Usually I recommend just going with the flow, but for many, preparation is everything. As I walked into the office the other day I saw an array of new women’s magazines neatly spread across the reception coffee table. As I looked a little closer at the usual celebrity faces gracing the covers, I noticed how incredibly similar most of the undercard articles were:’what not to wear on a first date,’ ‘5 ways to impress your new man,’ ‘5 talking points to avoid on a first date.’ So I thought to myself let’s do one for the guys, but let’s keep it really simple and focus on three key areas: before, during and after.
I always say don’t overthink dates, your lifetime’s happiness believe it or not isn’t dependant on the outcome of this one simple evening ahead. At the end of the day it’s a drink, a coffee, a meeting, a chat, whichever way you look at it it’s not a big deal, at least not yet anyway. It is however, important to feel your best. Looking and feeling your best will promote confidence, reduce any pre-date jitters and ultimately allow you to have a really good time. So what first? Haircut. Whether it’s three inches off the top or a trim around the sides, nothing makes a guy feel fresher and ready for the night ahead than a visit to the barber’s chair. So where to go? For me there is only one place. House Martin Barbers.
Winner of ‘Best Barbers’ at the Scottish Hair and Beauty Awards in 2015, House Martin Barbers is fronted by Stephen Martin and his ridiculously talented young team. There’s a uniqueness to this place that I haven’t found anywhere else during my ten years of touring Glasgow’s best barbershops. From the reception area’s country pub feel to the bank vault and poker table through the back, a visit to House Martin is more of an experience than just a haircut. The most important thing of course though is the cut itself. These guys have cut hair for some of the biggest names in fashion, music and ahem blogging (thanks Michael) and you won’t leave disappointed. I’m also very pro-beard, but if like me you can’t shape your beard without looking like Ming the Merciless by the end, then these guys will of course do it for you. Alternatively, the cleanest of clean cut shaves is equally on offer.
Plus, if the moment takes you pick-up a Cuban Cigar on your way out. Located on Glasgow’s Bath Street, check them out at http://www.housemartinbarbers.co.uk
Next up is the outfit. This is where guys are most guilty of trying too hard. Leave the over-sizedArmani logo shirts at home and almost always keep it simple. For me, David Beckham is my style hero, post-sarong days of course. His entire wardrobe is based on simplicity and yet he always dresses impeccably. There’s a few ways you can approach this, let’s start with the feet, the one thing that seems to go with everything at the moment is a nice pair of brown Chelsea boots (my favourite purchase of the year so far). I recently picked up a second pair for a mere twenty quid at the Topman sale, no pressure! Jeans, I don’t think I own a pair of jeans that aren’t ‘skinny’ but if you’re not a recovering emo kid like me then a good pair of bootcut jeans should do the trick, but no white jeans, never white jeans! On top depends on your colour of jeans. Black jeans go well with the old, trusty denim shirt and blue jeans go well with a plain, tight-fitting (but not too tight) black t-shirt. Hopefully with the summer months approaching there won’t be any need for a jacket, but if you do need one you can’t go far wrong with a little leather number, but none of these ones with the big white stripe across them, I’ve never understood those?
So first off, location. This is one thing I do recommend thinking about because it’s the one thing that could ruin all of your other preparation. Go somewhere that will actually maximise your chances of getting to know someone and of course let them get to know you. Somewhere that you can get a seat and don’t have to shout over the music. One of the worst dating mistakes I ever made was allowing a girl to talk me into going to the cinema on a first date, not only did we not get to know each other, I ended up sitting behind her because it was so busy! Ideally you want somewhere that plays music but not too loud, is busy but not too busy, dark but not too dark, close enough to other places in case you decide to go for a wander and isn’t too expensive. Easier said than done? Maybe not, check out ‘The 78’ on kelvinhaugh Street. This is a place I stumbled upon on an unplanned night out with friends and wow what a place! Drinks, ridiculously cheap home-cooked food and a surprisingly enjoyable night of reggae music in the later hours. Throw in a coal fire, comfy armchairs, chunky tables and French windows and you have a place that might just lead to this date being the first of many. It’s different and girls appreciate originality.
Conversation is next on the agenda. There are certain things that you just don’t talk about i.e exes. Leave the past in the past, tonight, no one cares about who you’ve dated. So what do you talk about? I should mention that this advice is basic and it’s only for when you need it. The ideal scenario is that the chat flows from start to finish, you have a natural spark and every word is said without a moment’s thought and zero repurcussions. However some people are shy, it’s only natural, so be prepared to go the extra mile if it helps a girl open up. Show interest in them before you start talking about yourself and to do that you have to ask questions. Work, family, music, movies, food and travel, stick to these topics and you’ll be set. Politics and religion? Time for another drink.
Whether you say it out loud or not, your only concern is that they get home ok. Never leave a girl by herself to make her way home, walk her to the bus, put her in a taxi, whatever it takes – even if you didn’t like them! Be caring but casual about it, you want her to get home ok, but you’re not her Dad. A quick text later on to make sure she made it and thank her for the night. Now let her make the next move. You’re now a dating machine, level completed.