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What You Shouldn't Say or Do on a First Date

To avoid first-date disasters, harness your impulses

Waging a gender war. You might think it sounds sophisticated to tell a woman, "I won't be doing this again because the sexes are equal now" as you open a door for her. But that's silly, not savvy. Being a gentleman — or, to depoliticize matters, acting polite — has nothing to do with gender equality; it's a gesture of respect. Most women appreciate good manners and like to feel feminine, and most guys like to reinforce those feelings.

Springing an ambush. Even if you're the second coming of Johnny Depp, planting a surprise kiss on your first date's lips is never a cool move. A first kiss occurs naturally — a treasured moment that couples refer to years down the road.

Purchasing affection. A successful first date requires balance, not bravado. So don't make a show of grabbing that first check. For starters, it's ostentatious. Worse, it can appear you're trying to buy a relationship. When things are just getting off the ground, it's logical to split the check or take turns paying for successive ones; that way neither party feels marginalized or obligated.

Acting cool. Forget about putting on an act, a mask or a show. Instead, just be yourself — and you'll be fine. The problem with trying to impress a first date, even if you succeed, is that no one can sustain that performance level. So practice the golden rule of dating: Show the same authenticity you'd like your partner to.

Rushing things. Wait until the end of the first date (or, ideally, after it) before you suggest a second. Any relationship develops more naturally when neither party has an agenda.

Tensing up. As often as necessary, order yourself to relax; you'll be much likelier to enjoy a first date when you do. The "primary mission objective," after all, is to have fun!

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DATING YOUR OWN AGE: AARP dating expert Ken Solin chats with Today show co-hosts Kathie Lee Gifford and Hoda Kotb about why boomer men should date women who are around their same age.

 

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