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First Dates ...

I may get moved for this and not sure where this belongs.

So ... a first date.
- Home cooked meal
- Dinner at a fancy restaurant
- An activity and dinner
- Or just coffee

There was a blog about coupon or not on a first date. I thought it was fine. I'm not opposed these days. Besides we could use the extra money to go out later and have fun. Impress on a first date. No, just be yourself and enjoy. Impressing too hard turns me off.

So the questions is ... what is a great first date?

For me a day out fishing and then going back to his place or mine and cooking a nice dinner with out catch of the day, a nice bottle of wine, maybe a movie a relaxing from the day.

Fancy dinner is a total turn off. A nice bike ride, sailing, and a cup of coffee, or visiting a festival or a winery is fun an not too much. A expensive dinner to me doesn't impress at all. Bowling and pizza would be fun. Not with a group, but just the two of you. Enjoy something you both do other than just eat.

Not just a fun first date it needs to involve food. A lunch or dinner picnic. What would you do to either impress your date or what would you want your date to do to impress you?

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  1. Farmers' Market: a great venue for a first date. We can impress each other with our discernment in choosing the best and tastiest of what is in season. A quick & easy way to my heart is a woman who knows how to choose a maitake mushroom or knows the best local strawberry variety. Then we can improvise cooking a meal from what we scored.

    Also good are hikes.

    Very bad: sailing. I'm not going to literally put my life in the hands of someone I just met. Not kidding. Once while I was raising the sails, she had a panic attack while she was supposed to be steering. Turns out she was afraid of water and the boat had begun to rock and lean a bit. Kind of her to not have warned me of this. I've sailed since age ten, been told I'm a good teacher. But now I carefully screen beforehand.

    4 Replies
    1. re: Leonardo

      Sorry about the sailing, I was raised on water, never a bad experience yet, but you never know. Love the farmers market, good idea and very sweet. Hikes I agree are great, nature trails or even kayaking is fun. Market is cool.

      Better luck sailing...

      1. re: kchurchill5

        I agree that sailing is a great 1st date. I am biased b/c my not husband took me sailing for our 1st date. And we're about to celebrate our 10 year wedding anniversary (and our 6 year dating anniversary). We were on a little wildflower in a man made lake. No open waters or big puffs of wind!

      2. re: Leonardo

        Love Leonardo's Farmers's Market suggestion. But like Miss Needle below, I would caution against home cooking on the first date. So...? The market and a picnic. You learn a lot about someone shopping for vituals. Bring a basket, load up on mutually agreed upon picnic fare, then visit a city park for a tasteof the bounty. Low pressure, public, informative. And fun.


        1. re: Leonardo

          >heart is a woman who knows how to choose a maitake mushroom ...
          >Very bad: sailing. I'm not going to literally put my life in the hands of
          >someone I just met ...
          i guess that rules out mushroom foraging (or abalone diving).

        2. Home-cooked meal? A no in my book unless I knew him really well before we had our first date. FYI, just watched the Jeffery Dahmer movie on IFC last night.

          Dinner at a fancy restaurant? Not my first choice as I would be thinking that he's trying too hard to impress me. I love thoughtfulness. But people who do their best to impress are generally a turn-off for me. Makes me thing he's got self-esteem issues.

          Activity and dinner? Depends on the activity. I've never really understood the dinner and movie. I get the dinner, but why do I want to spend 2 hours in a dark theater not talking to him when the whole purpose of a first date is to try to get to know somebody a bit better. And if people feel like they need to go to a movie just so they have something to talk about at dinner, that's probably not a good omen for things to come. As an aside, do people actually have activity dates like they do on shows like Blind Date? Does anybody really go try on lingerie in front of each other on the first date?

          Coffee? Or I guess I should say tea or cocktails in a quiet bar/lounge in my case. I think that's a perfect way to get to know somebody. Low pressure. Low cost. If things don't go to well, you don't have to sit through a 2-hour dinner with your date. If things go well, you can ask him if he wants to grab some dinner.

          9 Replies
          1. re: Miss Needle

            I'm totally with Miss Needle on pretty much all counts on this one. I want a first date in public, just in case it gets a little surreal. And I want to keep it casual and low cost to keep it low pressure.

