How to Be a Great First Date

Okay, you've scored a date with a sexy somebody for Saturday night, and you're terrified you're going to blow it. Don't worry; if you follow these tips, you'll do just fine. The bonus? None of them involves getting a face lift or renting a Jaguar for the evening.

1. The key to being a great date is to love yourself. Nothing is more attractive than an individual who regards himself highly. It doesn't matter of you're short, fat, bald or hairy in all the wrong places. You've heard the maxim, "You can't love somebody until you love yourself," and it's true, but nobody else is going to love you until you love yourself, either. Self-love attracts love like a magnet.

2. Resolve to be yourself and only yourself. Don't tell me you're not interesting enough, good-looking enough, smart enough. Ask yourself: Do you want your date to like you for somebody you are or for somebody you aren't? Right. Now, be yourself, and understand that maybe your date will like you and maybe he or she won't. Either way, you'll live. I promise.

3. Visualize quiet confidence. For several days before your date, visualize yourself sitting with him or her and feeling calm, cool, and attractive. Really feel it! See, hear, and feel yourself laughing easily. Feel yourself smiling. Practice this while you're waiting to order your coffee in the company cafeteria. Do it in the Laundromat. Feel it until it feels real.

4. Make a list of all the things you have going for you. A great sense of humor? Compassion? Beautiful teeth? Are you an executive at an up-and-coming company? Write down your desirable qualities and read the list several times a day. Let it sink in. Knowing what makes you special will give you confidence and an inner glow on the big night.

5. Now that you know what makes you wonderful, keep it to yourself. No need to turn the date into an infomercial: Avoid mentioning that you're considered the unofficial mayor of your town because you're so popular. Don't brag about how you trounced Texas Tess in the chili competition. Allow your date to make little discoveries about you. Trust him or her to see that you're an excellent catch.

6. View your shortcomings as positives. A healthy person will be drawn to you despite the fact that you drive a 1987 Chevette, as long as you're kind, considerate, and funny. If you're ten pounds overweight, there are people who will find you sexy because they'll perceive you as being slightly indulgent. If you're a man who's balding and consider it a disadvantage, decide to make it an advantage. Many women see a disappearing hairline as a sign of virility.

7. Have reasonable expectations of the other person. What's more revolting than a paunchy guy who expects his girlfriend to look like Paris Hilton? Or, a woman in a dead-end job who turns her nose up at the guy driving the 1987 Chevette? If you want to find somebody who will like you for you, be sure to return the favor.

8. Don't stereotype. All women are not desperate to get married. All men do not fear commitment. Purge your noggin of the nonsense the media have fed you about the opposite sex. Look your date in the eye and treat him like a human being, not like somebody you must manipulate. Treat your date as you would have him or her treat you. You will be successful beyond your wildest dreams.

9. Remember, it's a date, not a job interview. Don't view this person as a potential spouse. Remove the pressure. See him or her as an acquaintance you'd like to turn into a friend. That's it. Break the ice with a compliment, but avoid making overly personal remarks like, "Wow, you look hot in those pants." Something non-threatening like, "Nice shirt," works well because it conveys that you think your date has good taste!

10. Stay away from sex. I don't care if you're a man or a woman, sex on the first date is bad news. Don't even think about it! Having sex on the first date sets up all sorts of weird and uncomfortable expectations. Furthermore, you could end up with a deadly disease. Hit the sheets only after you're sure you're both healthy, and that you actually like the other person. It makes for much better sex.

11. Accept the possibility that you'll be rejected. Maybe you and your sexy somebody will hit it off. Maybe you won't. When I was single, I often reminded myself that even Bruce Springsteen (the biggest, sexiest rock star of the time) faced rejection by the opposite sex at one time or another. So have Britney Spears, Brad Pitt, and all the other luminaries we've been trained to envy. Everybody faces rejection. Everybody. Not just you!

After the date is over, decide whether you'd like to see this individual again. Stop fretting that you didn't make a good enough impression and ask yourself if you even liked him or her. Review the evening dispassionately. Is he or she someone you would choose for a friend? Did you feel good around this person?

If not, it's probably best to move on.

If the answer is yes, proceed accordingly.

Terry Hernon MacDonald is the author of "How to Attract and Marry the Man of Your Dreams." Visit her website at http://www.marrysmart.com.

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