A lifestyle blog all about Birmingham, UK.

Saturday, 20 December 2014

Love Life: First Dates

I think its time to write about something that we can all relate to - a love life - because we all have one or all probably want one. Lets face it, we are all fairly nosey really aren't we? So I'm writing this, with a little help from my friend Gemma - we often sit and discuss all things 'love', complain about the in's and out's of it and feel like between us, we can compare notes and really get into the nitty gritty sometimes AWFUL situations of a FIRST DATE.

I'd say my first 'real' first date was when I was 15. Obviously before turning 18, first dates are quite a challenge, as there really is nowhere to go (well, there definitely isn't in the town of Kidderminster anyway) If I remember correctly, we went for a summer walk down the canal and went to a tea room and I had a chocolate milkshake, it was very sweet and very innocent and yes, he did become my boyfriend. First dates are a completely different matter when you're a little older though, it's not just about the 'cuteness' and you may go in there having absolutely no idea about what it could be like. Before I get into what me and Gemma think a first date should really consist of, we'll just tell you a little about our own personal first date experiences - good and very, very bad.

For the sake of this post, we will not use real names, no sticky situations please! Lets refer to our subjects as fruit and vegetables..

Gemma met Mr Parsnip in the summer. She met him on a night out, romantically in the smoking area. They picked up on similar interests such as music on this encounter and soon they were texting and arranging to meet up. Mr Parsnip took Gemma to a comedy club - firstly, what a cracking idea! Not only did Mr Parsnip pay for it all as he had to pre-book it showing organisation and this gave them both an opportunity to see each others humour and have a good chat about themselves. The first date went very well. They arranged to meet up again and he dropped her home. Despite the instant connection between the two of them and how impressed Gemma was with his planning, forward thinking and just general effort, the spark had definitely sizzled out by the end of the summer.

Something like a comedy club is a really good idea for a first date, its relaxed and just fun. A date that I went on around two years ago was similar, we went for a few drinks and then to a gig at a small, intimate venue. Dates like that make such a good change to 'lets grab a coffee' or 'fancy a few drinks in town?'.

I'd say my first bad dating experience was when I was 17. I'd met Mr Carrot through mutual friends and as you do, got talking on Facebook and we planned a day down at the river in a town nearby and just seeing where the day took us. I cannot stress how important it is to not lie to someone you are taking on a date - if you say you can drive and have a car, its probably best to also add that its actually your mum's car and the back seat is full of cuddly bears. The whole experience was a nightmare to put it nicely to be honest! He didn't say a word to me all day. I understand that he could have been a bit shy or nervous, but I mean not a single word. It was, hands down, to this day, the most awkward situation I've ever been in - and I've managed to get myself into some right pickles over the years. I hate to admit it, but I had to find a way out, when you're that young its a bit difficult to say 'I want to go home' flat out, so admittedly I did text Gemma with a 'get me out of this date right now' - obviously she helped out and soon I was tucked up on her sofa with a cuppa tea just hoping it would all blow over.

I'm not pleased with myself that I had to get Gemma to get me out of a date, but sometimes they really are THAT awkward - and that is also not the only time Gemma has had to do that (3 times actually, oops)

Awkward situations are always a lot of fun aren't they. Gemma's one is particularly one of my favourites. A charming boy, lets call him Mr Melon, took Gemma for a drink in Starbucks and then went for a bite to eat at Ed's Diner. A few days later, she discussed the date with a friend. The friend had also been on a similar date a few days before and they both compared notes. Similar actually isn't the word, because the date was the exact same date with the EXACT same guy! Even the timing of meeting, where about's, possibly even the food he ordered. What an amazing imagination that guy must have!

A good first date experience for me was with Mr Potato. We simply went for a few relaxed drinks and then an evening stroll through the city. Despite after a few of these dates with Mr Potato, the spark just wasn't there. However, that doesn't change the fact that I actually had a really good time on the first date. It was so relaxed and we had some really interesting conversations, it wasn't once awkward or boring and I probably could have easily had stayed with him for a few more hours. A good flow of conversation is absolutely vital on a first date.

Between me and Gemma, we have pages and pages of the types of experiences above. However, we thought it was important when discussing first dates to really understand what a first date should really be like. From the place to the clothes - take note if you're a first date fresher:

Style:  You never want to be OTT on a first date. But you also don't want to look like you've just rolled out of bed. Strike a balance! On a first date I went on, he showed up in a hoodie and jeans - its a first date when impressions really do actually count, so put a bit of effort in! Girls, I really do think that on a first date your style should be, in a way, quite reserved. Obviously wear what you feel comfortable and attractive in, I do however think that the boobs should be a little covered up on a first date - nobody wants someone just talking to their assets for the whole night do they!


History: I can't stress this enough; don't sit and talk about your ex all night. It really is just SO cringey. If you're moaning about the type of person they were and just how awful your previous relationship was, that actually says a lot about the type of person you are and also suggests that you're not over them, so probably shouldn't be on a date, A first date is not an agony aunt session, just keep it to yourself for now eh. It's also best not to bring up any 'bad dates' you've been on - all the other person will be thinking is, on your next date with someone else, am I going to be the 'bad date' they went on?!

Blah Blah Blah Me Me Me: The whole concept of a first date is to get to know each other, but not to tell that someone your life story. A first date isn't the time or place to discuss personal family matters, a friend's drama or what you often eat for lunch. Ask questions. Be curious. Talking about yourself and yourself only is a huge turn off and makes you look very uninterested in the other person. Do they look bored? Do they suddenly have wondering eyes? Who can blame them, you've just sat and described your goldfish to them for the last 15 minutes. Ask them about things, anything that comes to mind, just strike the balance of an equal conversation, then you get a good flow.

Social Media: Chances are, you're probably most likely Facebook friends with the person you're dating. That is OK. However, its probably best to hold back on Twitter, Instagram, Snapchat, Tumblr, Pinterest, Bebo, MySpace, Blogger, Club Penguin and Vine for now. You don't know where this date could take you - if there's no spark and you're not interested and have no desire to meet them again, then you now look like a bit of an idiot really, I had a funny situation of coming across tweets from someone I was about to go on a date with. They were among the lines of 'So nervous, haven't been on a date in so long' - from this, I made presumptions on what he was like and his love life. Knowing he was nervous, made me nervous. By getting to know someone inside out on social media before actually going on a first date, you make presumptions on everything about them, when they could be completely different in person. Its also hard to open your mind up to someone when you already know little bits of information that you've rummaged together whilst checking out their social media. Just be patient for now.

Location: I would personally suggest to go somewhere which isn't too loud but also isn't completely dead. Somewhere comfortable where you can just chill out and have a nice time. I think its fine if you want to start off somewhere chilled and then head somewhere a little louder as you will have chatted and began to get to know each other beforehand. Perhaps a bar or a cafe, just be aware of what is happening around the time of the date - Is the football going to be on in the bar? Is there an open mic on that night? Don't be weird about it, just be aware!

Kissing: Well, I personally think that it is completely your decision, if there's a spark there, then why the hell not! I'd just suggest to not make a big deal about it and just see what happens.

and finally..
ENJOY YOURSELF! Its ONLY a date and dating is supposed to be fun. I've met some really interesting people through dating over the last few years, some who I'd class as friends now and some who'd I'd never, ever choose to see again. You don't know where it could take you, so just enjoy yourself, don't take it too seriously, just have a good time and see what comes from it.

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