            1. re: thinks too much

              Add me in to the "no home cooking on a first date" crowd. I get the cost factor, but IMHO that's a little too intimate for a first date. I also think fancy restos are too much pressure for a first date.

              Coffee dates are great, and I'm a big fan of afternoon ice cream/gelato/etc. dates too.

              1. re: Suzy Q

                I'll be counted among those that say no home cooked first date. Interesting how (I think) we're all women that answered that way! The question is irrelevant for me now anyway, but my first date with my now husband was for drinks at a quiet bar.

                1. re: irishnyc

                  I like the going to a quiet bar for a drink. But I'm also Irish, so that might be why. No to home cooking as it is too intimate and for safety reasons. But as far as fancy restuarant or casual dining, I think as long as he put some thought into it, It's a kind gesture either way.

                2. re: Suzy Q

                  I guess I don't really go out on a first date unless I know the person. So for me I am already somewhat comfortable with him. Afternoon dates I work, coffee NO. But again, I wouldn't just go out on a date unless I knew the guy fairly well.,

                  1. re: kchurchill5

                    With you I would share abalone but not baloney. I'm right up the road.

              2. re: Miss Needle

                I always love your responses. I am really with you on the home-cooked meal. I tend to attract the crazies, so going to a guy's house on the first date is a no go.

                I don't think an activity is bad. I don't like the movie thing either- what do you really learn about someone there? Some activities can be fun if they allow you to talk and get to know each other but don't put you in a No Escape type of situation. Leonardo's fear of sailing is a perfect example. What do you do there if it's clearly going badly? Leap out with your lifejacket on and try to swim to shore? No thanks!

                With any first date, I want to drive myself so I can leave at any time. I think coffee/tea/cocktails are a good option for someone you don't really know well at all, or you can pick up dinner at a place where you know you're in and out in an hour. I can't drink so I'd probably do the coffee/tea if there were some cute place to go, or I'd pick a restaurant where I know the meal wouldn't linger.

                1. re: Miss Needle

                  Word. Going to one another's place is a nonstarter for a first date. Or for the first *several* dates depending on how you know each other. As Miss N says, the ideal date is drinks and the possibility of low-key dinner should the drinks go smashingly well.

                  Also out, along with sailing, mushroom foraging, and lingerie: motorcycles unless you're each on your own bike; extreme sports; family of origin.

                  1. re: Miss Needle

                    Agreed. My first date with my husband was at a nice(er) chinese restaurant and then a pool hall after. Very fun.
                    I remember the first time he cooked for me, he actually showed up at my house with all of the groceries and I watched him cook dinner..that was probably the 5 or 6th date though.
                    Not a fan of the coffeehouse date; not really a fan of coffeehouses.
                    We save the fancy restaurant date for when we go away, but that's only about once a year.

                  2. I'm not a fan of coffee dates.....i'm nervous/excited enough that I don't need extra caffeine coursing through my veins. I do like the cocktail dates, with or without activity (stop snickering....I mean pool or something ;) )....and never, please, in a chain coffee shop....there is just something about those that shouts online dating or post-AA meeting gatherings to me...(really, i'm not a snob... )

                    i've come around to the idea of activity and dinner dates....always been a fan of the activity dates, but my old mantra was that if i felt comfortable enough eating a big meal in front of a guy, then i wasn't feeling butterflies....but I learned to get over it enough to be able to enjoy a meal, it was just a thing with me (albeit quite true on many occasions).

                    Unless it's someone i've known a long while pre-date, no to home-cooked meal.

                    I've never gotten the dislike people seem to have for movie dates, but to each their own. I love movie dates, and hello, I happen to like sharing a popcorn with a guy I like in a dark movie theatre. Besides, I love movies in general, why not find someone who loves them too ?

                    1 Reply
                    1. re: im_nomad

                      The only problem I ever had with movie dates is because you don't get to talk much. For me, movies are fun with someone you've been seeing a while, not necessarily while you're still in the "getting to know you" stages.

