Jamie Shupak is the Emmy-nominated traffic reporter for NY1, the Big Apple cable network that’s the end-all and be-all on all things Gotham for New Yorkers. She’s also a beautiful, single woman navigating New York’s treacherous (and hilarious!) dating scene. In her weekly column she shares her war stories and offers her advice and admonitions.
So you followed my 4 simple steps to acing the intro email, and you've set up the first date. Great. Maybe you've even gone back and forth a few times over email or text since then. Even better. Now it's game time. All the anticipation, the excitement, the wondering...jeez stop sweating will you? Relax, it's time for the first date. Wait, you did GTL first, right? Just checking.
Prepare Like You Would for a Rainy Morning Commute...
I know you're going to bring your "A" game. I know you know not to mention marriage, kids or where you want to be in 5 years. Would you tell someone on the crosstown bus that you dream of a house in Jersey with three little ones someday? Nope. Then don't tell me the first time you meet me either.
I don't care how desperate you are to wife up—and I know some dudes who carry a diamond ring around in their back pocket—spare me the lame-ocity of your wannabe future until at least the second date. At least. So that's the obvious stuff (I hope). Here are 3 other First Date Don’ts. As I tell NY1 viewers on a rainy day, you need the wipers, the headlights, the whole 9 yards—you'll need to be prepared for all the elements. And trust me, this is no different.
1. BE LATE
I don't know about you, but I equate being late with being rude. My friends and family know I have never been late a day in my life. When you're late to meet me, you're basically telling me your time is more important than mine. Or worse, you're too wrapped up in your own world to take the 5 seconds it would require to figure out how to get there on time.
I was meeting a guy for first date drinks once at 7 o'clock. At 7:01, this conversation occurred over text (copy and pasted straight from my iPhone):
Forget the fact that he's telling a traffic reporter he should've taken the subway. My 4-year-old nephew could've told him that much. You were hoping I'd be drunk already? Really? I was raised by humans, not animals, so I was politely waiting for you to get here before I started slugging down martinis. We actually wound up having a fun night, but it didn't matter.
If you're late to a first date (for the record: he showed up at 7:25), you're always going to be late. For me, that equals a deal breaker. My older brother has never worn a watch in his life because, as he likes to say, cool people don't need to know what time it is. Well if I can make an addendum Lonnie, let me just say, It ain't cool to be late. So to all the single dudes out there, get a watch, chump.
2. CHECK YOUR PHONE...AND THEN USE IT
I used to be with a guy who had not one, but two phones. They were basically my third and fourth roommates, dinner dates, and general managers of my life. And not ones I was particularly fond of. Look, I get it; you have a lot going on. We all do. But for the few hours we're together—and it's not like it's a surprise we're meeting up (you did schedule this after all)—put your phone away.
I went on a first date with a guy once and granted, it's part of his job to report current events, but imagine my surprise at the end of the night when I checked my Twitter feed, to find out he had tweeted while we were out. Confused, I asked him about it and he admitted to tweeting from the bathroom. Really? On subsequent dates he tweeted while sitting face to face with me on bar stools, and at the dinner table between the charred octopus and blackened tuna. Now I love Twitter as much as the next guy but this brings up an invaluable rule: DT&D - Don't Tweet and Date. (That goes for texting, emailing, or updating your Facebook status, too.)
3. TALK ABOUT YOUR PAST...OR ASK ABOUT MINE
I am not ashamed or shy about my past, but a first date is neither the time nor place to get into it. I'll happily tell you every gory detail, but I'd rather it come out naturally when it’s to better understand how it shaped the person I am now, as opposed to on a first date when it feels like you're just trying to measure me up.
True story: I was out with a guy on a first date at a sports bar (Spoiler no. 1: watching my Eagles win that night was the only positive thing I reported to my mom the next day) and he dug and dug like he was trying to find China until he found out that my ex and I had a dog together.
Him: "Oh, so you like dogs? You'll love this story." (Spoiler no. 2: I didn't, and neither will you.) "I once dated this girl who had a Chihuahua and every time we would make out the dog would jump off the bed and bark until we stopped. We obviously couldn't continue like this, so I figured out how to train the dog. And it was the funniest thing, it worked—every time after that the dog would grab its toy, and take it to play on his bed until we were done hooking up."
Umm...check please? To be fair, I did laugh when he told me this story, but I wasn't laughing with him. Though I respect the fervor with which he trained this poor animal, I'm pretty sure a first date is a time to put your best self forward. If this is his national anthem, I don’t even want to stay for the coin toss.
Lesson learned: Be on time, leave your phone in your pocket, and save the old war stories for when I actually know you and we can laugh about them together.
Next week: Jamie shares 5 sure ways to land a second date.