“Be yourself” is cliche, mostly useless dating advice that no one wants to hear anymore. Then again, who wants to have to be something you’re not in order to succeed at dating? You definitely shouldn’t pretend to be somebody you aren’t, but you should still put your best foot forward and present the best version of yourself on a date. The first step is making sure your personal grooming is taken care of.
First, you want to take a shower. Not only is it relaxing, it also makes sure you smell clean and fresh. Even if you took a shower earlier that day, go ahead and shower again. Taking the approach of putting in the least possible effort is sure to end poorly.
Once you’re out of the shower and dried off, it’s a good idea to make sure your body hair is under control. That traditionally includes shaving, but if you aren’t going for the clean-shaven look, make sure your beard looks its best. If your eyebrows are doing their best Gandalf impression, go ahead and give them a trim, too. Ear and nose hair is a known turn-off for women, so trim any of that as well.
Next, you want to make sure your teeth are clean, and your breath is fresh. If you haven’t flossed since your last dentist appointment, doing so right before your date could lead to awkward bleeding, and the best dates involve as little bleeding as possible. Brushing your teeth and then rinsing with mouthwash will make sure your breath is fresh with much less risk. Then again, if you’re a regular flosser, go ahead and do that, too.
You don’t want to try anything too crazy or new, especially on a first date, but women definitely like guys with good hair, so you should style your hair in some way. Depending on how it’s cut and how you normally wear it, that might involve brushing it or using some product, but it probably shouldn’t involve spiking it up like it’s 2003 again.
Smelling good (and minimizing how much you pit out your shirt) is also important, so don’t forget to apply some deodorant. You don’t necessarily have to wear cologne on a date, but if you use a mild-smelling deodorant and didn’t use aftershave, a spritz of cologne will probably help your cause. You’ve probably heard more times than you care to count not to bathe in your cologne, but it definitely bears repeating here. A spritz or two is plenty.
You should also definitely not create your own custom scent by spritzing yourself with several different colognes. I’ve seen it attempted before, but I’ve also never seen it lead to positive results. Instead, trust that the experts knew what they were doing when they created each scent and only wear one cologne at a time.
It’s also a good idea to at least trim your fingernails, if not your toenails, too. You certainly don’t have to get a manicure if you don’t want to, but having clean, trimmed fingernails are part of presenting yourself as a well-put-together person. Trust me when I tell you your date will appreciate it.
Finally, rub a little lotion on your hands. It’s especially important if they’re dry, but even if they don’t feel dry to you, it can’t hurt to rub some on anyways. Holding hands with someone who has dry skin is gross and uncomfortable, and if your date thinks you’re gross and is uncomfortable around you, that’s not a recipe for relationship success.
Once you’ve got all that taken care of, though, you’ve got a solid foundation to build on for your date. All you have to do from there is pick out some stylish clothes, show up on time, turn on your natural charm, and enjoy a great date.