Having an okay Tinder date is easy. All you need to do is smile a lot, be polite to the waiter and avoid walking nose-first into a lamppost, and nobody will be able to say your date wasn’t, to some degree, a success.
But don’t you deserve more than that? Don’t you deserve brilliant Tinder dates; evenings of such a romantic caliber that Jane Austin herself would be balling her fists in envy? Of course you do! Here’s how it’s done.
Taking it offline
So, you’ve been talking to someone on the app for a while now, and finally, you raise the question of meeting up in a non-pixelated environment. Try to arrange your date for the immediate future. Anticipation will peak immediately after arranging the date, and the further off the agreed day, the trickier it is to keep this giddiness feeling fresh.
It’s always a good idea to hold a little conversational gem in reserve for the big date, too, rather than chronicling your life story online and leaving nothing to discuss in person. Nothing too enormous, of course. A penchant for baking will do just fine.
Choosing a location
The location of your first meeting really depends on you and your date; if they’re a Buddhist vegan pacifist, chances are they won’t enjoy ringside seats at the UFC. Similarly, a stroll through an autumnal park can be very romantic – everybody looks more attractive with the glow of flushed cheeks – however people use dating apps for different reasons.
It’s entirely possible you’re both hoping for some no-strings fun from your Tinder date, and if so, a stately promenade through a Victorian botanical garden might be a bit of a vibe-killer. The most casual, catch-all setting for a date is usually a nice bar.
Speaking of which…
Drinking during your Tinder date
Has there ever been a sword as double-edged as alcohol? It helps people relax, yet it also makes them slur their words, ramble about exes, and sing their deepest secrets without a care in the world. We all know we ought to pace ourselves and opt for a small glass of red rather than a tray of tequila slammers, however, nerves can get the better of even a veteran dater.
As a rule of thumb, then, try to avoid lapping your date when getting the rounds in, and never be embarrassed to tap out and order a glass of water if you feel you’ve overdone it. Self-awareness is sexy.
Picking a place to eat
Personally, I would never eat on a Tinder date, because whenever I get within two feet of a glass of wine or steaming gravy boat I seem to develop the same gravitational pull as a black hole. If you do decide on a food-orientated date, what on earth should you eat?
Do you show off your street-smarts by taking your date to a quirky little hot dog stand down an alley? Or do you whisk them up a marble staircase to a restaurant where the portions are the size of your thumbnail and the waiters yell at you if you remove your blazer? Both extremes carry the risk of embarrassment.
Really, on a first date, you want to go for something like tapas or sushi. Light, easy to eat with elegance, not so fancy you’ll feel uncomfortable, yet enough of a treat that it’ll give the evening a little extra zest.
Keeping the conversation flowing
If you’re fretting over what to talk about during your first date, take a look at the ‘36 Questions to Fall in Love’, as reported by the New York Times. You needn’t memorize all of them, but keeping one or two logged away mentally can help keep your conversations spicy.
Note: don’t whip these out the moment you sit down. Nobody likes to be asked how they feel about their relationship with their mother before they’ve even taken their coat off. Above all, try to relax. If they’re right for you, you won’t have to act like anybody but yourself.
Making an exit
Perhaps the vibe isn’t quite right, perhaps your opinions are too polarised for it to work, or perhaps they keep doing Peter Kay ‘garlic bread!?’ impressions while you’re eating your starter. Either way, it’s always sensible to have an exit strategy.
You needn’t make up elaborate excuses or climb out of bathroom windows; a simple ‘this has been lovely but I have work early in the morning’ should suffice. Of course, if your Tinder date really goes well, you might not want the evening to end at all… but that’s a topic for another article.
Good luck out there!