By Jane Hoskyn
Dating isn’t rocket science. It’s much, much harder than that. You can derail a first date by doing apparently innocuous things that wouldn’t make your male friends bat an eyelid. But it’s worth remembering that a female date is not your drinking buddy. She will not appreciate it if you fart proudly after dinner.
If you really like a girl, and you want her to pick up the phone when you ring her the day after your date, here are 31 more things not to do.
1. Keep her waiting for 15 minutes, during which she diligently maintains her “pretty waiting posture” (tummy in, tits out, smile) – then turn up at the exact moment when she scratches her cellulite or reaches in to pick that bit of chewing gum out of her wisdom tooth.
2. Turn up mid-way through a conversation on your mobile – and continue chatting into your phone for a further five minutes while she stands there like an invisible lemon.
3. Ask her: “d’you know anywhere round here?” and fail to contribute any venue ideas. Fail. She wanted you to ask her what kind of place or food she likes, and suggest somewhere that fits – and which has really flattering lighting.
4. Take her to a gig or a pub where there’s a band playing, then stand next to her all evening, listening to the music and ignoring her.
5. Take her to a gig or a pub where there’s a band playing, then stand next to her all evening, bellowing into her ear and expecting her to understand a word you’re saying.
6. Suggest going for a curry. Look, she feels fat enough already. If you must have food, have something light. A light dinner will also leave her feeling more lively later, if you know what I mean.
7. Let her sit down first. No! The man should always sit down first, because it gives the woman the choice to sit to his left or right – depending on which is her most attractive (or least spotty) side.
8. Say, “wow, you must have been hungry.” Congratulations, she now feels like a whale, and no longer wants to sleep with you.
9. Expect her to do all the talking. Don’t be afraid to interrupt her – it’s a sign that you’re engaged in what she’s saying. (Note: be relevant. Interrupting her “work trip to Paris” story with your World Cup prediction is, at best, tangential.)
10. Pause after she’s finished babbling. She thinks you’re laughing at her, in a “have you finished?” sort of way.
11. Answer your mobile. Especially with: “Oh yeah, no, you’re not interrupting… how are you, mate?”
12. Brag about your work. You think you’re a catch, she thinks you’re David Brent.
13. Tell jokes. Launching into “the leper said to the transvestite” might work wonders with your mates or your five-year-old nephew, but it’ll make your date think that you’re an emotionally backward nerd who didn’t have sex until he was 27. Which is particularly bad news if you’re currently 25.
14. Take her to the pictures and talk throughout the film (especially if it’s a Matt Damon film, and you feel moved to recall his “role” in Team America).
15. Hog the arm-rest. The only permitted arm-rest contact on a first date is the sexy static of forearm hair.
16. Sit with your legs wide apart. This is the least sexy thing a man can do, other than vomit milk through his nose.
17. Order her dessert for her.
18. Eye up other women, especially women who are younger, prettier and/or thinner than your date. (In your date’s eyes, this means all other women, so err on the side of caution.)
19. Tell her she’d be prettier if she smiled more. Yes, and you’d be prettier without the black eye she’s just given you.
20. Make fun of her. Saying “you don’t watch soaps, do you?” in a mildly disgusted manner is not flirtatious, it’s rude, and you won’t be getting any tonight.
21. Be rude to the barman. Or waiter, or taxi driver, or bloke at the next table, or any living creature who happens to be passing. If a waiter takes an hour to serve a cold omelette, don’t unleash an unsexy swearathon – seize the chance to show off your diplomatic skills. Stand up for yourself and your date, but do it politely.
22. Pull out her chair for her. This act crosses the line between chivalrous and patronising by several decades.
23. Ask her why she’s so stressed. She wasn’t, but she is now.
24. Compliment her looks too much. She can get that kind of comment by walking past any building site. If you want to make her feel great, deliver specific, thoughtful compliments that aren’t so obvious. Interrupt her to say that she’s got a beautiful voice, or be amazed by how much you’ve got in common. Make her feel bright and witty, and she’ll soon feel physical.
25. Burp. Especially if you follow up with a comment on how “that’ll be returning on me for days.”
26. Refuse to let her pay for anything.
27. Let her pay for everything.
28. Immediately suggest splitting the bill. To a woman, “let’s split the bill” on a first date means “I don’t fancy you.” Pay up this time, and say: “you can treat me next time.” If she likes you, she’ll be tickled by the veiled request for a second date; if she doesn’t like you, at least she’s had a free dinner.
29. Outstay your welcome. If it’s midnight and you’ve already been out for four hours, say goodbye now and leave her wanting more.
30. Kiss her with lips that feel like a giant beer-soaked face flannel.
31. Flirt all evening, then say goodbye without kissing her.