Your guide to better first dates in 2012.

It’s a new year, Sunshine; resolve to avoid bad first dates. This will require more advanced screening and strategies for quick exits. Since most of your dates will probably originate online, take the time to scan his profile for red flags and insist he sends you three recent photos containing complete body shots. If any of those photos contain a shirt with ferns, sandals with socks, or nose hair, shut ‘er down.

He’ll probably suggest you meet over dinner. Bad idea. So much can go wrong during a two-hour dinner. Meet him for a coffee and ask a close friend to call you five minutes after the date begins. Another option is to meet at the mall for frozen yogurt. This is also a test to see what sort of taste he has. If his bowl overfloweth with gummy bears and he insists you pay for your own cone, leave him alone.

Lower your expectations because the man who shows up will probably be five to ten years older than the one you’ve been flirting with online. He’ll also be twenty pounds heavier, three to five inches shorter, and may show up with his TGI Friday’s vest still on. He’ll have less hair than you expect in one place and lots more in others. You’re no Halle Berry, so take it easy on the poor fellow.

During the date, ask him lots of questions pertaining to how he spends his free time. This will give you a sense of if and where you’ll fit. For instance, if he spends his free time playing Modern Warfare, lighting farts, or skateboarding around an abandoned pool, ditch the fool.

I realize most matchmakers insist there’s to be no discussion around religion, politics, and sex on the first date. I say nonsense. You need to know sooner, rather than later if he’s a Mormon Conservative with a diaper fetish. You should also make it clear to the monkey that he will not be granted access to your interior before date number five, a thorough scrubbing, and much tequila.

Here are some other questions, many will consider somewhat personal, but I insist will save you hours of wasted time:

  • Do you shave or at least trim your ball hair?
  • Have you tried the blue pill and do you have any left?
  • Do you snore?
  • Do you think it’s funny to fart in front of your girlfriend?
  • How about burp?
  • Do you live with roommates, family members, or reptiles?
  • How many pairs of shoes do you own?
  • What’s the square root of nine?
  • What’s the last book you read?
  • Do you have a criminal record, herpes, or bleeding hemorrhoids?
  • Have we dated before?
  • Does your ex-girlfriend know she’s your ex-girlfriend?

If he is aghast at your forthrightness, shoo him away. You don’t have time to waste on snooty dudes. If he answers all questions without flinching, you may have a keeper; proceed to step two: the dinner date.

Go get him, Champ!

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Author of humorous essays about relationships and lifestyles.

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