1. Sit up straight.
Doing so demonstrates several things, the most important of which is that you do in fact own and use your spine. It's also polite. Talking about Jonathan Franzen to your bald spot as you recline into the seams of a musty couch, feet propped on the arm of an adjacent chair, is inappropriate for a first date. This kind of display makes me want to smack you. No date two.
2. Turn off your laptop.
Don't get me wrong, I love computers. I'm typing on one right now! If you must take your laptop with you on a first date because you're a colossal (but possibly endearing) nerd, keep it in your Manhattan Portage tote and just sit there and wait for your date. Don't worry, it's not cheating if there's no physical contact. And if you continue typing code for 15 minutes after your date has arrived, you won't have to worry about that.
3. Say something.
Looking contemplative when dining alone or riding the subway is a totally acceptable (necessary, even) practice. But thinking really hard for 45 of the 60 minutes of a first date is not going to get you laid, brother.
3. Say something nice.
I don't care that you hate fiction because "ultimately, it's not true." I don't care that you hate San Francisco, where I once lived. In fact, I'm mildly offended by these statements. What's next, do you hate my mom? Not that I'm all puppies and rainbows, but Jesus.
4. Shut up.
Keep in mind that I already know that I like olives and read the New Yorker. Don't recite my profile back to me. It's bad enough that I have a profile, so reminding me of it puts me in a bad mood. Also, lengthy theories about why you support the gentrification of the Lower East Side and stories about your horrible relationships with your ex-girlfriend, your father, your former roommates, your boss, and/or your dog, do not make for light and witty first-date banter.
6. Wear something flattering.
I'm putting on eyeliner and shit. The least you could do is break out your best sneaks and a sweater that doesn't make you look like Grimace.
I keep telling myself that this dating nonsense makes for good material. One can only hope.