Five Questions to Ask on a First Date

First dates are like job interviews. You need to suss the person out, figure out who exactly you are dealing with. After all, you don’t want to find out six months down the road that the man you once thought was your “Mr. Darcy” turns into the Incredible Hulk when angry or that the demure English Rose you’ve invited to move in with you was once the mastermind of an International terrorist group and is wanted by Interpol. Breaking things off could end up with your body on a slab in the basement of Scotland Yard, and that’s never an aspiration for anyone. No, you want your Mr. Darcy to be, well, Mr. Darcy, and that Kate Beckinsale look-alike to be the sort of girl you would be proud to bring home to mother. By date three you’re pretty much locked in whether you wish to be or not, so you have only the first few dates to figure out whether the person is a short-term lease or if you’re buying. In order to accomplish this you must have a scheme already in mind before you take walk through the door.

Presented below are five questions to ask your date that will mitigate much of your dating risk:

1. So what do you do for a living? This oldie but goodie can tell you quite a bit about the person sitting across the table from you. Let’s say they are a barrister, for example. Right away you know already that their weekly cheque is enough to live off comfortably, and for many that would be enough to “buy”. Not so fast! Dating and marrying a barrister also means that you will never win an argument. When the holiday is over and reality settles in, do you really want to have to prep a briefing before inquiring why your significant other never picks up around the house or is always the last to volunteer to make dinner? No. What if your date tells you they are an actor but just waits tables to pay the bills until their big break arrives? Here’s what you do: tell them you have to use the toilet and then pay a waiter to stall for you while you slip out the back. What you want to hear is that they are in IT or some other stable, but boring profession.

2. Do you live alone or with someone? This is the kinder, gentler way of asking if he or she still lives at home with their Mum. While living with the Rents can and does happen, especially in trying economic times, it is certainly preferable if your potential mate has broken free from the nest and gone on solo flights prior to settling down into a nest with you. For the women out there reading this article, you should also pay special care to men who live with “their best mate”. Best mates and girlfriends are predestined to have an adversarial relationship. Think Shaun of the Dead and act accordingly.

3. So what did you think of that Chris Brown-Rihanna rubbish? This is a test. Should the man say that Chris did something wrong but deserves another chance, then you need to commit to a three date minimum before deciding on your purchase. On one hand, believing in the power of personal redemption is a powerful and beautiful thing. On the other, supporting a man who beat the stuffing out of his girlfriend in any way, shape, or form should send off warning bells. If it is a girl answering this question, understand that there is no other answer aside from “Chris Brown deserved castration”.

4. What are your hobbies? Another gold standard question. Knowing a person’s hobbies is the key to their soul. Take for instance the man who says that he likes to play “Call of Duty” in his spare time. This tells you three very important things about him: 1) that he can now or could at some point afford a 260 quid gaming system, 2) that he spends his waking hours with head phones on and a controller in his hands, shooting realistic sniper rifles and talking smack to strangers with malevolent glee, aka “has a psychotic streak”, and 3) he isn’t the sort to leave the house all that often, meaning that you won’t be leaving the flat all that often once you’re firmly entrenched into the relationship portion of the dating cycle. For the men reading this article, should she say that her hobbies include “reading” that means that she’s a hopeless romantic that spends her free time entrenched in a Marian Keyes book, looking for a tall, dark, handsome Irishman with blue eyes that likes sushi and doesn’t mind women with children. Translation: you better be a tall, dark, handsome man who has no flaws aside from having a psychotic ex girlfriend that will cause trouble between you and your new bird. Should she say that “shopping” is her hobby then hide your credit cards.

5. Do you like dogs? This is a solid question with potential. Dog lovers are friendly, loyal people who enjoy walks in the park out in the fresh air. There is a logical follow-up question: do you own one? Dog ownership means that your date has 1) room for a dog in their flat, 2) money to feed and care for a dog, and 3) that they can’t take long holidays. Now, you may receive the response of: I’m more of a cat person. If you are a cat person then this would be the perfect response to the aforementioned “dog question”, if you are a dog person then you probably should just walk away and not look back.

Of course there are many more questions that you can and should ask any potential partner, like “…do you prefer Russell Brand or Noel Fielding?” But do those really help you understand if the person sitting across from you has the potential to make money, wastes their time foolishly, or has a closet of sweaters with cat fur all over them? No, not really. Use these questions as guidance through the murky First Date waters and by the date’s conclusion you should be ready to decide whether or not you need to change your cell number or set up a shopping date for IKEA.

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