I have some news for you, my darling lesbians: We all need to be going on more goddamn dates. The internet has rendered us a mass of disconnected, sad creatures who spend far too many Saturday nights alone, cuddling up to our depressing little smartphones rather than real life girlfriends.
I have bad news. Texting your friends whilst melting into the couch does not count as hanging out. Messaging all night long with a girl you matched with on the Her app, does not count as a date. Coyishly commenting on your crush’s social media posts is not (insert wildly unpopular opinion here) flirting. If it is flirting, it’s a cheap, watered-down version of flirting that will not sustain your heart or libido, in the long haul.
Look, I get it. You have social anxiety. I have it too! Who isn’t teeming with paralyzing anxiety in this mixed-up day and age? Blame social media, blame the patriarchy, call it a side-effect of your new medication—the root of your darkness is irrelevant to this article. But hiding out in your studio apartment drinking red wine in solitude isn’t helping. It’s actually increasing your social anxiety because reclusion begets reclusion, babe.
So staying indoors and staunchly refusing to date in real life is not healthy for a hot, single lesbian like yourself. You need to be out in the beautiful world, clinking champagne glasses, devouring overpriced seafood platters, and passionately making out in the back of dimly lit West Village bars.
OK, so the last time you went on a date, you made a total ass of yourself. Who hasn’t made an ass of themselves on a date? I’ve honestly humiliated myself so many times on a first date that I actually came up with a five-step preventative plan!
1. Eat beforehand.
Maybe you’re rushing from your stressful day at work, and your job is hyper-intense so you didn’t have time to eat. Maybe you have issues surrounding food and wanted to “diet” (and by “diet,” I mean starve) before your date. Maybe you ate only lettuce for whatever reason, today. Maybe you’re one of those people who loses their appetite before a date.
I see you. I feel you. I am you. I validate you, your demons and your existence.
Here’s the tea: Eat. GO Managing editor Dayna Troisi recommends slamming down a piece of salmon before any sort of partying, and I fully agree with her. Salmon is rich in Omega-3s, teeming with healthy fats both of which make for a sharper brain. It’s imperative that you’re cognitive during a first date, you know? Also all those B vitamins in salmon? They relieve stress. And I know that you’re stressed, little sister.
2. No, really, eat dinner.
I’m sorry to have to say this twice, but I can’t tell you the number of times I’ve gone on a date with an empty stomach, guzzled back the wine to ease my nerves, which has then lead to me revealing WAY TOO MUCH for a first date (which never is quite as cute in real life as it is in the movies). Or I’ve convinced myself that I was super interested my date when I’m, like, not interested at all, but the booze played tricks with my soggy brain. Being hungry leads to White Wine Goggles, so to speak. A golden champagne personality filter, if you know what I mean. Vodka dysmorphia, if you catch my drift. Whatever!
Bottom line: If you don’t want to slur drunken “I love youuuus” on a first date, and if you want to prevent those horrendous morning shame shudders, eat a proper goddamn dinner you meet up with her, OK?
Even if you’re going out for dinner. It never, ever, EVER hurts to double up on dinner. But it always hurts to double down on dinner.
Take it from an ashamed dyke who bears a master’s degree in first date f*ck ups. From Yale.
3. Shake off the workday.
If your job is mega stressful and manic, do not, I repeat DO NOT bring that frenzied energy into your date. There is nothing more wildly unsexy than office energy on a date.
If your job is bugging you out (and if you live in New York City, I’m certain that it is), you need to do a little shake off before you meet up with your date. Don’t schedule your date directly after work—you won’t be able to help but drag that rushed, corporate energy into the scene.
Do yourself a sweet favor. Schedule your date two hours after work. Go home if you can. Have a soothing cup of hot tea (hot cacao with reishi by foursigmatic is my favorite anxiety natural calming tea, use my discount code: AnxieTEA for 10 percent off).
Hop in the shower. Scrub the stress away with a loofah. Dry skin brush. Blast music that makes you feel like a hot, cocky dyke with swag. Transition from your role as workin’ lesbian to sexy lesbian. For we all have both a business rockstar and a love rockstar living inside of us. The love rocker just needs to be pulled out of us from time to time.
4. Leave your issues at the goddamn door.
So do you have ~trust~ issues? Do you have ~ex~ issues? Do you have ~dating~ issues? Do you have more issues than f*cking Vogue? Join the club, bitches. We’re screwed up over here.
However, you need to leave them at the door, outside of the bar, you hear? Don’t worry they’ll still be there when you get back. Trust me. No one wants to steal your traumatic memories. We’re all busy trying to burn our own.
What I mean is, saunter into a first date with a fresh set of eyes, babe. Do not bestow this innocent stranger who is taking time out of her precious schedule to go out with you, with bullshit from your past. It’s simply not fair to her. She didn’t anything wrong. All she did was swipe for you on Tinder and think you’re cute and smart enough for a date.
Also, don’t project a fantasy onto her. Don’t decide you “really like” her before you even meet in real life. Don’t be coy and untrusting because you’ve been hurt in your life. First Date = Clean Slate. If you can’t wipe that chalkboard clean, you’re not ready to date. Get some therapy first. I don’t say this out of judgment, I say it out of love. I don’t want you to sabotage a potentially good thing because you’re still so deeply haunted by the ghosts of your past that you can’t help but create a false narrative about a person you don’t know yet.
5. Wear something that makes you feel like you.
Lastly, a first date is not the time to try a new style (unless you’re a natural fashion risk-taker). If you don’t wear red lipstick usually and aren’t sure how you feel about it, don’t workshop a red lip on a first date. It’s not the time or place. You’ll be so worried that you look like a jackass that you won’t be able to focus on the other person. And rule number one in being a master dater is this: Your focus should always be on the other person. Never on yourself. So dress in a way that’s authentic to who you are, don’t feel hungry, leave your baggage at terminal dysfunction, and make it all about her. Getting out of your own head—and asking another human being questions about themselves—is the most freeing thing you can ever do.