Once upon a time, a woman (not me, I swear) got stuck in her date's window after trying to repossess the "number two" that she threw out of said window when it wouldn't flush. It made headlines around the world. That should be enough of a pre-date pep talk: The likelihood of you having another Poopgate is pretty much zero. (Plus now you know not to follow anything out of your date's window.) Still, first dates can be extremely nerve-wracking, and I'm a big fan of pumping oneself up with pep talks before a date.
Here's my personal take on first dates: the more you go on, the easier they get. Not to brag, but I'm 24 dates into a podcast experiment called "51 First Dates," so I can vouch for this with straight-up data. First dates used to turn me into a pile of mush and nerves and incur thoughts like "how rejected will I get tonight?" Now, they just make me think "I hope this goes well and if it doesn't, that's OK." Genuinely. I just don't see them as high stakes opportunities anymore.
Still, I do get a little bit nervous, especially right before I leave my apartment to meet a stranger. At their core, first dates are incredibly strange: you meet up to talk one-on-one with someone you probably have never spoken with before. I've found that I have different types of nervous energy depending on the date — if my date is with an old friend from college that I had never been romantic with before, I'm nervous in a very different way than if my date is with a stranger from a bar who looks nice, but could also be the next Ted Bundy.
Here are three pep talks that I truly believe you should read on the way to your next date. (Unless you're driving. Or walking. Then read them beforehand.)