I Want to Take a First Date to Lunch During the Work Day. Why Is This a Terrible Idea?



I met a girl online and we are meeting for the first time for lunch this week. We talked on the phone for hours already and she texts me often. We seem to connect very well.

Are there any tips you have for me to make meeting her a bit more special? We are both busy people, so the lunch idea came up, because we both work near one another in town. Since this is the first contact in person I will have with her, I didn’t want to make it too high of pressure or a formal date.


Dear Matt,

My philosophy for first dates was first outlined in “I Can’t Believe I’m Buying This Book – A Commonsense Guide to Successful Internet Dating”. The chapter was called, “How Caffeine Kills Chemistry, and Other Controversial Theories on Dating”, and, in essence, it said this:

If you can’t kiss at Starbucks, what’s the point of going to Starbucks for a first date?

There was more… but that was the gist of it.

While I won’t retract my theory entirely, I do have some modifications I’d like to make.

I am still firm that slowing down is an essential component to making your first dates pop.

The problem with online dating is its illusion of instant gratification. Guy gets rejected by 100 women and becomes convinced that if he only goes FASTER that he’d get a chance at a first date. Woman emails a guy for a month, only to find out he’s 5 years older and 30 lbs heavier than he stated; she becomes convinced that if she only goes FASTER, she wouldn’t have wasted so much time.

If you can’t kiss at Starbucks, what’s the point of going to Starbucks for a first date?

The reaction to our respective failures is to cut to the chase TOO fast. As a result, you email total strangers and say, “You look cute. Let’s meet at Starbucks on Tuesday”. But you’re missing an important part of the dating process – namely, the getting-to-know-you part. By circumventing the normal process of courtship – you’re skipping an integral building block for a first date.

Believe me – I get why you do it. You’ve been burned. You’re busy. You don’t want to waste time. Got it. Then you have no one but yourself to blame when you go on a series of blind dates with unscreened losers. That’s what you get when you meet strangers after only a brief email exchange.

Matt, to his credit, didn’t do this. In fact, he spent hours and hours on the phone, building trust, rapport, and comfort. What does this mean for Matt? It means that if his date’s considering 5 guys from Match.com right now, and 4 of them are emailing her: “You’re hot! Let’s meet up!”, Matt’s going to stand out, just by being a little patient. Restraint is a very powerful tool in a man’s arsenal.

Just by taking a little time to make a woman comfortable – a few emails, a couple phone calls – Matt can earn the right to pick her up at her place for a Saturday night date. The same exact woman who would otherwise insist that a first date meet her at a coffee shop. If you doubt me, I have a few hundred examples suggesting otherwise. Slowing down really does result in better first dates.

But you already know this, Matt. Thus, your real dilemma is in figuring out what a good date looks like for you. And that’s personal. For some people, the ideal date IS coffee/lunch. A quick meeting to determine basic physical chemistry. Well, if that’s the case, then you don’t need my advice. Find a place that’s mutually convenient, well-lit, and inexpensive. Ask questions. Pick up the check. You’re all set.

So what’s wrong with disco bowling and beer on a Friday night? What’s wrong with mini-golf on a Saturday afternoon?

My question to you is this: do you LIKE lunch dates? Low stakes, low price, low romance, “I have to be back in my office in an hour” interview type scenarios? God knows, I always HATED such dates. And if you find them lame and you want your first meeting to have a bit of a spark, you have to work backwards from how you want your date to end. For me, ending on a kiss was important. Thankfully, you’ve already earned enough equity with her to take her on a real date that doesn’t involve a midday break.

So what’s wrong with disco bowling and beer on a Friday night? What’s wrong with mini-golf on a Saturday afternoon? What’s wrong with night-time appletinis at a speakeasy on Saturday night? What’s wrong with taking her hiking (or sledding?) on a Sunday afternoon?

None of this is formal. None of this is high pressure. None of this is terribly expensive. None of this means you’re locked in to six hours together. All this establishes is that you’re a man with a plan. A little creativity and atmosphere goes a long way in setting the TONE of the first date.