                    2. cocktails, after dinner hour, on a weeknight. Not expensive, and it gives both parties ample oppritunity to bail if they want. Added benefit of booze of course!:-)

                      1. I like the idea of sharing an activity, though a long day of events may be pushing it. I thought I ould spend a few hours w/ anyone but once agreed to a dinner/boat cruise thing w/ what turned out to be a horribly pompous lawyer - i wantd to swim to shore! I always thought something like mini-golf and pizza was ideal. My first date w/ my husband wound up being a picnic at the NYCBallet (they summer in Saratoga.) But that was a last-minute thing - we were talking and had planned a date on the weekend, then my planned outing to the ballet fell through so he agreed to meet me. He brought drinks and I brought picnic supplies, and we wound up going out for a beer after the ballet. Our second date, which had been planned to be the first, was a sushi dinner and then a reggae show at a club. Both were great fun - but of course, as I later married him, it's hard to tell how much was the activity and how much was just him.

                        I'd be leery of your first-date set-up (too long, too intimate for me.) But it sounds like a great date for a little further down the relationship road.

                        1. I like the first date to be casual, somewhat short, and in a public space, which is why I'm a fan of the happy hour date. I feel like anything long could go terribly wrong if you turn out to not have chemistry. Unless I had already been friends with them, I wouldn't trust someone enough to meet them at their house or mine on a first date. Also, it assumes a sort of intimacy, inviting someone to your house, and I'd prefer to ease into that. Drinks are a nice social lubricant. I recently had a happy hour first date that turned into a long dinner date once we realized we had some chemistry and lots to talk about. But if hadn't been the case, I wouldn't have felt awkward wrapping it up after a beer or two.

                          I've always felt like the coffee date feels too much like a job interview, but a lot of people love them. To me, that's really the ultimate non-committal first date.

                          1 Reply
                          1. re: drew13000

                            exactly. a first date should be non-committal, unless you two already know each other fairly well. something low key like coffee or a drink without the pressure of how much is being spent, etc, and with a natural short time period allows two people to ease into a conversation. A light lunch is also good. But going to his or her place? A fancy dinner in an expensive restaurant? Thats just too much.

                          2. When I was of dating age, I enjoyed first dates often at a nice restaurant. It provided a couple quality hours of conversation to find a cerebral "simpatico", if it were there, and at worst, a decent meal. Plus, I didn't yet know how to cook beyond college cuisine.
                            Fast forward a few decades, and I'm hearing here that women are hesitant to darken the door of a new male acquaintance for a home cooked meal. Not every man is a predator. Some of us simply enjoy cooking and sharing it with a little company.
                            I suppose we all need to trust our instincts.

                            4 Replies
                            1. re: Veggo

                              I'm sure that there are plenty of wonderful people out there. That fact does not counter the need for prudence and an appreciation for a person's wish to keep a first date encounter in a public space. One should be leery of one who demonstrates reluctance to respect such wishes; or, one who treats the prudence as offence and tries to minimise or dismiss it. ('Hey! not every man is a predator! I'm a really nice guy!') My assumption is that a necessary first date quality is a healthy respect for boundaries.

                              That said, I'm with drew13000 and the happy hour date idea. It has a built in exit strategy and a possibility for more. (Leave after one drink, OR go to dinner.)

                              1. re: Veggo

                                My reasoning for not going to a guy’s place for dinner on a first date was only in the smallest way related to any fear that he will chop me into little pieces. It was primarily because there is less of a set end point, which could make leaving-taking awkward – he never has to leave, so the “burden” of ending the night is all on me.

                                Plus, of course, there was the thought that by agreeing to such a thing, the perception may be that you are interested in breakfast as well as dinner…..

                                1. re: Veggo

                                  Not every man is a predator, but it only takes one to destroy or end a woman's life. To me, it's just not worth the risk. I think most guys should understand that a girl is just being careful/safe and respect that.

                                  1. re: queencru

                                    I said it up there, but not as well as you. Cheers!

                                2. Picnic.

                                  I still prefer dinner at a traditional (but necessarily "fancy") restaurant, but barring that option then a picnic would be my first choice.

