The Best First Date

First dates generally suck.  I usually dread them because they are so predictable.  Guys either take me out to dinner or take me out for a drink (or five).   There is no originality anymore–just take a look at how many guys have taken me to dinner recently. (Please note, I am not complaining–just making an observation because every struggling writer enjoys a good meal once in a while.)




  • The Teacher — He took me apple picking.  (He got big points for that idea.)
  • Red Sox Guy — He took me to a Red Sox game. He got 10 points for that, but lost 20 when he expected me to sleep over after the game!  Jerk.

Personally, I think first dates should be fun.  Recently, I received an email from a fan who told me she was going on a first date with a guy and was really happy about it because she hasn’t had a date in 18 months.  (That’s a long time without a date.) I was truly excited for her!

Until she told me they would be meeting for lunch.


Lunch? For a first date?  That’s as exciting as a root canal.  Maybe I should have suggested something a little more…let’s say…exciting.

Here would be my top three suggestions for a fun first date:

  • Bowling
  • Mini Golf
  • Indoor Shooting Range

But, that’s just me.  I prefer creating something to talk about instead of going through the usual game of “Twenty Questions.”  Plus, what’s there not to like about adding some fun and a little competition to make your date more interesting?


Imagine winning a game of mini golf on a first date…think about all the gloating one can do. Okay, only do this if your date is a good sport and he can take a few sarcastic jabs.  If he’s a sore loser (assuming that you kick his ass in mini-golf), then he doesn’t get a second date.  See how that works?  Having dinner with someone doesn’t give you this kind of opportunity to see someone in a more natural and relaxed environment.

Plus, it’s practically guaranteed you won’t drink too much and wind up in bed.

So, speaking of really great first dates (this is where I go down the rabbit trail) the other day I finally went on a first date with The Smoker.

THE SMOKER:   Sooo, the 23rd. There’s a chance I might need a date for my friend’s wedding.  Ever date a reverend?

CARRIE:  The 23rd of?

THE SMOKER:  Um, June?  Reception is at the Shaskeen if that makes any difference.  Week from this Saturday.

CARRIE:  Can you handle seeing me in a dress?

THE SMOKER:  Can you handle watching me officiate the ceremony as an Internet reverend?  I think fun time might be had.

CARRIE:  Holy Lord.  Okay, I’m in.  Kelly green dress or polka-dots/40’s style dress?


CARRIE:  Ha ha.  The green or dark blue dress???  Both are hot.  Sexy.  Hot.  Meow.

THE SMOKER:   I would need pictures, but without them I’d have to say yes.

CARRIE:  Cheesy picture, but I was excited to have a new dress.

THE SMOKER:  I think that one wins so far.

CARRIE:  The Kelly green is equally yummy.

THE SMOKER:   Pictures or I’m coming by for a modeling session.

CARRIE:  So, how is your public speaking?

THE SMOKER:  We will certainly find out….*crosses fingers*

CARRIE:  What time is the wedding?

THE SMOKER:  Great question.  Will find out. One second…

THE SMOKER:  3:00pm

CARRIE:  So, I get to see you shaved and in a suit?

THE SMOKER:  At least one of the two.  Perhaps both.  Bought a new suit tonight.  Half way there…

CARRIE:  Where’s my damn picture??

THE SMOKER:  I was falling out of it.  Hardly a photo op. Tailors for the win.

CARRIE:  Lame.

THE SMOKER:  Green dress and we can talk.

CARRIE:  You can’t handle the green dress!  *said in Jack Nicholson’s voice*


CARRIE:  Here’s the green dress.

THE SMOKER:   Oooh, sexy.  I like it.

CARRIE:  So dots or green?

THE SMOKER:  Tough call.  What color are the polka-dots?

CARRIE:   Dark blue dress with red dots.

THE SMOKER:  I think I have a tie for the blue dress.

CARRIE:  Oh, so we are going to be the matching couple?  How sweet.

THE SMOKER:  Hell, ya.

CARRIE:  Got lifts?  I will be wearing heels.   Or, don’t you like your women Amazonian sized?

THE SMOKER:  Flats or the deal is off.  😉

CARRIE:  Heels…you’ll love it.

The day of the wedding arrives.  It’s a hot, sunny day and because I live in New England, it’s slightly humid.  A perfect day for big hair.  Not a perfect day for wearing a polyester dress.  But because I loved my new dress so much, I decide to suck it up and wear it anyway.

