It’d be great if dates progressed the way they do in the movies: he picks you up with flowers in hand, you make a flawless grand entrance down the staircase in your 4-inch stilettos, dinner goes off – followed by a chocolate-y dessert – without a hitch and the night concludes with a perfect foot-popping kiss. If only, right?
With awkward and relatively clueless college boys, though, a date (let alone a smooth one) is hard to come by. College guys’ nervous tendencies and weird sayings aside, we collegiettes just might be part of the problem behind these less-than-perfect dates. Maybe it’s our own nerves, our chaotic thoughts, or our uncomfortable shoes. But whatever it is that keeps us distracted from the guy in question, it opens the floodgates that allow our most offensive dating habits to surge forward. They threaten the attainment of the goal at hand: to experienceas much as we can of that only-in-the-movies date perfection. So in hopes of achieving that, here are Her Campus’s Top 5 Dating Don’ts:
Personal problems, private thoughts, and the names of your unborn children should not be topics of conversation between you and your guy. He took you to dinner to learn about your interests and your personality – not to hear you blurt out inappropriate comments about yourself or others. On first dates, keep the conversation basic, and don’t allow too much to spill out too soon. And if alcohol becomes a part of the night, be sure that it’s not getting the best of you – it can be easy to lose track of your tongue once you’re a couple of drinks in. Word-vomit (and actual vomit) happens to girls as nice as Cady Heron, but that doesn’t mean it always should. Somehow, she won him over in the end, but our guess is that her word-vomit episode didn’t help her accomplish that any quicker.
Of course we want to seem as appealing as possible on a date, and for some collegiettes this means adding a little something extra to each and every statement or story. Trust us, he won’t know that “I love sports!” actually translates to “Um, I hate sports and have no idea what’s going on during any game/match/whatever it’s called.” Instead of embellishing/lying, leave this information out altogether, unless he asks you directly – and then, yes, answer honestly. Paul* from Emory University says that he “can tell in two seconds if a girl is lying. I’d rather a girl be honest… If she has to lie to impress me then she probably isn’t the right girl.” So, don’t offer information about your killer cooking skills if you don’t really have any. And don’t tell him you’re an aspiring singer if you tend to crack windows when you belt it out. The last things he wants is a dinner of soggy microwaved veggies with overcooked chicken or a pitchy serenade. Instead, highlight the qualities you possess that you’re most proud of, and focus on your own interests and passions, not just appeasing his.
3. Exercising your thumbs too much.
It’s true, sometimes your iPhone/BlackBerry/Droid/Whathaveyou just becomes too cool to put down for even a second, but texting viciously throughout the night is a huge no-no. Even if you’re just talking to your friend (read: offering her a minute-by-minute account of the night), for all he knows, you’re planning to meet up with that otherguy right after this date because he’s so dreadfully boring. Boston College student Alex* says, “I’m assuming she’s not interested if she has her phone out.” Splitting your mind between the blue glow of your text message conversation and your in-person conversation will confuse you, and make you appear completely disengaged (not to mention rude). Wait until the end of the date to reacquaint your fingers with your phone, even if they do start to shake by the end of it.
4. Getting sloppy.
Foods to avoid on dinner dates: wings, ribs, saucy spaghetti, corn on the cob, leafy greens. All of these choices have their appropriate time and place, but Salve Regina HC Campus Correspondent Emma St. Laurent has had, at her restaurant job, firsthand experience with victims of these unfortunate meal choices. As much as you don’t find it attractive to watch him chow down on a plate full of BBQ ribs, he doesn’t really want to watch you do it either. Steer clear of any kind of sauce that could potentially make its way onto your cheeks and chin (and down the front of that brand new blouse), and foods that might get stuck in between your teeth. Same goes for garlic and onions, although they’re more of the “invisible” offender-type. Rigatoni/penne and a simple piece of chicken/fish/meat are usually safe bets. That said, if you like messy food, and want to show him that, stick to your guns and order those ribs, but be prepared to make light when the sauce gets everywhere. But just remember that the spaghetti thing is only cute in Lady and the Tramp.
5. Unloading your baggage.
It’s fine to share elements of your personal life with him, but in due time, and not all at once. Brandeis University HC Campus Correspondent Asya Bashina says that guy friends who were almost boyfriends, your exes, and traumatic events (yes, that includes those surrounding your exes) shouldn’t be revealed until you’ve been dating pretty consistently. Don’t let him think that you’re damaged goods, because you’re not! We’ve all got our issues, but airing all of your dirty laundry in one sitting might make him think you’re a bit on the crazy side, so don’t count on a follow-up phone call if this is how you handle your dates. Jonathan* from Emory University points out, “I’m not her therapist on the first date. Leave that stuff at home until we get to know each other and I know that I can be there for you through your problems.” It’s not that he never wants to know – it’s that he’s not prepared for it by the time you’ve only been on two or three dates. To keep him on the edge of the seat as opposed to running for his life, keep the conversation focused on your interests and show off your fabulous personality.
While ditching these habits might leave you with quite a lot to think about before your next big date night, don’t make yourself too crazed about these “don’ts.” It seems like most of the time these habits only become big mistakes when we let our nerves get the best of us. There’s no need to psych yourself out – after all, he’s into you enough to want to go out with you in the first place, so you must be doing something right. Allow yourself to enjoy his company and have a fun night – it may not be a scene straight out of a rom-com, but you might be able to get a kiss with a foot-pop at the end anyway.
* Name has been changed.