Humor Relationships

10 Places to Avoid on a First Date

The world of online dat­ing is a gigan­tic beast of an indus­try offer­ing com­pan­ion­ship, romance and yes, even love, to the lonely-hearted denizens of the ‘Net. In fact, it is pre­cisely because it is such a large indus­try that, much like Apple and Google, it has man­aged to spin off a score of satel­lite indus­tries and niche markets.

One such niche is the online dat­ing advice mar­ket. It would be hard to find any web­site devoted to the 18–30-year-old demo­graphic that doesn’t men­tion in at least one arti­cle or forum post­ing some good old-fashioned advice for online dat­ing. They cover how to take your pro­file pic­ture, what you should and should not put into your pro­file and adver­tise­ment, how to make sure the per­son you choose isn’t Doc­tor Lecter in dis­guise – in short, they give the ulti­mate how-to on find­ing and snar­ing that one-in-a-million guy or gal.

But then they just stop. No more advice. Just when you need it the most, too.

You see, when you finally make the big jump from an online rela­tion­ship to a real-world one, you’re stuck with sev­eral prob­lems: does your new friend match up to their online pro­fil­ing? Are you hook­ing up with a latent stalker? Do they gig­gle and drool when­ever you say the word “con­ju­gate”?

And one more major prob­lem – where should you NOT go for a first date.

Oh, sure, there are plenty of arti­cles you can Google on “where to go for your first date”, but not a sin­gle one that offers advice on loca­tions to avoid. My aim in writ­ing this arti­cle is to out­line 10 of those very places and thus fill the void.

Note that with only one excep­tion, these 10 no-fly zones are all legal busi­nesses fre­quented by law-abiding indi­vid­u­als on a daily basis. They aren’t on this list merely because of their inher­ently evil nature; rather, they are here because of the anes­thetiz­ing effects they can have on a new relationship.

For exam­ple …

Church

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A church, of any denom­i­na­tion, is a very bad idea for a first date for sev­eral reasons.

First, if you take your date there dur­ing ser­vices you’re faced with pew-fulls of peo­ple, all poten­tial wit­nesses for any nookie you may be plan­ning. Two is com­pany, but 400 is a Mass.

Then come the guilt trips. Even if you are a rag­ing athe­ist you’re going to develop pangs of guilt when you’re whis­per­ing sweet noth­ings in your date’s ear while being watched by a 20-foot tall statue of what­ever saint or holy fig­ure is pre­em­i­nent in that church. Such stat­ues, usu­ally made from cold, hard mar­ble, always seem to be like those trick 3-D paint­ings – wher­ever you move their eyes seem to fol­low you.

Another prob­lem is that you’ll prob­a­bly have to cough up a few bucks for the col­lec­tion plate, which, if you’re going for a free­bie night out, is going to cramp your style.

So it’s best to avoid churches dur­ing their ser­vices, but what if you plan your date for a time when the church is empty? Many churches actu­ally lock their doors between ser­vices nowa­days in order to foil the crack heads com­ing in and steal­ing what­ever isn’t bolted down. How would you feel if you had spent days con­vinc­ing your on-line love that St. Albert-In-The-Field would be the ideal loca­tion for your first tryst, only to find the doors securely chained upon your arrival?

Even if you man­age to find an open, empty church, you can be sure that just when you’re start­ing to fire on all eight cylin­ders with your date is the moment when the cute lit­tle 90-year-old clean­ing lady will pop up in front of you and begin a dis­cus­sion of what home­made cleaner is best for oak.

So, churches are pretty much off the list.

Morgue

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Don’t laugh – a morgue offers many of the most sought-after attrib­utes of a won­der­ful first-date loca­tion: secluded, quiet, ele­gant and thermostatically-controlled. But unless you have truly found your soul-mate you’ll prob­a­bly rue the day you came up with the idea.

The rea­son a morgue isn’t an ideal first des­ti­na­tion for your bud­ding rela­tion­ship isn’t the obvi­ous one – it isn’t because it’s a big room filled with dead peo­ple. That’s inci­den­tal. No, the real rea­son you don’t want to be there with your honey is because of the ill-timed inter­rup­tions that seem always to hap­pen just when you’re get­ting into the swing of things.

