A lot of the dating science questions I get are pretty easy to answer. I don’t usually repeat stuff that is in Magic Bullets, so for those questions, I usually just give the page or chapter number where they can be answered. Other questions can often be handled in a paragraph or two. But sometimes, I get a question that touches on a bunch of interesting issues and would be helpful to a lot more people than just the person asking. An email I got yesterday is a perfect example of this, and with the author’s permission I am publishing both his question and my answer in today’s article.
I am literally glowing. A week ago, a friend loaned me his copy of Magic Bullets. I had never even heard of Love Systems before, but now I’m hooked. I read as much of the book as I could, I downloaded the interview on Opening from your interview series, and last night for the first time I walked up to a cutie in the bookstore, used a “direct game” opener, and 10 minutes later, we were having coffee. She couldn’t stay long, but now she’s in my phone and we have plans for Saturday. So, I hope you get to this question in time.
In Magic Bullets you list a whole bunch of good and bad first dates, and explain that dinner is a bad first date. Does this still apply if we talked about food a lot and I am (not to brag) a very good cook? I was going to invite her over, cook her dinner, and take things from there...
Am I making a horrible mistake?
Jonathan G., St. Paul, MN
The simple answer to your question is: probably.
Now, here comes the very long answer...
Let’s start with good and bad dates. You’ve obviously read Chapter 17 on dates in Magic Bullets. Another good resource is interview volume four on dates in the interview series, which goes into more detail in some areas.
It’s not enough to know that a dinner date is usually “bad.” At Love Systems, we insist that you learn why things work or don’t work, so you can make the material your own. So, here are some of the basic, emotional, reasons why we advise new guys generally to avoid dinner dates:
She’s been to dozens of these already in her life. It’s not fresh and exciting and it’s harder for you to stand out.
You show from the beginning that you are not especially creative or challenging to her.
The first-date dinner date is a traditional part of the “courtship” ritual. Courtship is bad. You are chasing her; she is screening you. She is evaluating whether you’d be a good boyfriend. I call this kind of approach “dating and waiting.”
She has lots of experience going for dinner with a man and not giving him more than a kiss.
Dinner dates, especially if you’re new to dating science and don’t know her that well, are actually kind of hard. You are responsible for nearly all of the entertainment, and awkwardness is death. Compare this to going to a comedy club, where the environment helps you.
Notice that I said “emotional reasons” above. The emotional side is only part of it. To begin a sexual relationship with a woman (which is your goal whether you want her as a girlfriend or as a one-night stand) you need for her to be ready Emotionally, Physically, and Logistically (for more information on this see the Love Systems Triad Model). So consider:
Physically: At most restaurants, it is hard or awkward for you to be touching each other, or starting what I call the “physical conversation.” You’re often sitting across from each other, with a table as a barrier. Even starting the physical conversation by touching her arm casually as you say something is awkward over a dinner table. You’re usually just two talking heads.
Logistically: You’re at a restaurant. Great. She’s not at your house, and she’s used to the invitation to a man’s house after the dinner date and knows exactly what that means. It’s a state break. (If you don’t know what a state break is and how the end-game – seducing a woman – is dependent on properly navigating past potential state break, then re-read Chapter 10: Seduction of Magic Bullets. It explains state breaks in detail, gives three tools to navigate past them, and then a ton of examples of how these tools get used in real-life situations.) It’s not an insurmountable problem, but it’s a potential state break you don’t need, especially when you’re just starting out.
Now, making dinner at your place is a little different. It’s slightly more original. You have more control over the environment (lighting, music, etc.). You are in private, in a place where the physical conversation can develop. You show her that you are a good cook, which is attractive. And it gives her a chance to see where you live, which, if you’ve set things up correctly, should reinforce her attraction to you and help her get to know you better. Leave a few objects around that are conversation starters or will lead her to reinforce her attraction to you. I used to travel a lot and take a lot of photographs, so I blew some of them up and put them on my wall. Women ask about them all the time, and it gives me a chance to tell funny stories from my trips and to embed a lot of cool stuff about my old career as a photographer.
However, I still wouldn’t recommend it as a first date in this case. You may suffer from congruence issues. And logistically, it’s not as good of a situation as it might seem. I’ll explain both of these.
In terms of congruence, go back to the 8 attraction switches from Magic Bullets. The first five (Social Intuition, Status, Humor, etc.) are things you can demonstrate that are universally attractive to most women. The last three (Confidence, Pre-selection, and Challenging) are called “Outcomes.” They are crucially important because a woman looks for these to see if you are who she thinks you are.
