Thursday, February 11, 2010

The First Date (Part 1 of 2)

There always seems to be a lot riding on the first date: how to look, what to say, what not to say, what to say just enough of but not too much, excitement, nervousness, etc. Often you’re trying to remember the other person…what was she like? What were her hobbies? What did I say that made her laugh?

These are fair questions and are not meant to imply that men forget who they meet but, as has happened to me, you can meet a girl on a wild, crazy night like New Years and it can take two weeks to make plans due to voicemail-to-text complications, plus the human memory gets hazy. This was the case with “Sandra.”

I chose our first date to be at Ma’Kai, a restaurant in Santa Monica, on a Tuesday night at 8:00p.m. However, the date started before I set foot in the lounge, it began the moment I got out of the shower to figure out what to wear. There’s this great mysticism that girls are the only ones that are indecisive when figuring out how to dress, but the truth is us guys do it too. The big difference is that we have far less options, and we have to deal with other factors like which articles of clothing have no detectable odor, are the least wrinkled or have not been worn within the last 24-48 hours.

How To Dress For a Date

NO T-shirts. A clean, fitted-collared shirt, jeans and shoes that cannot be described as “tennis” are all you need. And don’t forget an awesome jacket, I have one from Italy that is made of leather and besides making me feel like an extra in “The Fast and The Furious,” it is damn stylish.

As I sat in the lounge, I was clueless on what to do. I had arrived early and didn’t want to flirt with anyone else at the bar, call up a friend or find something to read, so I sat down at a table and ordered myself a drink, trying in vain to repress every thought in my crowded head on how the evening should or could go. This is a shining example of how NOT to think, but as I am always learning in my scant 24 years on this Earth, I am progressing in the right direction. I started dating when I was 18 as a freshmen at UCLA, and even at the time I knew my tactics were different from those around me.

To learn more about the shift from pre-college to post-college dating, lets hear from LA Dating Blog’s female correspondent, and a good friend of mine, Maka Shepard:

“When you role around to your mid-twenties, there's one thing that a lot of men need to realize: you are not in college anymore. It’s time to turn "hanging out" with a girl you're interested in to "going on a date" with her. Unfortunately, there's no more grabbing dinner in the cafeteria or killing time in a dorm hallway to get to know someone better. Now, I'm not saying you have to go pick her up, present her with a box of chocolates and then take her to dinner and movie. Dear god no. I would be totally put off if someone I just met did that."

Tangent: On my very first date, I did exactly that, minus the chocolates. During Fall of 2003, I met a cute Latin girl named Rosalinda in a sociology class. I took her out to Westwood to grab dinner at BJs and a “pizookie” for dessert, which is a giant cookie with ice cream. The date was going well, the conversation was fun, and up next was the movie, a charming romantic comedy I hand-selected…called “Something’s Gotta Give” ... about senior citizens.

Despite the terribly awkward movie choice, we had a grand ol’ time and a very wet makeout session in a parking lot. As I walked back to my dorm, absolutely giddy, I had learned two things:

- the area right below the palm where there are a lot of veins is VERY sensitive and when caressed in a dark theater can unleash odd moans that to my virgin ears were unfamiliar.

- I really need to study up on the target audience of a film before seeing it on a first date, as cool as it was to see Jack Nicholson as a grandpa gettin’ his game on with Diane Keaton.

Back to Miss Shepard:

“It’s important to distinguish that you are interested in her. It can sometimes be hard, no one likes rejection. But you must be clear that you would like to spend some one-on-one time with her. Perpetually inviting her along to hang with you AND your five closest friends sends mixed signals. So next time you'd like to see a girl again, ask her out for coffee. Which in girl speak really means "I'd like to see you again."

Excellent advice from the other side! Now back to the date.

After several text messages on how she was running late, I heard an exasperated “Hey Eric, I made it,” from somewhere behind me.

I turned around to see Sandra, an attractive, fair-skinned blonde with chocolate eyes, looking radiant in a stylish red sweater.

This is one of the great thrills of dating, that moment.

The night had officially begun.

The Art of Conversation

While there are no rules to dating or first dates, there is some great advice to be shared, and to that I turn to another friend, Demetrio, as he relates a juicy nugget on chit chatting, and being funny.

“On a first date it is much better to exchange funny, non-offensive stories than to interview the person, tell them your life story or how great or bad you're doing in your career. Focus on the positive and notice how you are feeling on the date. Feelings are contagious, so if you're nervous or bored that means your date is going through some wacky emotions too, but if you're both laughing and having a good time, you're on the right track.”

This philosophy applies to life as well, the idea that how you are feeling will influence your reality. People call it having a good “vibe” (if you’re from beachy Southern California) or “energy” that communicates that you are a fun, exciting person to be around. This is absolutely key if you want to attract women, have friends and charm everyone around you.

In our second post on The First Date, we’ll see how that night with Sandra went, introduce another first date experience, the importance of losing expectations and we’ll touch on the most thrilling type of date that ever existed: THE BLIND DATE


Courtney said...

This game sounds fun. Can girls play too, or is it just for the guys?

Courtney said...

