Relationships should be equal, but when it comes to dating — especially first dates — things are different. Dating is where men step up, with sincerity, and show their interest in someone. But some men either don't know or don't show that they understand or accept this concept. Equality or not, courtship is primal. She wants him to pursue, and he needs something to chase. Perhaps Mark Twain said it best: "In order to make a man or a boy covet a thing, it is only necessary to make the thing difficult to obtain."
Does that mean a man should put in all the effort to make a first date great? Hardly. She needs to do her part, but he should be leading the process. After interviewing and surveying 1,000 men and women about their first date experiences, here are the most common screw-ups men make.
1. He Used An Old Picture On His Profile
He might have looked great back in college, but that was 20 years ago. It's not that looks are everything, but they are a part of the courtship/evaluation process; there needs to be a mental and physical connection that will help lead to an emotional connection as you get to know each other.
What She Wants: Honesty and sincerity. Maybe he needs to lose a few pounds or has imperfections here and there... but no one is perfect. She might not want to see all of him on Date #1, but she will eventually want to see it, so keeping things honest is of paramount importance.
2. He Put In Too Little/Too Much Effort
Many men struggle with thoughts like: "Where should I take her?" or "What should we do?" Some men try to shock-and-awe with an over-the-top plan (which can come across as overwhelming, or even weird), while others come with no plan at all (which clearly communicates a lack of planning and/or caring about the date).
What She Wants: Something casual, fun, and interesting, with no pressure from him or her. It should spark conversation (so going to the movies should be out) and reflect the man he is.
3. He Showed Up Late…Or Not At All
Sometimes things happen — work, schedules, traffic, life, etc— but getting in-touch to reschedule or cancel shows that you value someone else's time. Too often, however, first dates are a no-call/no-show, and unless there in an emergency there's really no reason for it. It's just common courtesy.
What She Wants: A simple phone call. Not a last-minute text message canceling the date but a phone call. It shows integrity and that she is worth more than a technology-based blow-off.
4. He Looked Like He Just Left The Gym
Let's face it: First impressions count. Showing up wrinkled, crinkled, and smelling like gym funk isn't impressive nor endearing. Whether he loves his jeans and t-shirts, or lives in two-piece suits, he needs to come ironed, pressed and bringing his A-game.
What She Wants: To see that he values himself enough to take pride in his appearance.
5. He Made The Conversation All About Him
She wants to get to know him, and she also wants to share what makes her tick. But too often, men (and women) get caught up in talking about their resumes, jobs, incomes, and possessions. Not only is that not what makes up the person, it ends up a creating a one-way conversation where you’re talking about you instead of sharing and imparting information.
What She Wants: Discussion that includes ideas, events, news, things he's done, things he wants to do and things that hold his interest. Not only will it break the ice, but it will also paint a picture of what he truly values, how he thinks and how he spends his time.
6. All He Did Was Talk About His Ex
If someone talks about their ex with a new dating prospect, chances are they aren't completely over the relationship. Unless you plan on bringing your ex with you into your new relationships, there's no reason to discuss them. On that note, a discussion about an ex who is also a joint parent of children is normal, but that is a conversation that is best had when things have moved past the dating phase.
What She Wants: For him to be interested in finding out more about her, without him needing to compare everything happening to his past.
7. He Answered Calls And Responded To Texts At The Table
Responding to phone calls and/or text messages in the presence of your date shows how you are prioritizing your attention. If someone accepts a call or responds to a message, they are silently saying that those they are with are not as important as the messages they are receiving. The reality: technology exists for our convenience, not our forced usage. There is nothing ruder than being in the company of others, but concentrating on other things while claiming it’s possible to "multitask". It's not.
What She Wants: If something is urgent/important enough to pull him away, he should excuse himself and take the call or deal with the situation. Otherwise, he should be in the moment and both should put their phones away.
8. He Was Rude To The Wait Staff.
Treating wait staff rudely is a major red flag. If he sees those in-service as beneath him, he is likely measuring peoples' worth and value on the wrong things. And oftentimes that elitist attitude becomes a constant-but-silent accusation of, "Try as you might, you will never please me or make me happy… but keep trying."
What She Wants: She wants a man who will treat others — regardless of their job, income, mode of dress, possessions or station in life — with mutual respect and kindness.
9. We had a great date, but he never called.
Dates are just that: singular events. If he doesn't want to see her again, he should call and tell her so — that he had a good time, but that he wants to leave it at that. It provides closure with respect, instead of a blow-off of silence.
What She Wants: To know that she isn't crazy in thinking that it was mutual, but then he just went dark.
10. He Expected Me To Make All The Plans For This/Next Time
A man who leads, plans and takes action is desirable and she will respond if his actions are sincere. (And to those men who are shy and unsure: I get it. But just be authentic and put yourself out there. You'll find out right away if she's interested.)
What She Wants: For him to do his part in dating, make the plans and court her. She will do her part and make plans as well but there’s nothing wrong with him making the moves and showing his interest first.
Dating is rooted in primal courtship rituals. To those men who don't act, your actions are being interpreted as disinterest. This isn't the case of "making a man chase a woman"; it's about the primal drivers of a man leading a woman through the courtship process — interest, date, bedroom, etc. Bottom line: If a man really wants a woman, he'll go after her, pure and simple.