Playing with Matches

by Jennifer Garstang March 29, 2013


By Jennifer Garstang

The food is delicious, and your date has supermodel good-looks and a personality to match. The light shimmers around you as you finish each other’s sentences and laugh at all the right moments on this romantic, moonlit night.

Yeah, that would be nice.

Of course, in real life, dates are usually not so pretty. Traffic makes us late, phones fail, we get stuff stuck in our teeth. Take your pick of the infinite number of practical things that can get our plans all ferblunjit (pardon my French, er, Yiddish). Fortunately, there are a few easy things you can do to vanquish the most frequent offenders:


Make a checklist

It was our second date. He had purchased the movie tickets ahead of time…only he’d forgotten to print them and didn’t bring the confirmation code. Not a problem. He could use his credit card to confirm the tickets…except he’d left it on his desk at home…

A date inherently ups our nerves. Since you know you’re going to be batting down the butterflies, make sure you’re all set before those butterflies start fluttering. Jot down everything you need to bring, and double-check that you’ve got it all ready to go well in advance. That way, when the time comes to race out the door, you’re all set to get up and go.


Print directions

Ah, the GPS. Technology to help us find our way. Only, in practice, it’s often a bit like having a mechanical Yiddisha Mama in the passenger seat telling you: “Oy! Go left here. Left!…or was it right?”


Plug your date’s number into your phone… and then charge your phone

This saved my tuchas on one date when my GPS decided it didn’t feel like going to the restaurant that I did (see item No. 2). A charged cell phone with your date’s number should be one of the top items on your checklist (see item No. 1). However, if you need to call or text, pull off the road! Seriously. If you don’t, I will hunt you down.


Be well rested

I remember one occasion at a little Greek restaurant. My date arrived and plunked his head on the table. He’d done a killer workout, he told me, and then spent the rest of the meal with his head on the table, too exhausted to hold a conversation.

There’s nothing wrong with working out, but when you know you’ve got a date later, don’t do things that will leave you physically incapacitated. That means get a good night’s sleep the night before, take any and all medications you require, and don’t eat a bunch of beans for breakfast.


Bring a little bag of essentials

I remember yet another date where I was meeting his parents. I was nervous. So nervous, in fact, that I started getting stomach cramps. I had an okay time, but what I wouldn’t have given for some Tums.

Learn from my mistake. Bring a bag of supplies, including: painkillers, antacid tablets, hand lotion, chapstick, eyedrops, a comb, dental floss and mints. For the gals, purses make this pretty easy. Guys, you may have to stash yours in your car.


Hide the unmentionables

Ladies, if you, like most women, carry certain “hygiene products” in your purse, be sure to tuck them away in a zippered compartment. Guys (and gals), if you’re one of those people who carries a condom “just in case” don’t put it in one of the credit card slots in your wallet.


Stay away from the sloppy joes

No one wants to look like a pig on their date (pigs are, after all, not kosher). That doesn’t mean you can’t order something delicious to nosh, but it’s a lot easier to avoid a mess if you order items that are not designed to get all over the place.


Say “No!” to new clothes

Wear something nice, but a date is not the time to break in a new outfit. You want to be comfortable and confident, which is a lot harder to do if you discover that your shirt is see-through, or your new shoes are giving you blisters.

Don’t overthink it

Ha ha! Right? After everything I’ve said, I tell you not to think so much. But here’s the thing: There’s a difference between preparing and overthinking. Trying to plot out and control every moment will almost certainly increase your stress and will probably irritate your date, as well.

No matter what you do, things can always go wrong, but those things don’t have to ruin your date. So do the prep work, but don’t let yourself get bent out of shape if you accidentally grepse (belch), or get a little schmutz on your shirt. Always keep in mind: The most important thing about any date is not what happens, but who it’s happening with.


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