17 Dating Secrets Women Will Never Openly Acknowledge
Oh yes, there are code names.
Ah, dating: One of life’s greatest mysteries—and the only thing we dread more than filing our taxes each spring.
OK, so maybe that’s slightly dramatic. Dating does have its fun and exciting moments. (That first kiss! Those butterflies!) But it can also be awkward and nerve-wracking, especially in the digital age—where ghosting, zombie-ing, and breadcrumbing have become common practices.
“Dating and romance have become a marketplace of sorts,” says Trish McDermott, dating coach at Meetopolis.com and founding team member of Match.com. “Thanks to apps that have us swiping people out of our lives in less time than it takes to sneeze, it’s hard not to see ourselves as products on a shelf, sitting there trying to be everything the customer wants and hoping he or she will pick us instead of another similar product.”
Of course, in the end, dating can be very, very worth it, especially when you find the person you want to share your life with. The trick is getting there. To do so, women have developed a number of different ways to navigate the dating matrix and prevent major missteps along the way. Historically, women have kept these tools under wraps. But now, we’re pulling back the curtain on those dating secrets women have been guarding.
1. We do more research than you realize.
It’d be putting it lightly to say women are diligent in our research. We check your Twitter to see if you’re funny, your Instagram to see where you travel, your Facebook to assess your political leanings, and your LinkedIn to see if you’re employed.
“It’s not stalking to google someone,” McDermott says. “We live in the information age. We check out reviews before picking a restaurant for lunch; it’s perfectly normal to be curious about a date, and for safety reasons, it’s a good idea to poke around a little.”
2. We compare ourselves to your ex.
Unfortunately, there is a downside to stalking a date on Facebook. Flipping through old profile pictures comes with the risk of encountering your date’s ex.
That can lead to harmful comparisons that cause a lack of self-confidence on that upcoming date. “We rarely measure up when we insist on comparing ourselves to others, and we lose the very essence of who we are, the magic that makes us who we are,” McDermott says.
She adds that it’s important for women to remember that “your date asked you out, or agreed to go out with you, because there was something about you that was intriguing or attractive.”
3. We check your Zodiac sign for compatibility.
The cat’s out of the bag on this one. Even if we’re not wholly convinced that astrology is a legitimate concept, we want to know—before going on a date—if we pair well with Virgos (even if you didn’t know you were a Virgo).
4. We give you a code name.
Did you think that when we talked about you, we used the name on your birth certificate? If so, you’re oh so wrong. Your code name could be anything from the place we met (“gym crush”), to your job (“tech dude”), to your most recognizable feature (“tall guy”). Whatever it is, you’ll probably never know!
5. We crowdsource our friends for advice.
Group chats are frequently blowing up before we go on dates with thoughts from friends on what topics to breach, and what subjects to avoid.
Those group chats also include heart-to-heart conversations about what we’re looking for from the date—and from dating in general. For example, if a woman has just experienced a breakup, she might tell her besties she’s simply looking to get back on the dating scene. And if she’s been at it for a while, she might tell them she sincerely hopes this person might be the one.
6. We also tell our friends where we’ll be and when we expect to get home.
Better safe than sorry, we always say. You can also rest assured that we have at least one friend on standby to call us with an urgent “issue” if we text them that we’re feeling uncomfortable.
7. We use excuses to get out of dates.
At one point or another, every woman has done this, especially to escape a second date if the first didn’t go all that well. We’ll make up a little white lie about how work suddenly got crazy or about taking our (imaginary) pet to a last-minute vet appointment.
To no one’s surprise, these sometimes backfire. “Your potential date is likely to wait your excuse out. And who can blame them? They have no idea that you’re simply not interested,” McDermott says. “Own your right to say no. You don’t have to make it a treatise on everything you find unattractive, boring, or just really weird about them. Keep it brief and keep it about you.”
8. We occasionally have a pre-meal meal.
Sometimes, we don’t know if it’s a dinner date or a drinks date, and we want to make sure we’re covered. And sometimes—as awful as it sounds—we don’t want to be too ravenous on the date.
But as McDermott points out, this is wholly unnecessary. “This goes back to the decidedly anti-feminist belief that women should be delicate little birds,” she asserts. In other words: Women should eat and order what they want.
9. And we research the menu.
Yes, we choose our meal in advance. But if you think about it, this is wildly practical. By doing so, we can spend less time reading about the port wine reduction sauce and more time focusing on the conversation at hand. So long, awkward silence!
10. We’ve had a glass of wine before the date.
Who doesn’t need a bit of liquid courage prior to a date? But McDermott warns this shouldn’t be a regular pre-date practice. “You should not have to have a drink before a date,” she says. “Your nervousness is just part of who you are, and if your date can’t see that, move on.”
11. We try on multiple date night outfits for our friends.
Trying on outfits in the mirror is one thing; showing friends and roommates multiple options either in person or over FaceTime is another. Doing a full-on fashion show for a friend—trying on two or three outfits before choosing the final frontrunner—hours before going on a date is hardly abnormal. Is it slightly excessive? Probably. Will we continue to do it anyway? Most definitely.
12. We experiment with different makeup looks.
Why we suddenly transform into YouTube influencers in the hours before a date may always be a mystery. But we do it, testing and retesting different makeup looks until we land on what we would have landed on anyway: our original, go-to makeup routine. Who’d have thought?!
13. We arrive early, but stop somewhere else first so as not to appear too eager.
We’re worried arriving too early makes us seem uncool, but arriving late makes us appear disorganized. The solution? We arrive early, but stop somewhere down the block to wait out the time difference, and walk into the restaurant or bar right on cue.
14. We text our friends updates from the bathroom.
Or from the table while you’re in the bathroom. Or from under the table, while you’re looking at the menu. You better believe our best friends are getting the 411 on the date.
The first text that goes out on a blind date? It’s probably some variation of, “Don’t worry, he seems safe.”
15. We sweat over the bill coming.
No matter how you slice it, this scenario is always a slightly (or sometimes severely) awkward one. Do you assume your date is paying because he or she asked you out? Do you offer to go Dutch?
There is not a definitive best approach, but offering to help foot the bill by covering your meal can’t hurt. There’s a chance your date will deflect anyway, but making the offer is always a kind gesture.
16. We fill in our friends the minute we get home.
Have we already given them piecemeal updates throughout the evening? Yes. Will we still try to contact them via FaceTime or a regular phone call once we get home? You bet. Our best friends obviously need a full rundown of the date, good or bad. After all, they sat through that fashion show and all the Facebook stalking.
17. And we rework our calendars for a possible second date.
If all went well, we mentally rearrange our schedules so we’re free to see you again. Because we really want to—Zodiac incompatibility and all. And for more dating advice, check out these 10 Subtle Signs a Girl Really Likes You.
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