I have come to the conclusion that the best way to get rid of the butterflies that tend to appear before a date is to go on so many dates that they just don’t matter.
If I’d given the subject any sort of thought, it’s a tactic that’d’ve come to me before now, having attended the school I did.
For us, school wasn’t focussed quite so much on an overall education that would create well-rounded inviduals as a place that coached its gels (hard ‘g’) - to within an inch of their lives - to pass exams. There were end of term exams; mock end of term exams; entrance exams; end of year exams; music exams; speech exams; just for the hell of it exams - and that was before GCSEs were even on the horizon. By the Upper VIth, you could have put a paper in front of us in Hebrew and - regardless of whether we’d seen a Hebrew character in our lives - we’d pass. It’s what we were trained to do. Most of our Classics class got 100% in at least two papers, for Pete’s sake - and not all of us had read any, let alone all, of the Odyssey.
The same principle applies to dates: go on enough of them, and you’ll suddenly be utterly unfazed, even by the prospect of yet another first date.
You’ll have worked out the perfect first date top: the one that’s seemingly demure, with the conservatively high neck that actually drapes over the boobs just so, and is just sheer enough to be sexy rather than slutty.
You’ll have a list of venues to go to that’ll be quiet enough to hear each other speak, but with enough going on that, in an awkward pause, there’ll be something to comment on to spark a conversation.
You’ll have a list of suitable conversation topics down to a tee, knowing exactly what works, what doesn’t; which throwaway, self-deprecating lines raise a chuckle and which clearly sail straight over men’s heads, merely making you look like a nut job with low self-esteem.
Of course, having no nerves at all prior to these things can, of course, be counterproductive: rather than being excited about, and interested by, the person on the other side of the bottle of Malbec, one can find oneself simply going through the motions - something a girl should never, ever find herself doing.
Which is precisely how I came to view the exams. But hell - I always managed to pass those… If only dating were quite so easy.