I meet The Smoker at 2:00pm at my favorite pub as planned.  (Okay, it was actually 2:15pm, because my super-sonic hair dryer couldn’t dry my super big hair.  A constant problem I have on humid days.)

There’s a sign out front of the bar that says: “Private Party. Closed to Public.”  I walk in and nobody is there except a few people standing at the bar – one of them is The Smoker.  His face lights up when he sees me and so does mine.  I was pleasantly surprise at how well he cleaned up.  He obviously spared no expense in buying his dark blue suit, because it was really nice.


We greet each other and he gives me a quick hug, and tells me I look amazing.  Behind the bar are my two favorite bartenders:  Megs and Belfast Bartender.  I put my clutch down and notice right away the two empty shot glasses sitting in front of me and my date.


Megs doesn’t even ask me what I want, she just walks over with the bottle of Jack Daniels and fills the two shot glasses.  A quick toast is made and I down the shot like a champ, grab my purse and ask my date if we should head to the park where the wedding is going to take place.

“Wait, Carrie, you’re doing another shot,” Megs announced.

How do I say no to this beautiful face?

At first I fought it.  “Look, Megs, I’m not a professional drinker.  I can only do one more shot, but only if I can have a Coke back.  I haven’t eaten lunch and I really don’t think anyone wants to see me barf at the wedding.”

She pours.

I drink.

The Smoker and I leave right after the second shot and drive a few blocks away to a beautiful.  As we walked onto the lawn towards the ceremony, I silently thank myself for not to wearing my spiky high-heels that day.  I knew I was going to be hot in my synthetic dress. I didn’t need to also worry that I was also aerating the park lawn with my shoes.  That’s never fun.

We stood in the shade under the canopy of large oak trees. The Smoker was an absolute gentleman and introduced me to a lot of the guests.  And, as promised, he officiated the ceremony in less than two minutes.


By the time we get back to the pub, the place is already packed with wedding guests.  The Smoker and I end up sitting at the end of the bar, which faced the room and is known as the best seat in the house to people watch.  While we sat there talking and drinking our beer, his big man hand slipped gently into mine and, naturally, I leaned in closer.  There was something about him that made me feel safe.

I’m not sure how many shots I did or how many pints of beer the bartenders poured me that night, but I do remember already being drunk when this really pretty girl and her husband from Vermont struck up a conversation with me.  Don’t ask me what we talked about, because I don’t remember.  What I do remember is her being completely hammered.  But, in her defense, at that particular point of the evening that description fit a lot of people. Or was it still afternoon?  Again, I don’t remember, but what I do remember is her announcing that we, as in her and I, were going to do a shot together.

“Neal, give us four Chocolate Cake shots, please.”  She turns to me and says, “Wait until you taste this.  It’s so awesome!”

“Does it have Jack Daniels in it?”

The chocolate shot had me worried.  I know better than to mix my Jackie with anything else, well,  besides beer.  Jack usually plays well with beer, but it didn’t matter because the Vermont girl ignored my question and stood there with a shit-eating grin on her face, waiting for Belfast Bartender to mix the shots.

As soon as I saw Belfast pour the clear liquid into the shot glasses, I knew I was in trouble.

“Hell, no.  If it’s not Jack Daniels, I’m not drinking it.”

Famous last words.  Down the hatch it went and, as instructed, I sucked on the lemon garnish – hoping to get the chocolate effect started in my mouth.

“See?!” she exclaimed.  “Doesn’t it taste like chocolate cake?”

“No! And, now, not only do I hate myself for trying it, but I’m going to be hating you in the morning for making do this shot.”

After that, I started drinking water.  At least I’m smart enough to know when to stop drinking and when to start imbibing on water.   I know my body can only take so much and, God forbid, I’m ever that girl who had to be carried out by the bouncer, or I’m the one barfing in the bathroom.

Look, everyone enjoys getting drunk, but the key is to know when to cut yourself off, because dignity and grace always win, ladies.  Sloppy is never cute.  Remember that.


Somewhere between 5:00pm and 11:00pm The Smoker finally kissed me.  Or, did I kiss him?  Either way, it was a nice kiss.  No tongue.  Just lips.  It was sweet – not too pushy, just a nice little kiss – just the way I like it.

