The Straight Male Aspie’s Survival Guide to Dating, Part Three
The First Date:
She’s nervous, too. That’s the first thing you’ve got to know. You want it to go well, and you’re worried about fucking it up somehow. She’s thinking the same thing. You want her to like you. She wants you to like her.
Remember that you’re not going on a date with a member of an alien species. She’s experiencing many of the same thoughts and feelings as you are. You’re in the same boat.
Now, when you go on a date, it’s important to know whether or not it’s actually a date. I’ve been on a couple of dates without realizing it.
The first date I ever had happened accidentally. In grade ten, I had a crush on my good friend Skye, but was too nervous to do anything about it. We’d hung out a few times outside of school, and the new Matrix movie was coming out, so I thought she might want to go and see it with me. She said yes.
My other friends teased me about this, talking about my “big date”, but I laughed it off. Even my family got in on it. I told everyone that it wasn’t a date, that Skye and I were just friends.
Then- maybe two days before the movie- Skye and I were talking online.
“I’m really excited about our date,” she said.
My stomach dropped and I realized what I’d done. I was sixteen-years-old, painfully shy, horribly awkward, and I’d managed to accidentally do what I would never have had the guts to do otherwise.
I was fucking pumped. Skye and I had a great time and ended up in a relationship for just over a month before things went so horribly awry that we never spoke to each other again.
With Hannah, the first time we met was on a blind date. I didn’t realize this was the case, because our mutual friend Amy was also there, and most dates don’t involve three people. I didn’t realize my second date with Hannah was a date either. It happened during the afternoon and it was very informal. We wandered around the neighbourhood and talked.
After that, I decided to ask her on a real date. Dinner and a movie. Unimaginative. Cliched. But unambiguous.
Little did I know that it was actually our third date, but we still had a great time. I wasn’t at all nervous before our first two dates (because I didn’t realize they were dates) but man, my nerves were jangly before the third one.
It’s possible to do the opposite as well, and go on a date with someone who believes that you’re just hanging out platonically. This hasn’t happened to me, but it’s unfortunately happened to at least one person I’ve dated.
This sort of ambiguity is something that neurotypicals struggle with as well. It’s caused by the sad and simple fact that inter-gender friendships are a fairly recent phenomenon- they didn’t really exist before the 20th century. We, as a society, are still figuring out how to be with each other, since all options are open unless explicitly ruled out.
How do you know if the experience you’re sharing with a single woman is a date? There are some common signifiers.
If you’re getting together in the evening, that’s more likely to be a date. Going out to dinner is more likely to be a date. Movies are more likely to be dates.
But not always.
What I would recommend doing is asking the person if they want to go out on a date. If she’s the one who asked you out, you can clarify and say, “So is this a date?”.
Once you’ve ascertained that it is, in fact, a date, how do you handle it?
Well, in terms of conversation, you’re basically getting to know each other, so you can refer to that section of this guide for more details.
In terms of physical contact, always ask if it’s okay: “Hey, can I hold your hand?” “Is it all right if I put my arm around you?” “I’d like to kiss you.” Any queries or statements along those lines are acceptable.
At the end of the date, if you had a good time and would like to see her again, say so. If you don’t have her on Facebook yet and you have an account, you should add her as soon as possible. Also, send her a message on Facebook when you get home and tell her you had a good time, and create concrete plans for another date. You could text instead of using Facebook.
One in four women are sexually assaulted at some point in their lives. The majority of these attacks are perpetrated by men. This is something you need to know. It is a piece of information you have to carry around with you. If you date more than three women in the course of your life, odds are you’re going to date a survivor of sexual violence. Even some women who haven’t been attacked are justifiably concerned that at some point they will be.
This should affect how you interact with females.
During the first few dates, you don’t know anything about a particular woman’s comfort level, her boundaries, or her past.
Be respectful. Ask before you make physical contact. Remember the situation in which you asked and what her answer was. This is how you’ll learn what she’s comfortable with.
If you don’t understand her answer- maybe it’s ambiguous- then ask for clarification.
Tell her that if she wants to make physical contact with you, then she should say so, or ask if it’s all right. That way, you’ll both be on the same page, and you’ll both be openly communicating with each other and learning about each other’s comfort levels.
Also, don’t use tongue the first time you kiss someone. Most people find that offputting.