Ah, the first date.
So full of promise, excitement and hope—not to mention a brand-new outfit and an eye-watering bikini wax. The painful grooming, the newly acquired debt, the canceling of all plans at least ten hours prior to the date—this is all an attempt to showcase your perfection and hide your humanness.
Which got me to thinking: is it possible or even desirable to hide who you really are?
Most advice-givers will tell you to be on your best behavior, dress nicely, engage in pleasant conversation, and go somewhere interesting and fun on a first date. But that doesn’t work because eventually real-life elbows its way in and your true colors come out, and often times they ain’t pretty. Then your new beau thinks you’re schizoid, a liar, or too complex because you’ve switched from picture perfect to perfectly perplexing.
So, my perspective on first dates is radically different. I say: show ‘em who you really are, warts and all, and if he calls you for a second date, then you know he truly likes who you are and not just who he sees.
Here are 10 things I highly encourage you to do on a first date:
- Drink too much. Unless you’re in AA, at some point in this relationship you are going to get drunk, so you might as well get it over with. Since intoxication lowers inhibitions, it’s important that he find out what kind of drunk you are: funny or paranoid? Asshole or weeper? Which leads to #2.
- Vomit on his shoes. This doesn’t have to be alcohol-induced. It can be as a result of flu, food poisoning, or stage fright. When the contents of your stomach are shooting out your mouth, you are in the epitome of real life. Vomit happens and it’s important to know his instinctual reaction: run the other way, or hold your hair back.
- Order messy food. I spent years on first dates eating nothing but consommé because I was terrified that everything else would wind up in my teeth or on the front of my (white, of course) shirt. So I say order spaghetti, Sloppy Joes, or finger foods! In fact, you might even want to speed up the inevitable and just dump your raspberry coulis cheesecake onto your blouse.
- Go to a financial planning workshop. Hey, if you can have fun here, you can have fun anywhere.
- Declare bankruptcy. Better yet, take your date to bankruptcy court (this one is for the guys) and watch her face as they cut up your credit cards. Is she still interested in you without the ability to go into eyeball-deep debt for her?
- Show up via public transit. If your car dies, you’re going to a sold-out stadium concert, or you decide to care about the environment, you may find yourself taking public transit one day. Especially for the gents, it’s important to know how your lover reacts to that. Will she dump you immediately or dig into her pocket for exact change?
- Introduce all your exes. Take your date to the home, workplace, or maximum security prison of all your exes and introduce the new beau. You know the ex-files will come up in the new relationship sooner or later, so it’s best to reveal your hand right away. “I’d like you to meet my ex-boyfriend John. Commit his face to memory, because until the judge approves the restraining order, you’ll be seeing a lot of him.” Also, this will give your new boyfriend the opportunity to see how you behave around them. Are you still holding a grudge? Or his hand?
- Break an arm. Just to see if he will visit you in the hospital. I used to date a guy who would say, upon any close-call I had with physical misfortune, “Don’t make me visit you in the hospital.” Ok, so maybe breaking an arm purposefully is a little too much. Get the flu and see if avoids you until you are socially presentable again, or if he brings you soup and your favorite movie (see my post: Netflix Knows Me Better Than My Boyfriend)
- Fart. Need I say more?
- Go to a therapy session/12-step group/self-improvement workshop. Look, you’re going to have to face it eventually so you might as well know right off the bat what your new beau’s baggage, addictions and vices are. Who knows, maybe his compulsions are compatible with yours, like he’s a crack addict and you’re a dealer.
Read more posts by Selena Templeton, love and relationship expert. Selena blogs for JenningsWire.