You’re probably expecting “ten things to avoid doing on a first date” and if you are then sorry to disappoint but you’re not going to get it here. I actually find these types of post insanely dull, most of it is common sense like “don’t turn up smelly and unclean”. I mean c’mon who has ever actually read that and thought ah yes, a shower, exactly the thing I would have forgotten had someone not reminded me. If you’re turning up to a date stinking and unwashed then I’d say there’s a high chance that’s a personal decision you’ve chosen to make. No, instead I’m going to tell you all the things that typically you shouldn’t do on a date that I, myself did do. So buckle in guys, gals and non-binary pals, you’re in for a ride.
Let me start by setting the scene for you; I had matched with a girl on tinder and we were having great chats, the conversation quickly turned to massive, and I do mean massive, paragraphs (sometimes took me 10/15 mins to type out a reply) a lot of people would probably hate this but honestly I can’t help that my chat is just so amazing! (Insert heavy sarcasm here). The more we chatted the more excited I got when her name popped up in my phone. You know that butterflies in your stomach, heart racing feeling? (the good one, not the “I’m having a panic attack and might die” one). That’s what I felt every time she messaged. After chatting for a while she asked me out on a date; by this point I had had my first date with a girl so those initial anxious feelings of meeting women weren’t as bold. However, this was the first date I had really wanted to go on, the first one where I really wanted it to go well. As it was still pandemic times our only date option was a walk, this might be an unpopular opinion but I think walking dates are so underrated, for one they’re nice and relaxed, there’s no pressure to look amazing, if you’re struggling for conversation you can usually point out cute dogs or people watch, it’s just a much more relaxed way to date. The girl I was meeting had a dog (an adorable one) so this was an extra bonus because it already introduced the topic of pets and honestly I’ll happily talk about my dog all day. My biggest issue with pandemic dating is that I’m not out to my parents, so I couldn’t go a walk too close to home in case they saw me or one of their friends did. The second issue is that I can’t drive (believe me I’m trying to fix that, if this pandemic ever lets me sit my damn test) so this meant I had to get her to pick me up. As we all know from my post about my first date (give it a read if you want a laugh) I don’t have the best instincts and can maybe be somewhat naive so I’m being honest when I say I really didn’t think twice about getting in the car with someone I had never met. Stupid? Maybe, but I was just so sure the person I was talking to was who they said they were and there was nothing to suggest otherwise. We’d also both joked about the other turning up and being a middle aged man so I was pretty sure she wasn’t one.
The walk to her car was the most nerve wracking minute of my life, I over thought everything (so unlike me, I know). “When I get to the car should I chap on the window or just open the door, what if her door is locked and I look like a weirdo trying to get into her car; what should I say when I get in the car, should I just say hi or ask how the drive was or maybe something more creative”. I even over thought the way I walked up the stairs to her car…For those of you who aren’t over thinkers you’re probably wondering what is there to possibly over think about walking, well let me tell you; “what if I walk up too fast and seem too keen, or what if I walk too slow and seem too disinterested, should I look up as I walk? What if we make awkward eye contact?” I can’t remember what way of walking I settled on but I can confirm no mishaps occurred during the walk. I got in the car and to my relief she was who she said she was except in person she was even prettier, this made me panic more because now I was hyper aware of just how much I fancied this girl. The car journey there is a bit of a blur, all I do remember is noticing how good her hands looked, I honestly don’t think I’d ever thought much about people’s hands before but hers were just ugh *chef’s kiss* (this probably sounds ridiculous to some of you but my fellow lesbians will know exactly what I mean). So, other than staring at her and thinking “damn I fancy you” I genuinely can’t remember much else about the drive there but I think it was pretty chilled.
