Ladies, Preparing for a Date
Well, it’s happened! You have a date for the weekend who isn’t Ben, Jerry, a vampire, or an impossibly handsome surgeon named Mc Something. Maybe he’s that great guy who sent you a Wink or did a Mutual Match with you on Mingle2… whoever he is, he wants to go out with you. You’re excited, hopeful, and want to make it great. Here are some tried and true dating tips to help you make it to the second date… and beyond.
First Things First
Eventually, the two of you will have a routine. For now, however, a successful first date requires a little planning. Got kids? Get a sitter-a person you can count on to show up on time and stay until you get home. Someone who can handle your kids without calling you every other minute and so trustworthy you won’t feel the need to constantly check in. If there’s any chance your date will come to your place for drinks or further conversation, you may want a sitter who’ll keep your kids at her house, or even overnight. After all, it’s hard to sustain a romantic atmosphere when your three year-old keeps climbing out of bed for every imaginable reason. If he’s the one, he’ll meet your children soon enough. Now’s the time for just you two.
Don’t have kids? You can still do a little prep work. Try to finish any pressing business at work-answer e-mails, return calls, meet a deadline-whatever might distract you at a time when you should be focusing on your date. You want to be able to leave on time on date night, and if the date goes well, you won’t want to come home to a large to-do list.
Getting in the Mood
Someday, your guy will see you aggravated, frazzled, depressed, or balled up in a corner somewhere. But not today! A little extra time spent pampering yourself will pay off; you’ll feel special, confident, and romantic. If you can, don’t leave directly from work; applying eye makeup in the fluorescent lights of the sixth floor restroom isn’t as relaxing as it is at home. If possible, arrange to have your sitter arrive (or to drop your children off) an hour early, so that you can get ready in peace. Got roommates? Be considerate of their routines, but ask for a little privacy.
It’s not easy to bounce from work, motherhood, or classes to date mode. You want to be ready to see this man in a romantic light, so set the mood for yourself at home. If you can, take a long, luxurious bath or shower; break out the good bath salts. Light a candle, play the music that makes you feel confident and sexy-you know, the stuff you blast in the car, or dance to when no one’s around. This is your phone booth, where you’ll transform from everyday invisible mom and employee to the beautiful, vibrant woman you are inside!
Whatever Shall I Wear?
Unfortunately, a fairy godmother won’t transform your wardrobe at the last minute. This is another area in which calls for planning. Fortunately, it involves shopping!
If you haven’t done much dating, your closet might be full of sweats, work clothes, and maternity outfits. None of these are ideal first date wear. If you feel attractive and special, he’ll think you are, too. Get thee to a mall and splurge on something lovely and flattering! Not sure what that is? Take a friend along for advice. Unable to afford an entire outfit? Find room in the budget for a few accessories to dress up what you already own, or “go shopping” in a friend’s closet.
No matter what your style, some suggestions universally apply. First, find out where you’re going; a rodeo calls for a different get-up than the ballet. Consider the weather. If it’s February, you’ll not only want something warm, you might also want to dry-clean your coat, while in August, you’ll want clothing that keeps you cool, even when you’re a little nervous. Choose something you can stand to wear for five or six hours-clothes you can move in without fear of busting a seam, and which don’t require complicated, torturous foundation garments. Speaking of which, buy new underwear; even if you’re the only one who’ll see it, it feels pretty and feminine. Too much jewelry is distracting, so don’t overdo the accessories. Wear clean shoes that match your outfit, but if you’re not used to wearing three-inch heels, this is not the night to start. Finally, even if it’s your favorite color, avoid wearing white, particularly if you’re a little clumsy. White attracts red sauce, brown chocolate, purple beverages, and drops of oily salad dressing, all of which you will wear for the rest of the date. You’ve been warned!
I’m Ready for My Close-up!
