A Guy's Guide On How To Pull Off The Perfect First Date

Photos by James Lightbown

You've been trading flirty texts all week, and the first date has arrived. Nervous? We don’t blame you—girls can be absolutely terrifying. That’s why we’ve asked relationship expert Robert Cox to give his best tips on making sure your debut date together goes like a dream, not a nightmare that you'll never get out of your head.


1. Take Control

“Women are always impressed when a guy takes control of the plans. Maybe it’s old-fashioned, but decisiveness and confidence will never stop being attractive. It sounds a bit weird, but have a little glance at her Facebook photos to see what kind of stuff she usually gets up to on a night out—that way, you’ll get a good idea of what she’d like to do on a date. Just don’t get too carried away and start liking her pictures from Zante 2012. It will not be reciprocated.”

2. Keep Your Cool

“All you can do is be yourself. You’re not Mad Men’s Don Draper—unless you are, in which case, nice suit—so don’t try to be too suave. Don’t order a whisky neat if it’s going to make you flinch with every sip. Don’t try and act so mysterious that you end up sitting there for 30 minutes in absolute silence. You can worry yourself to death about what vibe you give off, but, ultimately, the worst that can happen is that she doesn’t like you. And every man has experience of that, even Don Draper.”

3. Become A King Of Conversation

“The conversation should be 70 percent about her and 30 percent about you. Keep eye contact, but always remember to blink; there’s a very fine line between ‘attentive’ and ‘unsettling’. Don’t spend your time asking her boring questions—if you listen to her well enough, you’ll never be short of stuff to talk about. It’ll always be slightly awkward to begin with, so don’t let that bother you. Conversation will flow in the end. Just don’t be tempted to drink heavily beforehand. Bad idea.”

4. Make Her Laugh

“Stories are always funnier than jokes. No girl wants to sit there watching you relentlessly fuck up bad punchlines. Just tell a hilarious or embarrassing anecdote. It’s a cliché, but humility and sense of humor really are the sexiest qualities a person can possess. Don’t overdo it, though—you’ll end up looking like some kind of awful comedic Energizer bunny. At the end of the day, as long as the girl is laughing with you and not at you, you’re on to a winner.”

5. Eat Right

“If you do choose a restaurant, you should be aware that a poor culinary choice can make or break a date. Never order anything too messy, especially spaghetti bolognese—it’ll end up looking like Lady And The Tramp for all the wrong reasons. Also, steer clear of oysters—whatever twisted scientist declared those slimy snot shots an aphrodisiac was clearly having a giggle at everyone’s expense. A nice pasta or chicken dish will ensure that you keep your dignity. As I said before, don’t drink too much… Unless she wants to as well, in which case, it’s an absolutely brilliant idea.”

6. Pay Your Way

“No one likes a cheapskate. But who pays on a first date is a social minefield of Somme proportions. At the end of a meal, it’s best to take control and give your card directly to the waiter. Brush off her objections with ‘I’ll take care of it’—it’s just another way of making her feel special. If she absolutely insists that she wants to pay her way, it’s probably best to let her. But chances are she just wants to leave as soon as possible ... hopefully for a drink at hers.”

7. Pick Up On Signals

“Girls are complicated—but they’re pretty easy to read when it comes to the art of flirtation. Keep a look out for hair twirling, prolonged eye contact and arm stroking (yours, not hers. That just means she’s cold). Don’t play hard-to-get—while that may seem the cool thing to do, you’ll just end up convincing her that you aren’t interested, meaning nobody wins. If by the end of the night she’s cocking her head and glancing at your lips, it’s mission accomplished. Make your move, cowboy.”

Photography: James Lightbown