On a first date, there are about a million different decisions you face. Obviously, first and foremost is where to go. I personally have always felt that for a first date, it’s best to stick with drinks instead of dinner. Why? Because when you’re out to dinner, you have to own up to dietary restrictions, and, more importantly, you’ve got to find a cuisine that fits both your tastes. A dinner date also leaves you saddled in for a course or two, whereas the time constraint of a drinking date is malleable. If you’re having the best time you can always stay longer, but if it sucks, it’s pretty easy to slip out after a round.
Once you get to the bar, you should be strategic about where to set up camp. If you’re sitting side-by-side on bar stools, it’s harder to make eye contact with your companion and it’s easier to make physical contact, intentional or not. Try to find a small table where you can sit across from one another–there is always room for footsie or a brush of the hand later on as the date progresses. Also, the question of geographic placement is crucial: do you sit indoors or outside? Do you sit in the front or the back? These questions are more situational, depending on the weather the atmosphere of the bar. It it’s overly hot and humid, sit inside. I know it’s August, but I assure you, if your date is running to the bathroom to shove wads of paper towels in his or her armpits, there probably won’t be a second date. Inside, if it’s so loud you feel you’re screaming, try to sit closer to the entrance where the population is less dense.
Perhaps the most pressing question is what to order. My greatest advice is to order what makes you feel most comfortable (and something you genuinely enjoy drinking). When I’m on a first date, I’ve developed the habit of asking the guy I’m with what he’s ordering. It helps me to establish what my date has in mind for the evening. If he’s going to have a single beer, I don’t want to order a tequila on the rocks, only because I don’t like to seem overeager. This practice is entirely made-up, and probably reads way too much into a situation, but I would stress the idea that you should order whatever makes you happiest.
The reason my date was such an epic #fail is because we were sitting in a bar, not drinking. As a high functioning, fairly social person, I don’t require alcohol to interact with other people. However, comparing my social life now to my social life as an awkward, sober teenager, I can see the advantages of drinking. The reason why alcohol is called liquid courage is because, in moderation, drinking can help you feel more relaxed.
When it comes to dating in your twenties, there aren’t really any rules. Mostly, it’s just a massive population of people doing whatever they can to be as minimally awkward as possible. Dating, and meeting people in general, can be so fun if you learn to steer into the skid and embrace any potentially uncomfortable situations. What’s the worst that can happen?