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Thursday, April 12, 2007

Online Dating - The First Meeting

Notice I did not say the "first date." At this point, the two of you are still complete strangers. Sure, you have exchanged a couple of emails (hopefully not more than that) and have spoken on the phone once, but none of it means anything until you actually meet face-to-face.

The purpose of this initial meeting is to determine whether there is any physical attraction and/or chemistry between the two of you. That being the case, you want to create as low pressure an environment as possible. Make sure you meet in a public place and you each get there on your own. Also, keep it inexpensive and low-key. I like to meet initially for coffee or drinks. This way if the chemistry is not there, you can duck out with minimal time spent. Also, an inexpensive meeting like this will help you weed out the professional daters and gold-diggers that are just out for free food and entertainment at your expense. Leave those women for the chode who can't wait to show off his new BMW or brag about his job as an investment banker.

The following are some good ideas and basics for the first time you are going to be meeting someone. Whether you met this person online or through the infamous ‘blind date,’ this type of first meeting has somewhat of a different dynamic than your traditional 'first date' (which you shouldn't be doing either, but I'll save that for another column).

Obviously, the first thing you need to do is set up the date. If you have done everything right up until this point, this should be easy. Just call her up and ask her out. But before you call, make sure you have a specific date, time and place in mind. Be decisive. "Let’s grab drinks Thursday night. How’s 8:00? Great! Meet me at XXX CafĂ© 49th and 5th." Then GET OFF THE PHONE. Save the conversation for when you meet.

Things to keep in mind for the first meeting:

  • You MUST have the mindset that you are the prize. You are meeting her to see if she lives up to YOUR expectations. NOT the other way around. These subtle things make a world of difference.
  • If she is late, DO NOT wait more than 15 minutes for her. If she does not show up or call you within 15 minutes, LEAVE and throw her number away. Also, have something to do until she arrives, and make her find you when she gets there.

I attribute a lot of my first-meeting successes to the prep work I did beforehand. Make sure you have these bases covered:

  • Shine your shoes. It is one of the first things women notice.
  • Remember - belt matches your shoes and socks match your pants.
  • As for cologne, a good rule of thumb is that if Walgreens sells your favorite scent in a two-liter bottle, it’s time to find something else. Go to Sephora and ask women what they like - also a good conversation opener!
  • Have gum/mints on you. And keep it in a place it can be discreetly accessed.
  • Before you meet, re-read her online profile and the emails you have exchanged. Try and come up with some specific questions about her. Also, try to come up with default topics to talk about in case there are some awkward pauses in the conversation (relationship dysfunction, celebrity gossip - **Tip** read US Weekly for good stuff to talk about).

Here are some tips for setting up the first meeting:

  • No weekends. She needs to think you have a life of your own and are out doing your own thing on Saturday and Sunday. Make the first meeting on a Mon-Thurs.
  • Try to get there a few minutes early. This way you can make sure you get a good table and also find out whether the place itself is going to be a distraction (too noisy, crowded, rude waitstaff, etc). **TIP** - Try and go to a place that has tables which let you sit side-by-side as opposed to across from each other.
  • Have at least 2-3 backup places in mind nearby in case you have to change venue at the last minute due to unforeseen circumstances.
  • Also, have a few things in mind to do afterwards if things are going well. Try to make them interactive (i.e. bowling, pool, Megatouch in a bar, foosball, rollerskating, etc.).

And finally, some suggestions for the meeting itself:

  • Keep the conversation light and funny. No heavy topics, no complaints, no insults.
  • Topics to avoid at all costs - Physical ailments, rape or violence, Star Trek, anything self-deprecating, anything overtly sexual, your arrest record, Dungeons and Dragons, ex-girlfriends, that time that you got drunk and wet yourself, religion, politics, marriage, children.
  • However, feel free to tease her a little. Disagree with her once or twice. Once she says something you disagree with, give her that "You are messing up your chances with me" look. Another line I like to use is "and you were doing SO well..." I also like to use my hand and signal that she just went down a notch.
  • Stare at her face, NOT at her chest.
  • Do not lean into her. Lean back and make her come towards you. Also, do not face her directly when talking. Have her turn her body towards you.
  • Always pay for the first meeting. While you should never take her up on her feeble "how much do I owe you" routine, DO take notice if she fails to offer. And for god sakes, DON’T USE A COUPON.
  • No more than ONE compliment on the first meeting. And try to be more creative than, "You’re so hot."
  • DO NOT make plans for another date while out on this one. Leave her wondering. The key word here is CHALLENGE.
  • Be sure you are the one who ends the date first. Try to end it on a high note - leave her wanting more!

At the end of the date, take some quick notes on what worked and what didn't. Do not worry about making mistakes - it is part of the learning process. Remember, each date is practice for the next one!

Happy Dating!

Alexander Stone & Stephen David
Copyright 2007 - ApproachDynamics/Online Dating Edge


Anonymous said...

I diagree. Experience has taught me you DO NOT want to show up early before her. You want her to show up first. There's multiple reasons for this...

-If she flakes on you or is late you sit there like an idiot wasting time out of your day. Instead, call her around the meet up time and ask her how far away she is, that way you will know whether she's going to show up and when. If she says she's already there or close, then you can say "Cool, I'll be there in 10, grab us a table." If she totally forgot about your meet up or gives you an excuse that she can't meet up, then you can say, "Oh thank god, I'm down in (location) and totally forgot we were supposed to meet up. We'll make it happen another time, have a good day, bye."

-Letting her get there first sub-communicates that YOU are the prize, and you're a super busy guy with a full life.

-Letting her get there first and wait for you a few minutes works HUGELY toward your advantage. By nature it's uncomfortable being alone in a social's good to let her feel this so when you show up she'll be that much more thrilled to see you. Now those feelings will be anchored, so if you leave to go to the bathroom those feelings will return and she will feel uncomfortable without you around.

A Man said...

A good date also involves taking her to another location if you two hit it off.

This ensures you're not just a quick meet in a restaurant, but that yuo've been to more than one place together. It shows you can lead her, can make things fun and interesting, and gives sets you apart from other guys.

I think the biggest guideline to being a cool guy women want is: don't fail at things you try, and don't put a lot of effort into trying things you don't really want. And to a woman, the kind of man she wants for the long term is secure, has a good sense of self, and tries for the right things at the right time. Making moves too early is therefore a turnoff. Knowing how to escalate and when it is not too early is key.

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connie s said...

You men are so flaky, the answer is who ever gets there first gets there first... just go with thw flow, don't act like player experts when your not.