                                  1. Whatever you decide will be great. You have a lot of fun and entertaining ideas, so this is going to be a greata date. I haven't dated in 10 years but my old views depended on whether it was a blind date or not. If blind date, then coffee or a drink, i.e., something short in the event that I was not interested and needed a quick exit. If i already knew and liked the person, then dinner. A nice neighborhood restaurant if you want to do a casual dinner - good food but not too fancy. Or, if you wan to take it up a notch, pick the new, happening restaurant in town. I wouldn't do a home cooked meal until you feel a little more comfortable with the other person. I love activities - bowling, sailing, whatever your're both good at and no one is going to get hurt. So an activity and meal is ok too. Let us know what you decide and what happens!!! Good luck.

                                    1. For a first date, there's something very simple:

                                      Low pressure. You're getting to know someone, not making life plans. Getting together for drinks, either coffee or cocktails, is ideal. If food is involved, lunch is a vastly preferable idea to dinner, especially a fancy dinner. There are certain things you want:

                                      You want the meeting to have a definite end. Don't go for dinner after you're done with your drinks. One thing leads to another, you invite them back to your place for one more drink, and you end up having yourself a one-night stand instead of a date.

                                      You want conversation to come easily. How are you supposed to get to know someone when you're sitting there staring at a movie screen?

                                      You want an emergency stop that can be pulled off gracefully. Bailing on someone in the first course of a fancy dinner is WAY not cool.

                                      You don't want to do anything one person loves that the other's never done, and you don't want to go anywhere that one of you will have friends waiting. Both situations can leave someone feeling like a fish out of water. See Leonardo's post about sailing if you need more proof.

                                      1. Agree with the "no" to a home cooked meal. I was enough of a tramp back in the day without THAT temptation <g>. Like dinner out...no necessarily fancy, but a place that means something to him. Dh took me to a nice (not-too-casual, not-too-fancy) Italian place for dinner on our first date and it was a regular place of his and 10 years later is still a regular place of "ours". I think the picnic could be a challenge if you have no idea what your date's preferences are.

                                        Coffee seems awkward to me or something...have never been on a date for coffee so I could be completely wrong.

                                        Activity and dinner would be great or a disaster...I love festivals, music, etc. That and dinenr would be great. Fishing, hiking, etc. would not be my thing.

                                        1. I'm with Miss Needle. It does depend, though, on how well you know this person prior to the first date. If it's someone you know well, an activity works. You already like each other's company and you know each other's tastes. However, if it's a blind date or a date with someone you don't really know, coffee or lunch or a dinner at a casual place is certainly safer. It allows you to make a quick getaway if you find yourself in an uncomfortable situation.

                                          1 Reply
                                          1. re: PegS

                                            something i've learned though in my none-too-vast experience....is that you NEVER know someone until you've actually dated them.

                                          2. The best first date I have had started at a small local art museum, then a little walk about town, and ended at Taco Bell. The only part we planned was the museum, but hit it off quite well and just kept going. It ultimately did work in the long run, but that date still shines as the best.

                                            1. Lordy Chile, but it's been a while since my last first date, but when I was dating, my deal was always meet somewhere public, for coffee only, and ALWAYS have an escape plan ;)

                                              If they pass muster, then a luncheon second date might be arranged.

                                              No invites to a home cooked dinner until I am sure they're not psycho hose beast stalker types.

                                              1. No home visits on the first date unless we already know each other well enough to feel comfortable and/or I want this to be an all-nighter.

                                                I love the farmers market and the museum ideas.

                                                1. Best first date for me:

                                                  We'd met online & corresponded briefly. He was clearly an uber-geek; I have tendencies that way myself.

                                                  He suggested going to a movie. I agreed, but strongly suspected that the movie he'd mentioned (not quite a chick flick, but close) was not really his idea of fun, & inquired if perhaps he would not like to see Movie #2, a much geekier movie (comics-related, OK?) that was playing nearby. Think that's the first time I ever realized someone could grin over a telephone line.

