Yes, I could.
This topic tickles my funny bone because I have only ever been on a first date with one person, and that person is still my partner (going on 4 years, shout out to my lost “wild and free” twenties!). Despite this, I feel like I know a few things about first dates, due to my charmed* and magical* and inspiring* time in the service industry, watching you all go on them over and over and over again. It’s cute, I promise.
The bar I work at is a very popular first-date and blind-date spot on weeknights. These seem to be prime date-nights for first-timers. We can tell right away that it’s a first date because of a few simple factors:
1) You shake hands or hug before sitting down and say “hi!” in the cheeriest voice you’ve used all week.
2) You have “already eaten.” If the date goes well I know you’ll probably end up getting snacks later.
3) You look SO UNCOMFORTABLE.
Plus, blind date bonus, 4) you may wander around the bar looking for someone before standing awkwardly in the corner texting, and when you find them, you have to say their name in a nervous high pitched voice to be sure that this is the person you’re actually meeting, and not some other guy who is also on a blind date.**
A first date on a Tuesday at my bar is designed to tell 3 things to the lucky date-ee:
1) Look how classy I am, we’re at a cocktail bar. Did you notice these seats are leather?
2) I am a generous person–can’t you tell? I brought you to a place where drinks cost more than your whole outfit!
3) I respect you, so I took you out for our first date on a weeknight so you can tell that I’m not trying to just get laid, because we both have work in the morning.
3) You’re not getting laid tonight, buddy, because I have work in the morning.
These unspoken signals seem to work pretty well, most of the time. Ladies get buttered up by the nice atmosphere, and guys feel manly when they can order an Old Fashioned and suggest something for their date, too. Of course, there are a few things that first-daters do that can easily spin the first day of the rest of your life into the last day of this budding relationship. Here are a few things I’ve noticed while watching y’all do the mating dance:
1) Dudes: Do not be overly friendly to your waitress. Pleasant, sure. Polite, yes. But don’t make unnecessary small talk with me. When you’re polite but distant to your waitress your date thinks, “wow, he’s such a gentleman!” When you’re actually friendly, she thinks, “OMG is he flirting with the waitress? Am I boring him? Is he an asshole? How to interpret this smiling and chatting?!” and she’ll spend the rest of the night monitoring our interactions. I mean, look, hopefully she’s not nuts and she’ll understand that you’re just being nice, but you’re on a first date. You’re both feeling nervous and vulnerable. It’s better to play it safe and distant with the waitress so your date knows that your attention is on her.***
2) RELAX. I see it over and over again. You guys and gals walk in here, all nervous. You sit down and I can see from way over here that you’re having a terrible time: you’re stiff and uptight, and you’re throwing back vodka sodas like they’re actually the dirty water that they taste like. Then, Bam! Five drinks in, you’re so relaxed that you’ve wilted, and it might be embarrassing for you if you realized how drunk you are, but you kids are finally having a real conversation! It only took two hours and no dinner plus 10 ounces of vodka to get you there.
3) This may seem obvious to you, but don’t get wasted. You’ve finally gotten comfortable on this date, you’re having a good time, and now what? Whoops, you realized you had seven drinks in 3 hours and you’re making out right there in the booth at 8:30 on a Wednesday**** and you may or may not be able to call this guy tomorrow. It’s going to depend if you make it home alive. And if you can live down the embarrassment.
That’s all I got. I’m no dating expert, so I’m sticking with the things I can see happen on your date while your drinking in my bar.
Come back soon, now, you hear?
*These are creative terms
**This has actually happened. Once, a guy walked in and approached two different girls waiting at two different parts of the bar, both of whom were waiting for other dates. He sat down (far away from those girls) and his actual date arrived a few minutes later. It was hilarious.
***Plus I’m super hot, so who wouldn’t worry that her boyfriend is in love with me?
****This has also actually happened.