I am fresh off of my FIRST EVER date and I just had to share. I'm already thinking about what went well and what I could work on, but nonetheless, this is a HUGE hurdle for me. I've been reading Nick's blog for over a year, getting used to the ideas he presents and slowly accepting them as things I can work on. This is going to be a long post, so bear with me.
I grew up in a deeply religious family, and I was quite sheltered. This has caused some major issues in my life as it was taboo to talk about or even acknowledge anything sex related. Combine that with being very socially awkward, and here I am, at 24, without ever having had a girlfriend or even been out on a date. The closest thing to that was when I took a girl to prom when I was a junior. Oh god, the awkwardness...
However, after having been out in the real world for a few years now and seeing how 'normal' people go about their lives, I have slowly started working to change myself and partake in these societal norms. It has not been a quick or easy journey, but I am making progress.
My job involves working with film cameras, lenses, and other equipment. My hobbies on the side include photography and filmmaking, as well as climbing, backpacking, pretty much anything outdoorsy. I live/work full time in a major metropolitan area, and head into the mountains for adventures on the weekends.
My living situation is unique in the fact that I live out of a van full time to save money and spend more time traveling and enjoying the outdoors. (Check out #vanlife on Instagram if you are not familiar with the lifestyle). I have been really nervous about telling dates about this, because it's one of those things where some people will be very intrigued, and others will just be completely put off by it. I am also working to build my social circle in the outdoor activities that I like to meet girls that way, which makes it much more likely that they will respond in a positive way.
My fashion sense and hairstyle have improved considerably this past year, actually buying clothes that fit and trying new things with a stylist. It's been really great for my self-esteem.
I've been off and on Tinder for about 6 months, trying to build up the courage to talk to girls that I've matched with. I have extreme anxiety just sending a girl a message, much less going out on dates. I also set up a date a few months ago where the girl never showed, which didn't help.
One day I matched with a cute girl with a very short bio. Normally I look for girls who are outdoorsy or have a more specific bio so that I know we have at least something in common, but for this girl, I just matched with her based on the fact that she was cute. I decided to risk it. I sent her a message right after matching with her, despite my severe anxiety. To my surprise, she responded, and we started chatting. I used Nick's advice in his e-book on how to text women to be a little flirtatious (something I NEVER would have done before). She responded well, so I took the initiative and suggested a date and location for coffee, which she accepted.
Two days later, we met at the coffee shop. I spent the first half of the day feeling incredibly anxious.
I arrived first, and when she came into the shop, I greeted her and gave her a hug, trying to show a sense of touch and confidence early on, but I don't think it was as confident as I had hoped. I bought our drinks and she took note when I ordered an Americano rather than a sugary drink. Small stuff.
I took initiative and chose the table for us to sit at. I totally spaced on pulling out the chair for her. I did however, sit 90 degrees from her at the table, rather than across from her, so that we could be closer.
We started chatting immediately about the snowy weather and various other things. The usual banter at the beginning of a date: our jobs, where she was from, what her career goals were, etc.
Overall, it wasn't a bad date by any means. There were a few high points that I noted.
I complimented her on her spontaneity when she told me about deciding unexpectedly to move out of state. I also realized I was talking too fast at a few points and deliberately slowed down my speaking.
At a few points in the conversation, we really seemed to connect and laugh about certain things, and even talked about some of our more extreme experiences with drugs and alcohol.
I also dropped the fact that I lived in a van and gauged her reaction. Although it was confirmed that it wasn't her thing and that she could never do it herself, she has a friend who does something similar, so she was familiar with the lifestyle and didn't seem to think it was overly weird or unusual.
Needless to say, some of the things I was most worried about happened, but honestly, just getting on a date was a big accomplishment.
The biggest one I think was that I never touched her after our first hug. I really tried to look for points in conversation to touch her in a natural way, but I just never found a good point to do so, and the longer I waited, the more and more awkward it would have been to start doing it. This resulted in no real sexual intent or showing my sexual side throughout the conversation, although I desperately wanted to. Fighting the innate 'nice guy' that you've been your entire life is extremely difficult.
Pretty much the entire date was small talk. I looked for things I could tease her about, flirt, or make playful banter, but it just never really happened as I was so nervous and we just kind of kept swapping stories about our jobs, where we lived, what we liked to do in our free time, etc. There were some awkward silences where I couldn't really think of anything to say. I was probably too much inside my head rather than looking for the 'hook points' that Nick talks about. Although there were times when she laughed and seemed to open up, much of the time she kept one or two arms crossed and often glanced around the coffee shop or out the windows.
The date went on for about an hour and a half, although it could have easily been an hour. The last 30 minutes was more awkward small talk than anything truly pushing the encounter forward. After that, I finally asked her when she had to be at work, and she said she had to run some errands beforehand, so I initiated ending the date and walked her to her car. We exchanged a quick hug and went our separate ways.
I have not done so yet, but I will probably send her a message and let her know that I had a good time, but that I don't think there was a spark or that we had any common interests, and move on.
Overall, I'm just very glad that I finally made it out on my first date. Although many of my initial fears were confirmed, I am eager to keep improving my social skills and trying again, which is a good sign. The first time is always nerve-wracking, and I have a feeling it will only get easier from here.
Wish me luck!