                                                  So we met up at Movie #2, which was more fun than I had expected, & then he just happened to walk me over by a shop that sold bones & skulls & preserved beetles (my idea of interesting) & then I just happened to walk him by a used bookshop that I knew quite well (always see how they behave in a bookshop), which he liked. Then we had some extremely good coffee at a proper, non-chain coffee joint. He commented that normally on a first date he'd be looking at his watch & feeling awkward, & instead he'd actually lost track of the time. By then he had changed from being a Man of Few Words to being remarkably chatty. He gave me a lift to the train, we kissed goodbye, & we went out the next weekend to a museum & ended up ... well, not that, but we spent a lot longer saying goodbye than we had spent at anything else, probably why neither of us has ever been able to remember much of anything about the exhibit we'd gone to see that day.

                                                  We've been together now for about 5-1/2 years, married for almost 3.

                                                  Two key elements here: he had scoped out the neighborhood in advance for what might be interesting places to see, since he tended to run out of conversation on dates (though that never happened with us). I found this very endearing, since not every man would think "Fossils! That's it!" & it was a fairly sure thing that he didn't waltz all his dates by there.

                                                  And while we were wandering aimlessly around the bookstore trying to make out each other's taste in reading material, he asked if I'd like to go out again the next weekend. (Gentlemen, this is important. Phone games are really, really boring.)

                                                  According to him, he was delighted that he didn't have to sit through a film where people did nothing but discuss Relationships, & that took the pressure off him.

                                                  But my point (really, there is one!) is that if you choose an activity or a location or whatever that you know will interest your date & will not bore you silly, & you don't schedule too much or too tightly, you'll have a good chance of finding out sooner just how compatible you are.

                                                  (At the very least, don't fall into habits if you're dating a lot. I once went with yet another first date to my "usual" restaurant, one that I liked a lot, was not expensive, had plenty of food options but was exotic enough to weed out the unadventurous. After a few minutes, I realized that three of the regular waiters were absolutely doubled up with laughter in a corner & I think one of them was marking a tally on the chalkboard. Always rotate your sites.)

                                                  1 Reply
                                                  1. re: mshenna

                                                    Order a really sumptuous pizza to go, check into a classy motel, see if you like each other. Always works.

                                                  2. We had a nodding acquaintance, and one evening he called me up and asked me to join him and a buddy of his at a nearby Mexican joint. I went and after chatting a bit and having a beer with tacos and guacamole, the friend departed. The place was comfortable enough for us to linger a while.

                                                    This developed into a great, long-lasting relationship. I think the casualness of the first encounter was very helpful.

                                                    1. I dated through the personals for five years so all of my first dates were pretty much blind dates. Always a public place no matter how much we had talked before hand.

                                                      In the beginning I thought "I can spend a few hours with anyone" and "the worst thing that can happen is that I eat a meal with someone that I don't want to see again." But I had dinner with a few that seemed to crawl out from under rocks. For me, quirky is tolerable (maybe even desirable) but boring is simply deadly. Over time I learned that a coffee or drink date or lunch was best.

                                                      A weekday lunch has a natural tailgate - at the end of the hour I can say it's time to go back to lunch (and if something goes badly wrong someone knows I'm missing in a hurry).

                                                      If the coffee outing or cocktail date goes well, you can linger or suggest a walk or dinner or a movie or whatever is handy. If it is a losing proposition, I can claim another obligation and excuse myself.

                                                      Being impressed is almost tantamount to being intimidated. If I am going to spend time with someone, I want to be interested and at ease, not impressed.

                                                      1. Well, for me the perfect first date depends on the existing relationship with the other party. Have you been friends for years and decided to give the romance thing a whirl? Just met and have no relationship at all? Introduced through friends and seen each other socially in groups? Met through work? Met online?

                                                        If it's a person that I hardly know at all I would never go to their house or bring them to mine. I tend to avoid activities that require a major time commitment or being alone - that would eliminate hiking (out in the middle of the woods with a stranger?!), sailing (afloat in a body of water all alone with a complete stranger?!?), personally never liked the movie/dinner date......isn't the point of the date to get to know someone?

                                                        Expensive dinner....pretty unlikely to impress me as I am quite capable and often do take myself to the best restaurants. If they want to really impress me they could take me to a hole in the wall off the beaten track place that has great food that I've never heard of - now that would impress me!