At one point during one of our canoodling sessions he turns to me and announces, “Just so you know, I actually mentioned to your brother last week that I wanted to take you as my date to the wedding.”

“You asked my brother if you could take me as your date?”

“Well, I didn’t exactly ask him – it was more like I brought it up …”

“Same difference.  Awww…that’s so sweet.  Nathan was okay with this?  Wow.  He must really like you.”


Yes, The Smoker got points for asking Nathan if he could take his sister to a wedding reception at his bar, absolutely.  I mean, look, when you’re a bar owner and you have a sister, who is single, you’re going to be concerned about who she dates – especially if it’s a customer.   Nathan has been a bartender for years and knows everyone, which includes how people handle themselves when they drink and how many women he see them leave with…

Around 11:30 pm my date and I left the party.   I don’t remember saying good-bye to my brother but at 4:31AM he sends me this text:

NATHAN:  Where are you and what condition are you in?

I’m not sure what kind of party animal he thinks I was, but I was fast asleep when I replied.

CARRIE:    Bed.  Home.  Ouch, my head.

A few days later, I was sitting in my office (the corner booth of the bar), discussing the wedding reception with Belfast Bartender.

“So, how was the kiss?” he says in his Irish accent.  “On a scale one to ten, what would you rank it?”

I really had to think about it for a few seconds:  He only kissed me a few times that night, but it wasn’t like it was a heavy make-out session or anything like that.  No, it was more like a gentle kiss, but still worth grading.

“Uhm, I would say…an eight.”

Belfast leans in and asked, “Were you drunk?”

“Well, ya….But you got me that way, remember?”

“Well then it’s a seven and not an eight.”  As if he were pleased with himself, he crossed his arms and leaned back into his seat. “Sorry, but you have to deduct one point for being drunk.”

Maybe so, but The Smoker got a “10” for first-date originality.  I really had a good time and, as drunk as I got, he didn’t even try anything.  Nothing.  During the whole evening, his hand didn’t even slip down the small of my back down, and onto an ass cheek.

Not even once.



11 thoughts on “The Best First Date

  1. I’ve found that often too much of an “original” first date can sometimes overshadow the participants — case in point, I took a graphic designer to a printing museum that was showing a movie about a typesetting machine (we both were excited about this). When we got there, she got sooooooooo into the displays (taking pictures, trying out the machines, asking the guides questions), I pract. vanished into thin air…She was on a great date with the displays — what I just considered interesting scenery for a date. So I learned to save the “interesting” dates for date 2 (bowling, off beat museum shit). Sure, coffee, dinner and drinks are boring on the face of it, but great company can make any place sparkle (Rachel and I just had hummus at Real Food Daily for our first date, bowling second)….

  2. It would still have been a seven if you did a Jackie, as opposed to the Chocolate Cake shot.
    *crosses arms, pleased as punch*

  3. No. It was a terrible date for the both of us. We had a lot in common but ‘anti-chemistry’ — this has happened only a few times…where I found her attractive in theory (and she prob. me), we had just not NO chemistry, but an anti-chemistry — like two backwards magnets

    • So, your idea of an original first date was not the problem – and nothing was overshadowed – the problem was that you and Graphic Designer had no chemistry.

      Which would you rather do with someone you had no chemistry with on a date? Mini golf or having to sit across from them for a drink or dinner…or a boring lunch?

      • Hmmm….either or. I think something like mini-golf might give the appearance of chemistry (this has happened in the past — the opposite of the Printing Press date — the situation provides faux chemistry, a faux banter and when stripped away, say, on a quieter, more intimate 2nd date, we are left with nothing but our personalities)….So I guess I prefer less bells and whistles and dog and pony backdrops and see what happens one-on-one…

  4. But I get what you are saying — at least there is a DATING SCENERY CRUTCH to lean on if your date taps out. And actually, there was a 90 min movie at the Printing place we were both sort of relieved for…

  5. I love original first dates… firing range – probably the most exciting date I had, but didn’t get a second. Hiking is always a big check to me. You learn so much from someone when you let them just walk and talk to you. :). Trivia Nights are fun – shows you what your date really knows. Ahh the good ole days, now it’s just road trips to places unknown. 🙂

  6. Pingback: Next Time, I’ll Pass on the Percocets –

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