So you have a date set up by your matchmaker, or maybe you went out and got one yourself. Whatever the case may be, here are some first date bare bones essentials:
A first date is not the stuff of life or death. Take some deep breaths, go for a run, have a massage or a long hot bath beforehand. Pop some Bach Flower Rescue Remedy into your purse. A drop under your tongue should take a bit of the edge off. And please choose an outfit that you feel entirely comfortable and attractive in.
Check in with your mood
A successful first date is light and playful. Decide to have fun and stick with that decision, even if you know in your heart of hearts the personal fit is absent. Treat it as a practice session or as an opportunity to make a new friend.
Leave any expectations at the door. If you are too invested in the outcome, desperation will be written all over you. Yech. So think in terms of what you can give to the other person – how you can make them feel good or at ease. Funnily enough, that should make you feel good and at ease too.
Are you a winter or a spring?
Women, wear your most flattering color. As a general rule, remember that by suggesting vulnerability, peachy pink inspires the protector in men. Deep red, burgundy or plum will scare away any man not up for a strong woman. Red, the most sensual of colors, denotes sex and power. You may be in for an interesting ride if you decide to step out in it.
For men, blue is always a safe bet. Blue suggest stability and loyalty – a fantastic candidate for a long-term relationship. A man in blue is regarded as dependable and monogamous.
Even if you consider yourself always on the cutting edge of fashion or an incurable creative, it’s always a good idea – for both sexes – to dress more on the conservative side for the first date or two. If a woman dresses like a sexpot, it’s unlikely that her date will view her as a serious contender for a long term relationship. Similarly, if attire is too “out there”, it may be intimidating.
Lock, smile and drop
Interested? Then try a little flirting. Lock eyes for a full five to six seconds, then smile and drop your gaze. Do this at least three times in a ten to fifteen-minute period. Eye contact is a universal signal of openness and you’ve now declared open season. Lock, smile, drop X 3 is the recipient’s signal to shoot, aim and fire.
Smile please. This is the most important thing you can do to make yourself more attractive.
Expose your neck
No turtlenecks ladies – but neither do you require a plunging neckline. Just use a little effort to show your neck. A head tilt to one side, the classic hair flip, or the beguiling double whammy over-the-shoulder glance/ lock eye combination is fantastic dating ammunition.
Subconsciously, people tend to preen or groom themselves when attracted to someone. So, smooth your hair or clothes, or straighten your tie. Multi-task: combine a grooming gesture with a smile and a gaze. Okay, maybe that’s a bit much for the guys.
Red, moist lips signal youth, sex and fertility to both men and women. Red lipstick will actually increase a man’s heart rate. A youthful color, it makes your smile more visible and your teeth whiter. Shiny lip-gloss makes lips look moist and kissable. So take your pick ladies – red or shiny – or maybe even both. For both men and women, subtly licking your lips or biting your lower lip also signals ‘come hither’.
Cross your legs (Women)
Crossing and uncrossing your legs – especially if you’re wearing high heels – is particularly beguiling. It makes men desire to see more. Slipping your heel out of your shoe and dangling it on your toes will have men eating out of your hand. Just think, the arch of the foot mimics a woman’s curves.
Be a man
Women are biologically attracted to more dominant men, so stand tall with your shoulders back. Take up some space. Wear bulkier, slightly conservative clothing, hold your head up, and speak assertively.
To be approachable, women should stand with their feet no farther than 6 inches apart with toes pointed slightly inward. Make room for a man; think small. Men should stand with their feet 6-10 inches apart and toes pointing outward. Provide a safe shelter for the woman; think big.
When attracted, people mirror each other’s body language with similar gestures, voice volume and speed. Subtly mimic your date’s behavior. If she leans forward, you lean forward. If he reaches for his glass, you reach for yours. Try matching their energy. By doing so, your ‘mirror’ will begin to feel as though you’re singing two part harmony.” But always be conscious of invading another’s personal space.
Smell good please. Personal hygiene is an obvious. But women, men love the smells of cinnamon and vanilla. Does it harken back to childhood? Who knows? Does it matter? Wear it if you can. And apparently, black licorice for men is the secret key for many women. Once again, we can only speculate.
Ask and listen
Use the first date or two to gather information and intoxicate your date. If you act as if they are utterly fascinating – it’s a great aphrodisiac. So ask questions. Always smile and maintain gentle eye contact as the other person responds, focusing all of your attention on what they are saying. Signal you’re listening by the nod and head tilt. Again a smile and laughter will put the other person at ease and deepen any connection. And remember, before you decide to fall in love with someone, find out first if they have any ‘deal-breakers’ lurking.
Light, non-threatening touching such as touching the hand, is a true sign of attraction.
Don’t fold your arms. Don’t chew gum or your fingernails. Chewing suggests anxiety or frustration, neither of which are very attractive emotions. Try not to talk too fast or too much. Breathe, listen, and slow down.
According to Sigmund Freud, “we leak the truth from every pore.” Pretending to be someone you are not, will reduce your chances of meeting someone who is right for you. While always showing yourself in a good light, be careful not to exaggerate your accomplishments or make promises you don’t intend to keep. They’ll only catch up with you if the relationship progresses.
Wounded in action
Resist the urge to discuss your ex (‘s) for at the least the first few dates. Or any self-revealing exposés for that matter. There will be plenty of time to compare battle scars. And even then, just touch on the essentials and try to avoid any of the gory details. You don’t want to trigger insecurities or invite judgment.
Learn to put things in perspective. Digest compliments and shrug off rejection. Begin to notice your feelings and where they are located in your body. Simple awareness is sometimes curative.
Men and women don’t think alike. Who’s to know what they really meant – especially if they were nervous or shy on a first date? Give every statement the benefit of the doubt. Keep an open mind and an open heart.
Say ‘no’ graciously
Always turn someone down graciously. See it as a form of compliment to be asked, even if the man or woman is not your type. Allow the other party to save face. Karma.