Queen of the First Dates

Take me to any bar in Cleveland and I can tell you the perfect table to sit at for a first date. I can tell you which side of the table to sit on so you’re not distracted by a TV or a view and you can devote your attention to the person you’re with. I can pick out a back-up location within the bar or restaurant in case it’s crowded and they don’t take reservations and it’s an hour wait and you need to find a space at the bar (a corner spot is best or an end spot).

But you have to find this spot and let the guy think it was his decision to sit there… I’m not new to this.

I’ve been online dating/blind dating in Cleveland for over two years. It’s a party, you guys. I mean this half sarcastically and half whole-heartedly, 50 percent of the time the men are very sweet, kind, and looking to date and 50 percent of the time they just say that on their profile to get in your pants or they have the intelligence of a third grader. Okay, actually these percentages should read 20 percent kind and somewhat intelligent and 80 percent can barely find a doorknob. Read any news article and they will tell you that 70 percent of Cleveland isn’t married, which bodes well if you also aren’t married and are looking to catch one of those fish in this proverbial sea. So, what’s better than being cold? ICE COLD! a town that is 70 percent single? Being a city that seventh place in Time.com’s ‘Best Food Cities’ in America.

That’s a town to date in people! I could eat my way through anything. Except onions, god onions are awful – I mean I understand their importance in meals but do they have to do so with such a disgusting texture raw and cooked? I might as well eat my way though Cleveland, one terrible date at a time…

That’s a lie, sometimes there have been good dates and I have been terrible, but at least I’m self aware? Yeah, let’s convince ourselves that being aware of the issue makes us less of a shitty person! So, what are the tips to have a good first date?

1.) Set yourself up to not fail. Notice how I didn’t say “set yourself up to succeed?” No one wins at first dates – a successful first date is one where you leave with promise. One where you leave not feeling like you wasted your afternoon or evening. One where you actually, maybe, want to see the person again. A dream first date leaves with a call or text or SnapChat to the besties where you actually say, “I had a great first date!” Go in with low expectations, leave pleasantly surprised. Basically go in with the Hot Tub Time Machine outlook – expect the worst, if it is you were right – if not, hey! It wasn’t a waste of your time!

2.) Don’t bite off more than you can chew. I mean this in two ways. 1.) Don’t take big bites of your food – slow the fuck down and talk while you eat. Jiminy crickets – I know that pasta is, like, the best you’ve ever had but you’re here to get to know someone not stuff your face until you become Violet in Charlie and the Chocolate Factory or Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory (side note: which one are you supposed to reference when there are two movies and you like both the OG and the remake for different reasons?).

Listen, I have to take my own advice here from time to time, I love food – but we’re on a date not Survivor and this is not the first real meal I’ve eaten in weeks… slow. it. down. babes. 2.) Don’t try to do too much with your dates early on! I’ve always been a big fan of coffee or cocktails as date one, dinner or activity as date two, movie and a nicer dinner as date three, and then BAM! big activity for date four. Get your head out of the gutter. Slow it down… get to know someone before you want to take in an Indians game with them, if you do that for date one you might hate them by the 3rd inning and you don’t want to tarnish your love affair with your precious Indians because of some terrible date! Take it slow, this is a marathon – not a sprint.

3.) Talk less, smile more. Okay, really this is more about how the person who does a majority of the talking feels that they had a better time, but in all honesty you should both be talking equally. So, listen to Aaron Burr (sir) here from my favorite musical that I haven’t seen because I am not the luckiest person in the world and talk less, after all… fool’s who run their mouths often wind up dead. No wait, that’s still Hamilton. Okay, give me a second. Talk less – do not monopolize the conversation. Ask questions and get to know the person you are with equally. And at the end of the day, a smile never hurts. Also don’t end up in a duel, that’s just good life advice, it’s not privy to dating.

4.) Go where you know. You’re most comfortable and relaxed at places you’ve been before. So when in doubt – go to places you have been before! It’s a great idea to have a few spots up your sleeve for a first date that you have eaten at and know what you like or what you don’t like, especially if you’re the one doing the asking out.

5.) Have an easy out. When all else fails it’s a great idea to have an easy out. “It’s getting late and I have work in the morning,” is always a nice way to wrap up a dinner date – it also shows that I’m employed and like to be somewhat timely in the morning. If it’s a daydate, “I’m really sorry but I have to meet a friend at ______ in 20 minutes, but I had a great time with you!” Is also a great way to wrap that up. I cannot stress this enough, you cannot give your excuse for leaving at the beginning of the date – unless it’s real. For example, I have a friend coming into town for the weekend but I don’t want to cancel a date because the guy is actually a decent human being who I can chat with (crazy, I know!) but if it starts getting too late, I will just say that I’m really sorry to do that but I have to meet up with some friends who are in from out of town and might have to cut the night short. Now, because this isn’t a lie it can be said at any point in the evening. I know it’s confusing, but it’s just an unspoken rule.

I hope these help you get out there and have fun in the dating scene! I promise it’s not as scary as people make it out to be.

What tips have helped you get through a first date?


3 Comments Add yours

  1. Loved this.

    My friends all think I’m nuts, but I’m so strategic about location. I have two main rules: good lighting and close proximity!

  2. CrayStupidLove says:


  3. 30's Dater says:

    Great advice – you’d be surprised how rare that is in the dating world.

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