5 stages of a first date

Chances are most of you have either experienced the emotional rollercoaster of a first date or will sometime in your future. Being a young single girl in the city, with Tinder always in my back pocket, I find myself going on more first dates than I care to admit – some leading to second and thirds but many having a miniscule lifespan (obviously never my fault, always the guys). The dates usually vary in activity, sometimes drinks, coffee, pizza, a trip to the dog park, or your typical movie date. Every date is a little different, however, the lead up is always the same. Wondering if my first date feelings were unique only to me I consulted with a few of my single friends, both male and female. What I found was that I wasn’t the only one who changed my outfit 14 times, or gave myself countless pep talks before I could leave my apartment. All my friends went through similar feelings. So with the help of my single circle I present: The 5 Stages of a First Date.

1. The internal debate

Every date has to start somewhere. In today’s day and age, millennial dating seems to all start with Tinder. Those rare matches who don’t just sit at the top of your app collecting dust are where many of these dates stem from. After a few generic messages such as “where are you from?”, “what’s your major?”, and “are you a psychopath?” are out of the way, it’s time to take the interaction to the next level and you know the “so what’s your week looking like” text is just around the corner. Receiving this text is both exciting and nerve-racking. You have enticed a stranger on the internet enough to make them want to meet up face to face, but on the other hand, you’re meeting up with a stranger off the internet face to face. This is where most of us start our internal debate. Do you take the plunge and go on a date where you could potentially spend the night regretting the very moment you downloaded the dating app, or do you play it safe and pretend like you never saw his message? This will inevitably lead to you taking 5 hours to think of a response, consulting your best friend and maybe your mom, extensively creeping his social media, looking at his pictures for a solid 5 minutes debating if you’re really attracted to him or not, and then writing and rewriting your answer at least 4 times.

2. The excitement

Let’s say you give in to your internal debate and agree to the date. This is the moment every girl is guilty of. You get excited, you start picturing a future together with this strange man. Re-reading his Instagram captions thinking how funny he is and how maybe one day you’ll join him on one his day trips to Banff and take cute pictures to display all over social media. You can see your slightly sad Saturday solo Netflix binges no longer being sad and solo because he will fill the empty spot in your bed. At this moment you can’t help but be a little bit grateful for your courage to take him up on his offer of casual drinks.

3. The day of

The worst part of the whole experience; the day of the date. You woke up with a pimple the size of Mount Everest in the middle of your forehead, your hair feels greasy, and you aren’t sure if you suddenly are coming down with a case of scurvy or if you’re just feeling sick from the nerves. If you’re a serial dater you may have your go-to failsafe first date outfit on hand, for others you have to go through the dreadful task of picking out an outfit that looks casual yet classy and that fits the occasion of the date, a nearly impossible task. After 14 outfit attempts you can usually be found sitting on your bedroom floor on the phone with your best friend trying to figure out a way to ditch at the last minute, but after a few reassuring words you’re on the way out the door – in my case, usually late.

4. The date

Here you are, the moment all of these nerves have been leading up to. Walking into the bar, your stomach suddenly full of butterflies, sweat beading at your hairline, and your legs wobbling. You spot your familiar stranger at a small table in the corner of the room. Walking up to him with a smile, unsure if you hug, shake hands, or crack a not so funny joke. With cheeks flaming red and your nerves at an all time high there is no turning back now; order your drink and just hope for the best.

5. The results

How you feel after the initial nerves settle varies from experience to experience. If you’re lucky you will find yourself captivated in a conversation that you don’t want to end. Your cheeks are still red and butterflies are still fluttering in your stomach, but this time because you’re feeling a connection with the stranger in front of you. In this case, all of the first date feelings you had to go through to get to this point were worth it. All the doubts and hesitations dismissed and the feeling of promise and excitement settle in. This is the outcome we all hope for, but the harsh reality is that this is not the outcome we all get. You may find yourself sitting across the table from a guy that just spent the last 45 minutes talking about his mom, his bros, or even worse, his ex. Feeling no connection with this guy you can’t help but wish you stayed home watching Buzzfeed videos while doing a face mask and eating your favorite Chinese takeout.

As many of us know, not all first dates end in fireworks and romantic goodnight kisses on your doorstep, but the fact is if you don’t plan on being the single one at family holidays for the rest of your life, first dates are inevitable. So even though they put you through emotional turmoil we’re stuck with them. Take it from this article, assembled not through one girl’s experience but a collection of many first date tales, that when you’re feeling as if you’re about to upchuck prior to meeting a complete stranger, it is in no way odd. Sometimes you need to talk yourself into saying yes just to be able to tell your mom that yes, you are indeed dating and no, you’re not sitting at home alone again on a Friday night. First dates aren’t always fun, but just know we’re all going through it together.