First dates can be tougher than overcooked lobster. Being in the mix of modern day dating in your mid-twenties (while keeping your options open, standards high and expectations low) is everything but easy. Back in the day, women were presented like a fine meal on a platter – they would attend cotillions or debutant balls to brand themselves as the perfect catch and being courted was a frequent occurrence. Now, weeding through the losers and horn balls is more difficult than sleeping while a baby is crying a river on an airplane. Although our generation’s “normal” is painful to be a part of, I’ve fully accepted that it is what it is. Millennials have lost the value of romance and conversation. Now, small talk via text is the new “deep.”
A little backstory on Yours Truly: I wasn’t allowed to date in my tween days. However, turning eighteen brought a whole new world of freedom. The second I blew my candles out, I hit the ground running faster than Serena Williams on the tennis court. Since I had to wait so long to be exposed to the ins and outs of the dating world, I was eager to get the ball rolling. From then on out, I’d accept more dates than The Bachelorette so I could get my experience caught up-to-date. I’ve had my fair share of horrifying dates; the guy who lived at home with his momma, the guy who told me to be ready at eight then didn’t show, the guy who tried to spoon feed me like the Gerber baby and the guy who spoke so much that the chance of me getting a word in was about as slim as me fitting into a double zero.
When the disaster dates started to happen more often than a romantic night for two, I became discouraged and had no option other than to pump the breaks on my serial dating. My mom often kids that she wishes I were married and my brother normally snaps back with some sly remark like “well, she’s gotta find a date first.” My initial response used to be a loud smack to his arm that would leave a miniature paw print behind, but now when I think about it, he’s right. Dating is like an open casting call – you never know what kind of hooligans are going to show up, yet everyone has to audition so you can find exactly what you’re looking for.
Although you may wish you could skip the awkward components a first date holds (walking on eggshells, ice breakers, clammy hands, etc.), you just can’t. Dating is mandatory in order to cultivate any relationship (duh). It’s a nice feeling when people want to get down to the nitty gritty and figure out what you’ve got to offer. The most important thing is that you are fully yourself. I eat far too much seafood, douse hot sauce on everything I possibly can, drink more Pinot Grigio than the average babe and despise khaki shorts. If I were at a candle lit dinner with a potential boo, none of the above would alter in any way (because I’m real – like JLO). The worst situation is when my dinner date starts telling me they like everything I do. Please – you being my stunt double is not cute and that don’t impress me much. If I wanted to date an actor, I would have went after Brad Pitt.
Although there’s a lot of awkwardness associated with first dates, they’re the start (or end – haha) to any relationship. There’s no way around it unless you plan on being as single as a dollar bill for the rest of your life. So when someone asks you out, GO! Have fun and ask 21 questions (like 50cent would). Even if you have to pull a Drew Barrymore and go on 50 First Dates, maybe you’ll end up finding your forever. Don’t knock it until you try it and don’t give up – there are still diamonds in the rough out there. If you don’t believe in love at first sight, I can walk by again.
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