Love, Lindsay

I Asked New Yorkers For Their Best First Date Tips

"Don't eat wings."

Anyone who's been single in New York City (myself included) knows that dating in the city can be... tough, to say the least. 

According to 2014 Facebook data gathered from relationship-related posts and status changes, big cities like New York, Los Angeles, and Miami aren't the best places to meet people, especially for college-educated, heterosexual women. The book DATE-ONOMICS: How Dating Became a Lopsided Numbers Game explains why: Manhattan is one of the worst dating markets for women trying to meet a man with the same education level because in 2012 about 34 percent more women than men graduated from American colleges. By 2023, the U.S. Department of Education expect this number to reach 47 percent. According DATE-ONOMICS' author Jon Birger, this means there are three women for every two men in Manhattan's hetero, college-grad, under-30 dating pool. 

So it's no surprise that simply getting to the first date and the first kiss is something to be celebrated. Even though the odds aren't exactly in New Yorkers' favor, I figured who better to ask for first date tips than those navigating one of the world's most difficult dating scenes? And just like your favorite restaurant on Seamless, they delivered. 

Though there is no one-size-fits-all relationship guide, here are some of my favorite dating tips from people in all types of relationships that might just help you score a second date — wherever you are: 

1. Be yourself.

"You have to just give them who you are because at the end of the day, if it's gonna continue, you don't have to adjust. I have what I call the 'Julia Roberts laugh' (I throw my head back and laugh), so if you're funny, I'm gonna give a laugh and I'm gonna laugh genuinely ... Just be authentic. I'm too old to play games." - Sanaja, 39, single 

2. Watch what you eat.

"It's something really silly, but I always tell my friends, 'There's three things you don't want to eat on a first date.' Number one is salad because then you're chewing pieces of lettuce like you're a cow, and that's horrible. Number two: Don't ever eat spaghetti because then, it's the same thing. You're slurping all over it, and you just don't want to do that on a first date. And the last one is: don't eat wings. You know, you get all sticky and whatever. It's just food advice." - Melissa, 31, "It's complicated" 

3. Don't cheap out.

"I think [a first date is] something that's memorable and something that you want to stick. It's something you're always gonna want to have together, so you want to make sure not to cheap out and to go to a nice place." - Jesse, 25, in a long-distance relationship

4. Choose a first date activity that reflects your personality.

"I usually prefer to do drinks instead of dinner — at least first — because dinner's a long commitment, and you don't know if you're gonna enjoy the person ... Sometimes activity-based things like bowling [are good] because you have automatic built-in conversation. I'm a big live music person so going to a show is great, although you can't talk that much, but go to a bar before. Common interests are always good." - Lindsay, 34, single 

5. Be upfront about what's going on in your life.

"I feel like a lot of people have this thing where they don't want to divulge the deep parts of themselves to other people because, you know, they're afraid the other person might run or might not want to date them. But I always feel like when you're able to open up about hard truths in the beginning, it actually makes it a lot smoother further on down the line because a lot of these things, they come up and you're like, 'Oh I already knew about that.' ... Now, first date might not be the best thing to divulge all your deep, dark secrets, but I do think it's very good to be clear about intentions, while still trying to keep it lighthearted." - Melvin, 30, in a relationship

Lindsay here, A Plus's resident relationship guru/columnist. While I may not know everything, I do know a lil something about love and our seemingly endless pursuit of it. Having written dozens of A Plus articles about dating, relationships, and sex, I'm ready and willing to investigate all of your romantically-inclined questions (submit here!) — because I've asked them myself. What I hope to bring to A Plus's readers is a sex-positive, body-positive, and most importantly, you-positive perspective on modern love. Consider Love, Lindsay your digital Cupid.


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