The Dating Scene – The First Date (and hopefully, more)

“Everybody knows the pressure of a first date: Searching for that perfect outfit. Hunting for ways to be engaging. Dissecting each detail when it’s over to check for mistakes. Dating can make even the most confident person lose his cool.” – Kelly Starling

My dear queer children,

Last time, I talked about meeting new people through online dating for the possibility of going on a date with someone. Today, I want to talk about what to do when you make a connection with someone and go on a first date with them. We all have different experiences with dating. Some of us have had a few relationships and been on multiple dates, whereas others have yet to have a first date at all. Wherever you are at with your own dating experience is completely okay. The reality is: first dates can be some of the most stressful and awkward experiences ever.

My first date ever was a little over a year ago. I had matched with a commuter student who went to my school on Tinder overnight and woke up to a message from him the next day. Pretty soon, I was consistently talking with him, and we had been connecting really well. We went on our first date a week after we started talking.

I vividly remember trying to figure out how I should sit in the passenger set of his car. Should I sit with my body facing forward? Slightly tilted toward him? What about crossing my legs? All of these thoughts. however pointless, filled my head because I wanted to make a good first impression. This was the first person I had ever gone on a date with, and I didn’t want to screw it up so early.

We had gone out to eat for dinner, came back to campus to watch a magic show, and then went out for ice cream afterwards. While there were moments of silence, it actually wasn’t as awkward or terrifying as I thought it would be. We had ended the night with a hug, and we would end up going on more dates and end up dating for a few weeks.

Several months later, I went on another first date with someone. However, unlike last time, it was much more awkward and we didn’t talk afterwards. We matched on Tinder and kind of talked before he suggested we go out on a date. On the date, we talked a little bit, but it was mainly me driving the conversation. He kept looking away and off to somewhere else. When we said goodbye, we just silently walked away toward our Ubers.

Because I’ve had widely different experiences with first dates, I wanted to share with you a few tips about what to do on a first date.

First and foremost: be yourself. Even thought this is one of the most basic cliches out there, it’s important to be yourself so that you are transparent with the person you’re going on a date with. Not only will this help potentially build a connection between you and your date, but it will also help you feel confident in your identity and with what you are doing. Also, you deserve genuine happiness, and you can’t accomplish that by pretending to be someone who you are not. Finally, being yourself makes it all the easier for you to focus on getting to know the other person better and enjoying yourself on the date.

Second: there will be awkward moments, whether it’s for a few seconds or half of the date. Embrace these moments and take that time to think of conversation topics or to reflect on how the date is going so far. If the date is going well but you two have just reached a dead end on questions, then maybe all you need is a question about the other person to keep the conversation going. If the date is rocky and really awkward, don’t fret. There may still be time to make the date better and end on a good note. However, you may be at a point where the date is just not salvageable and it needs to end. And that’s okay! Sometimes you don’t get past the first date, and that’s okay. There doesn’t need to be any rhyme or reason to why it went badly. It just can be what it is, and you can only learn and grow from the experience.

Lastly, don’t play the “hard to get” or “disinterested” game. People who say this often think that this will give you a sense of mystery, and that it might intrigue your date. In reality, appearing detached from the date will really hurt your chances of building a connection with the other person. They will feel hurt and believe that they wasted the time they invested into the date. Personally, I don’t find playing “hard to get” cute. As college students, we don’t have time to play these games because of our busy schedules and responsibilities. If I’m forced to play a game, then I’ll just forfeit and move on. I also just find this “disinterested” game dehumanizing. It’s equating our lives to chess pieces, and if he make the wrong move, it’s game over. It really isn’t fun.

In all, my loves, remember that you are what matter the most when it comes to dating. If anyone should treat you otherwise before, during, or after a date, then they don’t deserve your energy and time. There’s someone else out there who will appreciate it more. It may take some time, but I know that will be worth it. Hell, I haven’t been on a date in eight months, and I’ve been single for a year now. It’ll take time, but until then, we have each other.

As always, please let me know if you would like my to write on a specific topic. I am always a resource for you.

Until next time,

Love, Your Gay Godparent,

Joe

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