What She’s Thinking on the First Date by @SevenDatesaWeek

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I’ve been single and dating for over ten years, and I still find myself sitting across from my every first date asking myself, “What is he thinking right this minute?”  Guys:  if you wonder that too – and how could you not? – let me clue you in.

The First Impression

When you first walk in the door of the place we’ve agreed to meet, I’m watching to see the look on your face when you see me.  I’m looking for a smile.  If it’s an awkward smile, that’s fine – in fact, I’ll think it’s charming and perfectly normal that you’re a bit nervous.  I’m probably relieved, because I’m a bit nervous, too.  If you’re too awkward or too nervous to smile – try and relax!  At this point, there’s still nothing to lose.

At this point, there’s nothing to lose.

After I catch your eye and smile back, I’ll admit I’m looking at your clothes.  But I’m less interested in brand names and matching than I am in whether or not you’re somewhat pulled together and appropriate for the venue.  When you sit across from me, I’m still pretty much completely open-minded.  Any potential red flags that have been noted at first can easily be dispelled by getting to know each other better.  That is, until you open your mouth.

The Conversation

As we start to talk, I have the same goal you do:  to impress you with my dazzling wit and intelligent (but safe!) chit chat.  You and I are both doing the dance of saying enough to intrigue but not enough to offend, and no matter how much we practice, either one of us might make a slip.  If that happens and something comes out wrong, I’m hoping you’ll handle it with grace by acknowledging, apologizing and immediately moving on.  That showcases your maturity and your social graces – both major bonus points.  Hey, who knew mistakes on a first date could actually be helpful?

Mistakes on a first date could actually be helpful!

When it comes to topics, I’m going to tell you something that defies basic dating “rules”.  I’m going to tell you it’s okay to mention politics or religion or other well-known “hot button” issues.  Why is that okay?  Because we’re all aware that opinions vary widely on these issues, and we’re all aware that we might not share an opinion with our date.  If these issues are dealbreakers for you, why not get a feel for how you mesh?  I don’t recommend putting all your cards on the table, by any means, but completely avoiding topics that are important to you just doesn’t make sense.  Nothing will impress me more than your ability and willingness to amicably discuss something we don’t agree on, without dwelling on our differences of opinion.

The Last Impression

When it comes time to end an encounter, I’m waiting for you to be smart about things.  I’ll offer to pay half the tab for our dinner or drinks, and you might respond by offering to pay the whole thing.  If by chance I argue with you, let me win.  Who spends what doesn’t really matter at all, and if I insist, then I have a reason.  You don’t have to know what that reason is to respect my preference.  I’ll be impressed if you insist on picking up the tab, but I’ll be more impressed if you let me.  Once we have the check taken care of, we’ll get ready to leave.  You don’t need to help me on with my coat or even hold a door – but let me tell you that it never fails to please me and has never once offended me.

Who spends what doesn’t really matter at all.

As we’re saying goodbye, I’m at my most watchful of the whole evening.  This is the critical moment for both of us.  We want to leave a good taste in our date’s mouth, and we want to pave the way for future interactions, if we’re interested, or to neatly close the book on each other if we’re not.  If you shake my hand, I’ll immediately assume that any future relationship we have will be completely platonic.  Maybe you want to be friends, or even professional contacts, but you’re not interested in a second date.  I’ll assume the same if we part company without touching at all.  On the other hand, if you walk me to my parking space or my taxi, then I know you’re interested in date number 2.  If you hug me, I’m happy, but I’m hoping for a kiss.  And if/when you do kiss me, it’s most likely that all I’m thinking about is how to make sure it happens again next time.  That’s right, next time.  Because if I’m enjoying that kiss … yes, I am absolutely telling myself not to sleep with you on the first date.

So there you have it:  a complete play-by-play of what’s going through my mind on our date.  See, that wasn’t so bad after all.



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Single gal up to her nips in the dating pool. Bisexual, polyamorous, clever and confident. Meeting people and looking for the real deal.


  • April 6, 2012

    Harry Key

    I love the point about deal-breaker conversation. I can’t conceive of wasting a first date with someone who might be a closet evangelist. I get that stuff out of the way first!

  • April 7, 2012


    I’m surprised to hear you say “you are hoping for a kiss”. I’m assuming only you like the guy you mean right? I mean I have been on some dates where he better not even think of kissing me! Also, I am less interested in kissing a guy in a parking lot during the day than at night. Maybe that’s just me

    • April 9, 2012

      Seven Dates a Week

      @Greta – If someone’s made it through my initial screening process to get as far as an in-person date, then yes, I am looking for a kiss. If I wouldn’t kiss somebody, I wouldn’t go out with him or her in the first place!

  • April 7, 2012


    I would say that the end of the evening for me is not when I am at full alert. For me I think by that point I know if it’s going somewhere, if I’ve enjoyed it, if I want to see someone again…etc

    Some very well made points in this post.

  • April 7, 2012

    Dating Blind

    I agree with Harry. “Experts” say to leave religion and politics out of a first date’s dialog. I say that’s BS. We’re always trying too hard to make the other person like us, and so we hid little truths about who we really are. This is a set up for failure. Talk about religion, talk about sex, talk about politics and how much of a joke government is…oops sorry.

    • April 10, 2012

      Artful Dater

      @Dating Blind– I agree about talking openly about “taboo” topics on a first date.. why not? Cut through the niceties and lets have a real chat. But, my advice to men is.. if we’re gonna talk about sex PLEASE do not brag about your conquests. I once went on a first date with a guy who somehow found a way to talk about how he had a threesome that previous summer. Um, am I supposed to be impressed?

      @Seven Dates a Week– love the article… especially the part about looking for a smile when you first meet. Always a welcome sign that sets a great tone for the evening.