Con­sider this sce­nario: you’ve got your hunky part­ner up on the septically-clean autopsy table, the cold, gleam­ing stain­less steel turn­ing you on. You’ve just begun to unbut­ton his Calvin Klein shirt when a noisy bunch of atten­dants burst through the swing­ing doors argu­ing amongst them­selves over whether Drawer #3 weighs more than Drawer #6. They screech to a halt when they see the two of you doing your best imi­ta­tion of the zom­bie tango, stare open-mouthed at you for what seems like hours, then finally back out of the room and take to their heels to see who can be the first one to call the cops.

No, I’m afraid that the morgue is def­i­nitely off the list, no mat­ter HOW much fun it could be.

Used Car Lot

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A used-car lot might seem to be the ideal first-date place for sev­eral rea­sons: all those fes­tive, flut­ter­ing ban­ners, the tall inflat­able guy doing his dance in the front, all that shiny metal and glass – it’s like a Caribbean vacation!

But there are hid­den draw­backs to this idyl­lic spot, the most annoy­ing of which is that if you are dis­cov­ered lurk­ing on the lot dur­ing your date you will most prob­a­bly be sub­jected to a lengthy sales pitch by a guy wear­ing a cheap toupee. The best thing to do in that case is to feign inter­est in one of his more lux­u­ri­ous rides, take it out for a test drive with your date and at least sal­vage a bit of dig­nity in the process.

New car show­rooms, by the way, won’t even be men­tioned here as they are too grue­some to even think about.

XXX Adult Shop

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Those of a more lib­eral – or lib­er­ated – mind-set might con­sider an adult book shop as an inter­est­ing choice for a first date. Though cer­tainly not for every­one, these estab­lish­ments might offer a few ben­e­fits such as an envi­ron­ment devoid of talk­ing, the thrill of avoid­ing direct eye-contact and the abil­ity to watch movies for the price of just a few quarters.

There are often racks full of toys that you and your date can inspect, read­ing mate­r­ial that can lead to spec­u­la­tion and enter­tain­ment and the joy of strik­ing up con­ver­sa­tions with like-minded strangers, but beware the pit­falls: do not accept any offers to attend a “party” as these usu­ally turn out to be, if not totally false, at least greatly depress­ing. Do not attempt to “make-out” with your date in the movie booths or the mer­chan­dise aisles, as this will result in your imme­di­ate ejec­tion from the premises.

And do not attempt to bring in a pic­nic bas­ket – from pre­vi­ous expe­ri­ence I can tell you that this prac­tice is strongly frowned upon.

Walmart

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Walmart offers many things for many peo­ple – food, cloth­ing, auto parts, toys – but that offer­ing comes at a price, a price that you and your date might not want to pay.

First are the crowds – if you are in the right (wrong) area the store will be jam-packed with over­weight, yoga-pants-wearing locals who will crush you with their flappy arms if you get between them and their bar­gains. There is noth­ing like see­ing your date dis­ap­pear in a fold of flesh to totally ruin your day.

Also to be con­sid­ered is the secu­rity. You know that if you attempt to shoplift a 72” LCD tele­vi­sion by cram­ming it down your pants you’ll do just fine, but if you try to steal a quick peck on your date’s cheek the Wally Police will come down on you like a ton of frozen chicken wings and will broad­cast your per­ver­sity on the six-o’clock news.

And, the greeters are just creepy.

Strip Club

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Hav­ing been a secu­rity per­son (“bouncer”) in sev­eral strip clubs over the years I can attest to the fact that many cou­ples use these estab­lish­ments for their dates. It does, how­ever, take a cer­tain level of lib­eral lean­ing to truly enjoy such a venue, and the pos­si­ble bad side-effects can be many.

Con­sider – you might be enjoy­ing the up-close charms of a pul­chri­tudi­nous dancer while your stick-thin date sits and fumes, finally dump­ing her mar­garita in your already-occupied lap and storm­ing off through the front door. Even worse – that same dancer and your date might hit it off, leav­ing you to cry in your warm beer.

The vol­ume of the music in strip clubs is high enough to cause con­cus­sions in a rhino, so don’t think you’ll be able to com­mu­ni­cate with your date at any­thing other than a prim­i­tive hand-signal level.

