‘Fishing’ for advice on that first date?

Having been married more than nine years now, it’s been a while since I’ve been on a first date. Four years, to be exact.

But I don’t want to rehash all that right now. Let’s just say that I’ve apologized to my wife and am no longer allowed to drink tequila or attend Mary Kay conventions.

Instead, let me tell you single men out there how to act on a first date, because based on the horror stories I hear from my single female co-workers, I worry about the possible extinction of our species, which happens to be human — not counting the primitive life forms trolling around the dating site, Plentyoffish.com.

Unlike most online dating sites with their $19.99 monthly fee, membership in Plenty of Fish is free. It’s a great option for you ladies out there who dream of meeting a man who can’t afford $20. There’s an old saying, “you get what you pay for,” but it turns out gonorrhea is free.

The quality of bachelors on this website runs the gamut, ranging from men currently in prison to men currently in a halfway house.

Whereas reputable sites like Eharmony charge a modest fee, screen their members and have sophisticated matching compatibility algorithms, all Plentyoffish requires is that you have both access to an Internet connection and a personality disorder.

That’s the impression I get based on the guys my co-workers have met on the site, none of whom have any idea on how to act on a first date. I’m not claiming to be a relationship expert, but if I were single I’d have plenty of dates. They’d all be prostitutes, but that’s not the point.

The point is that there are certain guidelines to follow for first date behavior.

1. Be real.

One of the “fish” a co-worker met claimed to own a collection of airplanes. He turned out to be fraud, but his whole phony exercise was so unnecessary. You don’t have to lie and say you have your own private Gulfstream aircraft to impress a woman, when she would be just as happy if you told her you own a Cessna instead.

2. Don’t talk about exes.

Maybe your wife of 17 years ran off with the Ute Water meter reader. And maybe they’re serious now, and maybe you’re really upset and jealous. Especially since she’s now getting the $1.50-per-thousand-gallon employee discount.

But there’s only one person in the world interested in your heartbreak, and it’s not the fresh face sitting across from you at the Rockslide. If you go on long enough about how your wife left you, your date will start to understand why.

3. Don’t be desperate.

Similar to how dogs can sense fear in humans, women can smell desperation. So don’t be too excited, or stare at her, or act too interested. Drooling should be kept at a minimum, but I realize that’s tough to do. Play hard to get. Ideally, you’d not even show up to the date.

But even if she’s beautiful and out of your league, you need to play it cool.

“I’m not desperate” is something you should drop into the conversation frequently.

4. Observe.

You can judge the character of a person quickly by the way they treat their server. Some relationship experts state the way she treats the waiter is the way she will end up treating you. So if you see her make passionate love to the waiter, then fix him a sandwich, you have yourself a keeper.

5. Listen.

Don’t monopolize the conversation and ramble on about yourself. God gave you two ears and one mouth for a reason: He owns stock in Q-Tips.

Lastly,

6. Be yourself.

Unless, of course, yourself isn’t very good, in which case you’ll need to slightly embellish somewhat in order to secure that second date.

I’d bring up the Gulfstream.

Reach Steve at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address).


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