Like some people, I am great at giving out advice but not really that good at following through and applying it for myself. More a case of ‘Do as I say, and not as I do’ comes to mind.

The Love Lottery

The Love Lottery

Numerous variables come into play. What mood are you in? What mood is the other party in? Did they have a bad day or week? Are either of you in the mood for meeting up that day/ week or not?

Be clear in communicating the when and where.

I am a personal believer of a phone call, no matter how short, is worth a thousand text messages.

In my experience, the first date has always been a coffee if on a weekend and a wine bar if on a weeknight. I have been advised by a couple of my close female friends never to encroach on a ladies evening. The same thing applies to guys.

The early part of communication means you are still getting to know one another, therefore, things can be misconstrued or interpreted incorrectly from a text. Why risk ruining something so early that could be wonderful in the long run?

The First Date location

When and where to go can all depend upon how good a relationship and rapport has been built up thus far.

Don’t try and over impress. Coffee at Coffee chain, as an example, when it’s nice and cosy will be more relaxing than trying to do a cream tea at Claridges or chat in a bar that plays very loud music so it’s impossible to hear one another and have whatever venue seem pretentious and imposing.

Try not raise an expectation of lifestyle. Don’t cry poverty and being too frugal. Yet, don’t pretend to live one that is not you. Just as importantly, this choice

We guys like surprises, preferably pleasant ones so the choice of venue can provide us more of an insight into what you like.

The First Date time

This in itself is a daunting ordeal. I always try and do these on either a weekday after work or most likely on a Sunday afternoon subject to the other party’s calendar.

If the date happens to be a harrowing experience, then each party has the evening to recuperate with friends and can either wallow in a sea of despair or move on and be thankful.

No Company please

This next point is applicable for both parties. If you happen to choose a venue that you love to frequent no matter what the occasion then chances are you will bump into someone or a group or people that you know.

Its common courtesy to acknowledge them and have a quick ‘hello, how are you?’ but that’s what it should only be and where it ends.

Not only is it awkward, but it’s not fair to your date if the time you were supposed to spend with each other gets hijacked by friends/ acquaintances or the neighbour’s dog walker.

The obvious choice is to go somewhere new to both of you. No one will know either of you hopefully. You won’t get interrupted and if the date is not as expected then at least you have discovered a new gem of a hangout for the next potential suitor.

Dress and be relaxed

This is a no brainer but dress how you feel comfortable. It does not matter if you are wearing heels and skirt or jeans and sandals or boots. When a lady is dressed comfortable, then she feels comfortable and this vibe will easily be picked up by your date. We guys will simply be honoured to have the pleasure of your company and attention albeit for an hour or two.

The plus side is that both parties get to see each other when they are most relaxed and looking casual. We want to get to know the lady, not how many times she has to re-adjust herself or keep looking in the mirror.

If you have a broad accent, be proud of it and don’t put on a telephone voice and risk sounding like a 1950’s BBC broadcaster live from the Alexandra Palace.

Don’t turn the date into an Interview

I jokingly refer to the first chat as an interview. This is probably the first and in some cases the only chance to make a face to face positive impression.

It can feel like an interview due to the nerves kicking in. Naturally one wants to come across as the person the other party is looking for, but don’t tailor it to suit them.

If you both like people watching for example, take time out and ask your date if the couple next to you or across the room look like they are in love or if they have just had an argument, if so, how can we tell? This will help ease the nerves and any awkward silence if the answer to a question was a short one.

Be honest

Sounds like common sense but rarely prevails and is applicable for both parties.

If you don’t like beach holidays, reading or if like me you absolutely detest football, then state it.

Don’t say you like things just to please the guy as he may take the things he likes to do regularly that don’t really sit well with you as a green light to carry as on as per normal.

No good for the long run as it will inevitably entail the ‘why didn’t you tell me earlier when we first met?’ or ‘I thought you were okay with this, what’s changed?’ lines being thrown back at you when it starts to take it’s toll.

Judge, Jury & possible Executioner

This again applies to both parties. There may be certain topics, ideals or points raised in conversation that may or may not sit well with you.

For now, keep these to yourself. Not to be rude, but there are some people out there who may not take to criticism, albeit constructive, or different viewpoint very well.

Admittedly, it’s their problem and not yours but, if you find yourself furiously disagreeing on quite a few things then no point wasting energy on someone who may not end up being with you. There’s having a challenging debate and different outlook and viewpoint on things, opposites attract and all that, and then there is what he may see as being confrontational.

The flip side to this is the guys may get frustrated being made or asked to change and not wanting to adhere to change. Not worth the hassle and ruining the day.

Who Pays

Call me old fashioned, but...... I do believe in picking up the tab especially if I have asked that person out on a date. Not all guys think like this though.

Don’t avoid eye contact being made and proceed to have the I-phone flipped out to check a message from someone you ignored texts from a month or so ago but now feel the need to respond and pretend you are busy.

'Hey, look, why don't we split the bill?' even if not with the conviction of sincerity.

Realistically, most guys would NOT have accepted the offer to go Dutch but the thought and offer is always appreciated.

See each other again?

If you would like to see him again, then tell him. Although we guys won’t like to admit this, we also get anxious and start to over think things a tad.

The same goes for if you had a great time also. Tell your date. This only makes the next one, If there is one, easier for both of you as there would have been an established connection of sorts. If it happens to be his choice of venue for the next one, then there will have been more of an insight into what you like which can only be a good thing surely.

If he was absolutely obnoxious to the point you have started to doubt your instincts and choice in men, can’t stand being in the same space as him and can’t wait to go home and make a voodoo doll or effigy of him to stick pins into. Then by all means do tell him. Chances are he won’t learn anyhow and will carry on.

If you had a date that just did not go the way you had hoped or just did not feel anything towards your date, don’t tell him there and then.

A simple, ‘thanks for meeting up with me, I hope you had a nice time?’ will ascertain if it was just as bad or good from the reaction. We men will always say it was nice even if it was not, which is not very helpful admittedly.

Not to focus too much on the negatives and what ifs but these thoughts may run through one’s mind and hopefully beforehand so as to help plan ahead a little rather than as an afterthought.

The Love Lottery: A Comic Tale of Lessons in Life, Lover, Dating and the Odd Samosa Party by Raj Dhaliwal (published by Clink Street Publishing 20th February 2018 in paperback and ebook) is available to purchase from online retailers including Amazon and to order from all good bookstores.