McGill Recommendations, Student Life

“I can’t go on any more first dates!”

The red roses, the heart-shaped candies, the overpriced chocolate boxes, the cheesy Hallmark cards, and the pink helium balloons have already taken over the Dollarama shelves, which can only mean one thing: It’s February, Valentine.

Although it’s a great time of the year for love birds, the life of a single university student can feel almost as brutal as finals season. For those lonely souls, there is no other way around it than putting yourself out there and embarking on the awkward experience of a first date. More often than not, these situations can lead to a run-in with a bad first date after a lengthy study session, making you want to jump in a hole, but can also spark new attachments and insights. The post-COVID dating era also has reinforced the need to create genuine connections with people face-to-face––especially since we have been mercilessly denied it for the past years. 

So, to actually have a fulfilling first meeting, decide what you want to discover or find out about your date. Manuela di Pace, U1 Arts, explains that in her experience, she puts a premium on learning about her potential partner’s passions and ambitions. 

“I want to know what you want in life or what you aspire to. Another point is probably if the person is able to have deep conversations and has a good sense of humour,” di Pace said in an interview with The McGill Tribune.

If a good conversation is what you are looking for as well, try to avoid date locations where the focus will be on something else that could distract you both. A casual dinner, in these cases, can be a safe option, but make sure that you choose a place with character. That way, if there’s a weird silence, you can strike up a conversation about the place itself. Try out Snowbird Tiki Bar, Else’s, Damas or Karisma—locales packed with meaning. 

To relieve some pressure from the conversation, choosing to do an activity before or during dinner could help. Cinéma Moderne can be a great option where you can watch a good movie and grab something to eat in their café after discussing the film. The Randolph Pub is also a unique option, as you can eat and enjoy a fun board game in the bar’s relaxed and laid-back environment. You could learn more about how your date reacts when they lose or when you disagree on the most critical aspects of a film.

After choosing the right place for you, what to wear is another big question—an important tip is to keep your outfit consistent with your typical style. If not, it will probably be costly for you, in more than one way, to maintain that new style that you adopted just for the first date. Second, you need to know if they will like you for who you really are; that won’t be easy if you look like someone else. 

To make the situation feel as natural as possible, trust yourself. The cliché is a cliché for a reason: Being yourself is the sexiest thing you can be. 

Leane Zogheib, U1 Arts, explains that for her, the importance of authenticity holds true.

“The worst thing someone can do on a first date is to fake liking something that I like, or when they do something [that] they don’t like just to impress me.” 

There’s nothing more beautiful than a person talking about that one particular passion they have that makes their eyes shine. Though not everyone will understand your excitement for pandas nibbling on bamboo sticks, the right person will love this on you. 

In the end, you can still have a terrible first date that leads to something wonderful or an incredible first date that will die out after a while. There is no magic formula; the best we can do is be ourselves and hope the other person does the same. 

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