Getting a first date is fairly easy. Or so they tell me. But getting a first date and going on a first date are nowhere near as big a deal as the ultimate prize, the holy grail of dating, the BIG ONE: securing date number two.
So many of us miss out on the follow-up date. They say sequels can never live up to their predecessor (mine certainly don't), but lots of debuts fail to even get the chance to try.
Is there something you can do to smooth the path to 'date deux'? Maybe. Here are seven for a start. (I use him throughout, but I suppose it works both ways, but I kiss boys not girls, and they do say "write what you know". Although, I don't really know much.)
Pay your way
You want to be treated like a prince or princess? Fine, no problem. But even William and Kate have their own wallets. Put your hand in your pocket if you want his fingers to dial your number.
Sort out your attitude to sex
Some facts: not everybody thinks having sex (or going back to theirs for a fumble and/or nakedness) is anathema to getting a second date; having sex on a first date doesn't mean they will see you again, either. Sex after a first date is not a prize, a reward or a bargaining tool. It can turn some people off you, or be the start of the most passionate of relationships. Do not get too hung up on this. 'Withholding' sex (a ridiculous phrase I feel compelled to use) in the hope it will make you like someone more is ridiculous, as is 'putting out' for the same reason. Be relaxed and go with the flow. Yes, you can always leave your audience wanting more - but sometimes the passion takes over. Sod it, your mother will not make you wear ivory.
If you want things to go beyond the premiere, make sure you have been as straight with your date as injunctions will allow. If you've done a bit of bragging, inventing or boasting to seem like a bigger catch, well more fool you, but it needn't mean you can't pull back from it. Daters aren't stupid, though - we can tell a bull-shitter from twenty paces (make it ten if sober). Bigging yourself up is OK - making it up isn't so great.
Get it in the diary
If you can feel something between you - a spark, a lightning bolt, whatever - then why not talk about some events you're going to be at or nights out you'll be having and see if he might be there, or if he'd like to come along? I mean, y'know, you're going to have to keep this casual as it's date 1 and all, but if you just drop a few suggestions, he might remember you when he thinks about his plans for the weekend. Then, when he's there, you can do your best to work your magic.
Keep it light
The chat between you on your date is the major thing - it's what you'll be doing most of apart from a) going to the bar b) scurrying to the toilet to text friends or c) smooching (hopefully). So the chat has to be grade-A quality. Keep it witty, bright and breezy. Good-natured, flirtatious badinage is your aim. Leave the heavier stuff like family travails, politics (I'm not saying be shallow but gloss over any potential political differences which may cause conflict), work woes and all that stuff to dates 3 and 4, when you've already charmed the pants off them. Believe me, I have tried going in with 'agenda' chat and found myself staring at a rainy kerb waiting for the bus home with a phone quieter than a post-apocalyptic library. And hey, do plenty of listening, too - you're not at the hustings.
Don't think about it
You know the saying "a watched pot never boils"? Well that's a load of old baloney, and the person who said it has a hell of a lot of kitchenware with holes in the bottom. But, there is something to be said for having a relaxed attitude when it comes to the follow-up call. Don't end the date with "So... I'll hear from you soon, right?" or "Are you going to call me?" - just end with a goodbye, a peck (or more if you're feeling that way inclined) and when you part, thank them for a great evening and wish them a safe journey home. If it's gone well and you're feeling positive, you've probably done all you can. No amount of mind control is going to change the outcome. And you know what? He might just call. Or...
Be the one to call
Why wait? Give it two or three days after the first date and send a text, smoothing the way for that phone call. Why not? Nobody ever got anywhere by waiting for something that might never come. Why sit at home wondering why he hasn't called? Don't worry about coming across as 'pushy' or a 'stalker' - he may be shy and really glad you got in touch. What's the worst that can happen? A refusal? Whatever, there'll be others. Don't die wondering. Put yourself in control. If it's going to turn into anything serious, it's right where you'll want to be.