I was recently out in a South West London bar for a friend’s birthday. It was a compact venue, with approximately 10 small round tables, 5 on each side of the room, and leather seating running down both edges of the rectangular space.
When I arrived just before 7pm I immediately noticed it had a ‘date’ vibe. It was intimate, quiet and a little quirky. All good things for a first date. Three dates were already in progress, each couple talking to their respective partners. All three of the girls were good looking blondes. I took a seat on the leather sofa opposite the couples and started chatting to my friend.
The couple directly opposite me piqued my interest, so I watched with anticipation to see how successful the guy would be (as a dating coach, I love seeing how men handle themselves on a date).
My initial observations of the situation were as follows:
- The guy was better looking than the girl. Many would believe better looks would give him the upper hand and should make it easy. He was well dressed in a black suit, white shirt and black tie. He was tall, with blond hair, an athletic physique (not muscly, just well taken care of) and appeared well groomed. He gave the impression of having pride in his appearance and having money to spend. I estimated his age to be between 28 and 32.
- The girl was a pretty blonde. Not stunning but a good looking girl. She was younger than the guy. Estimated age 26-28.
- Good seating arrangements. The way the bar was laid out was perfect for a first date. The only seating options were for the girl to sit next to the guy on the leather seats running the full length of the bar, or perch on an uncomfortable looking stool across the little table from him. I didn’t see who had arrived first, but they were both sitting on the leather seats next to each other.
- Good listening skills. Whenever I glanced over, the woman was talking and the man was listening. I’d say he did 30-40% of the talking and let her do the rest, which is a good ratio. Guys have a tendency to try and impress girls by talking about themselves, their accomplishments, how much money they make, what car they drive and how great their job is. Don’t do this. Your job on a first date is to listen to what the woman is all about and find out as much about her life as you can. One of the best things you can hear her say at the end of the date is “Wow, I feel like I’ve been waffling on for AGES. I don’t know anything about YOU!”. You want to remain a mystery to her for as long as possible.
- Good eye contact. The guy kept his eyes on the woman’s whilst she was talking. It was a powerful enough gaze to be slightly intimidating and show her he wasn’t afraid, whilst still being friendly enough not to scare her off.
- Relaxed body position. The guy was leaning back into his seat, with one arm on the back of it. His legs were stretched out straight under the table. Taking up space with your body is a very alpha trait, and he was managing to do it whilst looking natural. Overall he looked relaxed. The girl on the other hand was sat bolt upright, arms on the table, leaning forwards.
The signs were promising and I had high hopes for this guy. He was doing so many things right, and the girl was showing him signs of interest.
But, as the night progressed things took a turn for the worse.
Troubleshooting the date
I remained in the bar with my friends until 11pm and continued to observe the couple. Here’s where I think he could have improved.
Problem 1: Poor body positioning
His body language was calm and relaxed. Hers was interested, but the way she was sitting indicated a problem. Despite them both sitting on the same wall seat, she was perched right on the edge of it and had twisted herself almost 90 degrees to face him. Normally a woman twisting around to point her body at you is a good sign, but her positioning in this case was a little off.
A guy leaning forwards is bad (although OK to do briefly when making a point or touching).
Reclining is good. It shows confidence and status.
There was a HUGE one metre gap between them. The twisting had been done to move as far AWAY from him as she could. His body position wasn’t helping either. He was wedged into a corner, sitting away from the table.
He should have moved his body towards hers, and invited her to sit closer. Do this in a fun, jokey way by saying something like:
- “You’re so far away, I can barely see you over there without my glasses on! Come closer so I can hear you properly.”
It is highly unlikely she will say no. You’ve also demonstrated social awareness and a commanding nature. You’ve given her an instruction and she has complied. Getting her to do these small things for you will make it more likely for her to comply when you ask her to do a big thing, such as agree to come over to your house.
If the girl is not sitting in a way that is favourable to you, make her move!
Another trick you can use is to show her a funny photo or video on your phone. This gives you an excuse to ask her to come and sit next to you.
- “You like dogs? I’ve just HAVE to show you this photo I found. Come round here and have a look.”
I recently turned up to a first date to find the woman already sitting in a four person booth. She was sitting on the outer seat, with her handbag and coat on the seat next to her. Rather than tell her to move her stuff so I could sit next to her (which I probably should have done), I accepted the logistics and slid into the seat opposite her.
(I typically arrive a few minutes after the woman has got to the agreed meeting place. To avoid the unfavourable seating situation I tell them to meet me in a public place before walking them to the bar, and make sure I’ve scouted the bar beforehand to ensure they have the type of side by side seating I want. In this case we had agreed to meet inside because I was running late.)
During the date I made a point of touching her arm, reaching over to touch the necklace around her neck, and even squeezing her thigh under the table. After 30 minutes I told her to come and sit next to me, which she gladly did, and we continued chatting.
Problem 2: Lack of touch
The guy did not touch his date once in the four hours I was there (that I saw).
Part of this problem was due to the way they were sitting, as described above. Had he asked her to move, reaching over and giving her light touches would have been simple. However, because of the distance between them, even with his arm on the back of the leather seat his finger tips were no where near her. Any attempt for him to touch her from his position would be extremely difficult, and look odd.
Although I advocate leaning back during a date to not show too much investment in the woman, if the seating arrangements are bad and the girl won’t move, you have to move your body closer to hers. He could have shuffled himself closer, and also lent forward during a key moment in a story to gently touch her forearm.
Problem 3: No kiss
Should you kiss on a first date?
This question causes some debate in the seduction community. Some dating experts advocate going for the kiss as soon as possible to demonstrate dominance and confidence, whilst others maintain that kissing on the first date raises her ASD (Anti Slut Defence) and kills the sexual tension.
