If love is a battlefield (as a great poet once said), then first dates are the invasion. Just like your grandfather broke the lines on the beaches of Normandy (read by Germans as “Genau wie Linien ‘Ihre Großväter wurden an den Stränden der Normandie gebrochen), you must set the stage properly for your own conquest. Ok, maybe that’s a bit dramatic, but not every generation gets to define itself by something as intense as a world war. While going on a first date might not be as daunting as staring down the barrel of an MG-42 (I said MIGHT not be), it can still be pretty nerve wracking.

We’ll never know which of these squads was more frightening to those 19 year olds.

Even if you can’t control or understand what is going on in your brain, you can control where you go on a first date, and in that case, psychology can actually be on your side. Here are some ideas that psychology says are so bound to work that it’s unlikely you’ll ever need to use more than one of them*.

THE ZOO – It’s a perfect place to walk around holding hands and looking at animals that make you both go “d’awwwww.” Zoos also have tons of kids in them (as visitors, NOT exhibits; what kind of zoos have you been going to?). What better way to subtly drop how many children you want someday (again, it’s important that you specify that you want to raise them, not start a human zoo)? Man and womankind are hardwired for procreating, so let her know that that is an interest of yours.

BREWERY TOUR – People like drinking, but they also like making memories together. If you aren’t particularly outgoing or otherwise need everyone’s favorite social lubricant to get things going, don’t just take her out for a drink at a bar, throw in some walking and talking and maybe even some learning. From then on, maybe she’ll even remember you each time she’s enjoying that brew. Thanks, psychology, for that manipulative trick! 

FANCY DINNER – You know how the saying goes: “I ain’t sayin she a gold digga, but she ain’t messin with no 28 year old who still lives with his parents.” Not to say that if you fall into that category, love isn’t out there for you. Just saying that it’s not incomprehensible that fewer people would give you a chance if they don’t see a steady future with you. Kids are expensive (and still don’t belong in a zoo! Why are you still stuck on that?). You may not want to attract those who think financial status is a deal breaker, but money can signal intelligence, work ethic, office funny guy status that helps secure advancement, and responsibility; all are traits that you wouldn’t blame someone for gauging their initial interest off of.

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ROCK CLIMBING – Rock climbing is hard. Nobody is good at it when they first start, but it works on so many levels: it’s different, it’s fun, it cuts tension (like a hot knife through rope) through repeated embarrassing attempts to scale a wall while hippies yell advice like, “cop a shake and then crank it!” at you, and it’s exciting. People’s brains often mistake stimuli like danger and adrenaline for attraction and affection for someone. Falling from a high place may just cause her to fall for you. The pick-up lines write themselves!

While there are plenty of love gurus out there that promise results, do any of them have a Ph.D.? Listen to the experts of the human mind, including the woman’s mind! Establish similar interest in procreating, create a lasting impression, have the resources and ability to raise offspring, and trick her into feeling something that she doesn’t really feel already. Foolproof!



*Disclaimer: Not really, but they’re still fun ideas. If you believe that dating is about formulas, psychology says you are going to have a hard time getting dates, because you shouldn’t approach a potential partner as a math problem that simply needs to be solved. Your dating life isn’t the equation from Goodwill Hunting.

Then again, I bet Matt Damon doesn’t have trouble dating.

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