A few months ago, I wrote a blog post about dating tips for men, so I thought it would only be fair to write a follow up post of advice for women. Some of this advice is based on my own personal experience and some is based on things I have heard from my male friends. Enjoy.
#1. Don’t Talk Politics on the First Date
I typically don’t like to talk about controversial topics until at least the 3rd or 4th date when I’m sure that I really like someone. Well, I broke that rule once. I went out on a date with this guy who I knew was trouble even before we met. There was just something about him where I knew that we wouldn’t get along, but he was attractive and liked outdoorsy things, so I thought, why not give it a shot. Is nothing else, it could be a good story, right? Well, it was.
We met for tea because he didn’t drink alcohol and we made small talk about our hobbies and swapped stories about our dogs. He told me about his Snapchat account where he gives little fun facts about history every day and has a pretty big following. I like when someone has a passion project, so that was a plus. I honestly am not sure what happened from there, but before I knew it, everything went downhill. He made some passing comment about how we need more money to invest into our military and I stopped him dead in his tracks. “Pardon me? More money for our military? The organization that we spend trillions of dollars on? Do you know what would happen if we even took a fraction of that money and invested into something like our school system?”
After that, he tried to be polite for about another 15 minutes of the conversation. Then all hell broke loose. We went back and forth about the role of government and how money should be spent. He kept arguing for bigger military so that we can patrol the world, because apparently someone has to do it, he thought it should be the U.S. — at the expense of the quality of life of our children and thus our future as a nation. Then finally at some point I made the statement, “Well, maybe we should just raise taxes. We have the lowest taxes of any developed country, so it’s about time we caught up with the rest of the world, right? Then we’ll have enough money for everything.”
He looked me straight in the face and had an expression like I just killed his dog. He literally got up from his chair and walked out of the cafe.
I think that means I won, right?
#2. Initiate the First Kiss
Listen up, ladies. It’s a sign of a confident woman when you initiate the first kiss. And any time I’ve done this, I’m always met with surprise and delight. I think I can safely say that as women, we know when the date is going well. We’ve got some pretty solid intuition in our brains, so when you know he’s into you and you’re into him — keep him on his toes, do the unexpected.
#3. Give Him Grace
I’ve had more than one man tell me that I should try to give every date a second date, no matter what. The rationale is that men get nervous and often times aren’t really themselves on the first date. Although I don’t always follow that policy, I do like the sentiment of giving the man some grace every now and again. Especially as we get older, I think women can start to formulate this long list of deal breakers and may be ruling out some pretty great guys. Especially when you are first getting to know someone, give the poor man some slack.
For example, he might not always say the right things. I’ve been told that my teeth are crooked, the hair too short or too long, my legs are “thick” or that I’m fat, that I’m too crass for a woman, or too abrasive, or how I’ve ranked in attractiveness compared to other women he’s dated… the list goes on and for completely inappropriate comments that I’ve gotten from men. As much as it doesn’t feel good to be told something like that (and this is not an excuse for men to keep doing it), but I try to give them the benefit of the doubt that they aren’t trying to be malicious. So I guess this point is advice for both women and men – ladies, try to be patient and recognize that he might mess up sometimes and men – lay off the insults. Yes, they are insults and just don’t do it.
#4. Don’t Make the Date an Interview
I’ve heard this time and time again from both male friends and men I have been on dates with: don’t sit down on the first date and just start interviewing the poor man. I know that your time is limited and you probably don’t want to bullshit around. But you’re talking to a human, not an applicant. Even if he’s not your future partner, treat him with a little bit of respect. No matter what his interests are or baggage or job status, I bet that if you just decided to listen like you would listen to any of your close friends, you’ll learn something.
I used to get really nervous when I would go on first dates because I worried that I wouldn’t like him or he wouldn’t like me. Or what if it was awkward, what if I just wanted to leave. But the thing that I would always say to myself is that, everyone has an interesting story. And every person is different than me and could have something to share that I might learn from. So even if we don’t have a lot in common, chances are that if I just view him as another person and not as a potential partner, I will enjoy hearing about whatever experiences he has had.
#5. Be Spontaneous
Men have a tough job – they have to come up with ways to impress you without even really knowing you. Men are usually the ones to plan the first few dates and the woman gets to decide if he’s worth her time. So if something pops up out of the blue that would be super fun to do with that person — take the chance and do it!
One of my (few) actual relationships was with a guy who had been planning a month long trip to southeast Asia, which happens to be one of my favorite places on earth. We hadn’t been dating that long and I knew that I wouldn’t be able to take off much time from work, but I figured, when will be the next time that I am going to have an opportunity to travel with someone else to southeast Asia? It’s hard enough as it is to find people to travel with, let alone across the world with, so I jumped on the opportunity. Within a few weeks, I had a plane ticket to Indonesia and swung my work schedule so that most of my time away was over Christmas and News Years and was able to take just a few days off of work. And let me tell you, it was the trip of a lifetime. I had no idea how beautiful that country is and was blown away at every turn. And since he planned everything, every new adventure was a grand surprise (I love surprises). It was definitely a stretch financially and I had to sacrifice being with my family over the holidays, but truly the adventure of a life time and something that I will never ever forget.
So go ahead, say yes to that crazy adventure. You won’t regret it.
#6. Challenge Him to Try New Things
One of my biggest complaints about men is when they have nothing that they are passionate about. If I ask you what you do with your free time and your response is, “I don’t know, I watch Netflix and sports,” I can guarantee you that you will need to move along. Or worse, if you list off a bunch of hobbies that you did five years ago and it I later find out that all you do is Netflix and sports… you’ll have hell to pay.
There’s little that is more attractive than when a man gets super geeked out over something and pours his heart and soul into it. I’ll speak for myself, but I think a lot of women can relate to the idea that yes, we want to be adored, but we also don’t want to be the center of your universe. Something besides your woman should make you light up in life.
I’ve heard from a lot of men that the same goes for women; sometimes women are just boring. So in order to curb that potential danger, challenge your man to do something new. It doesn’t have to be something crazy like traveling to a different country, but surely you have parts of your life that he hasn’t experienced that you can share with him. Take him to an art museum. Or make him a traditional family meal that you grew up on. Or find a secret spot for a perfect little picnic. Or find the most beautiful location in the city to watch a sunset.
#7. Say Thank You
Even though I believe men and women are equal, I do still like good old fashioned chivalry. But this is a two-sided coin, ladies. When he picks up the tab, say thank you. When he opens the door, say thank you. When he offers to pick you up, before accusing him of being creepy, just take it as a kind gesture (even if you don’t end up taking him up on it). If you’re going to expect to be treated in old fashioned ways, then you better respond with old fashioned politeness. I think as women we sometimes believe we deserve or are owed something from men. Don’t be a pretentious diva. If you want him to be a gentleman, then be a lady.