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The opinions expressed in this article are the writer’s own and do not reflect the views of Her Campus.
This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at Queen's U chapter.

First dates are simultaneously one of the most exciting and nerve-wracking experiences someone can go through. The sheer anticipation of potentially making an important memory (or at least an entertaining story to tell your friends the next day) is a practically indescribable feeling.

From the “getting-ready” process, to going on the date itself, to getting home and immediately calling your best friend; it’s an experience like no other. Many people dread first dates, but they’re also so richly full of possibility that they have a certain beauty about them too. You never truly know exactly what will happen or how the date will go. The narrative of first dates as something to ‘overcome’ is understandable, but we should also recognize the sheer romance of them too. 

Arguably the most enjoyable and yet stressful part of a first date is the process of getting ready. As someone who generally prefers the “getting-ready” process to actually having to go out, preparing for a date is so exciting.

It all starts with picking out the perfect outfit, usually with the help of a couple friends. Frantically calling your best friend, trying things on over FaceTime, and asking “But is it too much?” about ten times, are all part of the process.

Once you’ve figured out what to wear, the next steps are hair and makeup. Depending on what kind of date you’re going on, you may even be enjoying a pre-date drink while you get ready.

One important aspect of this “getting-ready” process is the movie-worthy soundtrack. Music that makes you feel good and pumped is integral to helping overcome those pre-date jitters. When getting ready for a first date, it’s fun to imagine yourself as the lead in a romantic comedy, acting in your very own movie montage, à la Jenna Rink in 13 Going on 30. After all, you could be getting ready to go out with your very own Matt (but probably won’t end up dancing to “Thriller”). 

tao and elle on a movie date in heartstopper season 2

After the fun of getting ready, it’s time to go on the date. Maybe you know the other person, or maybe they’re a stranger, but either way, you have no idea how it will play out. You could be going out to dinner with the love of your life, or you could be meeting someone who you’ll never see again. This uncertainty is scary for many people, but it also allows for so many outcomes. After all, there is always the chance that this is your last first date ever.

I think that that’s really the beauty of a first date; it could be the start of a new chapter in your life.

Going on first dates may be stressful and awkward, but they’re also great learning experiences. You get to meet new people, try new things, and learn about yourself. Figuring out what you like, what you want, and how you want to be treated are all pieces of knowledge that can be gained on first dates. 

When the date is over, it’s time for the inevitable debrief with your friends. Telling them every little detail and going over everything that was discussed is crucial. In talking about the date, you not only get to relive it and gain some entertainment, but you can also talk through what you’d like to happen next. Whether that be going out on another date, or telling the other person you’re not interested—talking to your friends can clarify how you feel and what you should do.

This is also a time for celebration; you put yourself in a stressful situation and got through it! Even if it was awkward or downright uncomfortable, you made it through and now it’s over.  

As a society, we’ve mainly painted first dates as a hurdle; a necessary evil to surmount in order to move on to something better. But they don’t necessarily need to be like that. First dates are a time for friendship, for self-care, for learning, and for personal development. If they go well, amazing! It may be the start of something special. If they go poorly, oh well! At least you tried.

Going on a first date is an experience that eclipses just the date itself; the preparation and the aftermath are just as, if not more, important. The beauty of the first date is one that cannot be understated.

So, the next time you find yourself on the precipice of a first date, I implore you to not be consumed by anxieties, and instead think about the magic of possibility that a first date holds.

Remember: it could be the last one you ever get to experience. 

Natalie Cowan

Queen's U '26

Natalie Cowan is a second year English Language and Literature student at Queen's University. She enjoys baking, spending time with friends and family, and walking her dog, Auggie.