What Not to Say on a First Date

PAIGE HOLTZMAN '10

Marriage, babies, Home Shopping Network, menstruation. Be strong and hold your tongue. Tonight, you are a lady, and that lady does not chew gum. For now, they are called breasts not ta-tas.

Eschew the details of your last break-up, that stint in rehab you swear should have lasted only a week, not two months, and anything that will brand you as lonely and psychotic. Go ahead, tell the story-or at least the one you hazily remember while carrying your red pumps, your hair sloppily gathered in a ponytail-about the time you got the tattoo behind your ear. It’s in Chinese, so tell him it means happiness or something. He’s Indian. He won’t know if you’re lying. Do not, however, recount the rest of your drunken stupor; these early stages of courtship don’t warrant the acknowledgment of your piercing down there….

Politics are off limits. If he wears an Armani suit but winces when you order that second tiramisu-you are an only child and you don’t share-then he’s a Republican. And while Stanford gave you a political science degree upon graduation, it did not grant you the right to describe your disdain for abortion at any given moment. (Even though your girlfriends constantly pester you for an explanation about why you don’t support a woman’s right to choose, remember: he is not your girlfriend.)

Ladies, let me be clear. Lying is a terrible thing, and I do not condone doing it on a first date or any other time. When you are sitting across the table from a handsome fellow simply soften the truth. Gloss over the gory parts: the times you ran away from home to sleep at your boyfriend’s house, or how you did community service only because the judge said so. First dates are full of awkward silences and innocuous babble; what’s the meaning of life? You ponder over escargot and souffl?e. Let him probe your secrets as the relationship develops. Why wait? You don’t want him to know who you really are-at least not yet.

Women find it necessary to keep mum about their hobbies and values when on a first date. Ironic how we paint a perfect picture for the person we hope will be the one with whom we share our darkest secrets. Strangely, in order to keep the boys coming back for more, we must spoon-feed the details of our lives, one anecdote at a time. Too much information only breeds fear and will cause them to run back to their mommies. So for now, we must hold our tongues, spit out our gum, and laugh on cue. Nobody asked for improv.