7 Ways to Win That Candyman's Heart

First-date strategies you can use to win his vote—and, hopefully, his heart.
by Allan Ma. A. Madrilejos   |  Jan 19, 2010
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First, a reality check. Not all first dates end as picture perfect moments. Sometimes, a faulty zipper can shatter your fairy tale-induced illusions. I'm not trying to rattle you with negative vibes here. All I'm saying is this: first dates are about managing goals rather than meeting them. So chuck any preconceived notions you may have about first date perfection. As my reliable guy sources reveal, the real secret to a blockbuster date depends on seven simple guy-grabbing concerns. Their message? Stick to the basics.

  1. Late Expectations
    Punctuality is a turn-on. Ditch the age-old "If-he-really-likes-me-he'll-wait" test your mom's spinster-amigas keep babbling about. If it takes you three hours to bathe and dress up, start earlier. Anticipate other time-delaying hurdles like traffic and make the necessary adjustments. Be fashionably early for a change. Not everyone gets a second chance to make a good impression.

  2. Venue Edition
    Adrian, 17, on the three factors guys consider when choosing where to go: "Budget, budget, budget!" on the first dates, guys generally go for the usual dinner at a not-so fancy, affordable, cool and unpretentious restaurant.

    Snazzy joints intimidate guys. Clubs and parties that require a show of vocal chord strength are out, too. "A big-time hotel," Tonichi, 17, says, "will have you broke big time." All men want is to be themselves. And they don't mind trying something real trippy and cost saving like skating and biking at the village park, hiking, bowling, or a picnic in Tagaytay.

  3. Dress Conference
    Don't shoo us away with a knockout get-up. Less is more. And I mean, less flashy and less attention-grabbing. "Don't overdress," says Uro, 18. "Don't make me feel like I don't belong."

    Li'l J-short skirts, backless tops, and revealing blouses are likely to get the thumbs down. "I don't want onlookers to think she's easy," says Ikoy. Wear something you'll feel comfortable in all night. Ask him where you plan to go before date night so you can plan to go before date night so you can plan what to wear. He'll be flattered you asked.

    One last beauty note. Guys dread too much make-up on women. But what is too much exactly? Says Jed, 19: "Too much make up is when sobra nang puti ng face, iba na ang color nito sa neck niya. It hides her natural beauty. Iyon pa naman ang una kong nagustuhan sa kanya."

  4. Talking Point
    First dates are about impressions. You gain favorable points by just being yourself and a connection happened when two people aren't afraid to be themselves. Lying about yourself will only inspire his ire.

    Chat about your interests, your point-of-views, your pets. Discuss why you hate Math. Explain why you love Grey's Anatomy. Debate about Conan O'Brien's hilarious monologues. Guys go for freewheeling interactions. They're awestruck by women who speak their mind and who are willing to go beyond silly prattle. "Talking about nothing but light topics can be useless," Tonichi notes. "Talking about all heavy and heady stuff can be boring. Finding the balance is the key."

    Never let traces of self-doubt show. Don't talk like a telegram or use sign language. Guys detect it if you're in the "what-should-I-say-how do-I-say it-do-I-sound-stupid?" zone. And to them, it's a guaranteed mood killer. Certain subject matters-ex-boyfriends, family hang ups, personal problems-are definite no-nos for guys, "I'm not there to listen about past heartaches," Adrian says. "I'm not Joe D' Mango."

  5. Sense and Sensibility
    If we shout "Hey, I'm over here!", that means more eye contact is needed. If we repeat ourselves, that means you're not listening or that we're not engaging enough to tear you away from texting your best friend as we order dessert.

    When you agree to go out on a date, value the conversation you're having. Eye contact means you're curious about what we have to say. Listening means you value this very moment with us. But Ikoy cautions about getting too, er, heavy-handed when showing interest, "If she pats my back the way Miss Piggy does Kermit the Frog, sorry, but she's headed for the frying pan," he says. "Don't get too physical. Smiling is fine."

  6. Bill Crusher
    Behold the Filipino Macho Man. When it comes to paying the bill, you can depend on him to shoulder everything on a first date. To them, it's not a question of political correctness. "It's a natural and gentleman thing to do," explains Jigs, 19. "Siya na nga ang naabala, equal sharing pa. You get extra pogi points if you pay for everything." Though most of guys find splitting the bill an awkward set-up, it won't hurt to carry some money... just in case. Come date number two, they admitted they may seem more receptive to the idea.

  7. Lip Service
    Relationship gurus are convinced that the best first date is normally a short one—just long enough to allow you to get to know each other. First date pressures, they stress, make it impossible for you to really have a super time. There's always the promise of a second date, though. How you'll score one, guy says, hinges on compatibility and your desire to go out again. Remember, men like automatic feedback, so express yourself if you really had a great time. And don't say nice—it's too tame and ambiguous, too over-used.

    Finally, their thoughts on a good night kiss? It's a sweet way of ending a great night," Uro says. "Should it shock her? It's just a kiss and it's so easy to get it over with."

    Don't worry—guys know it's not a presidential decree. The deal is if it feels natural; don't petition for a temporary restraining order.
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Allan Ma. A. Madrilejos
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