I’m on the fence.
Sometimes I do kiss on a first date, sometimes I don’t. I decide based on the woman in front of me. If she is very open, has no hesitation talking about sex, and is regularly touching me, I go for it. If she is shy or the logistics aren’t right, I don’t.
I have not had a date recently where I’ve gone for the kiss and haven’t been able to sleep with the girl on the second or third date because of it.
The huge distance and lack of touching between the guy and girl on this first date meant a kiss was never going to happen even if he had wanted one.
Problem 4: No energy variance
Unless you are an incredibly suave and good looking guy, I don’t believe trying to look aloof and low energy will get you very far.
Yes, be cool. Yes, be relaxed. Yes, make your movements slow and deliberate. But DO mix in a bit of variance as well.
My natural personality is cheeky and irreverent. I have an immature sense of humour. When I’m on a date and the woman says something which could be considered sexual, even if it isn’t, I will call her out, and tease her mercilessly. This shift in personality, from quietly listening to ribbing her with a glint in my eye is what I believe makes me somewhat successful.
Women love a sense of drama, and this rapid change in demeanour from you triggers massive attraction in her. You know you’ve got it right when she stammers, laughs, then goes quiet, before telling you you’ve distracted her and she can’t remember what she was saying. Remind her, and let her continue.
Used sparingly, this tactic will drive her wild by demonstrating you have lover traits, and are not just the typical provider guy she normally dates.
The guy on the date never once varied from his emotional state, staying in the same position all night, except to go to the bathroom.
Problem 5: Constant nodding and head titling
The occasional grunt, “yeah” or nod is ideal to show someone you are listening to them. However, too much nodding looks odd. It comes across a little annoying to the person speaking.
You may have experienced the situation yourself when talking to someone and they keep saying “yeah” every five seconds. It feels as though they are just saying it because they feel they have to, and not because they are really listening.
The guy on the date was nodding a lot, with his head titled forward, despite his laid back body position. It looked a little un-natural. He was probably doing it because he couldn’t hear her due to the distance between them.
Keep your head upright, and keep the nodding to a minimum. A couple of nods a minute will suffice to show the other person you are engaged with what they are saying. If you can’t hear them, get them to move closer to you.
Problem 6: No environmental awareness
Strong eye contact is good. Looking directly into a woman’s eyes is a powerful signal and sparks massive attraction. Many guys feel uncomfortable holding eye contact with a woman, so you need to become good at it. But you can have too much of a good thing.
You need to communicate non-verbally to her that she can’t just talk about anything and hold your intention. You are not so invested in her you aren’t curious about what is going on around you.
The guy in the bar didn’t avert his gaze from her once. At one point a guy on the dance floor had his shirt off and was snogging a girl about half his age (nice one dude!). And yet the couple on the date didn’t even acknowledge it! If ever there was a chance to turn the conversation sexual that was it.
- “I bet you’ve danced topless in a bar before haven’t you!”
- “Check them out! I reckon that’s her boss and she’s had a crush on him all year. What do you think?”
- “Have you ever slept with someone you work with?”
- “I reckon they’ll be riding each other on the piano in a few minutes. What position do you think they’ll go for first?”
If something funny or interesting happens, point it out! It’s the perfect opportunity to touch her when pointing something out.
Discuss it together. It’s an easy way to pull a new and exciting conversational thread into the mix.
Every once in a while start to look a little bored and let your eyes roam whilst she is talking to you. Only for a few seconds.
Imagine this situation. You’re on a first date with a girl. You’ve having a nice conversation with her, and she’s looking into your eyes whilst she speaks. Suddenly, right behind her the waiter drops a tray of drinks which crashes to the floor, and the sound of breaking glass echoes around. But instead of breaking eye contact with you, the girl carries on looking straight at you. You’d think she was MASSIVELY into you, right?
This is an extreme example, I grant you, but if something interesting is going on around you, and you DON’T pay attention to it, you are giving the woman you’re with a clear signal you are highly interested in her. You are communicating that you are chasing her. She knows she has you, and the thrill of the chase for her is gone.
By looking around, and diverting attention away from her, at least some of the time, you are telling here “You haven’t won me over just yet, keep trying”. Done right, she’ll get a little flutter of anxiousness as you take your attention away, and then she’ll fight to win it back.
Problem 7: No fun
I didn’t see either the man or woman laugh once. You should be making a deep and meaningful connection with the woman you’re dating by talking about her childhood, passions and family, but you need to be able to switch it up and be playful as well.
Smile at her. Make her laugh.
Problem 8: Too long
Four hours is a LONG time for a first date. A busy man does not have four hours to spend with a woman he’s just met. Perhaps he fancied his chances at getting laid, and was hoping that the longer the date ran and the drunker she got, the more likely it was that she’d agree to have sex with him.
But trust me, that was never going to happen. He hadn’t touched her once! There was no way she was going home with him.
Keep your dates short. That way if she doesn’t want to see you again you haven’t wasted your time and money. And if she does want to see you again, you’ll still have plenty to talk about.
I would love to know what became of this couple. I suspect they parted ways at the end of the night with a kiss on the cheek. The next day at work the woman would have told her friends “He was nice but there was no spark”.
Meanwhile, the guy probably thought he was on to a sure thing. After all, he’d kept her engaged for over four hours! After a bit of chat over text, and maybe a second pity date because the girl knew she would get some more free drinks, she would stop returning his messages.
It didn’t have to be this way. Had he cut the date short, moved closer to her, paid her slightly less attention, touched her, and been more playful, she would have been telling her friends she’d met a guy who made her think bad thoughts, and couldn’t wait to meet up with him again.