Home > Get Ahead > Living > Relationships
First date? A time of terror!
Raja Sen |
February 14, 2006
For a man, the First Date is always a time of terror and severe uncertainty. We're heading into The Great Beyond, and every little decision we make will crucially mark our chances for a continuing association with the pretty woman who has unsuspectingly consented to sit on the other side of the table.
Valentine's Day Specials
Lying in front of us might be seemingly harmless foodstuff, like pasta and a breadbasket. But, as conversation proceeds, we get into something far more sinister than a verbal game of chess. The stakes here are lethal: everything is on the line -- reputation, dignity, ego, bragging rights.
'Women like good listeners.' Bolstered by that myth, I try to look attentively into her eyes while I ask her questions about her life. This too is tricky. There's a thin line between inquisitive and prying, and this is easily crossed over. So, keep it casual, I tell myself, going as far as 'do you like this city?' but avoiding the 'and you're single now because?'
My worst date!
Try not to order messy food. Spaghetti Bolognaise and pizza might top your list, but here you want to be able to talk, and a mouthful of mozzarella isn't the sexiest sight in the world. Get something you can comfortably handle with a fork -- getting your hands sticky is not advisable, especially when you might later be instinctively tempted to lick off some meat sauce -- and if you're eating oriental, do not go overboard and do the chopstick thing. And before you ask, no, the walrus thing is not cool.
Don't order a salad. It's all very well to eat healthy, but women don't want their men prissy about food. You are expected to eat red meat. Even if you're a vegetarian, get hold of something considerably substantial, preferably with cheese and the oilier the better. You do not want to come across as someone too concerned with your appearance, and definitely not someone who diets.
Blog: Love Bug
When talking about previous relationships, you need to sound very self-assured. Throw yourself back into your chair, smile in an offhand 'oh, you know' sort of manner. Talk about your old flames, mention that you have a lot of female friends, and give the impression that you're reasonably popular with the ladies. Having said that, totally avoid the 'player' stereotype, and mention how nice it is to be single, yet… Trail off with a slightly wistful sigh and change the subject instantly, giving her just enough time to label you 'sensitive.'
Don't be condescending about her music/movie/book choices. The fact that she has every N-Sync song ever recorded might be profoundly disturbing, but don't wince. Firmly, however, tell her it's not your kind of thing, and that you listen to music for various reasons. Then launch into a discourse on an artist you like, making sure to mention a couple of technical things or a witty quote, making sure there are a couple of points in the conversation where she doesn't know what you're saying. Temper it all with a 'but that's just me' ending. There. Admiration will follow.
Recipes for Romance
Let her choose the dessert. Ask her (insist!) to pick something from the menu, smile, turn to the waiter and say you'll have what she's having. Be gallant and chivalrous through the evening, making sure you pull out her chair when she sits and open doors throughout. When the check arrives, let her have a look if she asks to, but slip the waiter your card even as she peeks at the numbers. If she protests, smile and tell her things will be on her next time.
Don't try to be funny. A few jokes are a good idea, but only if they come naturally, and if you overdo the 'clown' card, you've pretty much blown it. She needs to believe you're a confident, intelligent man of the world. So discuss something substantial you read in the morning papers, but make it obscure so she isn't likely to hit back and catch you way out of your depth. Sarcasm is a good idea, but being bitter hardly ever works.
Finally, when driving her home, take the long road slowly, plying her with little conversation and more instrumental music -- this is what jazz is great for. Fills up the silences and you can (pretend to?) be merrily engrossed in the music instead of having to talk. Suggest some out of the way corner ice-cream place she wouldn't have been to, or drive to some nukkad (corner) tea-joint. But take a detour, for sure. That late night cup of tea will, unlikely as it logically sounds, far increase your chances of being asked up for coffee.
Illustration: Uttam Ghosh