Sex in the ATX

Sex in the ATX: First date do's and don'ts for dudes

Sex in the ATX: First date do's and don'ts for dudes

Couple on a date
Follow these do's and don'ts for first date success.  Courtesy photo

Ah, January. When the year is new, our hopes are high, and the inquiries of every elderly relative echo in our heads: “How’s your love life? Are you dating? So when are you getting marrrrried?!”

Before you can fall in love and get married — barring the odd Vegas or mail-order bride scenarios — you have to conquer an inevitable beast: the first date. And while, ladies, I’ll admit that I don’t know what the hell men expect from you on date No. 1 (hence the reason I’m still dodging these questions from my own relatives every holiday), I am qualified to provide guys with girl-approved advice on how, when it comes to the first date, to totally nail it.

Ya know, metaphorically.

On the destination

Do: Select somewhere unique and cool
You don’t have to drop big dollars to dine at Uchi or sacrifice your first-born to score reservations at a trendy spot like Dai Due. (Note: It may not actually be that difficult to get reservations at Dai Due; work with me.) Fortunately, there are plenty of bars and restaurants in Austin that are impressive without being too expensive. I always recommend Garage Bar to my male friends as a winning date spot: the drinks are fancy, the ambience is unbeatable, and it’s still under-the-radar enough to ensure you appear hip and in the know. I suggest Wednesdays when they have live music. I’ll probably be there drinking Champagne by myself. (Want more interesting date options? Try these new restaurants that popped up in 2014.)

Don't: Choose a chain restaurant
While I respect how economical the never-ending pasta bowl is, we don’t live in a depressing square state where chain restaurants and questionable diners are the only option. (Though, should you find yourself in a really sad small town, it is admittedly hard to resist the siren call of Club Applebee's.) That said — not to sound extremely snobby ... even though this sounds extremely snobby — if you take me to Olive Garden, I’m going to gouge my eye out with a bread stick. Try me, bro. (Note: Another don’t? Asking your date to pick a destination. One of my coworkers and I agonized over what number of Yelp-designated dollar signs deemed a restaurant inappropriate to suggest for a first outing.)

On drinking

Do: Have fun
Carpe that diem — er, date! If the night is headed in the direction of tequila shots, have no shame in your Patron-downing game. There’s no rule that says you can’t have a few drinks on a date; it’s just recommended that you don’t end up doing body shots off the bartender or take your date to an establishment where body shots are actually an option. (Note: A guy once took me to Bikini’s. Don’t bring a woman to Bikini’s.)

Don't: Get hammered
I shouldn’t have to say this, but it warrants a warning: If you take five shots of vodka before your date, you may or may not end up making questionable decisions in the McDonald’s parking lot behind Peter Pan Mini Golf. I may or may not be speaking from experience.

On paying

Do: Pay for the meal
Now I’m a feminist (for the ignorant folk, keep in mind that if we were to make a Venn diagram with “Feminists” and “Women Who Shave Their Armpits,” I would be in the large intersecting portion, along with plenty of other women) and I believe in equal rights for males and females. That includes the right to pay. But I think I speak for the majority of the female population when I say that while, sure, I appreciate the right to make it rain on the first date, it's definitely not a right that I want to actually exercise. (I’m a writer. Help me, I’m poor.) While it may be expected, it’s also much appreciated when, as a guy, you demonstrate some chivalry and cough up a little cash to pay for the meal you so kindly invited me to share with you. (Preferably after opening the door for me and gallantly throwing your coat over a puddle so I don’t get my shoes wet.)

Don't: Suggest we split the check
There’s nothing sexier than a guy who can do division, sure, but as arousing as I find your fourth-grade math skills, there’s also no bigger turnoff than watching you calculate the price of the 1/12 of your beer that I tasted. I’ll do the customary “wallet grab”; you politely refuse when I attempt to pay with what’s actually my library card. I’ll get you on the second date, babe.

On post-date practices

Do: Follow up if you’re interested
If it was a great date and I’m interested in you, a text the next day — or, hell, five minutes after we part ways — doesn’t indicate you’re desperate or serve as a deal-breaker. On the contrary, I’ll be thrilled to hear from you, and probably do a happy dance in my underwear while researching our astrological compatibility and writing in my diary about how magical the night was. Kidding ... but really: If a woman likes you, she’ll be excited to hear from you again; if she isn’t interested, that “Had fun with you!” or “Get home safe?” text is not the reason.

Don't: Be a cryptic asshole
There’s no denying the fact that, to an extent, “playing hard to get” works; it’s not conjecture, it’s psychology. People want what they can’t have, and — of course — there’s also the fact that no one wants to put themselves out there and risk rejection. But the problem with playing games is that there’s always a loser — and in this case, often two. So guys, if you like a woman, act accordingly (for her sake and yours). Because while being clingy is a definite don’t, being coy to the point that you’re risking a potentially awesome relationship ... well, that’s an even bigger one.