And if I have any objection to coffee/lunch, Matt, is that it is the wrong TONE for romance. It’s the wrong tone for laughter. It’s the wrong tone for anything but an interview that assumes failure. You don’t set up a half-hour $3 date if you think it’s going to go swimmingly well.

Take it from a guy who has gone out with hundreds of women:

If you treat her special, she’ll be special.

If you show her a good time, she’ll have a good time.

If you give her a chance to shine, she’ll have a greater opportunity to shine.

And if you want to get a kiss, you’re much more likely to get it at night. I have not once had a great date at the Coffee Bean or Quizno’s or Jamba Juice or the Daily Grill. It could be just coincidence, but the sample size is large enough to conclude that certain settings are more conducive to romance than others.

Be the generous guy who really wants to show her a lot of fun, and I’ll bet you have a lot of fun, too.

Click here to understand how to conquer the frustrating world of online dating!

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  1. 41
    Karl R

    David Gideon said: (#29)
    “some of my advice is geared towards exceptionally attractive women with high self-esteem.”

    A lot of exceptionally attractive women have surprisingly low self-esteem. And this is not something that becomes apparent until you know someone for a while.

    Furthermore, in my experience, people who insult others are the ones who lack self confidence. So if you come across as insulting instead of funny, you will undermine your goal of appearing self-confident.

    David Gideon: (#31)
    “What a girl finds humor in depends on the personality and humor of the girl.”

    And this is something that takes some time to discover, particularly if we’re referring to her ability to laugh at herself.

    David Gideon: (#27)
    “most guys are on their best behavior & placating at all times with beautiful women i.e not natural.”

    This was the one valid point that you made. A self-confident person won’t be placating and they won’t try to be on their best behavior.

    But I can be confident (and appear confident) without being a jerk. A confident person knows how to accept a compliment. A confident person doesn’t go overboard with complimenting his date. A confident person is comfortable with expressing an opinion that’s different from their date’s opinion. A confident person can relax and enjoy themselves while on a first date. A confident person doesn’t need to “prove” that he’s better than the other men she’s dated.

    None of these require me to say anything that’s potentially rude to my date.

  2. 42
    David Gideon

    This is turning into a great conversation. Juju, I think it’s wrong to lumb all pua advice into one category. It’s not all nerdy guys with memorized lines trying to pick up wannabe models with low self-esteem.

    Many of the “techniques” that seem to draw the “ire” of women are merely ways of allaying the fears, false-assumptions, & suspicions of women who get approached a dozen times every day. They get approached by so many guys “trying for rapport” before even knowing them that they put up a shield. If you walk up trying to be Mr.Nice guy you just end up being the “next” guy.

    My general philosophy is for guys to recognize who they are, who they want to be, what it will take to get there, & start moving in that direction. This will make them more attractive. Does this sound like prepartion for low self-esteem girls?

    Next they need to decide what they want in a woman and what they won’t tolerate. Having no standards is unfulfilling in the long term and unattractive isn’t it?

    When a guy sees a woman they find physically attractive he should see if she meets his standards first (not immediately try to create rapport like every other guy). If she does meet his standards he should let her know and only then begin to show real interest. Now is the time to create rapport and comfort.

    Let’s not get all hung up on the teasing thing since you can’t really understand it without proper context. Teasing a beautiful girl about being goofy or clumsy does no harm unless it’s true or she has some weird issues with it, trust me. I’ve never had any problems.

    David Gideon

    David Gideon´s last blog post…Neil Strauss Dating Course Lesson 8

  3. 43
    David Gideon

    @Jennifer I usually tell girls to meet me at my place and then we’ll leave from here. This suggestion is usually accepted, every now & then its not. When they get to my place I let them come in while I finish getting ready for a few minutes. The whole purpose is to get her comfortable being in my place without fear of any “funny business” automatically happening.

    This way we can go back to my place at the end of the day and connect more without awkwardness. To further facilitate this I’ll tell her she can only stay for a little while, as I have to wake up early or whatever. Otherwise, it just seems like I have some ulterior motive or like I’m trying to get in her pants. It helps her relax.. She’s just coming in for a few minutes.. nothing will happen.