Oh btw, LOVE the palm thing. I wish more guys knew about it ;)

Anonymous said...

Eric, get over yourself.


Mitchell said...

That's funny, the last time I was in LA I went to the Temple of Visions gallery and had a similar conversation (not about surrealist art in Italy, but some other global perspectives on art and culture) with the gallery's curator. It's remarkable that in such an expansive city, people can have such shared experiences.

Eric Horwitz said...

Saturday: Feb 13th
Location: Abbot Kinney
Time: 2:30pm-4:00pm

The experience:

- I chat with four people passing me on the sidewalk about what are the coffee shops and sites to see and everyone is noticeably friendly. I get a small high just from chatting with strangers on a sunny afternoon.
- The curator at a gallery on Westminister andAbbey shares stories of Abbot Kinney in the 80s when it was the seedy party of town dominated by gangs like the Bloods and the Crips.
- I am drawn to the 99 High Art Gallery because of the art of Mark Henson whose works I saw at the Temple of Visions Gallery! Turns out they are sister galleries specializing in surrealism. No one is in the shop but I hear commotion in the back. I boldly head past a curtain to discover a Medical Cannabis café with at least 15 jars of herb. I chuckle to myself, chat with the owner and head on my way.
- Jin Patisserie catches my eye, a tea and cake café with a pleasant garden setting and a soothing atmosphere. I note that this would be an excellent place for a weekend afternoon date. The deal is sealed after one bite of their famous macaroons, which are nothing like the overly-sweet coconut things you eat during Passover, but are buttery and bursting with flavor and a variety of cookie and filling textures. Three bites of the pistachio macaroon stop me in my tracks. It is the most delicious pastry I have ever eaten. (Also the sea salt chocolate ganache and jasmine chocolates are worth writing home about.)
- It’s been an hour and I’m having a great time. I move swiftly down a few blocks to grab a cappuccino at Abbot Habbit, making small talk with people in line. The ham and cheese kitsch catches my eye. In line for the bathroom, I notice something else, a casually-beautiful young blonde sitting at a bench by herself. We make eye contact and politely smile. I decide to talk to her once I get back from the restroom. When I get out, she’s gone. Lesson learned: you gotta act fast because the timing is never right!
- I could easily have spent another hour here, but I desire to head home and report my experience.
- Rushing back, I hear a couple speaking in Italian! I studied abroad in Trento and Padova, Italy for 10 months and immediately introduce myself. Speaking in Italian for 10 or so minutes was a thrill and I learn that the couple was on vacation, having not been in LA for 10 years. This final moment was icing on the cake.

I had a fantastic time, and covered maybe a third of what Abbot Kinney offered. And get this, when I first arrived I wasn’t even in a good! I had arrived to work late that morning and been drained by an event. Wearing a flannel shirt, jeans and running shoes I hardly felt as clean and classy as when I was in downtown last week.

And yet after the first 15 minutes, I loosened up and had fun. I even learned that on the first Friday night of each month Abbot Kinney has a street fair where all the shops, galleries and bars are open late.

I learned how roaming a new area can really lift my spirits. I pushed past my fear and will be doing this more often. Overall, this first game was a success for myself, and I hope readers can try it for themselves soon!

Courtney said...

Sorry for the late post...crazy weekend! I know it's not the most original spot, but I chose to do my "fun times in the city" at a place where I really haven't spent much time: The Beverly Center!
-I'm wearing a cute light blue tank top, a jean skirt and a seafoam green cardigan. I feel cute and flirty, but also casual.
-I park on level 3 of the parking structure on the La Cienega blvd side. Oddly enough, level 3 had 465 spots open, level 5 had 600 spots open, but level 4 only had 9 spots open. Parking lot party?
-I make my way up the cascading escalators and emerge next to a beauty supply store and a Ferrari enthusiasts boutique. I make a b-line for the Apple Store.
-Though I had no interest in purchasing anything, I love to play with all the toys they have to offer (plus I really want an iphone!). A "mac genius" spots me browsing and makes his way over.
-We chat for a bit about the latest MacBooks and the iPad (which is basically like a giant ipod touch? Not sure what I'd use it for). He's a relatively attractive Latin guy, with a decent amount of facial hair (which I love) and I'm impressed by his technical savvy. I can tell that his interest is not in simply getting me to buy something.
-After a decent 15 minute chat, he asks for my number. I'm happy to oblige.
-I leave the Apple Store and make my way through the maze of high end fashion stores and wander into a couple just to take a peek (even though they are totally not my style, and so expensive!).
-I stop in the store Ph8, which has an emphasis on cute, sporty clothes, for girls who want to look good while working on looking good :-). I speak to Jocelyn, a sales associate, who informs me that Ph8 is the new name for Bebe Sport. I love Bebe!
-Alas, I'm not really here to shop so I continue on my way. I discover Wave, an open space bar in the middle of the mall, which looks classy and fun. I approach the bar and order myself a cosmo.
-As I sit and sip, I passively watch some of the muted Olympic coverage on the bar's TV, and the bartender and I exchange a few words.
-An older gentlemen (maybe mid-late 40's?) takes the stool next to mine, even though there's like 15 other open ones, and asks if he can buy my second cosmo. Gross! I politely decline and say that one will be plenty.
-I've been in the market for a new digi-cam (I lost the old one during a wild night a couple weeks ago :-/) so I head into the Sony Style store to check out the offerings.
-As I'm checking out the different cameras (they have a lot more colors than the ones at Best Buy, too!), I'm approached by an attractive Persian non-employee who starts telling me the strengths and weaknesses of the different models.
-I laugh and tell him I don't know very much about cameras, I just want a fun one I can take pictures of me and my friends with. He suggests one of the mid-range Cybershot models, and I make a mental note to come back and select one of those.
-I'm about to leave the store when the Persian guy asks for my number. I give it to him and smile to myself. I might get two dates out of this!
-I make my way back through the mall, past the Wave bar, past the Apple Store, down the cascading escalators and back to Parking Garage level 3. Level 4 seems quiet, so maybe there's no parking lot party after all ;-).

