First Date Alter Egos

dating-mindthis-caFirst dates are like interviews. They are potentially the most intensely judgemental examinations we can subject ourselves to, initiating an interrogation from head to toe on whether those genes you were so generously blessed or cursed with will correspond sufficiently with what he’s potentially looking for… whether your pheromones are the right ones to get him going…whether over the years you’ve accumulated the ‘right’ skill set that will integrate well with his means of life whilst not intimidating his modern integrity in supporting himself… but what is he about to invest in?

We spend so much time deliberating on making ourselves the perfect product we forget to shop wisely ourselves… often buying into the first viable option that comes along, lusting over gleaming exteriors when really as much false advertising occurs on the dating market as it does anywhere else… but we’re too busy swooning over the prices and how something appearing oh-so-perfect on the outside can come so cheap so easily, and we forget that they’ve adorned their own packaging as meticulously as we have ourselves.

Dating is quite simply the most shattering, exhaustive tests of life, and yet we subject ourselves to the same stress time and time again. What is it that drives us to want to risk the pain that comes with love? Deep down are we all just masochists? Why do we feel the need to project a façade on our potential mates in the first place? It’s like we’d rather manipulate them, trapping them into investing into something promising to be so much better than it really ever could be.


Have first dates not become mildly redundant now? If we insist on following the same script of pleasantries… sorry I don’t exploit my sex for the purpose of disillusioning a man I’m genetically and materialistically sufficient enough to be his mate. We go to every extreme in an attempt to conceal our real truths behind make-up and clingy vestige. Making all this effort whilst we remain oblivious to the fact we’re each soothing the same wounds, the same hurts, feeling the need to conceal how we really feel, projecting this façade until we’re happy enough with this ‘someone’ to let our hair down and reveal our inner demons, only when it’s too late for our captives to escape the clasps of the co-dependency they have now formed upon our unrequited souls. Are we partner ensnarers… just like black widow spiders and venus fly traps?

Is the reality that we are all just predators seeking the same thing? Are we prepared enough to pretend anything in order to achieve that status of partnership? We allure our potential mates with false promises of what they’re investing in from the start, selling the ‘I’m a culinary genius’ act on the initial date… but they can’t return the ‘recipe illiterate disaster’ after they’ve bought into ‘exhibition A’ already. There’s no refund policy on love… camouflaging ourselves within idiolects and fashion statements… changing colour to fit the scene when really we might belong backstage. Are we all just that uncomfortable in our own skin?


We’re surrounded by mutual masks day in day out. We might catch the same train as they do every morning or take our coffee the same way from the same store at the same meticulous intervals during the day and even acknowledge this but we’d probably never approach a familiar face without our own mask on, or some form of armour to protect us from the potential tug of rejection that we all feel.

We don’t go on first dates – our alter ego goes, that popular kid at school with the cool bike who headlines the band and has all the confidence in the world, she gets tucked away behind the extra supportive push-up bra making her boobs look twice as perky and the extra strength granny suck-in pants which makes her tummy look twice as toned.

First dates really happen the first time your partner encounters you in your pyjamas with bed head hair..the reality is that those two people that turned up at the ‘once upon a time’ first date won’t exist by the time it’s come to the big finale, marriage.

The Spanish have a saying – “Cuando se trata de amor, hablamos el mismo idioma, pero eligimos no comunicar”. When it comes to love we all speak the same language, and yet we choose not to communicate.

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First Date Faux Pas

OK so we’ve all been there, all been on dates we’d rather forget or much rather wish we hadn’t turned up to in the first place.  The trick is not to recreate those mistakes yourself.  So you’ve managed to secure yourself a date for Saturday night, with a guy you met in town.  You’ve had a trip to the salon; caterpillar eyebrows removed and dragged through the proverbial hedge hair trimmed into shape.  You spend the remainder of the day waxing, trimming, washing and straightening.  You’ve shoehorned yourself into your French Connection body-con dress and slipped into your 5 inch Kurt Geiger’s.  A quick glass of wine before you head out to steady your nerves and you’re ready to go.  Perfect.

You have probably already chosen a venue to meet in; this sets the scene for the tone of the evening I think.  You want somewhere trendy but a little intimate.  No live bands, pub quizzes or house and garage nights.  By the end of the night you won’t have found out anything about him because you can’t actually hear him.  Choose a bar that you’re comfortable in and have been to before as you will be able to relax a bit more.

Its ok to turn up for a date a little late for a date, it’s a woman’s prerogative surely, I think 10 minutes is standard and it’s nice to make an entrance.  However, 45 minutes is highly unacceptable, he is just going to think you’re a time waster or high maintenance, and most probably won’t even be there when you stomp in.  Providing he is still there of course, the next thing to make sure is you pick you conversation topics with care and attention.  Family and friends yes, work yes, outside interests yes, ex-boyfriends NO.  Under no circumstances do you mention your ex-boyfriend on a first date.  He will either think you are still sleeping with him or a bunny boiler who can’t let go of past relationships, (not good news the next dumpee).  Nobody wants to hear how long it took you to get past your 5 year engagement and how you’ve sworn off men forever.  Nor does your date want to hear how much you hate your rugby loving, beer swilling, over sexed ex.  He will assume that if you are quick to slag off your ex, what’s stopping you doing the same to him?

Know your manners!  Listen to him and ask him lots of questions, people love talking about themselves and he will be chuffed that you want to know more about him (football or not, feign interest).  If he rambles on too much about footie then tell him how nice you think his eyes are, it will soon stop his ramblings about Rooney and Joe Hart (this also works both ways if you’re rambling about lashes and shoes).  Offer to pay for some drinks and don’t expect him to pay for everything.  As much as we secretly want him to pay don’t expect a free ride, and be pleased if it is!

OK so you’ve managed to skim over talks of the ex’s and concentrate on what he’s got to say.  You’re halfway through the night and you’ve had a few wines.  More than you would normally have as maybe you’re a bit nervous and drinking quicker than normal.  You start calling in the sambucas and swinging your weave to Nirvana.  You’ve smudged your lippy and lit your cigarette the wrong way round.  Big mistake!  Getting hideously drunk on a first date is the ultimate no no.  It shows that your out of control, irresponsible and don’t know your limits.  Lay off the wines and stick to spirits, we all know what a killer wine is on a night out.

If he hasn’t thrown you into a taxi home at this point you have most probably woken up next to him as he assumes you are an easy target.  You shamefully utter how you never usually get that drunk, ask what his name is again, before committing the ultimate shame is first date faux pas.  The walk of shame back to your flat, hoping your flat mates won’t be in when you creep through the door.

If you have any chance of the first date going well, do the exact opposite of what you have just read and you should be on your way to second date heaven.  Where basically all the rules of the first date still apply.  Happy dating boys and girls!