One of the best parts of having a platonic guy friend is having a go-to for the male perspective. And now I'm going to share my guy friend, Peter, with the world -- by answering your questions and then getting his take.
"A couple days ago I met a guy at a bar while out with some friends. We chatted all night, and the next day texts were exchanged. He basically asked me on a date that consisted of him making me dinner at his house. I'm just recently reentering the world of dating and am nervous about such an intimate first date. I think it has 'I'm just trying to get in your pants' written all over it. Any alternative suggestions or tips on first-date etiquette?" -- Ashley, 22
Don't: Put Yourself in an Uncomfortable Situation
Cooking you dinner at his house as a first date may seem like a romantic gesture, but someone's thinking he's gonna get lucky if you ask me. Stick with something a little more public to put your nerves at ease.
I have one guy friend who swears by going out for coffee on first dates. If the date sucks you're able to down your coffee as fast as you can and run. But if it's going well you'll be pleasantly surprised when you realize it not only took you two hours to finish your pumpkin spice latte, but you didn't have to knock back a few beers in order to feel comfortable around him.
Do: Keep Things Playful
In a perfect world, a girl would come over to your house, but back to reality ... On a first date neither person is going to feel completely relaxed, so you need to find some common ground. Don't go to a loud bar because you won't be able to hear each other, and don't go to the movies because you won't be able to talk or get to know one another. Going out to dinner is definitely the best option, but make it some place fun, like a tapas bar or a Japanese restaurant.
Trying a place neither of you have been to can be a great way to break the ice because discussing the interesting menu gives you something to bond over right off the bat.
Don't: Bring Up Your Ex
This may seem like a no-brainer, but if the conversation starts to drag, stay away from talking about your ex! Maybe we're interested in when you last had a boyfriend, but we don't want to know details -- at least not this early on. It's easy to judge someone when they start talking about their past, but I'd rather learn about you on my own.
Don't: Drink to Excess
It's not a big deal if you find yourself downing a couple alcoholic beverages to calm your nerves, but you need to know where to draw the line. Ending the night with your head in the toilet probably isn't his idea of a great first impression.
If you order a scorpion bowl for yourself, it's a roll of the dice. You're either going to have a really, really good night, or a really, really bad night. I suggest not taking that risk.
Do: Offer to Pay
When it comes to money matters and dating, times have changed. Instead of assuming the guy is going to front the bill, offer to pay, or at least offer to split the tab.
Yes, definitely offer to pay. But if the dude accepts, he's a douche and you need to ditch him. If he declines and you're not ready for the date to end, suggest going to a bar for a couple of post-dinner drinks, your treat.
Do: Have an Exit Strategy
While I don't condone having your friends show up at the restaurant with a fake emergency, I do suggest always meeting each other at the first date destination. If the date sucks, driving separately saves both of you from a car ride home filled with awkward silences.
Kristen Rollins blogs about relationships for Lemondrop and Peter Fertiguena runs Academy Printwear. Leave your questions for Kristen and Peter in the comments!