We arrived, got parked up and got the dog ready then headed out on the walk. I’m not sure at what point it came up or what really convinced me to bring it up but we ended up talking about my bladder problems. Yes, you’ve read that right I talked about my bladder on a first date. I mean honestly what better way to woo someone than tell them about all the times you’ve almost wet yourself, truly outstanding first date chat. Generally on walking dates there aren’t any toilets and as someone who has a very weak bladder I often have to go for a pee in the woods. Clearly I decided it was better to forewarn my date about my potential need to pee in a bush instead of just waiting to see if the need ever took me (can confirm I did not need to pee on the date and was spared this shame). Once it was mentioned it opened up a whole flood gate, I then obviously had to explain why I had bladder problems and all the stuff I couldn’t drink because it makes me need to pee and then clearly I just had to tell her about all the times I had been caught out and had to go in the wilderness. My one saving grace here is that some of these stories are very funny (albeit tragic) one involves a dog and a period pad (yes it’s as bad as it sounds) but either way they make for a good laugh.
The bladder conversation subsided so what best to talk about next except my history of terrible sex with men of course! There’s a lot of advice out there for us baby gays and almost always people will tell you not to talk about sex with men (or anyone else) on your first date. This seems fairly obvious, who wants to hear about their dates previous sex life? Clearly I forgot this dating 101 etiquette as I told her in detail about how awful my past sex life had been. I should point out this wasn’t a completely random conversation, I had been explaining that I was newly out and had never been with a woman before and well, things just spiralled from there. It’s almost like an out of body experience; I can hear myself rambling on and think “Nicola, you fanny, shut up” but it just doesn’t quite connect and my nervous chatter gets the better of me. But hey at least it was clear that I was no longer interested in men, I’m pretty sure I spoke in depth about how much I low-key hate men (and yes I’m generalising, I don’t hate all men, some men are fine, calm down).
So ok, my chat wasn’t on point but there’s other things such as physical touch that are important on a first date too. As a baby gay I still had no idea how to navigate making that switch from being friends with women to dating them. Everyone will tell you that physical touch is a great way to signify your interest, I’m here to tell you it’s f*cking terrifying. Every time my date touched me I froze, I’m talking stiff as a board, just did not move or respond in any way. Why? The classic answer; over thinking. I spent so long thinking about how I should react that I forgot to react at all. Coming out in your twenties is kind of like reliving your teenage years; I was beyond excited, but at the same time outright panicked every time she touched me. I had no idea how to return the physical touch, I think the furthest I got was giving her a small playful nudge when she compared me to Lord Farquaad from “Shrek”. Yes, she actually compared me to Lord Farquaad on our first date. Some context for you all, I’m about 4ft 11″, I say about because Glasgow Science Centre says I’m only 4ft 10″ but I refuse to believe this, either way I’m short as shit so you can understand why I assumed she was making a short joke when she compared me to Lord Farquaad. She was actually saying it in response to me telling her about these wee strands of hair I have that don’t grow past my chin. Either way not the compliment I expected on a first date but hands down the funniest and most memorable one I’ll ever get, we were in genuine fits of laughter at it.
The date comes to an end and she drives me home. We park up near my street and then endure the awkwardness that is saying goodbye. I’m not sure how long it took me to actually leave the car as I had no idea how to end the date so I definitely sat and chatted for way longer than I should have. We ended the date with a hug which naturally I was euphoric about, genuinely felt like I was fifteen again, for most people a hug is a hug but this was my first hug with a girl that I (knowingly) fancied, it’s just a whole different vibe, ok? And then because I’m the worlds most awkward person I decided the best way to say goodbye was to say “well, farewell” in the most overly dramatic way possible. Truly a classic ending.
By now you’re probably all starting your condolences and getting ready to tell me “don’t worry, you were nervous, the next date will go better” so I’m here to truly shock you all by saying that this was the best first date I’ve ever had and the girl from that date is now my girlfriend. The truth is we did nothing but laugh the whole day, we clicked right from the start, there were no awkward silences (mostly because I didn’t shut up) and clearly my insane oversharing didn’t put her off. So my advice for what you should and shouldn’t do on a date is just be yourself, as clichéd as that is, it’s true.