A driving test may be scary, but it’s nothing compared to a first date with a man you fancy. At least you can take a driving test again – and pay someone to give you lessons. But if you fail a date, you’re unlikely to get a second chance.
Allow us to improve your chances of passing first time. Here are 29 offences that could lose you points on your first date – or, if he’s feeling less than generous, land you with an instant Fail.
1. Fail to hide your disappointment when you meet a guy for a blind date. If your eyes start darting from left to right, looking for an escape route, he will know exactly what you’re thinking. (Of course, if you really are disappointed, none of this matters, does it?)
2. Refuse to go for a curry, because you’re “already fat enough.” If you like him, indulge yourself. You’ll score fistfuls of dating points for being good company. If you’re really that worried about what one single curry will do to your thighs, go for a run in the morning.
3. Shrug when he says, “where do you fancy going?” He doesn’t want to make all the decisions. Most of them, just not all of them.
4. Look disappointed when your food arrives.
5. Want to share dessert.
6. Fail to laugh at his jokes. He really, really wants you to think he’s funny, so laugh with him – even if you find his jokes as funny as mould. Men love women who share their sense of humour even more than they love women who can put their ankles behind their ears.
7. Ask, ten minutes into the date, if he’s free tomorrow.
8. Keep checking your phone. You think you’re being surreptitious? When it comes to noticing a woman’s “I’m bored” signals, men suddenly acquire surveillance skills that MI5 would envy.
9. Check your watch. See above.
10. Mention your mum. He’s terrified of her already, so please don’t bring her up unless expressly invited to do so.
11. Mention your ex. Like mentioning your mum, only 10,000 times more damaging. Whatever the context, all your date can hear is: “you’re nice, I suppose, but I’m still so into my ex that I’m actually hallucinating a vision of him right now.”
12. Mention your best male friend. Your date may even perceive this man to be a greater threat than your ex, since your BMF is more likely to be found hanging around your kitchen, and almost certainly plans to marry you.
13. Spend an hour talking about the “really dark time” you went through in your early 20s, and which you don’t like to talk about.
14. Fail to shut up during the film.
15. Fail to ask him any questions about himself, other than questions which are designed to bring the conversation back to yourself (“Have you been to Mexico? I had an amazing time backpacking there in 2005, I…”)
16. Interview him. Yes, be interested in him, but don’t unleash a volley of questions – it’ll make you seem nervous and inexperienced. Give him something to be interested in, too.
17. Gaze at him across the restaurant table. Stop it, you’re scary.
18. Keep interrupting him. Female friends tend to interrupt each other all the time (in girl-speak, it’s called having a conversation), but many men are less tolerant of overlapping babble. If you want him to think you’re listening, let him finish his point.
19. Fail to get his reference to something he mentioned earlier. Gotcha – now he knows you weren’t listening.
21. Get drunk. A gin or two can help to relax those first-date jitters, but don’t match him drink for drink, however “connected” you think it makes you look. You’ll soon lose all your inhibitions and commit half the crimes on this list, plus several more that we’re not drunk enough to think up right now. (By the way, holding back your hair while you puke does not prove that a man is the love of your life. He’s just being nice.)
22. Play with your hair. OK, let us clarify: a subtle bit of hair-touching (by yourself, of your own hair) is powerful “touch me” body language, and can be very seductive. But if you spend ten minutes twirling your hair around your finger, you may drive your date into a state of irritated rage that he normally reserves for dodgy football referees.
23. Pretend to like football.
24. Swear. The odd four-letter gem can spice up a flowing conversation, but don’t fall back on effing and blinding as a substitute for eloquence.
25. Open a comment with “don’t take this the wrong way, but…”
26. Wear too much make-up or perfume. He’ll wonder what you’re trying to hide – or how many other men in the room you’re trying to pull.
27. Re-apply your lipstick while he’s still in the room.
28. Adjust your bra strap.
29. Tell him he’d look fantastic in a blue shirt. He doesn’t want you to make him over, thanks.
30. Fail to offer to pay your share of the bill. If you’re lucky he’ll want to pay, but at least offer.
31. Ask to share a cab, and then refuse to come in for a coffee at his place. Of course men shouldn’t misinterpret “let’s share a cab” as “shall I go on top?”, but don’t lead him on. If you don’t intend to spend the night, don’t share transport facilities. A few quid for your own licensed cab won’t break the bank, and it could ensure that you get a second date.