Dating is awkward by nature, but there's something particularly painful about going on a date after you've been out of the game for a while. So to make all those first dates a little less stressful, we've compiled a handy guide for dating after a long dry spell.
This is how you do -- and don't -- do it, folks.
DO take the time to primp and pamper before the date. You sifted through pages and pages of seedy eHarmony profiles to find this person, there's no shame in wanting to look your best.
DON'T dress younger than your age. Justin Bieber's creepy older cousin is a good look for no one.
DON'T let on that you've been Google stalking your date. We all do it, but your prospective love interest doesn't need to know that you're aware of her shellfish allergy or that he became an uncle last weekend.
DO order what you want. If you know a salad will hold you over all night, that's fine, but don't shy away from ordering a burrito the size of a baby if that's what you're craving.
DO work your charm. Fluttering your eyelashes, gazing into your date's eyes at strategic moments -- there's no shame in flirting.
DON'T mention your ex. No one wants to be regaled with tales of how awful that guy was -- and you might end up crying, which, let's be honest, is kind of a mood-killer.
DON'T bust out those dance moves you last used in '90s. Somehow, they're even worse now.
DO try to get a sense of whether or not you and your date have the same values and opinions on important issues.
DON'T get hung up on those awkward moments when you have nothing to say. It happens to the best of us.
DON'T pretend to be someone you're not. Honesty is the the best policy when dating and to quote Ingrid Michaelson, you want someone to take you the way you are.
DO have a friend on call if your date is a weirdo and you need to execute that escape plan stat.
DON'T come on too strong. You'll run the risk of scaring off your date.
And finally, if it doesn't work out, DO remember that you're still highly dateable, even if your date isn't cool enough to realize it.