                                                        The coffee date is fine for someone that you met online - easy out. I also think the weekday lunch date is a safe bet - pretty tight on time so if it's bad, you can escape fairly well unscathed.

                                                        Love the Farmer's market idea!

                                                        Wine Tasting is a low key date - no formal structure and often FREE!!

                                                        Cooking classes although these can be kind of pricey can be fun (as long as both enjoy cooking obviously); a trip to a local winery, cheese farm, gourmet shop. Of course, I'm assuming that both parties are into food....

                                                        Local zoo's are good first dates (everyone loves animals - right?!?). Art galleries can be fun - we have what they call 1st Friday's here where the local galleries open up . You can walk from gallery to gallery viewing different artists works. If the date is going good, you can always pop into a local restaurant/lounge for dinner or drinks.

                                                        1 Reply
                                                        1. re: chicaraleigh

                                                          Ideal first date could be lunch. A finite time frame, and if its going well, dinner would be the second date. If its not going well (i.e. he's a bad tipper - see other thread), then, oh gee.... I need to get back to the office.....

                                                          Love the Farmer's Market idea, however. Sailing (for reasons noted above) is not so good. I once had a first date that consisted of running our errands together on a Saturday morning, with lunch afterward. We've been "just good friends" for over 12 years now, but I did learn a bit more than I wanted to know about his distinct preferences on paper towels.

                                                        2. If I had to guess, I'd say almost ALL my first dates involved food. ;oP
                                                          I remember being perfectly clear and telling them in advance that I am a girl who actually eats- I will not order a salad and sip water (i.e. this could take a while)

                                                          I don't need frissy/fancy- just don't try to order FOR me, talk over me, get overly aggressive at 'hello' or expect me to dine and ditch on the first date. (Not that that has ever happened, but that would be a funny story!) Oh- and if you pick, take me someplace without pictures on the menu. It's just a peeve.

                                                          1 Reply
                                                          1. re: Boccone Dolce

                                                            >Oh- and if you pick, take me someplace without pictures on the menu.
                                                            >It's just a peeve.
                                                            you actually tell the other party this during negotiations? ... assuming you
                                                            mean this literally rather than a proxy for "no prefab chain food".

                                                          2. Before I met my husband, a first date would be in public. No alchohol, and something simple. Like a trip to the SF, and walk around the piers or GG park. Actually I prefer to meet them, drive my own car, and leave if it seems like the smart thing to do. Coffee date, love that, and maybe meet up in Berekley, lots of cool stuff to check out there and talk comes easy.
                                                            The few times I've agreed to a dinner date, I felt pressure, they got all lovey dovey, which is a total turn-off. I hate hands on so soon, red flags.

                                                            With two sons there was no coming in for night caps, and that's why I don't drink. Tends to let your guard down, and not to mention, you don't really get to know someone when the drinks are flowing.
                                                            Art showingsor photography shows, they are fun and light, Really it was not until 5 or 6 dates before I felt comfortable enough to get into a car. I'll tell you why. I made the mistake of agreeing to a drive to Niles Canyon, where there a lots of antique shops, a pretty cool place and to picnic. The idiot picked me up on a motorcycle, and drove like an idiot. Then wouldn't return me home.When I'd had enough. Watching him down a couple of martinis,I called my bf, and she came in an instant. That's another thing, tell someone where you're going. Reckless behavior at first, is a great sign of what's to come.

                                                            I would not invire anyone to my home for a dinner. It's the man's job to court, and to be respectful and understanding of a woman's concerns. Find someone else.

                                                            5 Replies
                                                            1. re: chef chicklet

                                                              "Back in the day", I used to ask for driver's license info, saying my best friend would know where to point the searchers if she didn't hear from me by a pre-agreed time.

                                                              I actually paid more attention to the response than to the DL info. The best response I got included his social security number, a personal reference, an offer to show his credit report and a comment that he was going to suggest his sister ask her first dates for the same!

                                                              He turned out to be "the keeper".

