If you want to feel like shit, you should agree to a Tinder date. Period. That hour beforehand will make you feel like you're about to do stand-up for Dick Cheney in a tutu. You'll have to knock back two beers—at least.
There's so much that's unknown, which is why you hang onto every clue to indicate if this person is batshit crazy, moderately lame or maybe, dare I say, compatible?
On a recent date with a guy who looks suspiciously like me, I heard a tipsy confession that struck me as palpably odd: He admitted that Jackknife is his "first date" spot.
My strategy couldn't be more different. I take a date to a bar we've both never tried, and where I've never particularly wanted to visit with friends. That way, if the night tanks, I can avoid it in the future.
But he got me thinking: Can we predict what our potential partners are looking for based on the types of places where they prefer to meet us? Probably not—but since 30 percent of Tinder users are married, it's at least worth considering.
Here are nine potential first-date options and what they may tell you about your date's M.O. For ideas on where to take a date, pick up a free copy of our brand-new bar guide, Drank, available around town now or for sale next week at Powell's and New Seasons.
Think: Pepe Le Moko, Dig a Pony or Rontoms
Don't expect your date to order a PBR when you get there. And it will probably be weird if you order one. This person probably wants a grasshopper. At yuppie hotspots, you're dealing with someone who has money to drop; these people are showy and like to impress. This gives you a reason to suspect they may be a fuckboi.
Expect to get two or three drinks, get mildly schwasty and end up taking a Lyft (which they will cover) back to their pad. You will pretend to watch TV for like 40 minutes and then you might have forgettable sex.
Think: The Slammer Tavern, The Nest, Florida Room, My Father's Place or Alleyway
A dive bar, unlike a house, is a home. This is a good sign. You want to date someone who is not necessarily trying to impress you, but who is attempting to get to know you. If your date suggests meeting at a dive, it might already hint that they're looking to date rather than get in your pants and dip.
Obviously, we all know that Netflix doesn't mean Netflix in 2017. This person is probably drunk, stoned or both. The probability of you seeing them again is about 2.5 percent.
Hang with their friends
"I'm not interested in you," is basically what you're telling this person. Unless you venture into the world of Tinder Social or the short-lived double-dating app Double, don't make someone go on a date with you and your friends.
There is one caveat to this: If the person is from out of town, not one of these rules applies. They could move in with you for four days and then go back to Australia, and you'll only occasionally "poke" each other on Facebook.
Share a spliff at the Skidmore Bluffs
If somebody wants to do any drug with you that's not alcohol on your first date, they are either waving a huge red flag or just trying to hook up. Pretty views are nice, though, which brings us to…
Take a hike or a stroll through a park
The only time I've heard of someone willingly wanting to do a sober activity on a first date was a friend who went out with a divorced person. If somebody wants to do an activity with you that involves exercise-–such as walking through Mt. Tabor, a graveyard or a national park–and they didn't bring a flask, it's a good indicator that your date wants to take the time to get to know you.
Dinner and a movie
The old-school "dinner and a movie" date recalls a simpler time when two dogs aspired to share the same noodle in some alleyway. Naturally, there are complications. Most people look gross when they're eating. A movie, for its part, is also not an ideal platform for engaging in anything except a hand on your leg—spicy! But rest assured: If somebody suggests dinner and a movie, this hints at either long-term potential, or a serial dater. There's only one way to find out.
See a show
Like movies, shows do not give two people a plausible platform to discuss anything. The music will be loud, and you'll have to yell. If you are going to a bass, trap or house show, you will likely end up drinking, slow dancing, grinding and hooking up, which is great if that's what you want.
A "creative date" is an ambiguous term. If the person you're talking to decides that you both need to be whimsical by going whale watching or feeding bread to crows, they are dressing to impress.
Taking a class together is also a healthy sign that your partner wants to see the real you. This makes sense: Fuckbois probably aren't going to take the time to learn how to prepare beef stroganoff with you. Whoever does that probably wants to marry you, or has no friends.