It's 2017, and first dates are more nerve-wracking than ever thanks to apps.
Not only do you have to worry about accidentally getting a piece of food stuck in your teeth, but technically, your date is a total stranger... a stranger you are going to spend at least an hour with. Will he actually look like his pictures? Did he catfish you? Is he a secret misogynistic sociopath?
With all of that fun stuff to worry about, who has time to spend hours in the mirror tweezing each stray eyebrow hair? While I'm not advocating you show up to a date fresh from a sweaty SoulCycle session, there's no need to put curlers in and sit in front of a vanity like every pre-2010 rom-com suggests.
Dates used to be grand productions, now they happen at the swipe of a finger. Treat your prep with the same casual coolness you swipe through your Tinder matches with.
Here are four old school rules about prepping for first dates that are totally pointless... so stop doing them.
1. A New Outfit Is Required For The Big Date
While it's fine to want to feel good about yourself before a date, there's no need to spend your paycheck on a new dress every time someone asks you out. You go on too many dates for that anyways.
Instead of investing in an off-the-shoulder top for a date with someone you haven't felt real life vibes with yet, wear something comfortable that you feel great in.
Yes, showering and looking presentable is a normal thing to do before a date, and I highly recommend it, but there's no need to add pressure beyond that. I know when I get nervous before a date, the more anticipation I build trying to pick the perfect outfit by panicking in the mirror, the more likely I am to get lost in my head and forget to be in the moment.
How can you remember what the guy sitting across you is saying if you're thinking about the uncomfortable, overly expensive dress you have to sit in for the next few hours?
2. Pick Out High Heels To Wear
Heels can make me feel powerful, but they can also hurt my feet, and make me a cranky human.
Just like buying a new outfit, if you want to wear heels on a first date because you love the way they make you look, by all means go for it. (And props to you for being able to walk like a normal person in them.)
If, like me, even wedges make you feel like you've strapped torture devices to your feet, wear flats that you feel comfortable in. Then, you'll have a shot at actually being pleasant company. Heels are so 1950s anyways. And if you get along with him super well and the date turns into a sweet evening walk? You'll be so happy you followed this advice.
For those of you still on team heels: Wear whatever height of heel you want, and don't stress if your guy's on the shorter side. A guy who doesn't mind when his lady is taller than him is the best type of man.
3. Make Sure You Have Time To Do Full Hair And Makeup
Okay, yes, I usually do my hair and makeup before a first date.
There's nothing wrong with looking nice and covering that pimple, but you don't need to spend hours in the mirror. What if you decide to go on a hike? What if you have a crazy week at work and you're running to grab a quick after-work drink before a friend's birthday party? First dates can be more casual than we make them.
Let's take the pressure off whenever we can. You'll be totally annoyed if you spend hours perfecting your red lip, only to find out your dude is a dud.
Not convinced? Think about this: So many people meet each other after work, where there is no way they are looking Kardashian-level glam every day. If this guy is "the one," eventually he's going to see the real you, sans Kylie's lip kit. You don't need to contour for hours to look your best.
Plus, think about how easy guys have it. Don't waste your whole afternoon getting ready for someone who is basically just going to shower and show up to the bar. Smash the patriarchy!
4. You Have To Get Permission First
The oldest rule in the book of dating is getting your dad's (or all your best girlfriends') approval on the lucky gentleman you'll be spending the evening with.
While a date showing up to your house with flowers and shaking your dad's hand is both adorable and chivalrous, you're an adult now. Your parents are no longer in charge of your dating life. When I get ready for a first date, I often show his profile to my friends, occasionally getting caught up in their opinions of him - before I have even met this person in person.
We worry so much about what our friends think when it comes to who we're seeing. As they can get a bit judgmental when it comes to your romantic prospects, for the first date, skip gossiping for hours about what he's going to be like. You'll find out when you meet him.
The pressure we put on ourselves and our potential partners on a first date can get legitimately crazy. Getting ready for a date is stressful enough. Skip the old-school preparation and set yourself up to be a more authentic version of you. The more authentic you are, the sooner you'll find out if you and your date are compatible.
Welcome to the world of millennial dating, where women no longer have to wait to make the first move, get dressed up like Barbie dolls, and spend tons of money on to look perfectly manicured.
The game has changed. Don't follow old school rules that leave you powerless and anxious. Approach your first dates with confidence, and they will deliver that confidence right back to you.