Danielle Sepulveres
November 09, 2015 8:25 am

My first real date was when I was fifteen. I waited just inside my front door sweating profusely, trying to mentally come up with a list of topics in case my mind went blank after I got into his car. When he arrived, he asked me if I liked coffee, and I said I loved a good Frappuccino, so off we went to the neighborhood Starbucks. I then spent two hours having a difficult time making eye contact, wondering when the conversation paused how long of a silence was TOO long of a silence, and partially wishing I could just fast forward to it being over.

Part of the problem, was that as a teenager I believed that I SHOULD be going on lots of dates, so when this guy asked, I said yes just to be able to say I had gone on a first date. Not considering if I was interested, or even ready for a first date. I’ve obviously now learned to only agree to spend time with someone when I really want to, but since that day so many years ago, I’ve gone on many more first dates and I’ve noticed that there are still some things that do not change.

I change my clothes three or four (or five or six) times

Even if I’ve had an outfit in mind all week before this date, all of a sudden on the day of it doesn’t look right. The shirt isn’t hanging right. The jeans are too tight. A dress looks too dressy for where we are going. The shoes I wanted to wear look off. NOTHING IS WORKING!! It’s incredibly frustrating.

I consider canceling

Maybe I’m not ready. Maybe we won’t have chemistry. Maybe I’ll like him and he won’t like me. Maybe he’ll like me and I will want to run for the hills. Wouldn’t it be best for everyone if I just canceled the thing and stayed home to Netflix and chill solo?

I overplan and overanalyze everything that hasn’t even happened yet

What if I don’t like the restaurant we go to? What if the food doesn’t agree with me? (I have a weak stomach). If he brings up college, I’ll tell the story about the time I got stuck outside in my towel during a fire drill, but not the one about splitting my leather pants. If things go well, will he kiss me at the end of the night? Do I have Tic Tacs? Should I go get more? What if the kiss isn’t any good? Should I clean my apartment in case he wants to come up? If he doesn’t kiss me, that means no second date right? And on and on and on.

I FaceTime my friends for a pep talk

Sometimes in the midst of emptying out our entire closet, shouting expletives at a mirror and pacing, the best thing we can do is call a friend. They can be the voice of reason to calm us down. I will sometimes FaceTime so I can give a view of my outfit and get a thumbs up confirmation from my bestie or a “no no wear the blue shirt that brings out your eyes instead.” But most of all having a friend list all your positive attributes and remind you why you said yes to the person who asked you out can be just the thing you need before it’s time to head out.

I look through photos of my last relationship

This is something that I do not recommend to anyone. It completely puts you in the wrong mindset for getting to know someone new. But occasionally I have made the mistake of thinking it might serve as a reminder that first dates can lead to something great. But it just ends up reminding me of an ex who is better left in the past.

Look, it can be nerve-wracking to go on a first date because you’re deciding to take a chance on opening yourself up to another person. As a result, before anything actually happens, there’s all this anticipation and pressure. I know I’m not the only one who has random first date rituals. Whether we need to pace in circles, apply some extra deodorant, or call our friends a hundred times, the most important thing is not let fear take over. It’s just a date (says the girl who changed outfits 20 times in preparation).

[Image via Searchlight Pictures]

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