Keep Your Pants On: What To Do When They Say “Yes!”

Kate Kotler and Elliott Serrano write for Bleeding Cool;

Guess what y’all! Elliott had a date this weekend!!!

That’s right, while Kate was off chasing down interviews and drinking wine with certain devastatingly handsome, chess-playing British comic creators and hobnobbing with Stan Lee at Baltimore Comic Con, our own soulless geek went out on the town with a lady.

That got us thinking, instead of answering your questions this week (though keep those cards and letters coming: keepyourpantsonbc@yahoo.com) we thought it might be valuable for us to provide you with our top tips for what you should do (and not do) when you’re on a date with that special geek guy or girl.

Kate says,

6. Make sure you tell a trustworthy friend where you’re going and at what time they should be concerned if they do not hear from you. You think I’m joking? Huh, I bet the girl who went out with the Craigslist Killer wishes from someplace beyond the grave that she’d done that. If for no other reason than to have a bailout option on a crappy date, please let someone know where you’re going and what time they should call you to check up on you.

5. Don’t drink. Or, if you do drink, limit the number of cocktails you have to no more than three. Seriously: People say and do stupid things when they’re drunk. I ended up dating a guy for three months once because I stupidly got so intoxicated on our first date that when he told me “I love you” in the cab on the way home, I responded in kind. Unless you’re into drunken one night (three month) stands, be aware that too much booze might make you act as you wouldn’t when sober.

4. Listen in addition to talking. The worst thing in the world is to be in the intimate company of someone who will not shut the f up and let you get a word in edgewise. Make sure to listen as much as you talk and to ask questions which will lead to deeper conversation. Don’t talk about past relationships or other things which are not so shiny. Save those conversations for when/if you get into a relationship with the person. First dates are no place to bring up how your ex-whatever did you wrong or how you’re so stressed out about work… it’s a buzz killer. Stick to topics which are fun and light, yet reveal your positive aspects to the person you’re on the date with.

3. Keep good boundaries. If you’ve said you’re going to have drinks and dinner or go to a movie or go rollerskating or meet up for coffee and a trip to the comic shop, keep it to that. It’s always better to leave them wanting more. Plus, you need to save some great stuff for the second, third and fourth dates, right? On that topic: If you had a great time and you’d like to see the person again, tell them this upfront. Don’t play games (like in Swingers or “the Rules”) about timing your phone calls, etc. Just man up (goes for both girls and guys) and say “Hey I’d really like to see you again, do you want to go out next weekend?”

2. Flirt. If you’re having a good time and you’re attracted to the other person, let them know! Laughing, sitting close to someone and making casual (not creepy) contact is a good way to let the person you’re out on a date with know you dig them. But, be yourself. Don’t pretend to like things you don’t or don’t know anything about. Don’t lie or pretend or over aggrandize or brag about shit you haven’t done… Just chill the hell out and be yourself. You – as yourself – are charming and wonderful enough that it will surely wow whomever you’re out with. If not? Fuck them, they didn’t deserve you anyhow!

1.DO NOT SLEEP WITH THEM. No matter how horny you both are for each other, first date sex is rarely -if ever- a good idea. It skips over all the getting to know you stuff and puts you both in far more of an intimate situation than people on date number one are ready for. No matter how much you like each other, it’s just not a good idea. Making out? Hot fooling around? All okay. Just stop short of actual naked-bed-funtime…

Elliott says,

Yeah, I went on a date alright. Turns out that someone took Kate’s ‘just ask someone you’re interested in out’ advice and actually decided to ask me. That was admittedly and…different experience. Not bad, in fact I really enjoyed it. Better yet, what started out as a get-together for coffee turned into drinks at a pub to be followed by sushi at a small Japanese restaurant. How did it end? I’ll tell you after I give you my 5 Top Tips of what to do (or not do) on a date:

