Many people have mixed feelings towards Valentine's Day. In theory, V-Day is a day for couples, both old and new, to celebrate and express the love they have for one another. Yet more realistically, Valentine's Day is a concoction of the greeting card industry, where it is not so much "love" that is in the air as it is nagging obligation to purchase heart shaped objects and confectionery goodies to keep the peace with your special someone. Also, Valentine's Day is undeniably an exclusionary holiday leaving all those table for one people out in the cold. But, if you happen to be one of the lucky ones who has a date for Valentine's Day, you are presumably going to want the date to remain as slip-up free as possible, especially if it is your first date.
Most first date blunders appear to be common sense. Yet the hoards of repeat offenders are more plentiful than the notches on Paris Hilton's bedpost. Two of the most apparent (and avoidable) first date pet peeves are foul body odor and rancid breath. If you have a date, do try to shower and brush your teeth beforehand, or at the very least, suck on a couple of tic-tacs. It is significantly more difficult to have a successful wooing experience with the scent of eau de pied de hobo hovering around you like the Pig Pen dust cloud, or having just thrown back a box of garlic cubes like they were M&Ms.
Other obvious first date pet peeves include being uncouth to the wait staff, talking about an ex (both favorable and unfavorable commentary will leave your date wishing they had ordered a date plate without the side of baked baggage beans), and poking around on a cell phone. If you are expecting an important call or text message to which you simply have to respond, let know your date know up front, so as to avoid giving off the impression that you would rather chat it up with your buddy than enjoy your date's company.
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Speaking of text messaging, here is a less obvious first date pet peeve: communicating via text messages in lieu of the voice-on-voice action. We may live in a digital age where cell phones and computers are considered just as vital for everyday functioning as things like water and oxygen, but nobody wants to have a textlationship. Text messaging is appropriate for booty calls and quick messages once a relationship has been established, but it is not ok when used as a substitute for actual conversation, especially in a newborn romance. So give those phalanges a rest and give your prospective date an actual, old fashioned ring-a-ling.
The above compilation of first date pet peeves pertain to both guys and gals, but the following list of grievances stereotypically apply to one gender or the other. Girls:
Refrain from discussing how "thick" you think your mid section is becoming or the latest diet craze that you've been testing out. Guys will be impressed with your poise and charm not with your Good Will Hunting
-like ability to count calories or the way you have an alphabetized list of the all the latest wannarexia tactics at your finger tips, unless of course, you are trying to date Bob Greene, which would open up a whole different can of low cal worms. Guys:
When out at a restaurant, do not order for your date. If it's your first date, then you are not going to know your date well enough to know her gastronomic likes and dislikes. Plus, it's tacky and can leave you in the vulnerable position of looking like a tight wad if you unwisely choose solely from the soup/salad section of the menu. Many guys think ordering for their dates is chivalrous, like opening a car door. But it seems doubtful that even back in the days when there actually were knights in shining armor that the ladies would have valued this type of conduct. It's hard to imagine that Sir Lancelot would have gotten into Queen Guinevere's petticoats had he ordered her capon and ale for her. Girls want to be with thoughtful guys, not controlling ones.
Luckily, it is easy to avoid committing most of the aforementioned first date blunders. Scoring the date in the first place is the hardest part. So once you've gotten the date and gotten the outfit, get the plan. If you want your Valentine's Day date to go well this year, avoid these first date pet peeves like the plague and the odds of snagging a follow up date will be significantly increased. And, if you really play your cards right, libido might even step in to third wheel it and make it a V, as in Victory, Day date.
Story by Michaela Zanello
Starpulse contributing writer