I’m getting more and more questions from first time Internet daters, which is utterly charming. Oh, the excitement and misery they must feel! Here’s a little something that can help them, and the grizzled veterans out…the 5 things you should do before an Internet date.
1) Get Alright with Getting Nervous
I’ve lost track of how many Internet dates I’ve been on. I used to say over 100, but that was many Internet dates ago, so I guess I could say over 150, but that kinda makes me want to kill myself. So I’m sticking with “a lot.” Or, how about this: I’ve been on a frigging lot of Internet dates and still, shockingly, get nervous before each one. Not super nervous, I’m not fumbling for my bottle of Klonopin on the way into the bar or anything, but there are definitely butterflies. Especially if it’s someone I’m particularly excited to meet. I guess it makes sense, I mean, you should be nervous when you’re minutes away from meeting a woman who could just as likely be your future wife as your future ax murderer. So get cool with that excited/scared sensation before your date. Do a few jumping jacks to burn off the extra energy, or, you know, just guzzle down a couple mouthfuls of gin. Both work great.
2) Reread Your Date’s Profile
Earlier this week I was rushing to make a date, and didn’t have a chance to remind myself of her particulars before I arrived. But it’s cool, I can wing it, right? I’ve been on more than 100 (but definitely less than 150) of these of these bad boys. So I arrived, gave her a hug, and confidently asked, “What’s new in the world of law and order?” Which would be a totally cool and logical way to say hello to a lawyer, but a pretty atrocious way to introduce yourself to a kindergarten teacher. Which is what she actually was. So unless you wanna break my record of shortest amount of time required to look like an ass, reread your date’s profile before arriving. And while you’re at it, take special note of your companion’s name. Because “Great to meet you, pal!” is a pretty unimpressive way to begin an evening.
3) Commit to a Hug or Handshake
In many ways, the most complicated moment of a first Internet encounter happens at “Hello.” Do you hug this person you’ve never seen before in your entire life? Or do you give them a handshake, to make sure the whole thing feels as much like a real estate transaction as possible? It’s tricky. You could also do nothing physical at all, just sorta nod at them like you’re in a secret society and hope they don’t think you have a mental problem. I’m a hugger, myself, but it’s definitely backfired on multiple occasions. Some women are just not down to hug a dude they know nothing about, and I don’t blame ’em. But here’s the thing: no matter what you choose, commit to it. If you’re cool, confident, and comfortable, you could start your evening with a flying chest bump and your date would be down with it. OK, I mean, don’t start your date with a flying chest bump, that would be awful, but you get my point. The worst introduction you can give is an uncertain one: leaning in for a hug, retracting, leaning in again, changing course and offering up a limp hand for a shake, then re-committing to the hug too late and bumping into your poor partner’s outstretched arm. It’s a nightmare. Don’t Woody Allen the hell out of your first minute knowing someone — pick a greeting in advance and stick to it.
4) Come Up With One Go-To Anecdote
No matter how jazzy a connection you’ve got on your hands, there will be at least one lull in conversation with your new companion. Don’t worry, it happens to the best of us. And, alternately, me. When things get slow, I usually lean on stories of past dating disasters, because hey, I’ve got plenty of ’em – but if you’re new to Match, you may not have this bounty in your back pocket. So, feel free to steal my stories and make them your own! Or, and this is a gem from the vault, kids…ask for your date’s advice. On some funny little issue you’re having with a friend, or a great place for a birthday dinner, or what to tell your Dad when he won’t stop texting you asking how the date is going. Nothing heavy or weird, just a quirky little problem you too can tackle together. It immediately breeds companionship and shows that you value your partner’s advice. And it’s something to talk about. OK, evil date manipulation tip over.
5) DON’T Text Your Date and Tell Them What You’re Wearing
I hate it when people do this. I’ve seen seven pictures of you online, why do I need to know you’re wearing a brown coat to spot you in a mostly empty bar? Also, even if I had no idea what you looked like, it wouldn’t be that hard to pick out the one woman sitting alone with that expectant look in her eye that says, “Please let him be at least 5’6″! Please let him be at least 5’6″! When a lady texts me before a date and asks what I’ll be wearing, my answer is, 100% of the time, “a suit of armor.” Admittedly, there are probably more mature ways of handling the situation, but I just guzzled down a couple mouthfuls of gin, so how much can you really expect of me?
Alright. Ready, set, date!