. From my experience, the standard Facebook date hit-up goes like this:
‘You free this weekend? Let’s hang?’
‘Sounds great. What did you have in mind?’
Cue tactical un-opening of the Facebook message as I scour my brain, the internet and inevitably when those fail, the brains of my friends.
Or worse, if I’ve accidentally opened the message – I now have the additional stress of my intense self-cringing as I realise my love interest has probably seen the type bubble come up and disappear about 10,000 times. All because I’m deliberating an answer.
Picking the location is tough.
So, ladies and gents – I did the research.
And I found it. The ideal place to have your next date:
A Crowded Space – Ideally a Bar or Club.
I know you’re thinking either one of two things:
- Ummm, duh? (if this is your answer … we get it, you’re the best)
- But Dan, why a crowded place? Doesn’t the noise and general environment make it virtually impossible to get to know the person properly.
Well friends, the fact is – noisy and crowded places actually help daters in many ways. Four ways, to be specific.
- Noisy environments mask awkward silences, helping those of us who can be a bit socially clumsy.
- If you do hit an awkward silence, you both have the illusion that it hasn’t resulted because you guys can’t maintain good conversation (like it’s a possibility right?) – rather, you can just pin the silence on the difficulty of talking over the music, or even to the interest you’re both showing in the music that’s being played.
- Noisy environments give you a reason to get closer to your date (in order to be heard, and also because you’re a sly dog).
- Finally, where social science comes into play – music and crowds effectively raise arousal levels
You read that last one right. Arousal.
And the best bit of all – the daters not only feel a higher level of arousal, but they also misattribute this state of emotion to the person they are with.
This is what social scientists refer to as Misattribution of Emotions.
The emotions stirred by the environment are blurred with the emotions created by the person you’re with.
So there it is – the perfect strategy.
Take your date to a crowded place with good music, then watch as they attribute the strong emotional feeling they experience with you.
Don’t sell yourself short though, some of it’s cause you’re amazing too.
So there we go, I hope this helps and inspires you to go on dates to bars, clubs and all places noisy.
Remember though, in the end – the best first dates (and dates in general) aren’t the best because of location or planning.
They’re the best because of great conversation, banter, chemistry and all things you can’t fake (enjoyably anyway).
Good luck guys.
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