                                                              1. re: Stephanie Wong

                                                                funny....before my first date with hubby (who I had met online), he actually sent me his DL #, social security number, and his boss' phone number, since his boss at the time happened to be in the East Palo Alto police force as a reservist....I laughed and told him it wouldn't be necessary to call his boss since I had a good friend who was a cop, and I would just give the info to my friend to check him out...

                                                                well, of course I was kidding, but I did meet him at his house..,anyway, while he was waiting for me to arrive, he noticed one of SF's finest driving up and down our street as if he was scoping out our house.....it was a coincidence of course, but hubby's first thought was 'Oh my god, she really did ask her friend to keep an eye out" :-)

                                                                1. re: Stephanie Wong

                                                                  "Back in the day", I used to pickup my date and we would go to Top Dog or the Doggie Diner in Alameda!

                                                                  1. re: THEIBMGUY

                                                                    Be still, my heart! Those were 2 of my favs!

                                                                    1. re: Stephanie Wong

                                                                      Yeah we would go in her VW late nights.. ie ZIV

                                                              2. I've gone on many first dates and would NEVER go to some guys house for dinner (if the night went well, then maybe to make out later ;) ). If a guy ever suggested this I would (1) think he's trying to get some and (2) too cheap to pay for a restaurant meal.

                                                                Drinks, coffee or dinner is the way to go for a first day. It's chill, not too time-consuming and allows you to talk. I save activities for later dates.

                                                                1. Best date I ever went on, was a karaoke bar. :)

                                                                  1. Not so much advice on what to do on a first date but, rather, a little true story about how I am a bad daughter:

                                                                    Many years ago, before eHarmony and the like, I used to do the online dating thing. I always met the new person for lunch. I drove myself, they only had my cell phone number; basically, all the safety first kinds of things. If we hit it off, great. If not, then having to get back to work was a good excuse to not prolong the agony.

                                                                    One day, as I was on my way to meet a date I'd met online, my mother called. When she asked what I was doing, I told her. As she started hyperventilating about the dangers of dating strangers and oh-my-god-he-could-be-a-serial-killer, I explained all of the safety precautions I'd taken. Despite the fact that I was in my 30s and a fairly intelligent woman, it wasn't working. My mother insisted (and I agreed) that I call her the moment I got back in my car after lunch.

                                                                    I did. Did I mention that I'm a bad daughter?

                                                                    I muffled my voice and said, "Mom? I'm in the trunk of a car. I think we're heading East."

                                                                    It's a darned good thing my mother loves me.

                                                                    6 Replies
                                                                          1. re: Ima Wurdibitsch

                                                                            In my defense... it's because of her that it happened. She has a wicked practical joker streak in her and I'm just genetically predisposed to follow in her footsteps.


                                                                            1. re: Ima Wurdibitsch

                                                                              LOL! I once faked death in my sleep after being newly diagnosed with a medical condition.

                                                                              1. re: Ima Wurdibitsch

                                                                                I so wish I had thought of this, & now it's too late, I've been married for years ... brilliant!

                                                                              2. Nearly twenty-nine years ago I had my first date with Jackp. He cooked dinner - a wonderful spinach and mushroom dish. It never occurred to me to think this lovely man who invited me to have dinner at his house might be creepy and of course, he wasn't. I married him 18 months later and we've been together ever since.

                                                                                It's truly sad that things have changed so much.

                                                                                5 Replies
                                                                                1. re: jillp

                                                                                  I think there are a variety of factors that go into not wanting to go to a guy's house for the first date. First, the date has no real exit strategy. At least if you go to a restaurant and it immediately goes awry, you can order a main course only and leave ASAP. You could be stuck with a 3-hour nightmare at the guy's house. Second, I think you learn a lot more about a guy than is really necessary for a first date. Then Third- the safety factor.

                                                                                  1. re: jillp

                                                                                    Eh, I don't think things have changed so much, I just think there's more open discourse about safety concerns.

                                                                                    1. re: jillp

                                                                                      It is sad....but I'd hope that a decent guy could understand a woman's caution!

                                                                                      I met a guy for coffee off of an online dating site once- it went OK, and obviously when he asked what I was passionate about, food came up! He commented that he too liked cooking and good food in the course of the conversation- actually was a bit macho in saying that he could "impress the skirt off a girl" with his cooking. (eek?) I figured it was a nervously-made-up figure of speech and let it pass. We decided that we would meet for dinner within the next week.

