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The Do's and Don'ts of Taking a First Date to a Bar

The Do's and Don'ts of Taking a First Date to a Bar

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A good first date is a lot like a movie trailer: it ought to be short, exciting, and should leave you both wanting more. As a bartender, I’ve helped facilitate hundreds of first dates, and I’ve seen it all — the good, the bad, and the deeply awkward. While asking someone out for a drink can be a perfect way to stage your initial attempt at romance with that new hottie who's caught your eye, there are pitfalls galore that you need to avoid. Following are some cardinal do's and don'ts to keep in mind when choosing the best venue for your amorous opening gambit.

The Do's and Don'ts of Taking a First Date to a Bar (Slideshow)

DO: Choose a bar that isn’t too fancy, but isn't too dive-y. You want a place where you can wear jeans, but maybe not shorts. If you go too fancy, you’ll end up looking like you're trying too hard to impress, putting an extra level of pressure on the date that you just don't need. Go too far in the other direction, though, and your night may end in a bar fight with a drunk construction worker on disability instead of a smooch from your new paramour.

DON'T: Go to a chain restaurant. Ever, really, but especially not on a first date. Outback, Friday's, and Chili's all have their place on our dining cards — for me, it's usually when I’m stranded in a hotel along the interstate somewhere — but they should never be an option when trying to woo someone, no matter how much of a soft spot you have for frozen daiquiris and jalapeño poppers.

DO: Select a bar with good lighting. Everyone looks better in low, warm, incandescent light. That includes you and your pretty mug. If there are fluorescents buzzing overhead, no matter how nicely you're dressed or how good your makeup is, you'll both look washed out and drawn. Further, some studies show that institutional fluorescent lights may actually have an effect on your mood, making you tired, anxious, or even sick to your stomach. You've got enough hurdles to overcome on a first date without introducing an easily avoidable mogul in your way.

DON'T: Take your date to your usual hangout. It’s cool if you know the bartender where you do end up going — in fact, it may be a plus to have an ally behind the bar — but you don't want to walk in and have everyone there shout, “NORM!” It’s difficult to have an intimate conversation with a new friend when all the barflies you know are coming up and reminding you of that crazy time you got wasted and did a striptease during karaoke — last Wednesday. That place is yours and yours alone, and should stay that way until you get to know your date better.

DO: Choose a bar with decent music and a good crowd, but isn’t too loud or too mobbed. While you may think seeing that Styx cover band in a venue that fits hundreds sounds like fun, it’s not appropriate for a first date. You want to feel comfortable in a room where others are enjoying themselves, and you want to be able to hear each other. Your attention should be on your date, and not on shouting your order to an overworked bartender dealing with customers three deep at her bar.

DON'T: Go to a bar where they allow smoking. If you happen to live in the rare city where smoking is still allowed inside bars, avoid them at all costs, even if both of you are smokers. You'll stink so badly of cigarettes, you'll even offend yourself. In my experience, those last bastions of smoking bars in the U.S. tend to be on the lower-rent side of things. Remember: you're trying to impress this potential love connection. If you do smoke, it's not the worst thing to go outside for a little alone time together. If things are going well, this may be the perfect opportunity to steal a kiss.

DO: Pick a bar where some manner food is served. While a nice glass of wine or a cocktail provides a necessary hit of social lubrication to grease those moments where the jitters threaten to derail your attempts at suavity, a few handy nibbles will give you something to do with your nervous hands.

The Dos and Don'ts of Making a Manhattan

All hail the almighty Manhattan. As iconic as it is potent, the whiskey cocktail, which is believed to have first been mixed in New York City in the late 1800s, has stood the test of time. If you’re looking to master a classic that will impress your friends as well as get them a nice buzz, the Manhattan is your starting line.

Like many old-school classics, the drink consists of just three ingredients—whiskey, vermouth and bitters, as well as a garnish of cherry or lemon peel. Despite its simplicity, a great debate rages on about the precise method and specific ingredients needed to make a proper Manhattan. But whether you’re a traditionalist or a tinkerer, there are some generally agreed upon dos and don’ts to keep in mind when mixing a Manhattan.


Handshakes as greetings in China are as common as they are in the West.
  • Do greet others by using a handshake or a nod. Bows are best saved for your visit to Japan or Korea.
  • Do address seniority by an honorific title (family relationship or e.g. 'teacher': laoshi) or by the family name plus Mr. (xiansheng), Ms. (nvshi).
  • Do address the eldest or most senior person first. This is done as a sign of respect to those in a more senior position.
  • Don’t offer too firm of a handshake. A firm handshake could be construed as a sign of aggression.
  • Don’t go straight for a hug. Especially when meeting someone for the first time. Any body contact, apart from a simple handshake, may make your new Chinese friends feel uncomfortable.
  • Don’t address elders using ‘ni hao’ (/nee haow/). Instead, use ‘Nin hao’ (/neen-haow/ ‘you good’). This is more polite, formal and respectful.

