We've all been on first dates where some surprising snippet of personal information is dropped into the conversation in a way that is as jarring an earring falling into your soup. And we've all done it. You find a sympathetic ear and the next thing you know, you're pouring your heart out like you're in a confessional. Way too much information can be shared way too soon, particularly if alcohol is involved. The following is a list of topics that are best to avoid on a first date:
1. The ex. It's best not to vomit up what went wrong in your last relationship. If you do, your date will be sure to pick up any information about how you might behave in a relationship with him or her. So zip it. Never share the details, particularly the gory ones, until you know each other a whole lot better.
2. Your finances. There's a lot of talk right now about people being financially strapped -- there's even a new sitcom about a divorced woman living with her parents. But it's not sexy, okay? Again, let's hope that you are so stunning in other ways that your date doesn't give a damn and is more than happy to sneak in through your childhood bedroom window if things get that far. But don't count on it. It's best to tread softly when you reveal financial woes.
3. Beloved pets. Nothing is more unappealing than listening to a new date express undying love for their pet. Keep the iPhone photos to yourself. Don't share pictures of Fido at the doggie Easter egg hunt. If you have more than two cats, never share that information until you're on more solid ground. And don't say you can't ever have a sleepover because your cat or dog can't be left alone. As for deceased pets you had in childhood, let them rest in peace.
4. Physical ailments. This is especially important for hypochondriacs. Trust me -- only your doctor is interested in a history of your ailments and injuries. And if you have any suspicious rashes, particularly on hidden parts of your body, don't tell your date, okay?
5. Special diets. If you subscribe to a restricted eating lifestyle, don't discuss it at length. You may come across as boring, dogmatic or worse. Vegans should go easy, particularly if their date is happily cutting into a big juicy steak. Eccentric eating preferences should also be handled carefully. I once had a date with someone who revealed they only ate white food. I still can't articulate why, but this was an immediate total turnoff.
6. Your brilliant children. All of us are crazy about our kids. We think they're incredibly talented and adore their quirky behavior, but a total stranger has absolutely no need to know the details. Of course, do reveal you have kids. Mention their ages. Then move on.
7. Sexual practices. A first date is never the time to discuss what you like or don't like in bed. If you have a bag of sex toys in your closet, don't share. Don't, under any circumstance, talk about past lovers and their talents and preferences.
8. You don't like sex. You may get lucky and be dating someone who feels exactly the way you do. But it's not likely, okay? So save this tidbit for later.
9. Unusual habits. This is a very broad category. It could be something benign but potentially off putting -- like your kids still sleep in a family bed with you, or you have a side business providing custom pet funerals. If you have a hard time gauging if your habits might be "unusual", ask a candid friend for feedback.
10. Your porn addiction. Okay, so you've been single for a while and spending evenings in fantasy porn land. But now you're out in the real world with a real person. You don't have to share.
11. Arrest records. Any arrest, even if you were deemed innocent, should not be revealed upfront. It will raise big-time red flags and scare away a lot of people. Same goes for IRS problems, foreclosures, disciplinary hearings etc.
12. How miserable and lonely you are. Chances are your date is equally miserable and lonely, but it's still a big turnoff and should be kept for your therapist. For your date, put on your best face and keep it in the light zone. And who knows? Maybe a sliver of magic will pass between you.
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