    It usually works out just fine and makes for a more comfortable and enjoyable experience. And IF anything does happen she doesn’t feel like she planned it… which would be a problem for some women… It just “happened”.

    David Gideon

    David Gideon´s last blog post…Neil Strauss Dating Course Lesson 8

  4. 44
    David Gideon

    @Jennifer By the way, that whole teasing thing was taken completely out of context from a previous post on my blog. It has nothing to do with the advice I gave to the original question and has little relevance here. I didn’t even mention it, someone else did… Ya know, Fox News tactics; “He said x.. so y can’t possibly be true!”

    David Gideon

    David Gideon´s last blog post…Neil Strauss Dating Course Lesson 8

  5. 45

    @kat post #40,

    There are probably a lot of young, socially clueless college kids out there getting drinks thrown on them as a result of the kind of advice David and his ilk are ripping off without understanding.

  6. 47
    David Gideon

    @Karl I never come across as insulting. I keep the girls laughin’ so your first point doesn’t really apply to me, sorry. I’m always calibrating my communication to create the best experience for both of us.. not “us”, but me and the girl.. didn’t mean to lead you on.

    Discovering a girls humor and personality doesn’t take me that long, Karl. I guess we’re different in that respect. If a woman is attracted to you she’ll usually open up & a connection can be created relatively fast.

    I agree with your agreement on my third point.

    David Gideon

    David Gideon´s last blog post…Neil Strauss Dating Course Lesson 8

  7. 48

    Re: #44

    Anyone interested should click on David’s blog and read his advice for themselves. It’s all there – in context – word for word.

  8. 49

    You know, when we can’t even agree on where to meet for a first date….

  9. 50
    David Gideon

    @Steve There are probably a lot of middle aged lonely men watching adult movies in the middle of the night who don’t take my advice. I’d rather get a drink thrown in my face.. that never happens though.

    David Gideon

    David Gideon´s last blog post…Neil Strauss Dating Course Lesson 8

  10. 51

    DG, I read the “Style Life Challenge,” and found it encouraging…

  11. 52

    @David post #50

    It isn’t your advice, you are ripping it off ( poorly ) from other authors.

  12. 53
    David Gideon

    @Selena I don’t disagree with your advice about catching flies with honey. I think there’s a time and a place for a guy to show all the facets of his personality. Being a gentleman, protecting the ones you care about, being a kind person.. of course all of those things are part of being a great man. So is humor and having fun.

    David Gideon

    David Gideon´s last blog post…Neil Strauss Dating Course Lesson 8

  13. 54
    David Gideon

    @Steve If you cite the authors I ripped off then I will cite you the authors THEY ripped off. Do you have any good advice that you’ve researched and developed yourself? Do you even have any “ripped off” good advice relevant to dating? Just give in, Steve… be my disciple. Come to me my child… all is forgiven.

    David Gideon

    David Gideon´s last blog post…Neil Strauss Dating Course Lesson 8

  14. 55
    Evan Marc Katz


    Any further posts about David Gideon, by David Gideon, or referencing this ridiculous back and forth with David Gideon will be summarily deleted.

    The Management

  15. 57

    Young women are attracted to the A-hole approach as per Casual-Encounters..

  16. 58


    Well, it’s your blog, so obviously it’s up to you what to put on it. But it doesn’t seem that anything David Gideon (or the # of times he posted) is any worse than things anyone else has ever said or the # of times they’ve posted. So why the delete? It’s no skin off my back- I’m just curious, is all.

  17. 59
    Evan Marc Katz

    It’s not that Mr. Gideon has said anything “wrong”. It’s that the back and forth sniping ceased being constructive – and turned into a he said/she said. And since it was pretty clear what everyone was saying, I didn’t think we needed 20 more posts on Mr. Gideon.

  18. 60

    “If you can’t kiss at Starbucks, what’s the point of going to Starbucks for a first date”-

    I was thinking- by this logic, the best first date would be in someone’s bedroom, no?

    I imagine most men would love that, though.

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