                                                                                      Well, he did call, and invited me to come to his place so that he could cook for me. He asked that I come by on a certain night, because he "knew his roommates would be out".

                                                                                      I said that I'd actually love to try out a new restaurant in town instead (thinking that I didn't want to go to a stranger's place, essentially!)....and he insisted that I had to try his cooking.

                                                                                      Fine, I said.....why doesn't he pack us a lovely picnic to take to the park? It would give me a chance to meet his dog Goldie, who he'd mentioned earlier.

                                                                                      Nope....he was DEAD SET on me coming over to his place for a "memorable evening". Or, he could come over to my place. And made all kinds of reference about not putting too much garlic in the food, skipping asparagus.....hmmm....

                                                                                      Finally, I was straight with him and said that I wanted to meet somewhere public, if that was OK with him. Apparently it wasn't. I really don't regret that we aren't further acquainted. :)

                                                                                        1. re: 4Snisl

                                                                                          You shouldn't...it was the right thing to do.

                                                                                      1. If you're a smart gal, you'll never put yourself in a car or home with a strange male. They are bigger and stronger than we are, and god knows what they're up to. (Jillp was lucky.)

                                                                                        Meet at a safe place, go to a movie or (Dutch treat) to dinner. Hopefully, you are dating a person your friends know, so you feel safe.

                                                                                        The best scenario is a great dinner. I don't think that serious foodies are pervs.

                                                                                        1 Reply
                                                                                        1. re: pikawicca

                                                                                          I know you meant it negatively, but I would hate to think that loving food would keep my guy from loving (cough) other things in the most delightfully pervy way. :)

                                                                                        2. OMG, this happened about 30 years ago while I was just out of college and starting on my own. My mother and one of her beauty shop friends cooked up a blind date for me with the friend's nephew, who was billed as a "real catch" in that he was in his last year of dentistry school with bright prospects. I grudgingly agreed to have dinner and a movie. In those days (back when dinosaurs roamed the earth) one got dressed up on a Saturday night and I put on my standard "little black dress" with stockings & heels (it was humid July). After a lengthy evening, I felt compelled to invite Dr. Nice Catch back to my condo for a coffee. While I was fiddling around making coffee and cutting up an Entenman's coffee cake, he was very quiet. I looked for him in my living room and he was no where to be found on the first floor. He called to me from the second floor where I found him totally nude laying in my bed. No joke, he romantically told me it was time for me to pay back my share of the evening. I guess he didn't like hot coffee and Entenman's because he rudely left after I poured it all over him.

                                                                                          The kicker was the next morning at 8 am. when my mother called. She refused to believe this story, I must have been making it up! Thanks Mom for setting me up with the dentistry school rapist!

                                                                                          3 Replies
                                                                                          1. re: Diane in Bexley

                                                                                            >OMG, this happened about 30 years ago ...
                                                                                            i guess that's one that doesn't end with "and we're still married today".

                                                                                            1. re: Diane in Bexley

                                                                                              Ew! Shame that you had to waste the coffee and cake.....;)

                                                                                            2. Well. I've been dating the last two years or so, mostly meeting folks online because how else do you do it (anyone with ideas, let me know - age 46). I have learned that dinner is a bad idea due to you being trapped sort of, out of basic politeness - though this has not stopped me from putting down a $20 and leaving in extreme circumstances (would not stop talking about how long his fingers were, okay, I don't even). A drink is good, someplace where you can get a nice snack and talk. Coffee is fine too. Actually, I recently went on the best first date ever, met a fellow for coffee who was a professor at local college. And then, he suggested showing me his lab. I thought cool, I'm sort of a non-scientist science geek, so off we went. To his huge basement (for low vibration) NUCLEAR PHYSICS laboratories with multitudinous awesome machines, clean rooms, and ahem, actual nuclear reactor which yes! glows. All right! The guy was pretty nice as well, but his laboratory was excellent!
                                                                                              Alternative, tacos - that's always okay.