5. DO NOT DRINK ON A FIRST DATE. Yeah, I agree with Kate on this rule and wish I had kept it in mind. See, when my date told me she was going to be late I decided to ‘kill some time’ by having a couple beers with a bowl of peanuts. Big mistake. Drinking on a relatively empty stomach tends to get me buzzed, and while I’m not drunk it does lower my already minimal inhibitions. This led to a couple…awkward moments. Also keep in mind that your date can be giving off signals, good and bad – as well as bad ones that you misinterpret to be good; and vice versa. Too much alcohol will dull your senses and can lead to some embarrassing misunderstandings during a date. Like the kind that occurs when you don‘t…

4. Respect boundaries. This is why being conscious of what signals your date is giving off is really important. Does she really like that you’re leaning in closer, or that you touched her shoulder? How does she feel about her personal space? Sometimes the signs can be subtle. Sometimes…not so much. She might smile or she might flinch. The smile could be welcoming or it could be polite yet uncomfortable. Is she laughing because she really liked that somewhat off-color joke you made (although I advise to never make dirty jokes on a first date – outside of a ’that’s what she said’) or is she just humoring you? Does she really like the idea that you’re touching her hand when you admire her manicure? Or does she think you’re getting creepy and trying to hold her hand? Sometimes these distinctions can be hard to make, especially if you’ve been violating Rule #5.

3. Spend time talking. It’s tempting to go to a movie or an arcade on that first date, just to have some fun and help break the ice, but be sure that along with the activity that you also spend time conversing. That’s why one of my favorite activities is going to a bookstore that also has a coffee shop inside. You can roam the shelves looking for favorite titles, then have a cup of java together while discussing what you found. And yeah, I’m also with Kate on this and say to save the heavy stories about the time your parents left you in the jungles of Uganda to be raised by apes for a future date. The first one should always be a fun one.

2.Have chewing gum or mints on hand. Trust me on this one, nothing kills the mood faster than having your date lean in with coffee breath. I’m not saying to be obnoxious and work on a piece of Doublemint all night, but just be sure your breath is acceptable when in close quarters. This also speaks to having a sense of general awareness about your date AND yourself. Keeping in mind something simple like the odor you’re giving off can help make the best impressions.

And finally…

1. Whether the date goes well – or it goes horribly, horribly wrong – DON’T BE WEIRD!

If you have a good time and decide you want to see each other again, great. Ask her out again and plan that next date. But don’t jump the gun and think you’ve found your soul mate. Yes, you may have a lot of things in common, but it’s just a first date. Too many geek guys go all Anakin Skywalker and obsess over a girl who they like and who returns the interest. Keep having fun and getting to know each other.

Same goes if things don’t work out. If you decide that you’re not interested in continuing to date, say so. Don’t be a wuss and string her along.

And likewise, if she decides that she’s not really interested in dating you any more, don’t get upset and start taking it personally. Of course rejection is tough, but it’s just a part of life. Sometimes – in fact most of the time – things just won’t click with that person.

It doesn’t mean that either of you are bad or have serious issues, it’s just a matter of odds. Don’t spend nights wondering what you could have done on the date differently, as chances are there was nothing. Just be mature and accept that not every date you go on will lead to a connection.

So DON’T BE WEIRD. Seriously.

As for my date last week, it ended with us agreeing that it just wasn’t going to work out as anything outside of friendship. Of course that was the most one could expect when she finally showed to find her date drunk and giving her the Anakin Skywalker ‘stalker stare’ all night, arguing over how Ewoks and Wookies were similar enough species so it meant that Wicket was a cannibal for wanting to eat Chewbacca.

I’m exaggerating only in the slightest. Also, knowing the way the evening went, I totally would have broken Kate’s Rule #1. It’s not like she was gonna call me again anyway. Heh.

Can someone tell me why I’m writing a dating advice column again?

Until next week, True Believers… KYPO!

(Say it “Kapow!” Makes it sound more comic-y… and, Stan would approve.)

About Rich Johnston

Chief writer and founder of Bleeding Cool. Father of two. Comic book clairvoyant. Political cartoonist.

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