At any given point in a man’s life he can be confronted with the fear of having to plan an evening in with a woman. With any age level and with any amount of experience, all men can be transformed into a self-doubting boy again by the right woman. Similar to the crack of a whip, the sudden rush from a girl can throw you off of your game no matter how Old Spice Swagger you’ve got. However, it is rather encouraging to know that, when it comes down to it, all people want the same thing out of a date: an enjoyable time with balanced levels of mystery, uniqueness, and comfort. Like everything good in life, this can be found with a little bit of hard work and ingenuity.

You need to have your homework done on your date. You should always know something about her, whether it be a date you set up yourself or one of the blind variety. Some good things to know include what car she drives, how old she is, her favorite movies/songs, where she dances/drinks, what she does on weekends. Any information that is true is good information and can be utilized for your favor. It sounds like trickery but the actual goal is to optimize your chances without sacrificing your own true character. If she loves herself some reality TV, you should be willing and prepared to discuss it.

What’s For Dinner?

The outmoded dinner-and-a-movie date experience might not win a girl over these days, so you have to be able to adapt to the now. Most people, male or female, salivate over the mere idea of someone cooking for them and, if you do it well enough, you can gain instant points and credibility. Not only will she be impressed for as long as she’s around, but so will her family and friends as well.

Creating a menu can be as intense or stress-free as you want it to be, but follow these tried guidelines:

  1. Don’t overdo yourself. Pick a protein, pick a vegetable, pick whatever, and then keep it consistently simple. Make your side dishes great but leave the spectacular for your entrée or dessert.
  2. Never cook a dish that you haven’t made before. Knowing the proper process to make your dish will be impressive but also save you from floundering and screwing it up.
  3. Appetizer. Entrée. Dessert. Cocktail. This is your mantra. Dessert should always be made ahead of time so as not to disrupt the killer conversation you’ll be having. There are dozens if not hundreds of after dinner cocktails – be ready to make several.
  4. Take something she has seen every day of her life and present it in a flavorful way that will be new and exciting. Many of the dishes I have been complimented on have been simple pasta and chicken ensembles, but their flavor and presentation was off the charts. This is how you want to be the whole evening, simple yet flavorful.
  5. Never tell what you are serving before it is plated. Preconceived ideas will hurt you no matter how good it sounds. Tell her it is made with love and she will eat it up while knowing it’s a cheesy line. On a side note, the plating of your dish should inspire a picture to be posted on a social network.

Quick Suggestions: Nuts, fruit, cheeses, and simple candies can be the best appetizers/desserts that you don’t have to make. The secret is in the sauce, so perfect a few sauces and your culinary worth will increase ten-fold. Chicken, Beef, and Fish are the way to go unless you know she loves something else. Stick to making things you recognize and care for, but tweak them to put your own face on the dish.

What’s Not For Dinner

Outside of preparing and eating dinner, you’ll be expected to entertain in some fashion. This could be what separates you from everyone else that knows how to cook; your atmosphere will play an integral role in your evening. Obviously you cannot expect someone to sit and watch you prepare a meal for a couple of hours and not be bored. Having her prep some food with you gets her close to you and invites conversation in the kitchen, which is always good, but don’t be afraid to keep her out of the kitchen either. Have her take a solo tour of your place, which should be mama-proud clean in every room. You could send her to the store for a movie to watch later or an ingredient you intentionally left out on accident. She can be on the other side of the bar checking out pictures from your vacations on your laptop. Anything but her plopping down and doing nothing is a good idea, but different activities like these tend to work best because they can elicit a more natural reaction out of someone. Life, relationships, and fun are all built upon naturally occurring reactions and, the more real the moment, the more chance there lies to develop the occurrence. Little things make the big things worth it, so take time to add these items to your night:

  1. Music. Do not play mainstream music, as you are not trendy. Pick something that has a good beat for the type for person you are seeing, but in most cases its safe to say that the more unique the better the reaction. Make a playlist, hit play, then walk away. No one likes amateur DJs, so don’t become one. If you really don’t know what to pick, no one has ever uttered the phrase “Motown sucks” in the history of the planet. You know?
  2. Pictures/Art. Your place cannot be dull and boring, it should be full of little memories and captured moments. If anything these items provide topics for discussion if you’re at a loss. Just remember to keep it on the simple side, because when art is overdone, so are you.
  3. Vegetation. Keeping a couple small pots of fresh herbs in the kitchen window and a simple living room plant can be the best thing you can do to yourself in the dating world. Basil, parsley, and cilantro are always great to have on hand. If you can care for a plant, you can care for a person. Girls pick up on things like this.
  4. Books. Not magazines, books. Have them around but not in her face. Hard covers and weathered pages are best, the older looking the better. Classic and retro sells, especially with books.

The bottom line is to stand out and leave an impression, without overdoing yourself. Balance remains to be the key to everything in life, including dating. Never lie or be something you’re not, as this will most always end in failure, just add to your currently existing and awesome self. If she says yes to the date in the first place, the major battle is already behind you and won. You should enter into every date with the utmost confidence in yourself, so use it to make the night memorable for you both.

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