If you’re interested in avoiding other do’s and don’ts when communicating in China, take a look at our in-depth guide on Communicating in China.

A Dozen Dos And Don'ts Of Dating In Your 50s

Louisa Whitehead-Payne, High50's dating columnist, has been detailing her romantic exploits since her husband ran off with the proverbial younger woman. Here, she outlines a dozen dos and don'ts for dating in your 50s.

1. What you want from dating will vary: love, sex, a good time, companionship. The best spirit is to combine optimism with a big dollop of humor. Then, whatever the outcome, at least you will have fun, and some good stories, on the way.

2. See your first date as a little taster meeting with another human being. On the day of your first date you will be nervous, and so will the other party, but if you see it as a taster, it takes the pressure off. As does having a few dates with different people arranged.

3. Make yourself look nice in something you feel good in. I'd never wear anything new, as it just adds too much extra pressure. I would choose something appropriate for the setting. and that showed off my figure and made me look feminine and casual. Definitely not trying hard to look sexy.

4. DO NOT go for Dutch courage, and have a few drinks beforehand. I know of several disastrous first dates because one party turned up hammered. It's just not attractive.

5. Focus on the other person, on listening and finding out all about them, rather than impressing them about yourself. Keep this in balance, though! One date interviewed me as though for the job of wife/housekeeper. Was I a good cook? Did I have any hobbies? Could I forgive my husband for having an affair? Did I like cleaning? I wouldn't get the job and there was no second date. Keep it light and a little more idly curious.

6. It is fairly normal to discuss your marriage breakdown on the first date. Both people are generally pretty shocked to find themselves in this situation and, after talking about the weather and the challenges of getting down the A303 or whatever, it is probably the first significant thing you have in common.

7. Asking for a second date is tricky. Most men I dated asked me at the end of the first one for a second. This made it really hard to say no. Muddy Farmer told me he had very much enjoyed our date when we parted, then called me up that evening to see how I thought our date went and to ask me if I'd like to meet up again. I thought this was a classy merger of sensitivity and confidence.

The first date is so tricky, that unless you really didn't like the other party, it's worth another go you can really concentrate enough to decide if the person could be for you or not.

8. Not wanting another date is also awkward, whenever you make your mind up on this topic. My strategy was to be honest but kind. I generally said the bloke is lovely, but just not for me and refused to be drawn into any details beyond that.

9. Most people end up in bed after three or four dates, assuming everything has gone pretty well up until that point. What you do is a very personal matter, but it's always good to know what is normal. Men aren't too worried about the pubic topiary, but most prefer a little less than the full Gwyneth. Go with what makes you feel sexy.

Know that the man will be so terrified that he won't perform that he won't even notice your cellulite, big bum or whatever else it is you are worried about. Mood lighting helps. A lot. Neither of you will be body proud once you get past 50. Unless you're Madonna, and let's face it, most of us aren't.

10. As a relationship develops, you will be on an emotional rollercoaster, with teenage-type angst. Decoding texts and emails, lacking confidence. Worrying. Feeling angry. The fact that this is normal doesn't make it feel any better. You just have to tough it out.

11. Your date will be able to see if you have been back on the dating site where you met, so beware as you begin a relationship. Hiding your profile is a good indication of commitment and taking yourself off the site is also a pretty big step. Some gay friends of mine nearly broke up as one of them had a little curious glance at an old dating site and a friend of his partner saw that he had been active on it and spilled the beans.

12. Falling in love is so totally different from the first time round, you probably won't trust it at all. It is more rational and measured. Is it less valid? I don't think so.

How to Take a Woman to Dinner the Right Way

With expert restaurant do's and don'ts, etiquette tips, and more romantic advice, make this 21-step guide your food bible for Valentine's Day. Or else.

With expert restaurant do's and don'ts, etiquette tips, and more romantic advice, make this 21-step guide your food bible for Valentine's Day. Or else.PLUS: Video Recipes for a Last-Minute Meal and More Valentine Ideas >>

But since you've got just a
few days until Valentine's Day, you're already in the hole. Assuming you've got a date, tell her the reservation is 15 minutes earlier than it actually
is. This way you'll be seated on time.

Often they upstage you with a
meal that revolves around an exotic menu and wine list instead of you having
a good time. And then there's the snooty factor, where you're judged as much
by the service staff as your date. Especially when it comes to the tip.

They are either pushy, crowded, and
frantic or completely empty, ensuring you'll be the only ones in the whole
place. In either case, you'll be out the door in a hurry. Think about it:
When was the last time you spent more than an hour in a Chinese restaurant?

They have lively atmosphere and acceptable cuisine. but they mark you as a cheapskate. The music usually
sucks, but after a few fast-acting margaritas, neither you nor your date
will be complaining.

