Youâ€™re finally going to take that leap of faith and meet. After four weeks of e-mails, instant messages and more texts than you can count, you and your online beau (youâ€™re still not comfortable technically referring to him as your boyfriend) have decided itâ€™s time to take your online relationship to the next level and have a face-to-face meeting. In other words, a date that doesnâ€™t include you dressed in your ratty sweatpants, hair tied in a bun sitting at your computer, typing your conversations and expressing your feelings through emoticons.
While youâ€™re excited to finally make that face to face leap, youâ€™re feeling a little anxious, too. Sure youâ€™ve seen pictures of this guy, but thereâ€™s no telling whether theyâ€™ve been photo-shopped, were taken five years ago or if theyâ€™re really pics of his hot cousin Mike.
Well donâ€™t panic just yet! Match.com relationship insider Whitney Casey offers a few tips and tricks to make your first face-to-face with your online babe as seamless as possible. Who knows, you may even have a good time!
Best places to plan a first date
According to Casey if you are a guy â€“ anywhere she feels comfortable. If you are a girl â€“ anywhere where you feel comfortable and people know you.
â€œI love places that have games and things to do or see in themâ€“ they make for great conversation starters,â€ says Casey. â€œFirst dates can be tough on the conversation sideâ€“ and when you go to places that are stiff and quiet it just makes it harder to keep the conversation going. â€
Places like put-put golf, pool, bingo, live music, shuffle board, video games, air hockey, and art museums are preferable. But donâ€™t go places where you canâ€™t talk at all â€” like a movie, play or loud music place because that kind of defeats the purpose!
Best first date outfits
Casey advises having three pre-selected outfits always at the ready (get your friends to help pick the three): One dressy go-to dinner type outfit, one more casual dinner-date type outfit and one playful-action ready type outfit. But most importantly? Keep it simple.
â€œDonâ€™t try to express your personality in your clothes too much on the first date,â€ says Casey. â€œLet your personality do the talking not your clothes. Pick something that shows off the body part men love the most, the dÃ©colletage. This is the area where your neck meets your shoulders â€“ not your cleavage!â€
Too much too soon wonâ€™t leave them with anything to dream about whereas your dÃ©colletage â€œleadsâ€ to somethingâ€¦ and guys love this!
Keeping your expectations in check
Expectations are just early disappointments, so do your best not to have them! You may not be attracted right away, notes Casey, but you may find that this person (especially if matched with your compatibilities and sensibilities online) may be someone you can really be attracted to because you have strong similarities in terms of your likes, dislikes, goals and hobbies
â€œIf it isnâ€™t love you can always find camaraderie and who knows if they share your likes they may also have friends that you likeâ€¦ wink wink!â€ says Casey.
First date etiquette when it comes to getting physical
Too much too soon will always be a letdown. Some say wait 90 days for the â€œcookieâ€ but I say you have to feel it out (not literally) based on what makes you comfortable.
â€œMen always want the â€˜cookieâ€™ so it isnâ€™t like they are going to wait it out â€” they will dunk that Oreo right on the first date if given easy access to your cookie jar. So give it SOME time until it is right for you, â€œsays Casey. â€œJust know this: Men almost always want the cookie right away. Put them on a diet, not starvation, rather somewhere between gluttony and guilt-free.â€
Keeping the conversation flowing
Be a cheater! Not a real one but make a cheat sheet of great conversation topics like â€œwhatâ€™s been your favorite meal ever where were you and why when you ate it? What did you do for your 16th birthday? What was your dream job growing up? What did you do for your 21st birthday? If you could go anywhere tomorrow where would you go? Or brush up on some current events before going out, notes Casey who suggests checking out the daily beast.com or the week.com.
Five must-do non-negotiables
According to Casey if you keep these five things in mind- whether or not the attraction is there- youâ€™ll have a great face to face first date.
1. Feel confident in what you are wearing; pick a go to outfit that has been friend approved prior to your date.
2. Have a cheat sheet of questions or topics you can talk about.
3. Have a great place in mind that you feel comfortable going to or that has fun things to do to keep the conversation flowing.
4. Know and pre-determine your physical boundaries.
5. Meet your date at the location (never have him pick you up for the first, or even the second, date) and always tell someone who you are going out with and where you will be going for the first date.
Smile a lot, have fun and remember that even though he may not be The One, sitting at home isnâ€™t going to find you your dream man.