It’s Friday night and you turned down White Castle with the boys to spend time with your girl. Wise choice. Fate has a lot to do with two people coming together, chemistry has everything to do with them staying together, but being prepared is something you control. The following is a must-have checklist for every guy out there to make sure this date goes perfectly:
- Cash. Yep, money…scratch…dough…whatever you call it. Make sure you have some no matter where you end up for the night. The last thing you want is for the two of you to be stranded at Medieval Times unable to pay for your Renaissance Chicken. Plan ahead, stash some cash, and show her you’re the responsible kinda guy who likes to pay for things. And while we’re at it, always offer to pay first. Women and men may make the same wage at the Dairy Queen, but Dating Rules still apply. Be a gentleman.
- A Plan. Know where you’re going, how you are getting there, and what to expect. Instead of spending the night driving in circles, looking for that '80s-themed party you were both invited to, figure out the route ahead of time. Why waste a perfectly good opportunity to rock a Def Leppard t-shirt with acid-wash jeans? Your date will trust and appreciate that you have a handle on things.
- A Playlist. Load up that iPod with the sort of tunes you can both appreciate. Maybe you two bonded over music. Music can set the tone of the night. A solid playlist with nothing too over-the-top is a great way to calm the nerves between the two of you. Instead of bombarding her with the stuff only you like, try finding some middle-ground. You like rock. She likes pop. Try fusing the two and impressing her with your skills to find the right music.
- Good clothes. Look, we’re not saying you need to throw on a thousand-dollar suit from Armani, but the least you can do is make an effort. Define yourself by wearing the clothes that make you look good. Ignore the WWE sweatpants and the polka-dotted button-down that has BBQ sauce stains. This is a date, not a Prove-How-Psycho-You-Can-Look contest.
- Grooming. Much like the last entry, it’s good to make an effort. No need to go overboard with an allergy-attack-inducing AXE body spray, but shower up and comb your hair. Your date wants a guy, not a farm animal. Swipe that deodorant like a champ and take comfort in knowing you don’t smell like a baby goat. Speaking of which…
- Breathmints/Gum. Y’never know when the perfect moment will rise for a kiss. Load up the arsenal with gum, mints, or those weird little sheets of peppermint that feel like a little ghost in your mouth. (On a side note: avoid the restaurant that makes everything with garlic and onions just to be safe. You don’t want the kinda breath that can peel paint off cars.)
- Original compliments. Speak from the heart, Slugger, and she’ll appreciate you noticing. That means no quotes from movies (even though you secretly LOVED Twilight), no lyrics from songs (they're better said when Bruno Mars sings them, anyway), and no Shakespeare (thou art maketh things awkward when thou speaketh like this). Give her the attention she deserves with your own personality. It’s the reason she agreed to go out with you in the first place.
- Confidence. It’s OK to be a little nervous on a date. There’s always that lingering feeling of “Are we the next Will & Jada or the next Kim & Kris?” There’s honestly no way to tell. You need to charge in there like Elvis charged in to Madison Square Garden and comfortably show her a good time. Forget about outcomes. Enjoy what’s in front of you: A cool girl, a night out, and endless possibilities. You can do it. You know you can.
- An Escape Plan. Uh-huh. As important as it is to enjoy your night, sometimes things don’t go according to plan. She may turn out to be a secret-spy for a cult that’s recruiting new members to build a spaceship to the planet Blurp. In that case, have a way out. Maybe you need to be up early tomorrow, maybe you have to go pick up your little sister from Girl Scouts, maybe one of your boys is losing his mind at White Castle, maybe your dog is on fire, maybe you feel the Brazilian flu coming on. Pick one. Stick with it. And get OUT.