Because playing it cool’s for job interviews.
Recently on a date, I decided to change up my usual polished ‘cool girl’ act by giving less of a fuck.
I’m unsure if I was subconsciously trying to sabotage my chances at finding love, but I was an open book with quirks and skeletons I’d typically hold off revealing on first meeting. I not only shared the fact I’d previously dated an escort and had at one point genuinely considered getting a sugar daddy; I also talked about my love of dating and the fact I’ve literally never had a long-term relationship.
And to my surprise, my date couldn’t wait to ask me out again.
Our candid conversation went against everything relationship experts say you should talk about on a first date, so why was he so pleasantly attracted to me?
Have we been doing it wrong all these years?
I’d always been told to present the ‘best version’ of myself early in the dating process, and tiresomely committed to the role of being the coolest girl my dates have ever had the privilege of taking out; but the act was, quite frankly, exhausting.
I was tired and fed up from previous dates dedicated to pitch-perfect performances that didn’t seem to pay off, so went against everything I knew and dropped my agenda to find Mr Right or make a good impression at all and instead simply set out to meet another human by acting like a human myself.
There was no acting, forced laugher or carefully thought-out witticisms crafted to prove my ability to be the epitome of the perfect girlfriend. In fact, if you were a fly on the wall, you may have gone as far as to describe our date conversation as a giant trainwreck. I was a big red flag with a bad case of verbal diarrhoea, yet my date sat there with his eyes beaming, intently listening and hanging onto my every word.
There was no questionnaire to work out what we both wanted from a relationship, and no pressure to perform to ensure we both qualified for a second date. I just laid my crazy out on the table and went into the date with the sole intention of having fun.
And according to dating expert Evan Marc Katz, I might have been onto something.
“[A first date is] for FUN. It’s for you to get a better sense of me and whether I’m a solid catch, it’s for me to determine if we’ve got some attraction and easy conversation – and it’s for both of us to determine whether there’s enough potential to meet for a second date. That’s all,” asserts Katz.
Having a set of questions you feel you should be asking comes across as forced and interrogative, rather than helping you discover whether or not your values are aligned, which is what most of us set out to discover on date number one.
“If a man gets the sense that you’re testing him for earning potential, or fathering potential, or husband potential, he’s not going to feel comfortable. Because suddenly he’s not the guy who’s buying your drinks and trying to make you laugh – he’s being interviewed like an intern who is applying for a lifetime job at your company,” explains Katz.
So holding back on the questions about my date’s five-year plan and what he wanted to get out of Tinder and instead rattling on about my funniest dating experiences wasn’t actually a deal-breaker. I tend to agree with Katz that the first date should be a way less serious affair.
It should be the time where you talk about what lights you up and turns you on. I’m not advocating sharing what your fave vibrator is, I’m talking about chatting about your hobbies and letting your quirks shine. Like the fact you enjoy eating pizza in bed or have been known to binge-watch entire Suits seasons in one sitting. It’s simple conversations like this that really show you whether or not you click with someone; not how many boxes they tick off on your mental Husband Material scorecard.
We often put pressure on the big questions: do they want three children? Are they intending to get married within the next year? What are their thoughts on joint bank accounts? Questions we innocently ask, when really, they’re just sabotaging any chance of us being romantically happy.
The answers to those big questions can wait. Save them until the ice has been well and truly broken and the foundation has been laid for something more meaningful before you start asking the heavier stuff; and in the meantime, just relax and be yourself. I did, and I’m currently getting prepped for date number two. FYI: pizza and bed will definitely be involved.
Images via giphy.com and youtube.com.
Comment: What would you discuss on a first date?
Peta Serras is a model and SHESAID’s dating expert who’s willing to go on as many bad Tinder dates as she needs to in order to find the perfect guy. In her spare time she loves drinking coffee, eating almond croissants and spending lots of money. Follow Peta on Twitter and Facebook.