First dates are hard. Sports cliches are easy. What follows are easy sports cliches that Chicago men (or other men) can apply to dating. Mock this if you want, but in the unpredictable world of first dates in Chicago — as well as proceeding dates — this is some of the best advice we can muster.
“We’re just going to take things one game at a time.”
One of the most tired yet enduring cliches in all of sports — said by athletes, coaches, and sports analysts who used to be athletes or coaches — is some the best advice for any guy on a first date. For some guys on date one, we know that by the time you’ve ordered appetizers you’re already thinking about the moment you (might) heroically bring your date into the bedroom and do all the things to her that Ray J sings about. Or maybe you’re the overly romantic type and are mentally constructing the perfect second date based on everything she’s told you over dinner. Whatever you’re plotting in your exceedingly horny or rom-com-ified mind, stop it. No matter how confident you are that you’ve secured a second date 30 minutes into the first one, you don’t get to start thinking about, let alone talking about, a second date until you’ve proven not to be a jackass for the entire duration of date one. Remember that every minute during the first date is an opportunity to fuck things up in the most spectacular way possible. So to use another sports cliche, make every second count, and don’t get ahead of yourself. Lest you squander a good opportunity to use those Ray J moves in the future.
“I don’t read what you guys write about me.” & “You guys are going to write whatever you want about me.”
Embattled athletes who’ve been thrashed in the media often resort to these cliches when being badgered by journalists, or when asked to address something that was written about them. (Of course, no one ever calls bullshit on the athletes when they suddenly start referencing all the “bulletin board material” they’ve read.) We imagine most athlete’s would be seeing Ron Artest’s psychiatrist twice a day if they actually did read everything written about them, especially in the nether regions of comment sections and message boards. Similarly, if they played every game wondering what people were going to write about them, they would shrink from the moment faster than most guys “shrink from the moment” after consuming their ninth Wild Turkey manhattan.
While you’re not an athlete, don’t think that no one is critiquing your dating performance. Just remember not to care. We do understand: Ego and anxiety is tough to manage. And whether your ego is leading you to search your date’s blog, Facebook or Twitter account to see what she had to say about you, or whether your anxiety during the actual date is causing you to overthink what she might end up writing about, you need to put it all out of your mind. This is not to say every single female is blogging about her social life, or that every female that goes on a date immediately writes a 140 character review of it. Most probably do not. But we’ve all seen examples of girls gleefully trashing guys who’ve taken them on dates. Perhaps this payback for all the years guys casually (and often awkwardly) bragged about their sexual conquests. Perhaps this payback for Tucker Max getting book deals and a movie made about him. Whatever the reason, as a gender, we probably had this coming. Nevertheless, having your dating skills ruthlessly dissected online could turn Don Draper into Harry Crane (or turn Don Draper into the shell of a man he was in the beginning of “Mad Men” season 3). So here’s our advice: after a date, don’t try to find your date’s Facebook posts, Tweets or subscribe to her blog’s RSS feed. And if before the date ever takes place, you find out the lady you’ll be courting is a blogger or serial Internet over-sharer, you have two options: (a) call off the date or (b) address the issue immediately during the date. The only elephant in the room on a first date should be on a Delirium Tremens label.
“I only focus on the things I can control.”
This cliche is often uttered by athletes rumored to be traded, demoted, or immersed in a lengthy lawsuit with former business partners and females angling for a spot on Basketball Wives. A successful athlete knows where his bread is buttered: The Cheescake Factory and between the playing field lines. All those rumors happening outside the games can only serve as distractions, and can usually be squashed by a good agent and an entertaining Twitter feed.
Similar to the athlete, a man on a first date cannot concern himself with matters he has no control over: Rain that spoiled a walk through Lincoln Park. A waiter that could double as Ralph Lauren model who renders you invisible. Disagreeable food that gives your date atomic diarrhea. These things aren’t your fault. Having a back up plan, improvisational date skills and a packet of baby wipes can certainly save the day, but if they don’t, it’s okay. Advanced dating statistics show that given a big enough sample size, major dating disasters only happen twice every 10 dates. If you survive the catastrophic outings and continue to make sure you’re being the best first date you can be, good things will happen. And while we’d suggest cooking a bland dinner for your date in the confines of your apartment to counter the above disasters (bad weather, male model waiters, violent bowel movements), that’s more of a fifth-date move. You’re on date one. Don’t start thinking about future dates where you wow her with your culinary prowess (see cliche number one).