The most clichéd dating advice I've ever heard is, "Don't think too much about it." To be fair, though, this isn't wrong.
Of course you should put some thought into your date. Sure, overthinking probably won't result in success, but "underthinking" can be just as disastrous.
It’s important to understand what you’ll be getting into. More importantly, you need to be ready for what’s to come.
Before a date, you should never need more than an hour to fully prepare. It may feel like you’re scrambling, but if you use every minute wisely, you'll have more than enough time to prepare for a successful date (which, of course, will lead to future dates).
Here are the seven things that every guy should make sure he does in the hour before his date.
1. Make sure you're “socially lubricated.”
There is no one right way to pregame a date. For some, pregaming might mean a nice big glass of Carbernet; for others, it could be a couple shots of whiskey.
Hell, maybe you need a spliff to ease the nerves. Lord knows we’ve all been there.
No matter what you choose, it’s important to loosen up before your date.
I’m not saying you should pull up to a first date sauced and slurring your words -- or worse, stoned as a bat. In moderation, a little social lubrication can go a long way in battling those nerves.
2. Clean yourself up, son.
Shower (if you haven’t yet). Wash your face. If you’re a bearded guy, make sure you’re trimmed properly. If not, it’s probably a good idea to give yourself a fresh shave.
Make sure you look presentable, since your appearance will set the tone for the rest of your date. Appearance is key. If you look sloppy, what kind of impression do you think that will make about how you handle the rest of your life?
Don’t forget cologne.
3. Listen to some music.
Before football games in high school, I used to put on the entire "Ready to Die" album from The Notorious BIG true "pregame" music.
There was something about that album that pumped me up and got me ready for football. And at the end of the day, dates aren’t all that different from big games -- I mean, both have winners and losers, right?
So to make sure you’re mentally prepared, it’s not a bad idea to spend some time before a big date listening to the right type of music. It'll get you in the zone. I recommend something sultry, like Drake.
Be careful what you listen to, though. Pick the wrong Drake song, and you’ll be stuck thinking about your ex the entire night.
4. Make sure you're strapped with your date essentials.
I call it the Holy Trinity of dating.
It's easy for women to carry around what they need; that's what purses are for.
Yet for the men out there -- at least ones who don’t carry pocketbooks -- you’re going to have to devote some thought to this. But fear not. That’s what I’m here for.
If you’ve got an hour to kill before a date, just make sure that you’ve got the Holy Trinity. It's simple: chapstick, gum and condoms.
You may not need all of the three -- hell, you might not need any of the three -- but they’re important to keep on you just in case.
ABP, man. Always. Be. Prepared.
5. Do some brief cardiovascular exercise.
While it’s probably not a good idea to work out too hard or get too sweaty before a first date, I would recommend getting the blood flowing a little bit.
Whether that means knocking out a couple of pushups or pullups (if you have one of those handy on-top-of-the-door pull-up bars) before your shower, if you have any hopes of getting intimate with your date, you’re going to want to be in the best physical shape as possible.
Granted, I’m not sure 20 pushups will compensate for the beer gut you developed in college. But they can’t hurt.
6. Do a quick -- but thorough -- background check.
If you have some time to kill before a first date, it doesn’t hurt to do a little background check.
Yes, I’m talking the works: Facebook, Google, LinkedIn (from an incognito browser, naturally).
You’re going to want to get an idea of who you’re meeting. By stalking this person's social media profiles, you’ll get a better impression of what’s going to make the best impression.
If she's wearing a Bob Dylan T-shirt in a photo, it might be in your best interest to drop a Dylan lyric over dinner. If she's posing on a yacht in a lot of her pictures, it might work for you to pick up the check. I don’t know -- it's just an idea.
Also, it’s important to check she doesn’t have any priors or a criminal history before the date -- unless you’re into that type of shit (I know I sort of am).
7. Make sure your funds are secured.
This one might be the most important thing to do in the time before your date: MAKE SURE YOUR FUNDS ARE SECURED.
There will be nothing more humiliating and harmful to your chances for a second date than offering to pick up the check and realizing you don’t have enough money to cover it.
If you’re going plastic, make sure you’ve got your credit card(s). If you’re looking to pay in cash, make sure you’ve got big enough bills to cover the cost of the meal -- without having to scrap together crumpled singles and fives. That will just make you look unprepared and plebeian.