1st (and 2nd and 3rd) Impressions are Everything

Hoboken is the New Jersey center of social options and opportunity.
So many women, so many choices where to take them when a courtship arises.
And so many times, men act as if the only selections to be had are ones that can be found in suburban Albuquerque, Austin or Allentown.
Out in rural America, there still are signs of modern civilization, albeit the cookie-cutter variety. Strip malls, Applebee’s and movie theatres are still available for the average young guy and girl to get to know each other. But in The Mile Square, the choices are obviously more eclectic and exciting.

Yet often times, men will blow their original effort of getting a girl’s number or paying for access via the Match, JDate and eHarmony.coms of the world by traveling the most predictable route possible when executing the oh-so crucial first, second and third dates that decide whether a potential relationship goes past the potential stage.
It seems that 93 percent of the time after a man asks a girl out for Date 1, the destination will be dinner. The venue may not be the aforementioned Applebee’s, but some Hoboken reasonable facsimile thereof. Regardless, whether it is as sophisticated as The Quays, or as run-of-the-mill as Texas Arizona, or as trendy as The Madison, the end result screams of monotony and feels as contrived as a Friday night wedding reception in Livingston:
Meet at the restaurant, order drinks, appetizer, entrée and possibly desert, all while never moving from the same seat at the table… trapped into making consistent eye contact.

The pressure for constant conversation when placed in such a scenario is palpable.
Silent moments? The chance to breathe or actually chew the food served?
No way in hell…

At this rate, if the two hours aren’t filled with perpetual dialogue, the date may be considered awkward and ultimately unsuccessful.

It almost even seems rude to use the bathroom.

Still, men, for fear of not being creative when planning a first formal encounter or because of plain laziness, continue to go this route. If the chemistry is there, then great. But really, how often does that truly happen?
And besides, women like dates they can tell their friends about. Dinner is, well, nice…but not something they’ll be giddily text-messaging their friends about when they get back to their apartment after it’s over.
So get a pen and start taking notes, gents. Here’s your guide to being anything but a humdrum date in a humdrum setting.

Date 1: Instead of the job interview that is dinner, go with drinks at a place near her apartment instead. This opens up several options. For starters, if the girl has dropped from a 9 to a 4.5 after actually talking to her sober (assuming you originally met in a bar), this allows an easier escape clause than surviving a 120-minute meal.  If things go well and she still is as aesthetically pleasing as the time you first met, great. Two drinks (if the dialogue isn’t crisp) can become six cocktails and two shots (if the conversation is seamless). More importantly, direct alcohol intake on a somewhat empty stomach after work always leads to easier conversation. You also have better access to knees and elbows on adjacent bar stools, which is always a plus when trying to send a subtle physical message. Dinner tables simply don’t allow that.

This kind of date is always more casual and easier for both parties to handle. Most importantly, it shows you aren’t trying so damn hard to impress her by dropping $200 on a first date. Despite what women will tell you, taking her to an expensive restaurant the first time out of gate doesn’t score any points. In fact, it will be more effective in scaring her away. Keep it casual and don’t appear so damn needy to astound.

Date 2: So now it’s time for dinner, right? You don’t want to look poor or parsimonious, and doing the drink thing again will only make it appear that you’re trying to make her a Fuck Buddy or convenient option in general.
But eats still aren’t the way to go. Now is the time to show off your ability to think outside the box, to be different than every other schmuck she’s been out with over the past five years.

Enter the comedy club. Specifically, The Comedy Cellar downtown at 117 MacDougal (off of West 3rd) and only a 5-minute cab ride from the Christopher Street station (which is only a seven minute ride from Hoboken). With comics such as Colin Quinn, Dave Attell, Jim Breuer, Jim Norton and Darrell Hammond, it really is a phenomenal, can’t-lose night out.

Great comedy clubs such as Comedy Cellar make a second date an easy one. For starters, you don’t have to look at each other for extended periods of time, as attention is mostly focused on the performers on stage. Guys need not bring their “A-game” in the wit department as well, since the professionals will be taking care of that aspect. The two-drink minimum is relatively inexpensive, and with free admission, you won’t have American Express sending a hit man after you when the bill comes in at the end of the month.

And this point can’t be stressed enough: The evening won’t be a contrived one, and there is a very good chance she’s never been there before.

Girls like to explore the landscape and try new things. By taking her here on a weeknight when most bars and restaurants are for all intents and purposes, dead, you’ll be a hero. A definite text-the-girls-when-she-gets-home (if she already isn’t staying at your place) kind of night out. Put a roll of stamps on it and mail it in…

Date 3: Is it time to make those dinner reservations at Sushi Lounge now?

Not quite.

Date #3 is a dinner date, but you’ll be doing the cooking. If she’s survived a Happy Hour and a Comedy Club with you, there’s a good chance she’ll trust you enough to make a visit to your apartment.

Girls are insanely curious creatures, and a stay-at-home dinner invite will not only illustrate whether you use your oven for anything other than storage, but will give her a chance to see how you’re living, how the pad is decorated–and of course, if you’re a slob.

Can’t cook? No problem! Simply order-in something that is otherwise easy to cook, such as grilled chicken breast, some kind of vegetables, bread and a dessert (ice cream with sprinkles will show you didn’t put too much effort into the meal, which is important in showing that you aren’t too much of a homebody). To cover your ass, boil some water and throw some crumbs around the floor to show some effort, but make sure the food is either in a pan or on the table before she arrives. She’ll never know the difference. And if you’re the honest type, you can tell her after the fact. Either way, she’ll think it’s cute and will appreciate the effort.

Date 3 at the apartment will also allow for more wine intake, a likely trip to the living room afterward to watch a movie and most likely, canoodling, heavy petting and possibly intercourse without the need to beg for her to stay over after a night in, say, a restaurant.

When it comes to dating, Hoboken is a town of choices and plenty of places to patron.

And the trick to getting a girl’s attention in the initial rendezvous phase is to explore the simple options that every other guy hasn’t.