You have to kiss a lot of frogs before you find your handsome prince, said 10,000 dating gurus. Wise advice – but the trouble with frogs is that they can be hard to spot, especially when you’re on a first date and your bloodstream is 20% white wine.
Allow us to sharpen those powers of first-date perception for you. If you spot more than one of these 12 signs on your next date with a brand new Mr Maybe, be warned: he’s no Mr Right.
1. He can’t keep his hands to himself
If you’re on a 10th date with a guy who can’t control his public displays of affection, congratulations: he’s clearly besotted. But if he’s paw-happy on a first date, it tends to mean that he’s only after sex. That’s fine if you’re after the same thing, but if you’re after Mr Right it may be a sign that he’s not thinking quite as far ahead as you are.
2. He doesn’t do chivalry
Chivalry isn’t dead, it’s just evolved. Few women would expect a guy to run around openeing doors for them, but manners still matter, so pay attention to the litle things. Does he meet your eye when you speak? Does he switch his phone off? Does he know how to pay a compliment (“I like the way you think” is good; “You’re fit” is not so good) – and does he introduce you if you run into someone he knows? If he does none of these things, you may want to find a better class of gent.
3. He avoids eye contact
Meeting your eye when you talk is not just a matter of chivalry – it’s also an important sign of whether he likes you and values what you’re saying. Many people find it difficult to maintain eye contact when they’re talking, but it’s easy when listening, and if he doesn’t do it you need to ask yourself why. He’s either rude, distracted or has interpersonal issues that are better suited to therapy sessions, not dates.
4. He’s much better looking than you
The novelty of pulling a pretty boy will last approximately four minutes until you realise that standing next to him makes you look a bit ropey. Dating a guy who’s got better cheekbones than you will leave you feeling insecure, and that’s never a good look. You know that he can get any woman he wants, so you’ll always be looking over your shoulder. Use him for sex and move on.
5. He criticises you
So you give him a mix CD as a “hello” pressie, and he responds by saying “you’ve got really weird taste.” Or you take him to your favorite restaurant, and he comments that the food is “not what you’d expect for the price.” Or you turn up four minutes late and he asks if you got lost on the way. Nice guy, eh?
If he’s like this on your first date, just imagine how much hard work your relationship will be a couple of months down the line. Get out while the going is relatively friendly.
6. He talks about his ex
A man whose conversation is full of veiled references to his heartache, and not-so-veiled criticisms of his ex, is not a man you want to be dating unless you have serious masochistic tendencies. Don’t get caught up in the mind games and emotional torture of a rebounding man.
7. He gives nothing away about himself
A guy who asks you lots of questions, but who neatly ducks answering any of yours, is bad news. Why? Let me count the ways. One, he’s married. Two, he’ll never leave his wife for you. Three, even if he did leave his wife for you, you’d never trust him. Four, he’s married. Five, he’s married.
8. He’s full of online dating anecdotes
Did you meet him online? Great – but make sure he’s not a serial online dating addict. If after a beer or eight he’s sharing her hilarious stories of a different online date each week, a lightbulb should be going off in your head, somewhere near a brain-billboard that says “you’re his 12th date since Monday.”
Don’t let it get to the stage where you’ve been dating for two months but he still hasn’t taken his dating profile down. A man who wants to keep you hanging on while he keeps his options open isn’t man enough for you.
8. You are nothing like the “perfect match” description on his profile
Chances of you being so special that he broke all his “perfect match” rules to go out with you: 1.5%. Chances of you being the one girl who happened to be available tonight: 98.5%.
9. He badmouths his friends, family – or exes
This is the first time he’s met you, and yet he claims the right to bitch about his supposed nearest and dearest when they’re not there to defend themselves. Be afraid.
11. He dithers when you mention meeting up again
Could it be that he’s busy next week? Nah, it means he doesn’t fancy you.
12. He says he’s scared of getting hurt
Which means: “I’m scared of hurting you.” He’s trying to warn you off, so don’t make it difficult for yourself by failing to get the point. He’s either not keen enough, or he’s still hung up on an ex – either way, if you insist in getting involved, you’ll be the one who ends up with emotional bruises.