What was the most surprising deal breaker?
One of ones that I found most interesting was the "Never Ever." I really was struck by it because I use superlative language all the time and I don't think anything of it. I would hear men talk about a woman saying she would "never" do something, and it really surprised me that men were taking them so literally. In hindsight it makes sense, because of course he doesn't know you so he doesn't know if you really mean it when you say, "I'd never move out of New York."
Can you explain your exit interview strategy?
We get feedback in every other part of our lives except for dating. We buy a book on Amazon and we see all the customers who wrote reviews. You go to plan a trip and you look on trip advisor and you see people's candid impressions of a hotel. We see feedback in all these areas, but in perhaps the most important area of our life there's no candid feedback mechanism? It's ridiculous. That's sort of the foundation of the exit interview.
What was one of the most memorable exit interviews you had?
I remember one guy describing how he met someone for a first date and he walked into the restaurant just as she was just coming out of the ladies' room. She had washed her hands and hadn't drifted them very well. When they shook hands her palm was kind of wet and he had this very, very slight aversion, like "eww." And it certainly wasn't the date breaker, but his negative impression began in that moment.
Most people in the United States don't feel comfortable kissing someone on the cheek when they first meet, and a handshake is too business-y. I recommend a kind of feminine handshake where you use both hands and cup his hand between yours. If you do that with warm, soft hands and you look in his eyes it's an amazing way to see if there's any physical chemistry.
Do you have any other tips like that?
The most important thing you can do on a first date, especially if you've been fixed up by a third party, is to remember that you're not only on a date with that man; you're also at the table with the person who set you up, as well as his five friends you don't even know yet. Your date is going to give feedback to whomever fixed you up, and your goal should be to get fixed up again by this person.
Your bad date is going to go tell them he had this bad or boring date, and it's such a small world someone he told will cross your path again and that person will already have formed the impression that you're too boring or you're obnoxious. So your reputation is at stake when you're on a bad date.
That reminds me of something you wrote in the book—you say that you should never invite a guy to be your friend on Facebook or any social network before going out with him.
Your Facebook page is a Petri dish of possible misinterpretations. Lets say you've filled in ten TV shows. Someone who looks at that might think, "That person is a couch potato. Who watches that much TV? They mustn't be that intelligent." Or say, for whatever reason, you only have 20 friends. Your date could start to think "hmm, this person is kind of introverted or kind of a loser." Or they could see someone on your page that they hate. Gosh, that doesn't reflect very well on you. It's ridiculous. You just jump to way to many conclusions. Don't even get me started on political views and religious views.
These are topics you should never talk about on a first date, presumably?
Yes, because again, these are mine fields. Until somebody knows you better there are just too many ways they could misinterpret what you say. The topics you should stick to are interests that are universally thought highly of like books, movies, travel, and family in certain ways—not everything about your family. Talk about the good parts of your family like where you grew up, but not the fact that your mother's a Jehovah's Witness and your dad has a criminal record.
What do you think about physical contact on the first date?
I think a goodnight kiss is great. I think that's often a really good barometer of whether there is the physical chemistry. But I think that's as far as it should go. As it is in business, leave the customer wanting more.