Planning the first date is difficult enough, but where do you take her on the second? What about the third? To celebrate the release of Don Jon, Joseph Gordon-Levitt's directorial debut out in cinemas on Friday 15 November, we talk to dating expert James Preece to find out what it takes to score a perfect run of dates...


Where to go

The first date should be in a cocktail bar rather than in a pub or wine bar. This will give the impression that you are fun, imaginative and willing to experiment.  

If you don't know much about cocktails you can bluff your way by researching one or two before you meet.

You should pay for the majority of the drinks, but she could definitely get a few rounds in if she offers.

It's a good idea to agree to keep the first date to a maximum of two hours.  That way you have an escape route ready in case things don't work out. If you do get on, you can always see them again a few days later.

What to wear

Wear something smart and sexy that you feel comfortable in. Women notice shoes before almost anything else so they must be clean and polished. If you aren't sure what to wear, ask a female friend to go shopping with you beforehand.

What to talk about

The conversation should be 70% about her and 30% about you. Ask lots of questions and hold eye contact to show you're truly interested in what she's talking about. Find out what she's most passionate about in life and you can use the information another time.

Try to keep an air of mystery about yourself, but don't be so vague it looks like you're hiding something. 

Scarlett Johansson in Don Jon


Where to go

Choose a fun activity that'll give you the chance to bond. Try something that will get her heart rate up, as it can release the same chemicals in the body as you get from falling in love. Something like go-karting, a ghost hunt or a theme park is perfect – anything that will get her blood pumping and her hands reaching to grab hold of yours. 

If it feels right, you'll want to kiss her at the end of this date or she'll potentially put you in the Friends Zone.

As you've arranged this, you will be paying, but allow her to buy any drinks or food if she offers.

What to wear

Just because you're doing an activity date, that doesn't mean you should stop making an effort. You still need to be smart and dress to impress. You don't need to go overboard but you want her to think you always dress well.

What to talk about

Drop in subtle comments about your future. For example, you could say, "We'll have to try that new bar in the summer." This will subconsciously make it easier for her to see you as a couple.

Whisper the odd compliment or cheeky comment in her ear. Create a shared joke that nobody else is part of. 

Scarlett Johansson in Don Jon


Where to go

Simple: Dinner for two. This is your chance to step up the romance. Candles, relaxing music and aphrodisiacs are an essential part of setting up the right environment.

Now is not the time for going Dutch, so you absolutely need to pay for the meal. If she's on a third date then you know she's definitely interested in you, so you could always try inviting her to yours so you can cook her your specialty.

What to wear

Don't wear the same outfit you wore for date one, as girls will remember it. Wear a good suit and a freshly ironed shirt. You'll be getting closer, so put on a little aftershave or cologne too.

What to talk about

This date is all about non-verbal communication, so let your body language do the talking.

As this is your chance to take things to the next level, you can up your flirting. She'll be expecting you to make your move too, so don't let her down.

Start off slowly by holding hands* or touching her arms. Gaze into each other's eyes to build the chemistry and have her almost begging you to kiss her. If she's happy with this, you can go as far as you're both ready to.

Words by James Preece, Britain's top dating coach

*We'll be honest, we thought hand-holding on a third date was bonkers and verging on creepy, but having quizzed the lovely ladies in the office it's apparently fine. In fact, it's a brilliant idea. Go figure.

Don Jon is in cinemas Friday 15 November.