You got her number. Congratulations—the hardest part is over. Now what? Dinner? Movie? Not so fast. While these venues are first date classics, they also set you up to make some classic mistakes (think: awkward silences). So before hitting her up with plans for Saturday night, double-check your date-night idea. NIck Savoy, dating expert and creator of Love Systems (which has a new dating course available), let us in on the absolute best and worst dates you can take her on. According to him, anything has the potential to work—but we’d rather you make it home together than just make it through the next few hours unscathed. Navigate a first date flawlessly with these tips.
Dinner has always been the go-to date for every guy. It’s simple. It’s reliable. But frankly, it’s generic as hell. “You can’t get worse than dinner, unless you’re dialing it back to lunch,” says Savoy. Since it’s a common choice, she’s also likely to associate you with common rules—like waiting “x” number of dates until she sleeps with you.
In addition to being completely unoriginal, dinner dates are what Savoy calls “talking heads” dates. What he means by that is the conversation is the only source of entertainment, which puts a lot of pressure on both parties—especially on a first date. Even more, when you’re sitting across the table form one another you lose the opportunity to start a physical conversation.
Best: Comedy Club
You’re best bet when it comes to truly getting her attention—make her laugh. This one’s easy, really. Plan your first night out at a comedy club. It’s the perfect venue because it solves a lot of common first-date issues that prevent you from getting closer to her physically and emotionally.
“[Comedy clubs are great because] one, you’ll be sitting side by side, and two, it’s more than just two talking heads babbling at each other," says Savoy. "Usually there are 15-minute sets, and then you guys can talk about it for a little and then there’s another set. They normally talk about pretty interesting things or some even have romantic or sexual themes to them—none of that stuff ever hurts. People also feel closer to each other when they laugh together.”
You should have seen this one coming. Sitting in a dark theater, silent for two hours is not exactly the best way to get to know someone, and it certainly won’t entice her to come back to your place later. Going to the movies also presents a similar problem to dinner, which is you’re not in a place to connect physically. “People do naturally touch, and want to touch, when they have a connection—not even solely a romantic connection,” says Savoy. It’s hard to make this kind of advance when you can't even see her.
Best: Bar Hopping
If dinner was a don’t, then bar hopping has got to be on the no-list, right? Wrong. “Going to a bunch of different venues in a short amount of time will make you feel like you know each other more than staying at one venue the entire night,” says Savoy. With the change of scenery you have more opportunity for outside entertainment. Something as simple as people watching could give the two of you something to bond over and laugh about. The great thing about bar hopping instead of dinner is that you won’t (or shouldn’t) be sitting across from one another. Sitting side by side up at the bar or in an intimate booth gives you a chance to flirt with her on a more physical level. We’re not saying you should feel her up an hour into the date, but touching her shoulder or the small of her back during conversation will make the night more memorable.
Worst: Anywhere You Spend Too Much
Impressing a woman doesn’t have to drain your wallet. In reality, spending too much could make her feel pressured or actually dissuade her from liking you. Why? One, she may be thinking, “I don’t even know this guy that well, he must be pretty desperate if he’s pulling out all the stops on the first date.” Another thing that might be on her mind: “He just expects me to sleep with him because he’s spending all this money, and I resent that.” Another possible conclusion: “I love how he’s spending money on me to try to get me to sleep with him—I better not sleep with him because I want this to keep going.” Be humble when choosing a venue to avoid any of these less-than-ideal scenarios.
Swap out that movie plan for a night at the bowling alley, and no, we don’t mean at your local rec center. The idea itself may seem a little silly, but if you take her to a hipper bowling alley (one with drinks and good music, says Savoy), you’re setting yourself up for a more exciting evening.