Advice on how not to ruin a date

Graphic by Jaime Mere

I don’t know anything about dating. I have zero validity when it comes to giving sound relationship advice.

But as a smart aleck who tends to think he’s funny, I’ve been on enough bad dates to at least give some tips on what not to do,      some topics to avoid and other things that tend to result in embarrassment, injury or insult.

Don’t vape

At least with a cigarette there’s some aesthetic sex appeal — not that I’m promoting it  — but puffing out a fat cloud of mommy issues and instability isn’t going to make you any more attractive.

I don’t care if you’re fiending for that sweet, sweet nicotine on your way to the car after the movie. Save it for after you’re done crying in the shower once you’ve gotten home.

Avoid the batting cages

I know you may be tempted to run over to the cages, eager to show off your home run swing      perfected in your house league days, but be weary.

Those dimpled rubber pellets tend to show little mercy to the skin. Combine that with the erratic tendencies of antique pitching machines and your next stop might just be the emergency room. There’s nothing sexy about dental implants.

Don’t overshare

For those who ramble when they’re nervous, try and make a conscious effort to save something for the second date.

I’m as guilty as anyone at this. It’s alarmingly easy to over share details of your life that these strangers have no business knowing.

Don’t discuss your medically induced erectile dysfunction. Don’t explain your conspiracy theory about your widowed neighbour Clive seducing your mother with Harvey’s coupons and, most importantly, never ever discuss politics.

Movie dates suck

I’m a hypocrite. I love movie dates. I’ll find any excuse to go buy stale, overpriced popcorn. I don’t mind paying a little extra to drag some poor straggler along to listen to my chewing.

But in the grand scheme of things, they’re a terrible idea. Unless your date is into guys with territorial obsessions over arm     rests and the thunderous echo of bodily gas against leather, go get a coffee.

Don’t brag

Be humble, damn it. No one cares about the writing prize you didn’t win; honorable mention doesn’t count, so don’t go out of your way to tell the story.

They don’t want to go to your late-night co-ed soccer game nor do they want to see the crucifix tattoo between where your abdominal muscles should be. Take some interest in the person across the table – maybe they have some incoherent ink as well.

Overall, it really isn’t that hard. We’re always told to ‘be ourselves’ when we’re anxious over a first date when in reality, most of us are scab-picking, illiterate nightmares frantically looking for someone to tolerate our incompetence for a couple hours.

So instead, I say be your best self. I’m not saying change who you are in any way: just don’t bite your nails or siphon the wax out of your ears for a night.

If you’re the quiet type, feel free to sit back and listen for a while. If you’re an extrovert, don’t hesitate to ramble. If you’re a comic, god forbid, crack some jokes. Find that fine line and ride it.

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