Dating and Matchmaking Tips from a Local Expert

Photo courtesy Peggy Bennett

Photo courtesy Peggy Bennett

In honor of Valentine’s Day, we asked professional matchmaker, dating, and relationship expert Peggy Bennett for tips for singles in search of romance. Bennett owns Straight to the Heart, an exclusive matchmaking and dating service for Northwest professionals. Learn more here.

1. First impressions count. As they say, you never get a second chance to make a first impression! Get a friend who you trust for a second opinion before heading out the door on your date. Or take a selfie and critique it yourself since it is easier to look objectively when looking at a photo. Make sure your clothes properly fit. If you have had any weight changes recently, it means it’s time to freshen up that dating wardrobe!

2. A note about fragrance and cologne. Use it sparingly please!

3. Dress to impress. If you’re going on an evening date a look that you can’t go wrong with is a pair of skinny dark jeans, a feminine blouse, and a leather jacket. Pair it with a classic pump or a fun bootie. Keep makeup and jewelry to a minimum. Show off your beautiful features.

4. Men: If you aren’t sure what to wear on a first date, keep it clean and updated. You can’t go wrong with a black or charcoal gray cashmere v-neck sweater, and a great pair of well-fitting dark jeans. And yes, what you have heard is true… people do notice your shoes. Make sure they are updated, in good condition, and age appropriate. Pay attention to the details and have fun with it! Wear a cool, stylish watch and a pair of tasteful novelty socks. It not only shows your date that you have good style, it also shows that you took time to get ready for your date!

5. Chivalry is not dead! One thing is for sure; everyone can appreciate a man who is a gentleman! So, guys open that car door, pull out that chair, offer your coat. Believe it or not, being a gentleman will help you stand out from the competition. 

6. Everyone: Genuinely thank your date at the end of an evening. On the first date, offer to pay part of the bill. After the first date, send a text thanking your date for a great evening – especially if you are hoping for a second date.

7. Short and sweet: Keep the first date under two hours. In that time you have plenty of opportunities to start to get to know each other without being tempted to go into that “over-sharing” mode. I always suggest keeping the first date short and sweet in a causal setting. A great first date can be at a bar where you share a couple appetizers and drinks.

8. Don’t forget to have fun! Try to be your authentic self, and give yourself a break, most likely your date is just as nervous as you are. Be mindful of the conversation to avoid it being one-sided. Be a good listener.

9. Everyone: Smile; Be Present. Smile, laugh, flirt – in the Pacific Northwest, there is no need to be subtle. Be in the present. Don’t ramble about your ex. Put your phone down.

10. Pace yourself: We live in a society where we want and expect immediate gratification. My advice: No sex on the first date. Get to know each other and see where the relationship takes you. It’s worth the wait!

is the managing editor at 425 magazine. Email her.
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