Wow, I had a great time with "fun times in the city"! I've gone shopping by myself before, but I always feel so driven to buy what I need and leave. Taking my time, relaxing, and having an open mind really opened up my possibilities!

Great idea, and I look forward to the next game!

Eric Horwitz said...

@Courtney, that sounds like a very fun and successful outing. :) I will be checking out the Beverly Center soon and will take your advice to flirt with the various salesmen. Thanks for playing "Fun times in the City" :)

Demetrio said...

my dressing style is a little more sporty and casual...i do wear a t-shirt, but make sure it's a unique one that every other guy isn't wearing. besides that i weart common gray sweaters and black jackets, cool jeans or khaki's, and shoes--i need to stop beating the hell out of them. lol :) actually, they can be a nice conversation piece, cuz i can usually account for wild adventures as to why and how my shoes got torn up this last time. lol

anyways, i get up when i feel i've had plenty of sleep, by 10am. do some push ups, crunches, shower and apply jojoba oil to moisturize my face and hands--regular lotion just doesn't do it. besides that, it's a good massage oil.

i'm an adventurer. so i take my backpack. with a good book, a notebook, small bottle of water, pens, cash, extra set of socks, shirt and underwear in case i don't come home that night. oh yeah, and deodorant. (i forgot to bring the camera) lol

i go out and it's quiet. not many people on the bus, so i read from my book, keeping as low a profile as i can. suddenly, a hot little latina is sitting in front of me so i talk to her. no love. but that doesn't phase me cuz i know it's just a number's game.

i go to work--my first day on the job. no women there, so on lunch i'm at the mall. jail bait. no bueno.

back to work and got some good productivity. i'm working with a friend on a new business. we decide to go to one of my brother's performances.

it's a monday night. after being there for 20-30 minutes, it's still a lot of guys and very few women, each one being mobbed by 2 or more at a time. so my friend and i go visit the other local bars. ghost town.

we go back to where my brother is to perform and after 2 hours, he's getting bounced by the bouncer for not having id. so we all leave.

next day on my way home i get two phone numbers from two very nice ladies. one on the bus ride home. both around my age. which is refreshing cuz in the past couple of years i've been attracting mostly women in their 30s and 40s. i'm 24.

Eric Horwitz said...


Glad to hear of the good moments and completely agree that Dating is a numbers game. The more people you meet, the less you fear rejection, the more confident you become and that just bumps up your success rate.

Anson said...

Totally made the mistake of wearing a t-shirt on a date once. Worst part is it was that one where there's an arrow pointing to my face that says "the myth" and one pointing to my dangleflop that says "the legend". I thought it was clever, but needless to say, no second date.

Courtney said...

@Demetrio, I like that you went on your adventure prepared! I think it's super important for a guy to have a regular push-ups/situps routine, just to keep everything where it's supposed to be. It doesn't take long and us girls really notice :-). And great call on the jojoba oil! It's so attractive when a guy takes care of his skin. Nothing against Jergens, but it just doesn't have the properties I look for in a good moisturizer.

Courtney said...

@Anson, I can't believe you wore that t-shirt on a DATE! I'm surprised she even stuck around for five minutes, let alone the entire time. You probably embarrassed her. Yikes!

Eric Horwitz said...

I usually have the best nights when they begin with an exercise routine, a shower, getting ready in a non-rushed manner and just looking as sharp as a nail.

After that preparation, when you step out of the car, smile on your face, good posture and with a swagger in your walk, you may surprise yourself on how attractive you feel.

Mike said...

I tried your game and had a less than stellar experience. I'm pretty new to LA, living around USC. I hit the town in some nice jeans and a red button up shirt, looking pretty sharp. I walked a little bit north and started soaking up the sights around Grape St. I approached some young men hanging out in a park and struck up a conversation. Apparently they didn't like my red shirt and I got punched in the face. They stole my phone and shoes and I had to walk the couple miles back to campus barefoot.

Eric Horwitz said...

hahahah, I like your sense of humor. Us Bruins have always known that USC is in the ghetto...

Anonymous said...

This man does not represent UCLA.

Post a Comment