The drinks are over­priced unless you get there at happy hour, in which case they are overly diluted. Some clubs still water down their booze in the orig­i­nal bot­tles, just to save a few bucks.

We won’t even men­tion the VIP rooms …

Home Improve­ment Center

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Your stereo­typ­i­cal “man’s man” loves noth­ing more than to browse the aisles of the local home improve­ment cen­ter for hours on end. He can spend an hour just com­par­ing thread sizes of lag bolts, and Bud­dha help you if he man­ages to slip into the power tool section.

Aban­don hope, all ye who enter there.

Now if you’re a woman who enjoys these sorts of things as well then have at it, but from my expe­ri­ence I’ve found that less than 0.01% of the female gen­der qual­ify for this cat­e­gory. Most of you will har­rumph and pace the floor while your date is fondling the newest Makita. Not a good first date.

On the plus side you might be able to con­vince lover boy to pick up a few wash­ers for your leaky sink while you’re there.

Library

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Are there even any libraries left in the world?

In my youth I would spend hours among the stacks, dis­cov­er­ing new worlds with every vol­ume I pulled down from the shelves. It could be snow­ing or rain­ing out­side, but there in the warmth and safety of the library I was float­ing in my own lit­tle spe­cial cocoon.

That may seem to be a call to arms to use your local library as a first-date des­ti­na­tion, but think care­fully before you do. First you’ll have to deal with the head librar­ian, who is ALWAYS a 90-year-old lady who loves cats but hates the world. The minute you try to caress the spine and open the cover of your date the librar­ian will be there to shriek her indig­na­tion and eject you into the cold, cruel world.

There’s also that library smell – that musty, dusty aroma that only true bib­lio­philes can appre­ci­ate. Your date is prob­a­bly not one of them.

Finally, the word “over­due”, although a com­mon term in the library world, is a ter­ri­fy­ing one in the realm of dating.

Crack House

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Admit­tedly, most of us would never con­sider hold­ing our first date in a place where peo­ple will sell their chil­dren for their next hit, even if we never plan to have chil­dren ourselves.

But for some, the allure of a crack house as a dat­ing loca­tion is quite pow­er­ful. The entry fee is non-existent, it’s fairly quiet and there’s always a spot on the floor you and your date can occupy – no reser­va­tions or wait­ing for tables here.

You and your date, if you do choose to visit your friendly local den of inequity, will be able to take fan­tas­tic jour­neys – although sep­a­rately. That you might not return, because of some silly lit­tle poi­so­nous addi­tive, is just that lit­tle bit of dan­ger so essen­tial to first-date suc­cess. Brush up on your self-defense skills as well, as you can never tell when you’ll be the tar­get of a mugging.

Hos­pi­tal ER

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One of the tele­vi­sion net­works is com­ing out with a new series, Night Shift, wherein the lives of nurses and doc­tors work­ing the grave­yard shift at a hos­pi­tal are pro­filed, with much empha­sis on their love lives. This might encour­age you to think that a hos­pi­tal, espe­cially a hos­pi­tal emer­gency room, is a roman­tic spot for your first date.

I don’t think so.

Unlike the tele­vi­sion por­tray­als, most real-world emer­gency rooms are dull. You might find your­selves sit­ting next to a gun­shot vic­tim for sev­eral hours as they wait for the next avail­able doc­tor. The nurse at the admis­sions desk will keep pes­ter­ing you to fill out forms and list your next of kin. The occa­sional scream or moan will only serve to inter­rupt your get­ting to know your date.

There’s also the small fact that the smell of emer­gency rooms is an instant turn-off. A com­bi­na­tion of anes­thet­ics, clean­ing sup­plies, fear and intim­i­da­tion, the smell will affect you and your date in the same way that a veterinarian’s office instills fear in your dog and cat. You’ll know that no good will come from being there.

So there you have it – ten places you should prob­a­bly avoid on a first date. For most of you, it would be far bet­ter to choose a more con­ven­tional venue – a restau­rant, movie the­ater or even bowl­ing alley.

But for the more warped among my reg­u­lar read­ers, this list may have served not so much as a warn­ing as an inspi­ra­tion. If so, send me an email and let me know how it went – I always enjoy a good first-date story.

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