How to stay calm & cool on a date?
February 24, 2012 3:46 PM   Subscribe

Tactics for staying calm & cool on a date, other than "dating around?"

I have my first date after being separated for almost a year from 15 year marriage and I don't want to try too hard or overthink things. I want to be myself and have fun.

I'd planned to try to date more women at once to help avoid attaching too much importance too early to any one, but I didn't want to do that until I'm officially, truly "single" in a couple months. I was just fooling around on OKCupid but found someone interesting, messaged her & she wrote back (!).

How can I remind myself "gee, she seems great, but hold on, I don't know her that well yet"?

I'm 44, cis-gendered straight male. The date is a hike, maybe followed by lunch, so it's already a low-stress, "friendly" kind of thing.
posted by morganw to Human Relations (12 answers total) 8 users marked this as a favorite
Make sure that you are not the "guy" and try to lead the hike all the time. Let her take turns in front, and set the pace. Also, relatedly, do not jump in to help her at every turn, unless she asks.
posted by Danf at 3:53 PM on February 24, 2012 [1 favorite]

Best answer: but I didn't want to do that until I'm officially, truly "single" in a couple months

I am sure that others will be more then happy to tell you to be calm and relax. Really, you seem to be aware of how to handle this already. It is just a matter of you following threw.

However let me state that, for the love of god, please make sure that you mention to your date that you are currently "still married" if you have not already done so (separated is not equal to divorced and therefore single).
posted by Shouraku at 3:56 PM on February 24, 2012

following through*

Bah, sorry.
posted by Shouraku at 3:59 PM on February 24, 2012

Best answer: I think the best way to stay calm and cool on a date is to remember to keep checking in and seeing if you like her or not. When I get really nervous on a date it's because I freak out trying to make a good impression. Reminding yourself that she also needs to make a good impression can help to short-circuit this tendency.
posted by Ragged Richard at 4:28 PM on February 24, 2012 [9 favorites]

Response by poster: > separated != single

Yep, which is why I usually don't message anyone on OKCupid. Most profiles include "who are single" in their "I'm looking for" and I respect that. I was honest & put Married which turns into Available if you include "short-term dating" or "long-term dating." We exchanged 10 or so messages negotiating logistics & this came up so all stakeholders are disclosed ;-)
posted by morganw at 4:32 PM on February 24, 2012

The way to be cool is to turn down the risk level.

Risk, he asks, bewildered. Yes, risk.

The male repitilian brain rates the genetic possibilities of the opposite sex and dumps all sorts of chemicals into the bloodstream when the females genes are especially intriguing. The risk mentioned is the risk of not mating with that female.

Good female genes == high level of repitilian "want" == stupid in the face of beauty.

Pretty simple math.

So, tell your lizard-brain there is no chance it is getting what it wants, at least not today. Play it cool and calm now and maybe one of these days the little lizard nugget in the noggin gets happy.

Gawd, I am massively sleep deprived so I have no idea if this is in any way cogent.
posted by trinity8-director at 5:54 PM on February 24, 2012 [1 favorite]

Best answer: Along with checking in to see if you like her, also remember that she's probably nervous, and being as relaxed as you can will also help her. That only works if, like me, other people's comfort is really important to you.

I also like to remind myself that it's Really Unlikely that this (first! in a really long time!) date will go much of anywhere romantically, but that I might make a nice friend. It takes the pressure off.
posted by ldthomps at 5:55 PM on February 24, 2012

Best answer: Just keep reminding yourself, "it's just a date, you're just getting to know this person, I'm just being myself, and having fun and seeing where it goes." Even if the date goes really well, it's still just a date. If the date goes really shitty, it's just a date. If it's meh... you get the idea. One day/date at a time.
posted by sm1tten at 7:17 PM on February 24, 2012

Best answer: //I want to be myself and have fun.//

So be yourself and have fun. Anything else is over thinking it.
posted by COD at 8:02 PM on February 24, 2012

Best answer: It's okay to admit to being nervous on a date, she's probably kind of nervous too. Near the beginning of the date, you can talk about how you're nervous because she seems awesome and meeting someone in person from online is always weird at first. Then, drop it - don't make it a major thing, just note the weirdness/ nervousness and move on. I personally find that acknowledging my nerves out loud helps calm them.
posted by insectosaurus at 8:19 PM on February 24, 2012 [1 favorite]

Men and women have suggested ah, eh, um, "takin' care of business" before the date.
posted by Ironmouth at 5:43 AM on February 25, 2012 [1 favorite]

Best answer: You're out of practice, so that's what this is ... practice! Mostly, practice being your new self -- the not-attached, wiser and more experienced morganw, just a cool, hiking guy, getting to know himself again, with someone nice to talk to along the way, and maybe smooch with (something to look forward to!). Good Luck!
posted by thinkpiece at 11:59 AM on February 25, 2012

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