I’ll explain this by using an example from my own life. About 7 years ago, I was in grad school, and I was just starting to get into dating science. Back then guys like me didn’t have the amazing resources that are available today – there was no Magic Bullets to give an overall step-by-step system, no Love Systems Routines Manual Volume1 or Volume 2 to tell you word-for-word what to say, no Interview Series to give advanced tools on a few dozen crucial topics, and no live bootcamps with professional instructors to put it all together. So, I was kind of working from scratch, feeling my way through the dark.
One of my earliest “successes” came when I successfully approached, and attracted, a really attractive blonde at a wine tasting. She gave me her number without even asking so I called and invited her over for dinner. And I messed it up.
If you’re going to cook dinner on a first date, don’t overdo things. I lit a bunch of candles, made my place look beautiful, carefully chose all the music, and prepared a meal that ought to have been reviewed in the local newspaper. At the end of the night, I got a kiss. And even though we’d bump into each other now and then, I never got a second date.
I bring her up as an example because I actually ran into her a couple of years ago when I was back in Philadelphia. It turns out she is friends with one of my friends back home, even though neither of us knew this at the time. Now being a dating science professional and innovator, I take every chance I can to ask questions and test assumptions and hypotheses when it comes to women and dating. So, I explained my interests and the book I was writing (which later turned into Magic Bullets) and asked her – from a research perspective - why things didn’t work out between us.
Once I got past all of her answers she instinctively gave to avoid awkwardness (“I was into you, I was just really tired” / “I had just broken up with my boyfriend and I wasn’t ready” / etc.), I got to the meat of it.
She was uncomfortable that I’d put so much effort into our date.
If you’ve read Magic Bullets, especially the chapters on Female Psychology and on Attraction, you know exactly what was going on here. If you don’t, here’s a quick gloss through:
When she first met me, she thought I was interesting, funny, exciting, and so on. She was attracted to me.
However, beautiful women are used to men who have “game.” That’s why a lot of women wait before sex or are “not ready.” They want to know you for a little longer to see if you are really the person they thought you were.
That’s where the three Outcomes come in. Outcomes are the final three attraction switches that demonstrate you are who you say you are. These are Confidence, Pre-Selection, and Challenging.
Since it is virtually impossible for a man to actually BE all of the attractive qualities she is looking for without also being confident, challenging, and pre-selected, she started to question her initial impression of me.
So, putting it all together... she met me and thought I was great and had a lot going for me based on her initial impression over about half an hour. But then when she came over for dinner, she saw all the effort I had put into a date with someone I barely knew, and reasoned that I must be desperate, or weird, or she had the wrong impression of me. This is because a man who genuinely has enough going for him to attract a beautiful woman has enough options and opportunities in every area of his social life that he wouldn’t pull out all the stops for a woman he’s only known for a short time.
In other words, I wasn’t congruent. If I really was as amazing as she thought I was, I would have had other women after me. I didn’t. If I did, I wouldn’t have put so much effort into our date. So I obviously failed on Pre-selection. In the same way, I failed to be Challenging. Both of which implied a lack of Confidence.
Moving on... the second issue is that a date that takes place entirely at your house isn’t necessarily a great first date. Start the date at your house, go out, and then come back. She’ll feel like she’s known you longer and will be more comfortable with you. Also, if your first date is entirely at your house (watching a movie, having dinner, etc.) and you don’t have sex, you probably won’t be able to get away with a second date that is also entirely at your house. She’s already done that. So now your second date is harder. I much prefer a first date where she meets you at your place, you go out, and you come back. On those occasions when for whatever reason you don’t get to sex on the first date, the second date is a great time for “come over, we’ll make pizza, and watch a movie under the blankets.”
So, what are you actually going to do with this woman? I’m going to give you two options:
First, instead of an elaborate dinner, invite her to meet you at your place (which is a good idea for all kinds of reasons) before you go out. Offer her a drink and an appetizer. Casually mention that the appetizers were from a dinner party you had last night. She’ll see you’re a great cook and have an active social life. She’ll get to experience your house and learn about you. Then you go out to a concert, comedy club, walk on the beach, or whatever. Then you can come back for some left-over dessert you happen to have around. Your odds of success will improve dramatically.
Second, if you are committed to the dinner date (I’m not sure exactly how you invited her), make it interactive. Don’t have her show up to a well-cooked meal. Tell her what she needs to bring. Make her part of the process.
As an example, I love to have women come over to make pizza. First of all, I love pizza. Second, I can tell her to bring wine and one fun pizza ingredient, something non-traditional, and that I will judge her based on what she brings.