1. You must be sure you have the right foot equipment!
Are you going to wear flip-flops to ascend Killamanjaro?
I think not. You've got to be prepared for the rigors of the hike.
Likewise, if you're wearing fashionably tall Jimmy Choo stilettos on a first date it may be impossible to flee home or run pell mell to the nearest taxi stand when your date mentions he still lives with his mother and has a fixation on knives and shower curtains.
Consider wearing a sturdy pair of well-worn Birkenstocks the first four dates. This also weeds out the Modelizers (men who only date models -- thankfully George Clooney has graduated from their ranks).
A man who finds you attractive in your Birkenstocks will be more likely to overlook that ignominious moment when you delicately break wind during Reverse Cowgirl.
2. Bring enough fluids to stay hydrated.
I love James Franco, despite his ubiquity. But do you really want to find yourself in the same predicament as his character Aron Rolston in 127 Hours with your arm trapped by a huge boulder forcing you to drink your own pee?
Which naturally leads me to remind you that if you're dating whilst in peri-menopause fluids are equally as important as they were to James Franco.
You're hot-flashing every ounce of fluid out of your body and the first organ to dry and shrivel up happens to be the vagina.
A man pressing his lips to a dehydrated vagina is akin to sticking his tongue to a frozen metal pole. Very difficult to remove without losing some flesh in the process.
And by the way, what the hell are you doing having oral sex on the first date?
That's like hiking Everest the first time out sans oxygen tank and repelling ropes.
Knock that shit off, Maverick! Do you really want to find yourself in an inverted G-Force spiral with a Russian MiG?
I didn't think so.
3. Avoid risk-taking asshattery.
Would you stand on the precipice of the Grand Canyon to take a photo during 100 mph winds? Have you read Over the Edge: Deaths in Grand Canyon? 685 deaths tabulated thus far.
In light of this and by the same token and any other like-minded idioms, do not, I repeat, DO NOT make your first date with a prospective lover at the gym.
I allowed this to happen once.
I met a cruelly handsome, be-muscled asshat at a party and loathed myself a little for wanting to suck face with him because of his blinding beauty hence accepted a first date at the infamous Gold's Gym in Venice Beach.
One herniated disc, pulled quad muscle and neck brace later I witnessed my date making another gym date for the following day on his phone while we were eating egg whites on top of ground beef infused with protein powder and human growth hormone in the gym cafe after our work out.
NO GYM DATES! (Or hiking dates for that matter).
4. Wear appropriate protection.
Are you going to go hiking in Palm Springs in August without sunscreen?
(Do not ask me why I would go hiking in Palm Springs in August. I will only say it might have had something to do with friends of mine who run marathons and me not wanting them to think I'm a pussy).
You will certainly be wearing that sunscreen, sunglasses and a hat.
So why would you go on a date without a supply of, first, condoms, in case things go better than expected. Second, a twenty dollar bill for an Uber cab if things suck. And third, pepper spray in case your date tries to Hannibal-Lecter your tongue right out of your mouth during the goodnight kiss?
Dating is some serious shit, people. You gotta man the fuck up!
5. Take a moment to enjoy the view.
You're not going to climb the 28,253 feet of K2 and not take in the view of both Pakistan and China before their mutually assured nuclear destruction.
No, first you're going to gaze at the wonders of the Natural World, then litter the peak with oxygen tanks, ready-to-eat-meals and perhaps a spray of your own urine to mark your territory before descending.
Dating is much the same.
You don't need to rush straight into the sack, missing your date's sense of humor, his mysterious, fully-clothed body, the delicious sexual tension pinging between the two of you, crackling like the hum of an electrical current.
Enjoy the view, ladies.
Take it all in, because everything changes during the descent into bed. And sometimes... wait for it... wait for it... sometimes for the better!
But there's nothing like the first time you behold your soon-to-be-lover with fresh eyes.
6. When it's over, relish the accomplishment.
When you get off that mountain with sweat still pooling under your arms and rolling between your shoulder blades, the muscles of your calves still throbbing with your efforts, you often take a moment to pat yourself on the back rather than planning when you're going to hike again and how you'll do it better, how much further you'll go, how much fitter you'll become, how badass you will be while you leave feeble minions and their sherpas in your wake.
Likewise, after a date that's gone well, stop thinking about walking down the aisle in your Bride's Barn gown and the names of your children and how much life insurance you can take out on your husband in order to live in comfort after he perishes from the stroke he had due to all the stressful years he slaved away in order to buy you diamonds and vaginal rejuvenation.
Just stop that future-thinking right the fuck now!
Take a moment to be grateful for what just happened.
Allow yourself to bask in the glow of a lovely connection and relax into knowing if more is meant to happen, it will.
You won't need to force it, or manipulate and contort it.
Just be open to seeing where things quite naturally go, without sharpening your glacier crampons and plotting the next peak you'll conquer.