1st Date Anti-Cringe Checklist

The First Date is as nerve racking as walking into an interview for your dream job.

There are fewer events with a potential cringe factor than The First Date. They are worse than interviews, because you won’t even get the chance to get paid (if you’re a self- respecting girl). But, get the ingredients right and you could be cooking up a super, sexy night with Mr. Right Here Right Now. Or at least the chance to make an even sexier second impression. Everything from the waiter’s attitude to what you eat – and more importantly, what you drink – makes a difference.

You are what you eat. Try not to schedule a date when you’re on a grapefruit diet. Chances are you’ll be grumpy due to low blood sugar levels and might come across as slightly odd when he orders a stew and salad. On the other hand, ordering a comfort-food helping of spaghetti Bolognese might seem like the superb solution to your nervousness. But when you’re schlurping it up and splashing sauce all over his smile and your shirt it’s hardly going to help spice things up! Go for bite-size finger food – you can chat in-between and it doesn’t matter if it gets cold, because it IS already cold. Oh. And do not order anything with poppy seeds – he’s not going to tell you that you’ve got one between your teeth, and you’re not going to survive the embarrassment when you realize it an hour after you’ve been smiling toothily.

Location, location, location. Ambience can go a long way to making you feel comfortable, or downright out of your depth. If belly dancing makes you blush, don’t go to a Turkish restaurant. If you’re not into steak and rugby, suggest a Thai takeout instead. And never, ever, choose a place where the waitresses are better looking than you.

The neighbours are watching.
Avoid the local watering hole where 20 of your concerned friends will willingly interrupt your intimate meeting with questions like ‘what happened to that last one, eh?’ or ‘things a bit on the thin side these days?’ If you’re going for suave and sophisticated, try not to choose an eatery where your father’s colleagues dine out – especially if your date is older than you.

Not quite Hat and (Cock)tails. The recipe for making a favourable impression on a date is tricky. Alcohol is a great social lubricant, but while it goes well with that little cocktail dress, now might not be the best time to get hammered on a Long Island Iced Tea. It’s difficult to impress someone when you’re slurring your words, spilling champagne on his Armani trousers or purring incoherently to the guy at the next table (even if you’re only asking for a light). Rather be patient and stick to iced tea.

Dress to kill, not overkill. Body language speaks volumes. There’s nothing worse than tugging at a too-tight bra strap when you could be tracing your collarbone alluringly and smiling and pausing to listen intently in all the right places. If you’re going to wear that short little number, make sure the whole world can’t see past the hem when you sit down. And if you’re not sure about that new designer outfit, try it out on your friends first. It’s less about what you wear than the way you wear it, and the more relaxed you are the better chance you’ll have of having a good time. You can be sexy in a top and trousers if you really put your mind to it, after all.

Never play ‘I Never’ on the first date. ‘I Never’ is a sexy drinking game, but you don’t want him to know all your secrets from the word go – mystique is the mother of all seduction and things are sexier when there’s still something to discover.

Plan B is not ‘my place or yours’.
If worse comes to worst and he’s a complete moron or you managed to disobey all these guidelines and simply goes pear shaped, have a backup plan. You don’t have to start a fire in the foyer if you decide this is not for you. A graceful exit can be arranged by ‘suddenly’ getting a phone call from a friend in need. Of course, if it does come down to ‘my place or yours’, be safe.