Wise Guys: The Top 3 No-No’s for a Straight Woman on a 1st Date

Advice from three of EMandLO.com’s guy friends. This week they answer the following: What are the top 3 no-no’s for a woman to do on a first date? To ask the guys your own question, click here.

Committed Gay Guy (Dwayne):

1. talking about ex boyfriends
2. planning the wedding
3. crying


Married Straight Guy (Jake): This is the kind of thinking that we need to break away from. There are no three top things, three best things, three worst things that will make your first date the best. Checklists that other people create for you can cause neurosis, unnecessary worrying and sweaty palms. This is a battered and bruised cliché, but seriously, just be yourself. You have nothing to lose and everything to gain by acting, talking, eating and laughing naturally. Anything else is a waste of time.

Single Straight Guy (
Megan): My most recent first date turned into four dates in the same day with the same woman. She broke quite a few rules from my style manual. She made fun of my cardigan. (I still have it and it is pretty atrocious, but still..). She played games when I asked for her phone number. She was a wee heavy on the makeup. She got buzzed and emotional. She accepted a flower from another man. Each of these is a no-no for me. Despite those violations, we had an amazing day. We had lunch together. We went for a midafternoon drink. We met again for dinner. We met back at her place for a late night dip in the hot tub. We would not have gotten past the lunch if there wasn’t something there. We wouldn’t have gone for a drink if there wasn’t something there. We definitely wouldn’t have warmed up the hot tub if there wasn’t something there. If you feel it, ignore your rules. Go with your gut, but know your limits, too. If she had talked on the phone throughout lunch, I would have walked; but she didn’t. Sometimes it’s better to swallow your rules. You’ll learn more about the person opposite you, but you’ll also learn something about yourself. Your palate might just be ready for those brussel sprouts you’ve avoided for so long.

Our “wise guys” are a rotating group of contributors, some of whom wish to remain anonymous and some of whom like the attention. This week’s Committed Gay Guy is Dwayne Resnick, a mid-20th-century decorative arts dealer in NY’s Hudson Valley; our Single Straight Guy is The Meeglet blogger Megan, a former librarian whose Men of the Stacks calendar benefits the It Gets Better Project, and our Married Straight Guy is Jake Kulji, a Minneapolis-based freelance writer who blogs at Analogue Living and who has written two Minnesota hiking and camping guidebooks. To ask the guys your own question, click here.


  1. It should also be understood that the probability of any first date turning out to be your soul mate is extremely low. The time spent together on any date needs to stand on its own – expectations can only cause trouble. That is why common courtesy is the first thing, and being your natural self the close second. If you are being polite and authentic with no expectations, then the other person’s bad behavior (selfish, crazy, rude or whatever) is merely amusing, and their good behavior (should you be so lucky) is a bonus.

  2. Jake has it right. Be yourself, be respectful of the other person’s time and interest and be honest (with them and you)and be nice about it. Anything else is a waste of time.

  3. I’m sorry Johnny but I can’t agree with you. I don’t believe they are personal preferences at all and all of the things you listed, apart from the first one, fall under the category of good manners/normal dating etiquette/social behaviour and unless you were on a blind date I can’t understand how no 1 on your list would be an issue. I do believe that most people would find it rude if their date showed up late or was rude to others because those are behaviours that go against the social behaviour deemed correct for that social situation in our society. I understand your point that you can’t make anyone do anything but to a certain extent we are all bound by social “rules” that shape our behaviour, most of us know what these rules are and those who don’t or don’t conform are usually considered deviant and thus most of us do conform.

    I have been on many first dates that didn’t work out because the guy had no concept of acceptable social behaviour in this situation and even more second dates in which it was clear the guy understood how he should act on the first date but by the second date he had dropped the act altogether because he believed this was acceptable and he could now be the awful person he really was. Both of these scenarios are huge red flags that something is seriously wrong and unless there is some sort of disability or mental health issue they are completely unacceptable.

    Yes we all have personal preferences but that is not the same issue being discussed here. There are no rules around personal preferences and thus you can’t account for them on a first date. I prefer men who are sensitive, nature lovers but that type of man would be another woman’s worst nightmare and that’s why we should just be honest about who we are instead of pretending to be someone we aren’t.

  4. Ah come on, with the skirting the question. We all have deal-breakers, and the question is, “what are yours?” It is too a question you can answer. Watch:

    1. Don’t show up looking dumpy
    2. Don’t text/take calls/etc.
    3. Don’t be rude to wait staff/bartenders/anybody else.

    Just 3 examples. Dwayne gave 3 more good ones. Some others might be:

    1. Don’t show up late
    2. Don’t be a loud-talker who other people look at sidelong
    3. Don’t get bombed (unless we both are)

    Come on, this is easy. They’re not “rules” that we hold other people to (can’t make anybody do anything) – they’re personal preferences (or pet peeves) that we all have.

    Think of a first date that didn’t work out – an especially bad one would be ideal. Now think of 3 reasons that date didn’t work out. Bam. There’s your list.

    Come on, this is easy.

  5. I couldn’t agree more with Jake. These ‘rules’ cause more problems than they solve and this isn’t gender specific. I have dated lots of men who were sweet, funny and considerate on the first date and then on the second date it was like a different guy showed up who was rude, arrogant and self obsessed. This was not only confusing and a waste of my time but also made me quite angry. Of course, common sense needs to applied when we are talking about basic manners but never has ‘just be yourself’ been better advice.

  6. Rules like this are unnecessary. Everyone should just try to be polite and considerate then let the rest just unfold naturally. Hell, on my most recent first date, we were out at the beach at night and all the bathrooms were locked. I had to go pee behind a building while he kept watch. Not very lady like but he is my boyfriend now haha.

  7. I couldn’t pick a top 3. I’m a picky guy and I have a long list of expectations and desires and deal-breakers. But I keep them to myself. I’ve never told a woman what I expect of her on a date. I just show up, be myself, let her be herself, and see if we match.

    So although I can’t pick 3, that’s my #1. Don’t tell me what you expect of me, or desire of me, what I mustn’t do around you (women who announce that they expect to be wined and dined, for example; or women who announce that they won’t be having sex tonight). Turn-off! Let me figure you out on my own – that’s part of the fun – and if I can’t, oh well.

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