The other day a friend approached me about a guy they knew who had just scored a date with a girl he had been courting for a while. However, this was no typical love story like you would see in the movies, but it is all too common on college campuses, and in this instance, Springfield College.
When my friend asked where this gentleman planned to take this young lady for their first date, he proudly proclaimed, “The Dunkin Donuts in the Union.”
Guys. Be better.
Before I address how to rectify this situation, let’s go over all the things that went painfully wrong with this situation.
First of all, I am much more of a Dunkin Donuts guy, but if you’re going to do a “coffee date,” you’ve got to go to Starbucks for the exponentially better ambiance. Not to mention, the fact that this is not a true coffee date, this is being lazy and going to a different part of campus.
Now this is not to say you need to go out and shell out a ton of cash to impress a girl on the first date. That absolutely sends the wrong message. But you have to put more thought into a first date for a girl you’re really in to. Take her to dinner, or to the Forest Park Zoo, or just something that will get the two of you off campus for a while.
There is a common roadblock, however, that students (especially underclassmen) run in to: transportation. Not everyone has a car on campus, and the public transportation in the area is not the most reliable, but fear not. If you do not worry about the potential awkwardness of sitting in the back seat of a car on your way to a first date like you did when you were 15, you can always call an Uber or a Lyft.
If you do worry about this, you can arrange to take a ZipCar that is stationed on campus. Again, it is not the most ideal option, but planning the reservation for the car and organizing all of that shows that you care and you know how to take initiative, which is a big plus to making a good impression.
In terms of the date though, have things planned in advance that both of you discuss and agree on. My first date with my girlfriend, Meagan, we met halfway between where we were living and grabbed dinner followed by ice cream. We still talk today a year and a half later about the conversations we had that dinner and while sitting on a bench eating ice cream.
But there was a big thing that surprised her about our first date. I held the door for her everywhere we went, I called the waitress “ma’am” and I walked on the street side of the sidewalk. I promise you, I have no reason to steer you wrong, these things get noticed, and they worked.
And don’t stress if your date is a tad overwhelmed by this. Meagan was certainly taken aback by my somewhat over the top manners, such as when I grabbed her car door every time we would get in the car. Now she admits that she will likely never have to get a car door for herself again.
These things aren’t tough, they are simple, and they are a non-monetary way to show someone that you care. You can take someone out to the most extravagant dinner, but when you let the door slam in their face on the way out of the restaurant, that’s what they’re going to remember.
Believe me, I don’t have it all figured out. No one does. But you’ve got to do the little things and you have to be creative. The copout that it is challenging to get off campus or that there is nothing to do is null.
Just be yourself, go the extra mile, and show them that you care; I’m not speaking for everyone here, but I’d rather look like a goober for being so well-mannered but score a second date than be too cool to act like I care and have that first date be my last.
Note: Although this is largely addressed to guys, this lesson can go for anyone trying to make progress with a love interest.