Q: I’ve recently started dating again, following my divorce. My wife and I were high school sweethearts so I’ve been out of the loop for quite some time. I’ve recently met a lady I like on a dating site and I think we are ready to meet up in person. What is the best thing to do on a first date? Is a romantic dinner the way to go?
A: Personally, I’m not a fan of overly romanticising the first date. For one thing, first dates can be really nerve wrecking for many people, so there is no need to turn it into a big deal and make it even more frightening. Remember that you won’t really know for sure whether or not you have chemistry with another person until you’ve met them in real life. No amount of talking online can tell you whether or not you will find someone attractive. No dating expert can tell you this and there is no personality test in existence that could answer that question. Only you can answer that question and only when you’ve seen your date in person.
So until you know whether you actually want to get romantic with someone, there’s no point arranging a date that may end up making you feel awkward.
Instead, I suggest you opt for something non-threatening and non-committal: a pub or bar (popular choices in the UK) or a cafe date for the non-drinkers are always good, as long as they’re not too noisy. You can always continue to a romantic restaurant later, if the mood strikes you, but don’t put yourself in a situation where it’s expected before you’ve had a chance to meet properly. There’s nothing that says you should meet in the evening, either. More and more people are opting for casual afternoon dates, lunchtime dates and quick post-work meet ups just to test the water. Remember to always opt to meet in a public place so that you both feel safe. It’s best you arrive and leave in separate cars or taxis or take public transport, so that you can leave independently. Women reading this should take the opportunity to read up on the safety rules before meeting anyone in person.