Six ways to be a good first date
Ready to meet him in 3D? Whatever you’re looking for, here are six easy ways to make a good impression on a first date.
The art of dating isn’t dead but it has changed a lot.
One thing which hasn’t changed is the awkwardness of first dates. Try too hard to impress and you’ll come across as desperate or cocky. Play it too cool and he’ll think you’re not interested. It’s a fine line to walk, especially when he’s right there distracting you with his beard and biceps and nice cologne.
To help navigate the minefield, we’ve put together some hard-won wisdom, just for guys who like guys.
1. Establish whether it’s a date or a hook-up. And be prepared for either
If you’ve studied history, you’ll know there was a time when people went days, even weeks (!!!) dating someone without having sex. But for those of us in the era of Grindr and Tinder, sex on the first date is often very much on the table (or the couch). The line between ‘dating’ and ‘just hanging out’ isn’t as sharp as it could be.
Be up-front about what you’re both looking for. If you met online, don’t assume this is clear based on your profile, or his. ‘Mates and dates’ covers a wide range of possibilities, just like ‘gym buddy’.
Hot tip: ‘I’m open to anything’ and ‘let’s just see what happens’ usually mean someone isn’t being totally honest about what they want.
In either case, be prepared if you’re expecting to end up with your end up. Clean your room, stock up on lube and condoms, know your HIV status, and no chipotle for dinner!
Cool your jets – he’s not your friend (yet). It might seem perfectly natural to you to add him on Facebook, but what you’re actually asking for is access to all of his photos, friends, family and social history. This can come across as all sorts of nosy or clingy, with shades of late-night creep – how much time did you spend looking him up? What else were you looking at?
Remember also that dating is a lot like The Hunger Games – the odds are not in your favour, and most people struggle to make it past the first night, even when they’re Josh Hutcherson. Unless you want to see future posts like ‘FML why are there so many dickheads in this town? ’ or — worse — pics of him with his hot new boyfriend on Insta, steer clear of the socials.
3. Kill your notifications
Take a minute to clear up some bandwidth before your date. Close any apps you don’t need to live and turn off your notifications. Apart from eliminating any distractions, this will help to avoid embarrassing popups when you’re showing him that funny YouTube clip. And, unlike your straight friends, he will recognise the Grindr message tone when it goes off after you get back from the bathroom.
4. Ask him questions
Just like Mum always said: it’s interesting to be interested.
‘Effortless conversation’ most of the time takes at least some effort, especially when you’re getting to know someone. What do you want to know about him? (If your only question is ‘into?’, please return to point one). Where did he grow up? What music does he like? Why is a guy like him still single? What do his tattoos mean?
Warning: it’s always best to steer clear of conversations around money, your ex, or any strongly held opinions that get you fired up (looking at you, vegans).
5. Relax and be honest, even in the bedroom
Remember, he’s probably feeling as awkward as you are. Try to relax, make eye contact and share a bit about yourself. But beware of oversharing, especially if you have ‘niche’ interests. At this early stage, he doesn’t need to know about your irritable bowel or how many terabytes of porn you have.
If things go well and you end up getting invited in for ‘coffee’, be open about when you last got tested as well as how you’re going to manage your STI and HIV risk. That might be PrEP, relying on an undetectable viral load as an HIV prevention strategy, condoms or even a combination.
6. Be clear about what happens next
If you’re not interested in a second date, tell him so — ghosting is unacceptable behaviour for grown men.
And if you are, ask for it! If both of you wait for a signal, it won’t happen. This doesn’t have to be straight away, but a simple ‘I had a great night and I’d love to catch up again’ message the next day will make it clear that you’re interested — and that you’ve got some game.