Bestie, you haven’t dated since before the pandemic, so here’s what you need to know.
First of all, don’t sweat it. You can re-learn how to navigate the social world and get comfortable with members of your species again. Sure, you’ve had deep conversations and a soul connection with your cat, Fluffy since the pandemic began, but on a date you have to communicate with a human being who speaks, a creature whose concerns are beyond just eating, sleeping, and pooping (kinda like you during lockdown). You can do it!
Social skills. If your date asks a question, try not to freak. They’re not trying to sell you anything and they’re not with the government, trying to figure out whether you committed fraud to get Pandemic Unemployment benefits (you didn’t, right?). They’re just making polite chit-chat to get to know you. It’s called conversation.
Pay attention when your date talks. Don’t just feign interest like Fluffy does when you unload on her.
And remember, you’re not on Zoom where you can just turn off the video when you need to pick your nose. You need to be “present.” Repeat after me: “I’m with a live person.” You need to have an intelligent, adult conversation. Snippets and innuendo aren’t going to cut it anymore. This is a real person, not just someone who might be a twelve-year-old on social media.
Things to avoid sharing — where you hide your toilet paper stash, your record for number of days without a shower, how you can subsist for weeks on only Kool-aid and Wheaties. And, whatever you do, do NOT talk about the pizza delivery person you had nightly fantasies about.
Let’s talk grooming. You’ve forgotten your pre-pandemic hygiene regime, haven’t you? You know, brush teeth, shower, comb hair. Write it on the bathroom mirror with your expired lipsticks until it’s a habit. Likewise, make up. Did you forget how to apply it? Making up your face is an art, but one that you can remaster. Remember, lipstick on the lips and nips, but not on the cheeks! For God’s sake, watch some YouTube, already!
Wardrobe. Don’t forget to wear underpants. And something over them. And shoes. You’ve been home barefoot for ages and you’ve got to learn to walk in shoes again. Wear clean clothes. I know, you’ve spent the past year in the same grungy sweatshirt full of snot and mustard stains that smells like something unworldly. Do yourself a favor, burn it. Now.
Like most of America, you’ve gained the “Pandemic 10” (or 30) so finding something that fits will be a challenge. Don’t panic, you can always go shopping, except that opens another can of worms because of the being-around-other-people thing. Find a blog like “How to Clothes Shop Without Having a Nervous Breakdown.” You may have to improvise. Watch something pertinent on YouTube, for God’s sake.
Most dates start at restaurants. That means you have to learn to eat with a knife and fork again (instead of your hands), use a napkin (instead of your dirty laundry), and chew with your mouth shut. Just remember when you excuse yourself to go to the bathroom, close the door. You’re not at home!
Sporting events are not recommended for a first date. They’re just too much trouble. You’ve got to pretend to give a crap about sports and bone up on the particular one you’ve been dragged to watch. You have to tune out drunks, the odor of greasy food, and the ear-splitting cheers of rabid fans. Not to mention your date, who could turn into a raving lunatic for the next three hours.
Movie theaters are dicey. You’re in the dark. While this is a good thing because your date won’t notice makeup mishaps (or your pandemic weight gain), it can imply you’re open for romance and frankly, you’re not up for that level of physical closeness yet, trust me. On the other hand, if you haven’t had sex in two years, what the hell? (You regret not doing the pizza deliverer, right?)
So, try to have a good time and don’t forget your safe word to text me if things start to go South: “Double Stuf Oreos.” Remember, I’ve got your back, girlfriend! You can do this!