Dear Di

This could be the one situation where Cosmo can’t help you. Photo: Mirceaianc/Flickr
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Dear Di,

It’s a new year and a new me and I’m looking for a new partner. I’ve got a few dates lined up in the next couple of weeks, but honestly, it’s been a while since I took somebody out. Have any tips for first dates?

— Lonely Boy

Dear LB,

Until the snow starts to melt it’s still cuffing season, so this is a question I’m sure is shared by many. Dating can be simple, first dates included, as long as you follow a simple set of dating dos and don’ts. 

We’ll start with what not to do. For example, see a movie. 

For some reason, “dinner and a movie” has acquired the type of cliche status that makes it a trusty go-to for first dates. That never ceases to puzzle me, because no one ever has a good time on a movie date. You can’t actually talk to the other person at all, so it’s a terrible way to meet someone. You leave the theatre as strangers just as you entered it. 

The movies should be reserved only for a quiet night out with someone you’re already dating, or an excuse to make out in public places, if that does it for you. 

And if you must see a movie, for the love of God don’t make it Joker.

Also, do not force the questions. If you read Cosmo or magazines like it, they might present you with a list of first date questions like this one. Do not trust these. Sure, some of these questions could spark natural conversation, but the majority of them come off stiff and awkward. “What were you like as a child?” “Who has been the most influential person in your life?” Those sound a lot more like a therapist’s preliminary probes than casual date conversation to me.

Here’s my foolproof dating guide: The first date should be dinner or drinks (if you’re a drinker). Something lowkey and casual where the main aim of the evening is conversation. Social lubrication is key to shake off those first date jitters, and besides, nothing spells romance like a nice shared meal.

After that, if things go well, don’t be afraid to try something spicier. It might sound cheesy, but honestly, ask any one of your friends what their best date was, and I guarantee it won’t be dinner and a movie. Try something new; rock climbing, a cooking class, a potter’s wheel; but save it for the second or third date. 

Just keep it simple to break the ice, see if there’s any genuine spark or interest, and let your charm take it from there.