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Sex + Relationships

The Best Places For a First Date

There’s nothing like the excitement of a first date with someone new. All week you feel giddy, nervous and your stomach is in a knot. You prep for hours before the date, consulting with your friends about what to wear and making sure your hair is perfectly flat-ironed. 7 p.m. comes around and as your date picks you up, you finally feel ready. But your date’s success or failure could be resting on the location you two choose. We’ve got you covered with the pros and cons of possible spots – the rest of the date is up to you!

First Date Spot
: Movies

You can’t go wrong with a visit to the local multiplex and a box of Sour Patch Kids. It may be hard to compromise on the movie but UNC-Chapel Hill graduate Gloria Holbrook says if it is meant to be, you’ll peacefully decide what to see. Make sure you fit time in before and after your date to talk because you’ll certainly get shushed if your date should whisper sweet nothings in your ear during the film.

Pros: What guy doesn’t like watching movies? He gets to sit close to you and have the chance to slyly reach for your hand. A movie is a shared experience and after the credits roll, you’ll have tons to talk about. Impress him with your movie critic skills or try to one-up his jokes at the movie’s expense. His wallet will be happy after the movie because compared to the price of dinner, two movie tickets are a bargain.

Cons: Go the movies on a Saturday night and you’re likely to run into other couples from campus. You may have to awkwardly explain that yes, you’re on a date. If you adore horror and he’s no fan of the genre, you may feel like you are settling on your movie choice. You’ll be distracted for half of the movie as you wait to see if he’ll hold your hand. Apart from the odd snicker or whisper, you won’t really be able to get to know your date. Watch out for potentially awkward sex scenes in the movie you picked — be glad the theater’s dark because at least he can’t see you blush.

First Date Spot: Restaurant

Whether you go for Thai, Italian or French, you’re going to have a great first date eating dinner as long as it’s not at the dining hall. UNC-Chapel Hill student Matthew McGibney says that you can tell a lot by the way your date eats. He says you’ll know from the start if your date has manners or if he’s got an adventurous appetite. Just remember to consider price range when you suggest restaurants. Patrick Williams, a student at UMass Amherst, says dinner dates are great as long as his date does not have expensive taste.

Pros: Sitting in class together is one thing but getting off campus and eating out will allow you to relax away from the gaze of your peers. Going out for dinner means at least an hour of solid conversation so be prepared to talk a lot and ask questions. Splitting two dishes can be a fun experience as long as you don’t share spaghetti a la “Lady and the Tramp”. Plus you can watch for his kindness as he interacts with your waiter.

Cons: If he’s a red-blooded carnivore and you’re a vegetarian, you may have some issues agreeing on a restaurant. Between ordering and eating, you have a lot of time to fill with talking. When your entrees do arrive, make sure not to talk with food in your mouth. Just cross your fingers that your dinner doesn’t have garlic or onions that could impede any after-dinner plans. At the end of the meal, run to the bathroom to check your pearly whites for lettuce and pop in a breath mint.

First Date Spot: Sporting Event

Grab some popcorn, find your seats and cheer on your collegiate sports team. Kara Todd, a student at UNC-Chapel Hill, says that a basketball or football game would be great for a first date because all the pressure is on the team. She says that you can talk if you want to or concentrate on the action if there are any awkward pauses.

Pros: Choosing an outfit will be super easy because you’ve probably got tons of school-spirited yet cute T-shirts to pair with jeans. Remember this is your chance to show your date that you are fun and not too “prissy”. If the date doesn’t go as well as expected, chances are that one of your friends is in the crowd and is only a text away. But if your boy’s a super fan and there’s a double overtime win, chances are good that he’ll want to continue celebrating.

Cons: Picking out a too-sexy outfit might look too silly at a chilly sporting event like hockey or football. And forget about those heels because if you have seats in the rowdy student section, you may end up standing up during the whole date. If you don’t know much about the sport you are watching, you may come off as bored. Plus if your team loses, your boy could be seriously bummed which might ruin any chances of the date ending well.
First Date Spot: Concert

As long as you don’t drag him to the Jonas Brothers or Celine Dion, there’s no reason your date wouldn’t enjoy a concert. Live music, a darkened auditorium and the chance to see your favorite artists are great perks of a concert first date. Also there’s no pressure to talk during the concert. But in between sets, you can chat about everything from vacations to television shows. You know it will be a good date if you two can sing every song — compatible music tastes are hard to find.

Pros: This is a perfect place to bond if you share the same taste in music. Assuming you both like bluegrass, rap or pop music, this is another place to have a shared experience. You’ve got the opportunity to get close and dance if you are enjoying the concert. Better yet, book lawn seats at an outdoor concert and you’ll be able to snuggle up on a blanket together. Encores will extend your date into the night and you can suggest going to another concert as a second date.

Cons: A concert isn’t the best place for a first date if he’s a little bit country and you’re a little bit rock ‘n roll. Once you’re there don’t make a move for the mosh pit — it will be too chaotic and you’ll get pushed and shoved. Unlike a meal, this isn’t the arena for a lot of chitchat: you’ll likely get seats next to a booming speaker. And don’t press for a souvenir because buying you a concert shirt could mean your date could be broke for your next date.

First Date Spot
: Coffee Shop

There’s nothing like a chill coffeehouse to get you in the mood. UNC-Chapel Hill graduate Jennifer Durham says a coffee shop is perfect for a first date because it’s not as serious and stuffy as the typical dinner and a movie. Sip your caramel macchiato and get to know your date with the hum of the espresso maker as ambience.

Pros: If he pays for your souped-up Starbucks drink, you won’t feel bad because four bucks is way less than a full-fledged dinner. The caffeine will help you stay alert during a particularly interesting date; the caffeine will help you stay awake during a boring date. Luckily a coffee date is casual enough that you can steer your date into to the “just friends” zone if you want. Coffee doesn’t take as long as dinner so pick something else on the list if it’s going well.

Cons: Finding a seat in a coffeehouse during finals week will be impossible — loud study groups could also be distracting. You should know that sitting and sipping isn’t much of an activity for a first date, so the date could end up being very short. It can also be hard to tell if you and your date are just friends or more since coffee is so casual. Coffee breath can be the kiss of death at the end of a date: Be prepared with breath mints or gum.

Patrick Williams, UMass Amherst
Matt McGibney, UNC-Chapel Hill
Gloria Holbrook, UNC-Chapel Hill
Jennifer Durham, UNC-Chapel Hill

Jessica Stringer is a senior journalism major at UNC-Chapel Hill. She is originally from Woodbridge, VA. At UNC, she is the editorial director for Rival Magazine, a joint publication between UNC and Duke. She has previously written for the Daily Tar Heel, interned at DC Magazine and CNBC, and is a member of Kappa Kappa Gamma. Jessica fell in love with London during her semester abroad and dreams of moving across the pond. Some of her favorite things include coconut cupcakes, Carolina basketball, old Hollywood movies, and her Havanese puppy Max.
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