Now for hair and makeup. This is not the time for a drastic change in hairstyle, but if you can, visit the salon for a touch-up. If you don’t normally pay much attention to your hair, try experimenting with a new styling product or method, so you can find what looks best on you. Unsure? Chances are you have a friend or relative who’ll enjoy playing stylist. Dress first; you don’t want to ruin your carefully coiffed masterpiece by pulling a blouse over your head. A clean towel over your shoulders will protect your clothes.
When choosing makeup, look for colors that flatter your hair, eyes, and skin tone, and don’t clash with your outfit (although they don’t have to match it exactly). Consider your destination: the dark, smoky eye that looks gorgeous in candlelight will make you look like a zombie at an afternoon picnic. If you’re a lip balm and concealer girl, you might want to add blush or mascara. However, many men are turned off by heavy makeup, so keep your application light. Worried about fading? Pack a few items in your bag for discreet touch-ups. If you’re a makeup novice, ask a friend whose look you admire for advice. You can also visit department store makeup counters for samples and technique information. If you have the time and money, arrange for a makeup lesson at salons or specialty stores like Sephora. Doing your own nails? Don’t wait until the last minute. Paint them the night before, so they’ll have plenty of time to dry. If you have a favorite scent, use it, but don’t bathe in it. Remember, even when you can no longer smell your perfume, others can. If you want a touch-up, put a little extra on a cotton ball and keep it in a plastic bag in your purse, or take along a bottle of matching lotion.
It’s in the Details
Of course you want to look great for your date. But other aspects of your life contribute to that first impression. One day, you’ll grouse at your beloved to put his dirty clothes in the hamper, and he’ll pointedly wonder aloud how he’ll find his keys in your coffee table clutter. For now, however, you want to preserve the illusion! If there’s any chance your date will see your place, take time, a day or so before, to clean up (this is especially important if you have children). Pay attention to areas he’s likely to see: the living room, kitchen, and bathroom. While you’re at it, tuck away personal items or things men don’t always understand: stacks of bridal magazines, for instance, or your extensive stuffed unicorn collection. Got roommates? Blame everything on them.
Perhaps you have roommates of the furry sort. Try to minimize their presence: clean the cat box or the ferret cage, remove hair from, well, everything. If your dog jumps or dislikes strangers, keep him in the bedroom. Find out if your date is allergic. This is hardly a deal-breaker, but if he is, you’ll want his first visit to your place to be comfortable.
Finally, a special note to the organizationally challenged; this is a great time to clean out your bag and your car (if there’s any chance he’ll see it). You don’t want to introduce your date to wads of old grocery receipts or petrified kids’ meals. Besides, even if you never see this man again, at least you get a clean car out of it!
Speaking of comfort – stock up on some guy-friendly beverages and snacks, so you can offer him something other than tap water and last night’s chicken nuggets. You don’t need to provide a smorgasbord, but little touches like this show him you’re thoughtful.
The Mental Game
You’re gorgeous, the place is gorgeous, and you’ve even removed that old apple juice bottle from under the front seat of the car. You’re ready to go out and wow him! Right?
Probably. But remember, dating is a mental game, as well. As you get ready, prepare yourself mentally and emotionally. Dream up some conversation topics. Many guys are frustrated when a first date turns into a job interview. Sure, you want to know about his work. But what else could you ask? Has he travelled anywhere? What are his hobbies? What does he think about (insert movie, book, and current event here)? You’re not out to psychoanalyze him, but you do want to get acquainted. Think of interesting things you can tell him about yourself (which do not involve family problems or relationship baggage). By thinking up subjects ahead of time, you’ll avoid awkward silences later. You also want to remember your purpose for dating in the first place. Even if you desperately want to spend the rest of your life with this man, this is just the first date. You’re there to relax, have fun, and enjoy each other’s company. If he’s not the one, you’re a great woman”you’ll find someone else. The more relaxed and confident you are, the better your date will go, and the greater the chance there’ll be a second.
And now you’re out the door! Have a great time”we’ll be waiting for all the juicy details when you get back!