That Dreaded First Date

Three ideas to make "the first date" that much less painful.

Kristine Kern shares some first-date tips from the newest addition to her panel of experts. Does anyone truly like to date? I mean, really get excited about sifting through potential candidates, sussing out neuroses, reading between the lines? I’m not talking about the thrill and anticipation you might feel the day you’re going out with someone new. I’m talking about the nitty-gritty research involved in finding someone who intrigues you.

I suppose there are some people who enjoy the hunt. And others who are so confident (or delusional) that they don’t feel as if they’re opening themselves up to humiliation, pain, and suffering—along with sexual tension and the possibility of intense joy. But, by and large, I think, dating rates pretty far down the fun scale. I should know. I’m one of the dating masses.

And while I’m not so cynical as to say it sucks entirely, I would suggest that daters need all the help they can get. That’s why I have my own “panel of experts,” my team of go-to people. They tell me when not to call him, when not to believe him, when to cut him a break. They soothe me when I’m freaking out. And I can’t tell you how many times they’ve pushed me back into the fray.

Enter Dave Singleton, an author whose latest book is Behind Every Great Woman There’s a Fabulous Gay Man: Advice from a Guy Who Gives It to You Straight. He also wrote The Mandates: 25 Real Rules for Successful Gay Dating. Needless to say, Dave knows a thing or two about men—and he’s willing to share. I’m an online dater, as I told Dave when we met for coffee. Some months I’ll have the time and energy to spend on dating sites, then I won’t even sign on again for weeks. After a romantic drought, though, I’ll usually get depressed and feel like I’ve gotta do something, and online dating is the most direct route to getting back in the game. Dave’s answer to the burnout factor in online dating is the “step-up.” “You want to quickly meet to gauge chemistry,” he says.

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