First date nerves are responsible for a lot of awkward moments. But while none of us can hope to behave the right way with every man we meet, there are some very bad dating habits that it’s really a good idea to break. That is, if you ever want to see him again…
1. Have sex on the first date
Tempting maybe, if he’s gorgeous – and rest assured, he’ll be willing if you are. But how do you know enough about him to know it’s right to be intimate? And, to coin a well-worn phrase – will he still respect you in the morning? Probably not. Besides, first-date sex is a bit like a massive chocolate binge: overwhelming temptation followed later by a mixture of nausea, shame and regret. All in all, just not worth it.
2. Ask him if you look fat
Every man’s dreaded question. Bad enough if you start asking him this when he’s got to know you well and accepts and understands all your little foibles. But when you’ve just met, it makes you sound one-dimensional, self-obsessed…boring!
3. …and then on date two, if you’ve got fatter since you’ve been dating
If he’s still around at this point, then don’t be surprised if he disappears soon afterwards.
4. Refuse to eat anything when you go to a restaurant except a small salad ‘with dressing on the side’
Forget Geri, Posh, Calista and all those other stick-thin stars who feel they’re pigging out on a couple of rice cakes and a few steamed veggies. There’s nothing more unsexy to any man than a woman with food fear: the kind who pushes a teensy salad around her plate or, worse, refuses to order at all.
No-one’s expecting you to wolf down huge curries or navvy-sized portions of chips, but a woman who’s relaxed about food and dares to let herself enjoy it shows she’s firmly in touch with her sensual side, and is a catch he’ll want to hang on to.
Or think of it this way: who do you think he’d rather date – Ally McBeal or Nigella Lawson?
5. Tell him he reminds you of your dad
Whatever his views on families and whether or not he might (one day) be ready to make one, letting him know you see him as a father figure is likely to have him running screaming for the nearest exit. He wants you to see him as a sex magnet, not someone who watches Gardener’s World, favours machine washable shoes and tucks you up in bed with a mug of cocoa and a peck on the cheek.
6. Turn up without warning when he’s out with the lads
The Lads – and anything he chooses to do with them – are sacrosanct. Any invitations into their charmed circle have to be initiated by him. They’re his emotional bolthole and any attempts by you to invade it will be met with either terror, fury or outright rejection. However much you’re itching to know what they’re like, resist any temptation to seek them out. It’ll happen all in good time – and then you’ll probably wish it hadn’t…
7. When you stay over, ask if he can clear you some space in a drawer ‘just for a few things’
It may be just a few things to you. To him, it’s moving in. Even if you’ve been dating for a while, it’s best to stick to the ‘your stuff, my stuff’ rule until either you’ve discussed taking things further, or he comes out and says it’s ok for you to leave things there. Staking your territorial claim on him when you’ve only just started dating is bound to make him feel suspicious of your motives, or even worse, trapped.
8. Talk in a cute baby voice – all the time
There’s only been one woman in history capable of getting away with this. And even Marilyn Monroe can’t have spoken like that ALL the time. Making yourself sound five years old may, possibly, make him come over all protective and find you unbearably cute. On the other hand, he may start craving the ministrations of a Mariella Frostrup soundalike. You have been warned…
9. Always say ‘whatever you want’ when he asks what you’d like to do
Ok, maybe sometimes he acts like a caveman, but gone are the days when men wanted their women compliant at all times. Nothing is more irritating than a date who never has an opinion or a preference: you might as well have had your personality surgically removed. Asking for what you want, even if he doesn’t agree, will hold his interest far longer than any ‘yes’ woman.
10. Ring his Mum and introduce yourself
No, no, NO! His mum will be delighted if you do this, which should be enough of a warning sign in itself. Just as with his mates, you’re stepping on hallowed ground if you venture here, as most men are reluctant to introduce any date, however serious, for Mum’s inspection. Some are even uncomfortable about introducing their partner to mother when they know she’s The One. It must be something to do with that deep-seated male fear of being outnumbered by women; whatever it is, you’re guaranteed glacial treatment if you make friends with her without his encouragement.
•For these and other ultimate dating Don’ts, read: ‘How to Lose a Guy in 10 Days’ by Michele Alexander and Jeannie Long (Robson Books, £4.99)
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