A first date might be among the most awful things that ever happened to you, or the most awesomely exciting. Usually it’s somewhere in between. Going out on a first date takes courage and daring, especially if you know nothing about the person except their name. You are, in effect, prepared to set yourself up for rejection of the most humiliating kind for the merest sliver of a chance that the person you’re about to meet will be as powerfully attracted to you as you are to them; or, alternatively, readying yourself for the possibility of disappointment, even dismay, on first clapping eyes on your prospective partner and finding their appearance and demeanour so much at variance with your dreamy imaginings that you wish the ground would swallow you up, before either of you has spoken a word.
For at this first date phase in the game of love, mutual attractiveness is everything, with its promise of delightful dalliances, clifftop walks, candlelit meals, poetically appealing outpourings about each other’s attributes, supercharged kisses and gasping claspings leading to ecstatic excesses the like of which you’d only previously dreamed about.
First Date Adjustments
The most likely possibility is that one of you will be more attracted than the other, requiring expectational adjustments if this first date is to be succeeded by another. In my experience, a woman seems more able or willing to make this adjustment than a man, with his primitive images of svelte curvaceousness and flashing-eyed flirtatiousness dashed when his date turns out to not quite fit the hoped-for template. Even if you’ve exchanged photos of each other, the shock of coming face to face for the first time can be daunting, because no photograph can represent the flesh and blood reality of a person in the full glare of daylight or the neon luminescence of a harshly lit bar. Nor can a photo show the way a person walks or talks or smiles, or any of those little ways and nuances of expression and behaviour that endear people to one another.
A first date should be about assimilating the essence of each other. Personalities show from the moment of meeting, and after two or three hours of doing whatever you decide to do in this crucially testing initial time together, each will have at least a fundamental idea of whether he is generous and kind but is a football maniac prone to alcoholism and gambling, whether she has an infectious sense of humour but hates children, has acute insomnia and is on a permanent gluten-free diet to guard against coeliac disease and dermatitis herpetiformis, even if she’s able to say it accurately after the third glass of pinot grigio.
There will be plenty of time later, should further dates follow, to assess each other in a more mundane and worldly light, such as financial and other considerations as to whether he or she owns property, has good career prospects and so on. But beware of being too hyper-critical when it comes to meeting your ideal mate. When an awkward young Dutchman came to London and took his landlady’s daughter, Eugenie Loyer, on a first date, she turned him down flat. He was the twenty-year-old Vincent van Gogh. Wretched and rejected by her and by life, he sold only one painting before killing himself, utterly broke, in a fit of madness and despair a few years later. I wonder what might have happened if Eugenie had said “Mmm, yes, I’d like to see you again, Vincent, if you feel the same way about me. Now what’s this you were telling me about wanting to be an artist…?”
Lavender Days: Love in Provence, inspired by my real-life diary, is based on the story of my most significant first date.
It’s available on Amazon Kindle, and in paperback.
Read extracts from Lavender Days HERE
Order Lavender Days in paperback from my agent’s WEBSITE
What’s your most significant first date? I’d love to hear your story below, and you’re welcome to share on my Facebook page
Related POST: Provence Love Story
More on DATING
For more details or media enquiries please contact my AGENT
Read EXTRACTS from Robin Squire’s books