The following advice was excavated from our True Romance Magazine archives. This advice story ran in the June, 1952 issue, but it still works pretty well today – except for the radio and jukebox tips. We added a few updates, too, but you can see for yourself if these ideas will help!
You can banish those pre-date jitters by learning the right way to get ready for a date, what to do when the evening is under way. Here’s the simple know-how to keep things on a smooth basis, make him want to see you again.
When Jim first asked you out, you were so excited you could hardly stand it. But now, as the big night draws near, you are beginning almost to dread it – it’s so important. Suppose he’s bored, and never asks you for a date again? Suppose you can’t think of anything to talk about? Suppose you step all over his feet on the dance floor? Suppose the new dress is the wrong color for you, after all? Suppose he doesn’t have a good time? You’re almost beginning to wish you were spending the evening safely at home, alone, with the radio (make that a computer today!).
There is nothing unusual about this kind of pre-date jitters. Actors call it stage fright, athletes get it before the big game, and soldiers feel it before going into battle. As a matter of fact, Jim is probably suffering a case of nerves himself, right now! It’s practically guaranteed to disappear the moment you go into action.
“But what if it doesn’t?” you ask. “What if I stay as tongue tied as I feel now? What if he doesn’t have a good time?”
The answer to that one is very simple. Your date will have a good time under one condition, and one only – that YOU have a good time! Your problem is not to see that he enjoys himself. It’s simply to enjoy yourself – and the rest will happen automatically.
The first rule for enjoying yourself is to be yourself – not someone else that you think Jim might prefer. After all, it was you he asked, wasn’t it? Then you’re the girl he expects to see when he punches the doorbell. It will help you to be yourself if you wear, not a new and elaborate dress that you will be conscious of every minute, but a favorite outfit, even if it is one you have worn many times before. Something that you know is becoming, and that you feel comfortable in. Nor is this the time to try a new and starling hair-do. Wear your hair, your make-up, your accessories in a way that you like, and that lets you feel as much at ease as if you were at home in blue jeans. Too much glamour is not appealing to most men, anyway. Your escort will prefer the natural look that you probably had the day he asked you for a date.
The same thing applies to the evening’s entertainment, if he should ask you what you would like to do. The most glamourous and expensive place in town, besides being a shock to his wallet (or yours if you happen to be splitting the bill), is probably not the place where you feel most at ease and can have the most fun. Instead, try a movie that will give you something to talk about when it is over. One girl I know argued for three hours afterward with her date about the movie they’d just seen – and continued the argument on the date he asked for the next night! Or go dancing to the jukebox where the crowd goes (Okay, you may have a hard time finding a jukebox, but find a fun club where you can dance).
Above all – relax. Allow plenty of time to dress, enough for a leisurely bath and a brief rest before you put on the finishing touches. And, as you go down the stairs, remember: Jim is just as anxious to make a good impression as you are! (Let’s hope so, or YOU may not want a second date.)
If you remember this, you can’t forget the second rule for having a good time on a date: Think about the other person instead of yourself. Put him at ease, help him not to feel self-conscious, think of things to say and do that will amuse and entertain him, and you will have a good time without thinking about it. When one of those dead, dull, silences shows signs of appearing, ask him questions—about himself, about what he likes and dislikes, what he wants to do with his life, what he thinks of the headlines in tonight’s paper. Get interested in him and you needn’t worry about his being interested in you! (UPDATE: Make sure you pay more attention to him than to your phone. Texting, talking and generally looking at your phone sends a signal that you are just not that interested. We know it’s tough, but PUT DOWN THE PHONE and be present for your date! Hopefully, he will do the same.)
The third rule for having a good time on a date is the same as for having a good time under any circumstances—keep busy! If you go to a party, help pick out records (not many of us have records any more, but check out the playlist or make a song request to the DJ), serve refreshments, start a game going if appropriate, or join in enthusiastically when somebody else does. The point is to engage in a way that is comfortable for you and for your date.
If you invite your date in after the dance or the show, do something—don’t just sit there blankly beside him on the sofa, letting your passivity act as a silent invitation to boredom—or to romantic maneuvers you’re not ready for. Show him the family snapshot album, play music, (watch something fun on TV or Netflix,) make sandwiches, challenge him to a fast set of table tennis. But keep busy—and have fun!
A famous line from show business gives you the final rule for having a good time on a date—and therefore making certain he does. The line: “Always leave them laughing!” The doesn’t mean, of course, that you must literally leave him chuckling over some parting witticism as the door closes (although it’s not a bad idea if you can manage it), but it means to say good night while you—and he—are still having fun. Leave him while you still feel that you could go on dancing, talking, having fun, for hours—and he’ll be calling you tomorrow to arrange that very thing! (Or, you can call him if he deserves another date!)