Make no mistake: a blind date can be a minefield of potential disaster areas. You just know that you’re going to be judged – in some cases against a checklist of desirable attributes your date has been working on for years – and you don’t want to mess up.
Here are a few tips to stop your date becoming one of those never to be repeated “It was nice but you’re just not for me” occasions…
Let her choose the venue
It’s all about making your date feel comfortable, so it’s wise at least to offer her the choice of blind date venue. You might be met with an “Oh I don’t know, you choose,” but at least she’ll think you’re a gent for offering her the choice.
However, this tactic can backfire if she’s a lady of expensive tastes or wants to go somewhere that’s way out of your comfort zone. If this happens and you find yourself gritting your teeth as you’re booking the priciest restaurant in town, or making enquiries about indoor rock climbing, there’s not much you can do. Hey, you might even enjoy rock climbing…
Meet somewhere neutral
Restaurants, bars and the cinema are all good places to meet, because there are plenty of other people around and they are neutral ground. Don’t suggest she comes to your house, or accept an invitation to hers, on a blind date. Not ever.
Dress the part
Do NOT under any circumstances wear a T-shirt with a ‘zany’ slogan, or even worse an offensive one. In fact, it’s usually best to ditch the T-shirt uniform and opt for something a little bit smarter, although a suit and tie is probably over the top for a casual first date. Match your outfit to your date destination, and if it’s dressy, make a bit of an effort. Girls like that.
Make sure your take an iron to your clothes as well. If you turn up looking a complete scruff, you’re not going to make a good impression, even if your un-ironed clothes are very expensive.
Most girls also like shoes, so she’ll notice if you’ve got dirty, old or plain ugly shoes on. It pays to wear your best footwear rather than your most comfortable, and make sure you give them a good polish if needed.
Girls notice things like personal hygiene, and if you want to make a good impression, pay attention to all the things you might not always bother with if you were on a night out with the boys. Showering and washing your hair pre-date are non-negotiable. Pluck any stray nose or ear hairs, and make sure your nails are clean. If you’re going to finish off with a spritz of scent, don’t overdo it – she’ll wonder what you’re hiding!
Turn off your phone
…but don’t expect her to. Unless you’re on call or have some pressing and unavoidable reason for needing to have your phone on, make a point of switching it off and giving her your undivided attention.
Don’t worry if she leaves hers on, though. Women on blind dates usually have a friend on duty, waiting to hear that all is OK and that you haven’t turned out to be a weirdo or axe-wielding serial killer. It’s a girl thing, and a safety thing too. If she’s constantly texting, though, that’s just rude and you’re within your rights to comment, or never see her again. If the phone goes off halfway through your date and she tells you she has a family emergency, that’s girl-code for “I just texted my friend to call me and get me out of here.”
Offer to pay
Most women are happy to pay their way, but it’s generally accepted blind date etiquette that if you asked her out, you should politely refuse any attempt from your date to pay, and offer to cover the whole meal, or the cinema tickets or whatever you invited her to do. However, you can let her buy the popcorn, a drink afterwards, or pay for a second date if it’s gone well.
If she insisted on going for a meal at a swanky restaurant, and your credit card is groaning at the thought of paying for it, you can accept an offer to split the bill, or graciously pay up, depending on whether you think she’s worth it!