Sometimes going on a date can feel like gearing up for battle. It takes preparation. Things can go south with one wrong move, or at least it feels that way. There’s a million and one first date rules that many of us have been told to remember and though many of the classics, like showing up on time or saying your pleases and thank you’s, still ring true there are a lot of rules that are just plain outdated. So how do you know what rules to pay attention to and what to throw out the window?
Here are nine first date rules you don’t need to pay attention to anymore:
Rule #1: Don’t talk about your ex.
Yes, on a first date, you probably shouldn’t spend the whole time talking about your ex and you definitely shouldn’t be comparing your ex to your date. But there are certain instances where it would actually be a bit unfair for your date to not know about your ex. Say you were in a long term, very committed relationship and you just broke up. Your date should probably know that you’re just getting back out there. That doesn’t mean you talk all about the breakup or tell story after story about the two of your together, but if it comes up be honest. If you have something relevant to say about your ex, go ahead and say it. Just don’t go crazy.
Rule #2: Don’t talk about politics.
If you’re passionate about politics, why can’t you talk about it? The old dating rules say because it’s not polite. Politics has long been considered a taboo topic, but if you’re a hardcore member of one political party, maybe you should know if your potential partner is a staunch member of the other one. Maybe you just can’t see yourself dating someone whose political ideas don’t align with yours. That’s fine. Or maybe you’ll be happy to have someone to debate with. Either way, you’re better off knowing.
Rule #3: Don’t talk about religion.
If religion is a big part of your life, you should never feel like you have to hide that, regardless of what your religion is. Maybe your date feels the same way and will be happy to have a potential partner to share their religion with. Just like with politics, it’s just better to know.
Rule #4: The man should pay.
Look, this isn’t the 1950s. Women and men are out there in the world working side by side. The whole pay debate is ridiculous—if a woman doesn’t offer to pay, she’s cheap. But if she insists on paying, she’s threatening his masculinity. On the other side of the coin, if a man doesn’t insist on paying, he’s cheap. This rule has way too many layers that fall back on way too many gender stereotypes.
Here’s how to make the pay debate end and also make plans for a second date. Two birds, one stone. Offer to pay and follow it up by saying, “You get the next one?” It’s a quick way to stop talking about money and start talking about your next date.
Rule #5: Wait three days before texting or calling.
You have a smartphone. Your date probably has a smartphone. In today’s day and age, waiting three days before getting in contact is a little silly. Especially considering it only takes 3.5 seconds to text, “Hey, had a great time tonight, hope I can see you again soon!”
Rule #6: Wait for him to call you.
Again, texting is great because it doesn’t take nearly as long as calling. And dating is all about finding a partnership and partnerships should be equal. So, as a woman, if you want to text (or call if you’re more comfortable with that), then more power to you. Go for it!
Rule #7: Don’t kiss on a first date.
If you’re feeling pressured, definitely don’t kiss. But if you’re feeling it, who says you have to wait? We treat kissing like it’s so taboo, but it’s an intimate, beautiful act. If you’re feeling intimacy with your partner, why deny that feeling?
Rule #8: The third date means sex.
Who decided this? I really want to know why people arbitrarily picked out the number three for the date that you’re supposed to have sex on. Look, if you want to have sex on the first date, that’s up to you. And if you want to have sex on the fifteenth date or the fiftieth, that’s up to you too. Your sex life should not be dictated by a ridiculous rule.
Rule #9: Dress up.
Remember, you’re not going on a job interview. You’re going on a date. So there’s no need to be super formal, unless your date gives you a heads up that you’re going somewhere that calls for it. Dress in a way that makes you feel most comfortable and fits the occasion. If you’re more comfortable in jeans and a t-shirt and you’re going out for ice cream, don’t feel like you have to wear a short dress just to please your date. The same thing goes if you’re a guy. Though it’s good to be clean and wrinkle free to show your date that you care enough to put in some effort, don’t feel like you have to wear a collared shirt if it’s just not you.
Dating is a pretty subjective thing. Some rules work for some people; others, not so much. Find what’s right for you, but always remember, don’t let any so-called rules try to change who you are. Your date wants to meet the real you!