Southern Cross University graphic website designer David Rugendyke contemplates what makes the perfect first date.
Southern Cross University graphic website designer David Rugendyke contemplates what makes the perfect first date.

Survival guide for men?s first dates

By Renee Redmond

For David Rugendyke, taking a girl on the first date is like going for a job having only one chance to impress, without fumbling over words and saying all the wrong things.

"If you go badly on the first date it's going to make it tough for the second," he said.

The 25-year-old Lismore website designer at Southern Cross University, is among thousands of singles on the Northern Rivers riding the dating rollercoaster.

A snapshot of Northern Rivers people in the 2001 Census showed 3300 people were separated, 7355 divorced and 22,466 had never been married. It's no wonder there is so much interest in the new Will Smith film, Hitch ? about a date doctor who helps men with their dating dilemmas.

As the date doctor Alex Hitchens (Will Smith) is on stand-by for ordinary guys, helping them to snag their ideal woman.

But David says while some situations may require such help, he's usually straightforward enough to get through the experience himself.

"Maybe a few guidelines from a date doctor would be good, but I wouldn't want to be told what to say," he said.

"I've been on a few dates and I know not to talk about previous girlfriends or go off on tangents about myself. I wait for signs like a touch of my hand while I'm talking to her, then I know she's interested. I'd never make that move unless I knew her as a friend before the date," he said.

"I dress smart casual and make an effort, taking a girl to a movie for a first date is something you do when you're 17. At my age it doesn't cut it; you've got to take her out for dinner. It's more adult and it shows her you're making an effort," he said.

Gary Johnston, of South Golden Beach, said he believed an extra effort should be made for the first date.

"No expense should be spared. Take her somewhere special and exciting because you can never replace the first date," he said.

University student Ben Heckel, 21, of Ballina, said there was a lot of pressure put on the guy during a first date.

"For me personally, something always goes wrong. I'll show up late or my car will break down. It's always something. I think if you have no expectations, be yourself and talk as though you're talking to a mate. It works out."

Relationship guru and Northern Star Lovelife columnist Dr Gabrielle Morrissey, said she has sympathy for men in today's sharp-witted world of dating.

"A lot of guys try too hard on first dates and they're not themselves. But if you're not being yourself in the first place, you are wasting her time," she said.

Dr Morrissey said most men had difficulty listening on dates.

"Men will always say 'I will never understand women', but women are talkers. You just have to listen and show her that you're interested," she said.

Dr Morrissey said some men get too sensitive and watch for cues like hair flicking or staring into space to guess if she's interested.

"If you think she's not interested, change tack, don't just give up. There needs to be bal- ance," she said.

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