Love is a burning thing
And it makes a fiery ring
Bound by wild desires
I fell into a Ring of fire.

– Johnny Cash

First date

So, you’re heading out on a first date. He’s asked you out and you’ve gone that extra mile to look and smell divine. Heart pumping; check your hair and make-up on the way out. It’s going to be a great night! Right?

So how terrible does it feel when a first date goes completely pear-shaped and you are left thinking what the hell just happened?!

It’s bad enough if you get parsley stuck between your teeth, but what happens if the unthinkable happens say if you need to fart or you find out the chilli you ate the night before doesn’t agree with you? Or right before the date, a huge cold sore suddenly (and very rudely) appears on your lip!! Some people have worse problems than that!

I have a friend who seems to have had a run of very, very freaky dates. He’s cute and funny so it’s quite surprising but he just seems to have the kind of bad luck that comedy films are made of! You simply couldn’t make this stuff up. He once dated a girl for a few weeks and things were going really well by all accounts. She was lovely, he was lovely – they enjoyed each other’s company. On their fourth date, he suddenly realised that he had double booked a date with this lady and a dinner with his mother who was visiting from the country.

Mistake number one, he explained was thinking he could combine both. Kill two birds with one stone as the saying goes. Now Mr. Nice guy admits that he hadn’t really thought through the notion that introducing a woman to his mum might have given his date the impression that something quite serious was evolving. Booking a high-end restaurant might have added weight to that idea.

During the dinner, his date was getting on very well with his mum and they laughed together as co-conspirators, making cute comments about their joint companion. Just as he was starting to sweat under the weight of his sudden light bulb moment that having his mum and his date at the same table might have been premature (he could almost hear the terrifying sounds of wedding bells), something quite extraordinary happened.

The restaurant menu was printed on board and his lovely date was so engrossed in conversation with his mother that the menu literally caught on fire and as she lifted it towards her, her long blonde locks actually ignited. The poor girl, her mane ablaze, jumped up and was shrieking, and the mother’s nervous reaction to the situation was to start laughing! He in the meantime did what any good man would do and he leapt for the glasses of water on the table and started throwing them at his date to extinguish the flames….holy smoke, batman!

Needless to say, she wasn’t keen to see him again – what, with the laughing mum and her singed hair and standing in a restaurant feeling quite humiliated and dripping wet…I have to admit that if my flaming red hair was suddenly, well…flaming – I would be quite devastated!

I’m sure we’d all like to set someone’s world on fire…but that’s just taking it to extremes!

Someone else I know (okay it’s the same guy but I was trying to lessen the blow for him) once relocated to America for work. Not really knowing anyone, he eventually joined a dating site thinking it would be a great way to meet people. He met a gorgeous woman on line and they had a lot in common. As is the way of internet dating, they exchanged emails and then text messages and finally phone calls.

His new paramour as it turned out was a Miami socialite who was well-connected around town so she took him out on their first date to some wild and crazy clubs. He was having the time of his life and at the end of the night she suggested they head to her place.

Once inside her lavish apartment, she said she needed to just “put something away”. Okay, in boy speak what he heard in his head was that she was going to “slip into something more comfortable”…she directed him to the kitchen and he set about pouring them wine, then helped himself to her sound system and chose some mood music.

After a very long period of time he started to get bored and of course worry that his date had gone missing so he called out down the hall way. When she didn’t answer he tentatively walked towards her room with the glasses of wine, trying to look all suave. “Hey,” he said in his I’m-a-very-cool-dude voice, trying not to be disappointed by the fact that his date was indeed still fully clothed.

He had startled her and as she swung around, he jumped a mile as she was waving a gun at him. He dropped the wine and she started frantically apologising that she was simply “taking the bullets out of her colt.”  What the hell?!

Things went from bad to worse when she explained she also had one behind cushions on her couch and carries a much smaller gun in her handbag! Now, the boy from Sydney was freaking out. This kind of culture and behaviour might be the norm across America, but for Australians this is a foreign concept!

Following him through the apartment with her gun still in his hand, he whimpered “Oh god, please don’t hurt me. I can’t perform with a gun to my head!”  She was mortified, saying she couldn’t hurt a fly. Ummm, right! Needless to say he left quick smart and he didn’t see her again!

Honestly, how do you recover from that?!

My lovely friend, Naina, recently told me about a first date disaster she experienced several years ago. She had launched into on-line dating mainly to gain dating experience as she felt she was inexperienced in that area. She was needing to practice her meet and greet skills and gain confidence when meeting new people. On-line she met a nice guy and decided that she’d meet him for coffee.

Imagine her surprise then when in the middle of this very easy and unassuming date he started to cry! Poor Naina sat, her hands wrapped around her cup of latte, feeling awkward and uncomfortable not knowing how to comfort this stranger before her. Through tears, he talked of his despair of breaking up with his previous partner, and that while he was ready to move on, it was all so hard.

