If you don’t already know by now, dating sucks. It is literally the single worst experience of the young American adult life outside of poverty, social injustice, and losing a twerking contest to Miley Cyrus. It is an awkward, constantly new practice that never seems to become any easier, regardless of how many forays into it are undertaken. What makes it worse, everybody and their mother has some piece of advice to offer. Whether it is how to dress, how to walk, or to pay or not to pay, how to act on the first date or rekindle the spark that has waned through the decades, people are willing to give their two cents in an economy where the penny is worthless. Personally, I’m over the whole thing and have found a level of bliss that could never be surpassed: two for twenty dinners at Olive Garden. As such, I've decided to impart my newfound knowledge to the rest of the world as misadvice: everything that you should do to go against the boring, monotonous, and harsh world of being an individual in a couple-driven society.
You know the feeling: the butterflies in your stomach, sweaty palms, nausea induced from an overindulgence of your favorite Macy’s fragrance. It's the first date jitters, and they happen to everyone unless you live your life vicariously through James Bond, then don't worry about it; we all know how this movie’s going to end.
The trick to overcoming the first date heebie-jeebies is to simply be yourself. No seriously, hear me out. Whether this person knows nothing about you (blind date), knows vaguely who you are (casual), or is already your best friend (weird), be Y.O.U. or for you acronym crazy saps, Your Own Unicorn. I know what you're thinking, “My own unicorn? That doesn't make any sense.” You're right. It doesn't. Unicorns are made up mythical creatures and although flooding with awesomeness, don't necessarily occur in this realm of existence. Damn multiverse is always holding out on the good stuff.
But you, my wedgie pulling, make-up checking friend, do exist. YOU can be this mythical creature because who’s to say that your interpretation of it is wrong, Fred from accounting? Forget him! Be dramatic, be aloof, be kind, be goofy, be weird, be obnoxious, be haphazard, be clumsy, be a jerk, and even be a little bit disgusting. Be every and anything you ever wanted to be for this night. The person sitting on the other side of the table has no clue what they're getting into anyway, might as well give them a show and make yourself memorable. If all goes well, they'll turn tail on the doorstep and do a burnout down your street that you can post for all of your Instagram followers the next day.
Unfortunately, some people are gluttons for punishment. Depending on how you've made arrangements, there may be a bit of travel time together associated with this date, creating another opportunity to exploit their misguided curiosity in you. If you two are the fancy, new age types, and choose to meet each other at the venue, then skip to the next section, show-offs.
Travel time is any time spent in between events. This can happen stuffed inside of the tiny Fiat 500 that your 6’6” date owns, or waiting in line together at a Bruce Springsteen concert, or those few precious moments when you stare at your cell phone screens until the order of bacon-wrapped shrimp emerges from the kitchen.
The biggest negative of travel time is the feared awkward silence. This is the ticking timer in every person’s head that goes off during social situations when nobody says anything for an undisclosed amount of time. Now for normal people, this is a huge detractor, and many will tell you to try to keep conversation and activities going. But where's the fun in that? I always say, the best way to put out a fire is to add more fire. Stare at your suitor’s face the entire car ride, watch cat videos on your phone (making sure to laugh loudly while never sharing the clips), turn down the radio to their favorite song and say, “Would it be okay if we could just talk a little bit, to get to know each other?” Then when they say yes, turn the radio back up and stare out the window the remainder of the car ride. If they try to talk to you over the music, continuously tell them that the radio is too loud to hear over, and you’ll have plenty of time to talk later.
Now people listen (or read, whichever) very closely. I'm going to only say this once, and then it’ll be gone forever unless you bookmark this page or something, then you can always just come back to it. The most important, stressful, and frustrating event in travel time is the ceremonial paying of the bill. Whatever you do, DO NOT PAY THAT FIRST BILL. This is a psychological war that has been ruining relationships since the days of Julius Caesar and Cleopatra. Nothing is worse for a guy than to be emasculated by his female counterpart, whereby contrast, it can be a possible red flag if Macho Man doesn’t even give you a chance to reach into your purse, ladies. So nip it in the bud. Unload your full arsenal of distractor conversations. That time you got your head stuck in the fence? Yes, please! How the video of you singing in the shower hit one million views before being taken down for indecent exposure? Love to hear it! The fact that you still have no idea what the difference is between a Roth IRA, 401k and NBA 2K is? Who does? Whatever topics you can think of to keep the bill from sliding over to your side of the table, now is the time to employ them. Because you know what they say about giving someone an inch: “What am I going to do with an inch?”
A PERFECT ENDING
You made it. Somehow you avoided making a complete fool of yourself and if you’re lucky, worked your way out of a second date. But alas, sometimes these tips do fail, and that potential somebody that is now walking with you to your doorstep is looking at you with those Disney movie googly eyes. If this continues, it may lead to a goodbye kiss or worse (gulp), a second date. To be honest, I’m all out of advice. I’ve never made it this far (not my fault, my copy glitches after level three and won’t let me use the remove sweaty palms hack). Whatever happens at this point, you are on your own. If they lean in for a kiss, you could always blurt out, “Crap, this is the wrong house!” right before contact. Otherwise, just go with the flow, what is meant to be will be. “So long as men can breathe and eyes can see, so long lives this, and this gives life to thee.” —Famous poet/writer guy.
The main point of this article is to get you to remember one thing: RELAX. The world is stressful enough without you worrying about whether you should wear your hair up or down with your halter top (always down) or whether it’s a special enough occasion to wear your lucky Spider-Man briefs (always yes). If you can take anything away from my advice, have it be this: enjoy yourself. No matter how much of a jerk you pretend to be, or how much you started to break out as soon as the plans were laid. No matter how dorky and unattractive everything in your closet makes you feel. No matter if your date hasn’t stopped taking selfies since the night began. Remember that Y.O.U. can be pretty freaking awesome if given the chance. Horns and rainbows not included.