The following is a public service announcement brought to you by a first date.
On our first date, don't tell me I really must see the 1965 exploitation film Faster, Pussycat! Kill! Kill! after I've told you I have a master's degree in screenwriting. It is not going to make me want to see you again, even if you take me out for a $325 dinner consisting of food I cannot pronounce and that is the shape of nickels and dimes, part of which has the texture of a slug. I don't need to have my fork and knife replaced after two bites six times. I don't own that many utensils.
The difference between sparkling and bottled water, only one of which the restaurant will charge us for, does not impress me (neither does your PhD in molecular biochemistry and biophysics from Yale or your fellowship from Harvard or your MBA from MIT, though originally that, along with your good looks, kind smile, interest in hiking and the outdoors, and your work in cancer research made me think you might be a "good catch").
At the start of our date, don't ask me if I'll go home with you after dinner, and don't ask me another six or seven times at 15-minute intervals after I've said no, or withhold information about yourself with the promise of divulging it only if I go home with you, and don't ask me to provide a more legitimate reason for not wanting to go home with you. Also, don't say before I agree to our date that you're interested in ultimately finding a long-term relationship, after I've told you that that is my reason for dating, and then on the date say to be honest really now that isn't true.
Don't ask me to believe that you think a man asking a woman to go home with him, or a woman asking a man the same, doesn't mean sex. You've already admitted to knowing backwards and forward every Seinfeld episode, including the one where George's date asks him to come up to her place for coffee. Don't tell me that if I go home with you that we'll "just watch a movie."
Don't tell me there's something about my eyes that has made you talk about the details of your sex life with your "ex"-wife and that you hope you haven't overshared, and don't ask if I've ever considered being a therapist, especially after you've just said you don't really believe in therapy, though you've tried it and it's been helpful. Don't explain that the woman you've spent your life with since college asked you a few months ago at the age of 43 to try out BDSM, including the use of whips, to save your then "intimacy-less" marriage, unless the point is to share something that could make or break my decision to go on a second date with you.
Don't think about asking me to "go for a walk" in a dangerous neighborhood in the dark after a three-and-a-half-hour dinner after I've said I have to be going now. Don't stall by lecturing me on film history. Don't tell me you read Brave New World by choice when you were 10 and don't prepare a list of novels you've read that I haven't but must in order to educate myself on "what is good literature." You are a scientist, after all.
Don't force me to make up a story about my cat having a life-threatening medical issue that requires me to go home without further delay and don't think I owe you a kiss because you picked up the check.
Above all, make sure you're actually officially divorced before you ask someone for a date, and don't let the door hit you on the way out.
Follow Tracy Strauss on Twitter: www.twitter.com/TracyLStrauss