I was just talking to a friend about her new, amazing, best-sex-ever relationship. She said her first date with her now girlfriend was awful. They had nothing to talk about and it was awkward as hell.
“Why did you go out again?” I asked.
“We had already planned a second date before the first. It was a fluke,” she explained.
Now my friend is having the best sex of her life, something she wouldn’t have had if she hadn’t given this woman a second chance.
When I first moved to New York City, I dated pretty heavily. Wait. Heavily is the wrong word — that implies getting in deep, right? I dated many different guys. But I only went out with one of them more than once.
How is that even possible? Looking back, I see that since I only went out with them once, they were fundamentally the same exact guy — First Date Guy.
It’s hard to really get to know First Date Guy because he is dealing with all this first date weirdness, and I am too. I think if I made myself go on two dates with all of these guys, a relationship or two might have stuck, or I might have had some of the best sex of my life.
I’m not complaining though. I had a great time flipping through First Date Guys, looking for a non-relationship, but if you’re really looking for a connection, I think you should really push for a second date, no matter what.
Okay, not no matter what. There are two instances, in my book, that you should never hit a guy up for a second time: 1) If he makes you feel bad about yourself or 2) If he uses the “F” word when referring to gay people. We all have a line, and if he crosses it, forget the second date.
Otherwise, I think almost any other first date weirdness can be chalked up to jitters. Here’s why:
1. Nerves. Let’s get this obvious one out of the way. I know that on many of my first dates, my stomach has been so twisted in knots I’m positive my date thought I was passing gas. In those situations, we are more hesitant to laugh or think of the right thing to say. Even if you were definitely not nervous, it’s highly likely your date might have been.
2. You’re still asking first date questions. I love first date questions! They’re fun, and important. But they’re not earth-shattering. On the first date you usually don’t find out that he was in a Fall Out Boy video or that he’s read Helter Skelter 35 times. All the good stuff. Sometimes your first date conversation is boring. That doesn’t mean the person is boring.
3. You have no background as a couple. Look at a real couple out to dinner, and you will probably see a couple that is used to going out to dinner. How do you think they got there? Practice makes perfect! You have to know how much the other person likes to talk, how much physical contact they like to have, and if they like onions in their tacos. As far as I’m concerned, if you don’t even know if they like onions or not, you definitely have to go out on a second date.
4. One of you could be having a bad day. I remember two first dates where I was having the worst day ever. One when I thought I was about to be sued and the other when I had just accidentally sent borderline kiddie-porn in a work email that went out to almost 500,000 people. I was not at my best those nights. I don’t want to be remembered as that person, ever. But unfortunately, I only went on one date with both of those guys. That is who they think I am … forever! I don’t even want that version of me out in the universe.
5. Physically, you can’t be that sure about someone. Do you remember that episode of “Seinfeld” where he was seeing a woman who looked totally beautiful half the time and totally scary the other half? All “Seinfeld” episodes are based in truth. And you could have been seeing your date in a bad light. What if he was just wearing a funny hat or bad shoes that one night? This person could be perfect for you, but if you are superficial at all, like we all are, a tiny thing could trick you into thinking you should never see your date again. How many times have you seen a First Date Guy later, out of context, and thought, He looks so much hotter! What happened? Nothing happened. You happened. You were being a fool.
6. You only have seen them in one element. If your date was in the park, you have only met Park Guy. If your date was at a bar, you have only met Bar Guy. You need to meet First Date Guy in at least two settings to get a good feel for him. Some people shine more in different settings. If he didn’t shine the first time, don’t disqualify him from your dating life, give him another context.
7. C’mon, you need some feedback. Go home,tell your friends about your date, and hear what they have to say. Then reconvene. I’m not saying you should date someone just because your friends like him, but it takes a village to date someone. You need support. Your friends are probably professional daters, too, or at least professional opinion givers, and who would ever argue that getting a second opinion is a bad thing?
8. I don’t care what anyone tells you, it is not a waste of time. You can always find time to get a drink or get dinner with someone. That dinner you spent in your underwear watching “Top Chef?” Well, that was fun, but instead, you could have been getting to know First Date Guy better, and it might just have been really worth it.
9. You might need a second date to get a bit more intimate. Some people don’t kiss on a first date, or feel comfortable enough to hold hands or touch your leg. And sometimes it is in those moments of touching that you find out if you’re attracted to someone. If you like that touch, your body will say, YES! More, please! You need to let your body go on a second date just as much as your brain.
10. You could always make a friend. Okay, so date number two comes and goes and you are sure you don’t want to get in bed with this person ever or be their plus one for anything. But you could make a friend or a connection. Or find a boyfriend for your friend who doesn’t have a thing against big ears. Or maybe he has a friend to set you up with. We all could use advocates out there, checking people out for us. You’ll never know who this person could be in your life if you don’t give him a chance.