5 First Date Rules Of Etiquette All 20-Somethings Need To Accept


I couldn’t figure out why I was using so much data on my phone this month and when I finally realized it was because I re-downloaded Tinder, I decided then and there that it was time to make an attempt at pulling myself together and start going on real dates again. Not to mention that I am one of those heinous girls that makes boys talk at me for, like, three weeks before finally agreeing to go out with them and this fellow had definitely paid his dues.

It was Sunday and I was running late and I tried to make up for my tardiness by trading my usual harsh black-on-black on giant hat wardrobe for a wholesome denim ensemble and baseball cap. I practically did a front handspring from the door to the bar stool next to my date and immediately ordered a Juan Collins with such fierce conviction that my date didn’t say hello, he said, “Ahh you’ve been here before.” I hadn’t, but I did Google the menu and when I read “Juan Collins” (A JUAN COLLINS, YOU GUYS), I simply had to find out. The bartender passed me my drink and said “That’ll be the price of all cocktails in New York so just sign me over the rights to your apartment lease and don’t forget to tip!”  (Ohhkay so those weren’t his exact words but you get the picture.)

First Date-iquette Rule No. 1:

No one is obligated to pay for the date.

Well, I mean, someone, is obligated to pay for the date — but I don’t care which gender you identify with. Always assume you are paying for at least yourself, and probably your date.

My date got to the bar first. He had the opportunity to start a tab. But he didn’t and I have no ego left after living in New York this long so I handed the man my flashy new debit card, it’s not an American Express Black card or anything, it just has a picture of space on it, and I turned to my date and asked “So…did you want something to drink…?”

First Date-iquette Rule No. 2:

Don’t make me pay for your drinks.

I know what I said back there, but I didn’t mean it. Just like that girl you went on a date with last night who reached for her handbag when the bill came. SHE DIDN’T MEAN IT EITHER. You want to impress your date? Plan a date within your means.

“I actually don’t drink,” said the date. “Like ever?” said the Mandie. “Not ever,” said the date.  “Would you, could you with a goat?” said the Mandie. “Not even with a goat,” said the date. I paused for awhile, taking in both the realness he had just laid on me and also his inability to quote Dr. Seuss. “…but would you, could you….on a boat?” said the Mandie.

First Date-iquette Rule No. 3:


And my means! And that means a lot of things! I cannot stress enough how stressful dating is. Don’t bring me to your high school reunion. Don’t take me to a restaurant you can’t afford. And don’t take me to a bar when you willingly abstain from happiness! And if you lack the creativity to think of anything else to do, at least give me a heads up so I don’t catapult myself at the bar like I’ve been wandering in the desert all month when you’re channeling Utah.

“This tastes like poison,” I told him and frowned. The bartender had added 13 pounds of muddled jalapenos to my drink and I was never more sure I wanted to die. My date was talking about growing up in the Midwest and I was trying to listen intently but I was breathing pure fire and all I could think about was what a dick this bartender was when my attempt at focusing was interjected. “So when was the last time you said something racist? How did it make you feel?” Actually NOW I was never more sure I wanted to die.

First Date-iquette Rule No. 4:

Not everything sacred is text.

There are conversations that you have on first dates and there are conversations that you don’t. I, for one, like to leave my daddy issues at home when I meet someone new.  I would say that this goes without saying but clearly it doesn’t – I’m not a racist. And I certainly don’t think my date, a man of a race decidedly different than my own that I chose to go out with using my own autonomy, was accusing me of being one. I think he was genuinely trying to make conversation, just one that was heavier than I could carry. Conversations about politics, income and tragedy (exes) should all be tabled on the first date. Let’s just talk about how Ryan Adams doesn’t know what the Smiths sound like.

Like I so often do when I’m uncomfortable, I made a poorly timed joke at my own expense about another time I made a poorly timed joke and it went over like the jalapenos in my drink. For obvious reasons, our date was starting to unravel. An hour had passed and we weren’t seeing eye to eye on anything, albeit mostly just because my head was in the sand at this point. He got up to use the bathroom and I took it as an opportunity to close my tab and make like Tom and cruise. When he walked me out, he did what they always do and leaned in for a kiss while I politely leaned out.

First Date-iquette Rule No. 5:

First date, first base, same thing.

If a date doesn’t end with us drinking a little too much and making out in the street like teenagers, there probably isn’t going to be a second date. Maybe that speaks volumes to my perspective on dating but hey then again, so does this blog.