Relationships 101:
How to Have a Good First Date

by Bonnie Burton

You've finally gotten up the nerve to ask that quirky, yet handsome, guy in homeroom out on a date and he actually said yes. And now you're starting to panic about your upcoming evening.

Should you go the traditional route of a dinner and a movie, or do something a little bizarre like head for the circus? Since you asked him, do you pay for the whole date or half? Is it OK to hold his hand during the movie or will that freak him out?

Here are a few pointers on how to relax and enjoy your date, instead of wonder if he's going to kiss you even though those circus clowns scared him.

This isn't the Oscars.
Just because this is your first date with the guy doesn't mean you have to plan the event of the century. So there's no need to get all dolled up in evening dress yet. Play it by ear and dress for the occasion. In other words, if you're going miniature golfing, don't wear chunky heels.

Plenty of time.
Having an action-packed, fun-filled night is great. Just refrain from trying to fit a lifetime's worth of activities into one date. You don't want to wear the guy out by going to dinner, a movie, miniature golf, a poetry reading, and then all-night espressos. Pick one really fun thing to do such as horseback riding or going to an outdoor concert. Seizing the day is admirable, running your date ragged isn't.

Be honest.
Just because he likes hockey and you don't, doesn't mean you should go to a game to impress him. It's never a great idea to change who you are in order to land the lad of your dreams. Be yourself, not whoever you think he wants you to be. Who knows, you might find out that you both really like going to comic book conventions?

Turn the dial to low-fi.
Don't let your expectations climb to the Cinderella realm. He's just a guy you asked out on a date. If you start thinking of him as Mr. Prince Charming and he ends up belching while you're spending a romantic dinner together at the Taco Hut, you're just going to be disappointed.

Cough up the cash.
Women's lib is a great thing. But if you're going to ask a fella on a date, don't expect him to pay just because that's how dates have been financed for hundreds of years. Whoever does the asking does the paying. But if he insists on chipping in, go Dutch (split it).

Think about you.
Take a deep breath. This is a date, not brain surgery. So have some fun. Go to a place you feel like you can be yourself the easiest without any distractions that might make you uncomfortable. If you can't sing a note and you don't want the boy to hear you sing "Rhinestone Cowboy" in front of a bunch of strangers, don't go to the karaoke pizza joint.

Sweaty palms.
If the date is going grand, and you're both having a blast, then you've already succeeded. Avoid making an issue out of holding hands or planting a goodnight kiss on him. Romantic events like these happen naturally. If you try to force it, you'll come off looking like a kiss-obsessed freak. And that is never good.

Remember, first dates can make you a nervous wreck only if you let them. It's all up to you to have a terrific time.

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