TOP 4 SPOTS FOR A FIRST DATE + 6 DATING TIPS WHEN YOU GET THERE
September 7, 2015
There’s someone special you’ve had your eye on. Every morning, you look forward to the brief few moments when you walk past her or share a lift to your office. It’s the highlight of your day. You want to ask her out. You finally pluck up the courage, and… she says yes!
Now the question is: where to go for your first date?
Theo Malherbe, founder of corporate dating agency The Only Social Club, has helped hundreds of men and women find lasting love. He notes a change in the way people are dating: “Since the arrival of online dating and, more recently, app-based services such as Tinder, the dating game has sped up dramatically. Dating has become a sort of sport – everything is focused on the quick fix, the hook-up, the one night stand, the no-strings-attached, friends-with-benefits arrangement. But this instant gratification has left many cold. More and more people are opting to slow down their dating experiences in search of a meaningful connection.”
Malherbe identifies five restaurants that provide the right level of intimacy for a meaningful first date:
Medeo at The Palazzo, Montecasino, Johannesburg
Take pre-dinner drinks at the casual Café Rialto before enjoying a relaxed meal prepared by Medeo’s world-class chefs. Have dinner on the terrace and enjoy the lovely Highveld summer weather.
BREAD Café at The Bromwell, Woodstock, Cape Town
A contemporary restaurant incorporating an old-style boulangerie and a beautiful fireplace for the colder months, BREAD Café is great for intimate day-time dates. Head over there on Saturdays and enjoy the live jazz music on offer.
Liefde Bistro at Oude Werf, Stellenbosch
As the name suggests, this restaurant oozes romance. Sit in the beautiful courtyard of this beautifully renovated restaurant in the heart of Stellenbosch and enjoy one of the many world-renowned wines on offer, all under the watchful gaze of centuries-old oak trees.
Spiga D’Oro, Durban
This local favourite offers a great vibe and equally great Italian cuisine. Book early to get a seat in the romantic Italian courtyard, which is surrounded by herb-filled planters and features a beautiful fountain.
But what to do when you get to your date? How do you make sure you open the door to a second, third, seventeenth date?
Rule 1 – The golden rule of first dates: Everything is PG13. So tame your drinking, don’t be late, don’t swear, don’t tell that really inappropriate joke (no matter how funny it seems) and leave your prejudices at the door. Offer her your arm when you walk, and don’t be discouraged if the evening doesn’t end in a passionate embrace.
Rule 2 – Dress well: This doesn’t mean wear a tuxedo at all times. Being overdressed can be just as uncomfortable for your date as under dressing. Generally, a collar shirt or nice t-shirt, blazer, fitted pants and proper shoes works for most dates. Be clear about where you’re meeting so that she can also dress for the occasion. Take care of your grooming – don’t let ear and nose hairs grow wild. And take it easy with the aftershave!
Rule 3 – Open the door: The car door, the door to the restaurant, the door to her apartment. Be polite and let her through. Do the same for other women, families, and the elderly. It’s a simple sign of respect that costs you nothing and places you firmly in the realm of gentleman. Chivalry goes a long way.
Rule 4 – Have some manners: Table manners, that is. Let her sit down first, and be polite to the waiter, even if they completely mess up your order. Don’t chew with your mouth open, don’t shove an entire slice of pizza into your mouth, and don’t make the scchhrrrllllp noise as you suck the meat off your chicken wings.
Rule 5 – Be interested (and interesting): Ask her about herself and, when she responds, listen, maintain eye contact, and make encouraging sounds and gestures that tell her you want to hear her story. When it’s your turn to speak, try to be humble and understated but don’t undermine your achievements. Have the confidence to be yourself without being boastful or arrogant.
Rule 6 – Splitting the bill: This is often where things get really awkward and uncomfortable. Do you pay? Does she pay? Do you split the bill? For first dates, splitting the bill is the safest route. If however you feel it’s appropriate, offer to pay the bill.