Okay, dude. Firstly, no you were clearly not ready to move on and secondly, talking about your previous partner (and crying over her, no less) on a first date is just not cool. In any language! Sweet Naina listened patiently to his tale of woe and then got the hell out of the cafe!

Just when you think it can’t get worse, I once worked with a girl whose first date ended up in an emergency ward! She had been flat-out at work and in order to meet tight deadlines, she was working long hours, missing out on sleep and no doubt not eating well.

Note to self…one cannot survive on wine alone. Opening a bottle does not constitute exercise either!

So, the glamour girls gets changed for her date at work, squeezes into one very hot dress, fixes her makeup and her tresses and makes it to her date. She had been secretly hoping this guy was going to ask her out for some time so she was already giddy with excitement. Exhausted and nervous, she admitted she grazed through dinner but shared wine and as they left the restaurant on their way to another bar, she suddenly felt quite light-headed.

The next thing she knew, she was waking up in an emergency department of a hospital with her very cute date sitting beside her! She had passed out and had bruises and scat aches but not read damage, except perhaps to her ego. Her valiant knight in shining armour had taken her to the hospital in a cab, Not quite the ending to the date she had hoped for but they did continue to date for some time afterwards! Now that is a cute dinner party tale to tell!

My friend, the Grecian, who is in the medical profession, had been hanging out to meet the very attractive son of her colleague for some time (think years!). She joked with her colleague often about it. Recently while the Grecian was standing in surgical scrubs, her hair pulled back in a messy bun and wearing no make up, her colleague appeared out of the blue with…you guessed it…her incredibly attractive son. Doh! So having waited years, her only shot at making the first impression with this man was her stumbling over words, and trying to look attractive in her crocs and baggy green scrubs while he said polite words of greeting, his body language apparently was screaming, “okay, get me the hell out of here.”

When she told me, I couldn’t stop laughing but damn, I really felt for her! Will they make it to the first date? Probably unlikely! The Grecian is a gorgeous woman and didn’t need the make up but her shock meant she suddenly forgot how to string a comprehensible sentence together!

I haven’t thankfully haven’t experienced anything quite that embarrassing, though like everyone I have sat through some pretty awkward first dates! (And let’s not forget some creepy ones too – not to forget the Octopus and the Hedgehog! If you haven’t read that post, I have included the link for you!).

There is nothing like a first date to take us back to the feeling of being an awkward teenager! The thing I always remember is that it’s simply a meeting of two people. Sometimes first dates are brilliant fun and sometimes things don’t go to plan.

Now, clearly I don’t pretend to be an expert dater (hello! Still searching for Mr. Darcy…where are you, dude?) but I have for better or worse come up with the Good Girl Confessional’s 10 things NOT to do on a first date. They are as follows:

1. Do not get drunk (no amount of slurred words makes us look hot, funnily enough)

2. Do not talk on your mobile phone, text other people or check out how many people liked your status on Facebook on a first date… (I know, we’ve all been guilty of it…me included! Sometimes you have to take an important call and if you have kids it might be important, but then put the phone away!!).

3. Do not talk about your Ex on a first date (if things work out you will have all the time in the world to swap war stories about ex’s but not on the first date!).

4. Avoid conversations about religion and politics! (I’m rolling my eyes thinking of the possibilities of heated discussions….make love, not war people…oh, but maybe not on the first date).

5. Do not order anything with garlic in it unless your date is eating garlic too! (There’s always a possibility of a kiss people, and you may not have established if your date is a vampire yet…)

6. Don’t talk too much about your children, or your pets! It’s awesome if you own cats…even if you own a lot of them, but cute stories of cat Halloween costumes may turn some people off…and being a parent is the greatest joy of my life, but a date wants to get to know you as a person first, not as a mummy (or a daddy).

7. Do not talk about getting married on the first date! Ever! Saying you hope one day to get married is going to make your date think you’re crazy…or worse, they are going to propose and you will realize they are crazy

8. Don’t talk about sex. Yes, we’re all grown-ups here at the Good Girl Confessional but talking about sex on a first date can create the wrong impression. If he starts talking about sex, ignore rule 6 and start talking about your offspring and your furry critters.

9. Smile.  Sounds simple but damn it’s hard to carry on a first date with a sulky soul…be positive and smile! It’s hard to believe but bemoaning about how the world is crap and you hate your job, and crap always happens to you isn’t sexy…they will start looking at their watch before they finish the entrée!

10. Don’t expect your date to pay for dinner, or the movie or whatever. If you new to the dating scene, times have really changed! This is 2013 and while some guys are old-fashioned and want to pay for you, never assume it’s a given. Offer to pay half because it’s just polite and you can’t start on an equal footing if you don’t act like an equal! If he insists on paying, smile and remember to say thank you.

Oh, and here is a bonus rule for you! Don’t set anyone’s world on fire…or if you do, please don’t do it with matches!

May all your dates be brilliant!

If your friend was going on a first date, what would be the one piece of advice you would tell them?