4 Subjects to Avoid on a First Date

man and woman in restaurant

From Maura Kelly's A Year of Living Flirtatiously blog.

I had an Internet date last week.

The dude was quite cute, with a big flop of sandy blond hair and a tiny gap between his teeth. He was younger than me (of course) by six years. His look was both preppy and kind of arty: He had on khakis and a blue-striped dress shirt, but he was also wearing a cool navy hoodie that had elbow patches, and a brown navy cap. He works in finance, but clearly didn't think his job was all that cool — adamant as he was that his work was separate from the rest of his life.

A side note: This happens quite frequently in New York City: people with perfectly respectable — and very lucrative — jobs apologize for not doing something more interesting with their lives. When I was younger and dumber, I used to think: Yes, your job IS kind of boring! And I'd rather date someone who's doing something creative with his life. Now that I'm older, wiser, and a little less crazy (just a little), there's something very appealing about meeting men who can actually afford to both pay their rent and take me out to dinner.

Anyway...I knew my date had a snazzy job but was also a big fan of visual art and indie music. Nice!... But at the same time, the two of us had spoken a couple times on the phone, and while the chats were perfectly pleasant, they were also a little too polite. Which is to say kind of boring. So I stalled a bit, when it came to meeting up. Finally, though, on Friday, I had nothing else going on so I agreed to hang with him.

As I biked over to the wine bar where we were meeting, I began thinking: Why not just KISS HIM at the end?! Even — perhaps especially — if I'm not that into him? I only live once!

By the time I arrived I was totally sold on my kissing-bandit scheme. Unfortunately, however, it was impossible to execute. While he was incredibly sweet and very cute, we didn't have an ounce of chemistry. The experience wasn't unpleasant, and the time passed quite quickly...but in the back of my mind, I kept thinking that if I got home early enough, I'd be able to squeeze in a DVD before bed. So we politely parted ways after a couple hours, and I rushed back home to watch the movie that had just arrived in my mailbox.

It occurred to me that I had dropped one small bomb myself, while my date and I were sipping our Tempranillos: I'd talked about a once-dear friend of mine whom I'd "broken up" with for reasons that are too complicated to go into in this post. Unfortunately, I did go into the details with him — and that story is really a little too dark for first-date banter. By that point, of course, I'd decided I wasn't into him, so it didn't matter much; but it's not a mistake I'd like to make with a dude I liked.

Some other things that should be avoided on a first date:

1) Ex-boyfriends. I'm not saying you can't mention that you just broke up with someone a month ago, or three months ago, or whatever the case may be. Just keep all discussion VERY minimal. No gory details. Don't say anything that would indicate you're bitter over the whole thing, or still obsessed with the ex.

2) Family drama. If you haven't spoken to your father in years, you hate your mother, or think your brother's new wife is white trash...keep a lid on it for the time being. Otherwise, you could come off as someone who is difficult to get along with or too judgmental. What's more, potential significant others might be scared off if they think potential mates don't have a supportive family — because it can be discomforting to think about getting involved with someone who doesn't have a strong support network. Wait a few dates — until you've already worked your charm — before going into the details of any unhappy family dynamic.

3) Psychopharmaceutical drugs you're taking. Discussion of such things could make a person nervous that you're a little unhinged — even though we know you're not. Peeps who aren't on antidepressants and the like (or don't have friends who are) may not understand that taking them is not big deal until they've spent enough time with you to see that they're not.

4) People with whom you've had (or are having!) casual sex. (If this requires more explanation, see this post for details.)

Bonus topic to avoid? Your blog (if you have one). Trust me.

Maura Kelly blogs daily about her dating life at marieclaire.com/flirt.

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