Literally. Who wants to compete
with the crowds of guys at the bar who can't wait for you to go to the men's
room so they can hit on your girl?

Assuming she likes it, it is a
little sexy because it's adventurous and marks you as something of a
sophisticate. (This is especially true if you if you live in a landlocked
city like Cincinnati or Tucson.) Just don't sit at the counter.

The staff is
affable, they know how to greet a beautiful girl, the food is going to be
good even if it's only okay, and the bill won't raise your eyebrows over
your hairline. Plus, as Neil Simon once said, "There are two laws in the universe: The Law of Gravity and Everybody Likes Italian Food.

A tie couldn't hurt either.

Get up from the table when she leaves and returns.

Remember to include the wine
costs as well, unless you're buying bottles of wine that cost more than $100

If she offers to go Dutch, resist her.

If that doesn't work, ask
her what she hates and quietly consult the waiter off to the side.

Tip him on the way out if you
plan on being a regular.

Especially on a first or second date. Try to
stay away from the tasting menu, too, while you're at it.

It will end up on your shirt.

Unless you are an EMT, let the trained staff handle this one.

Don't make a giant production. Take a sip, nod
if it's good, and leave the swishing and spitting for the sommelier.

The host proudly offers you a free
glass of "kee-ann-tee" if you order an entrée there is a bouncer out front
the bar is packed, but the dining area is empty there are women's
undergarments stapled above the bar the restroom is unisex the host says
there's a half-hour wait for a table.

Tonight's music selection:
the menu has tassels the winelist comes in a three-ring binder
the place has no listed phone number the tables are so close together that
the waiter has to pull them out to sit you down it's one of Todd English's
restaurants the waiters have track marks on their arms.

Still, don't ever suggest a food is an aphrodisiac. It makes you sound like you learned everything you know about romance from your dad's Playboy collection in the garage.

Because if you order coffee, how on Earth is she
going to invite you back to her place for a cup? You can always grab
desserts on the way back to her place.

4. The gambler

The scenario: “I got a message that said ‘Obviously you’re cute, but I’m just having trouble believing that this is actually you because you seem too good to be true. My buddy thinks you’re real and now we have a $20 bet going. Am I about to lose 20 bucks?” — Kristin, 26

The problem…and the solution: Aside from the fact that this is a pathetic pickup line, it’s certainly never going to work. A lot of women are looking for something serious and have no interest in participating in your immature wager with friends. Flattery is fine, but not to this degree. Try telling her she has a nice smile instead.

How to interpret her dating app profile picture

What her bio reveals about her personality and intentions.

Do …

Cut up large meats and brown them beforehand

If you want a roast that’s so tender it falls apart, you probably won’t get it by tossing a large 5- or 10-pound hunk of meat into your slow cooker. If you cut your meat into smaller pieces, this will help ensure you get that tender, stringy texture you want with foods such as pot roast, pulled beef, or pulled pork. Cutting up your meat also helps it reach safe temperatures faster. A large hunk of meat has a greater risk of sitting in the danger zone.

A slow cooker can make your meat tender, but unless you sear it beforehand, your meat may turn out one dimensional. If you take a moment to sear your roast before you place it in your slow cooker, however, this will enhance its flavor and help give it a better texture.

Submerge your meats completely, if you want them to fall apart

Submerge your meat in liquid completely if you want to achieve the kind of texture that falls apart with ease. If you don’t want a lot of liquid in your end product, you can drain out the excess liquid when you’re finished cooking, or you can take out the meat and shred it with a fork. Either way, it should break apart easily.

Use broth instead of water

If you use beef or chicken broth instead of water in your soups, stews, and roasts, your meat will be more flavorful than if you were to just use water. You can even use your crockpot to whip up your own batches of stock. To do so, combine leftover chicken (carcass, bones, etc.), your choice of veggies (carrots, onion, celery, etc.), and spices with a full crockpot of water. Set the cooker to its lowest setting and let it sit for eight to ten hours. Once the broth is done, you can even freeze it for later eating (or other crockpot recipes).

Clean your pot with a non-abrasive cleaner or vinegar

Cleaning a slow cooker can be a pain. Baked-on sauce often sticks to the sides, and it’s really difficult to remove. However, tempted as you may be to take a Brillo pad to your slow cooker, try to resist the temptation. A Brillo pad will certainly remove the caked-on gunk from your pot but there’s a chance it will also scratch the protective coating on the inside of the pot. For the toughest residue, go with some Bar Keeper’s Friend . These are products specifically designed for tackling difficult stains on delicate appliances.

To properly clean your crock, soak it in hot soap and water, and then use soap or vinegar and a sponge to remove any leftover residue.

Put food safety first

Follow all safety guidelines and thaw meats properly. When you’re slow-cooking foods, you have to be especially careful to avoid food poisoning. To kill bacteria, it’s a good idea to start with your slow cooker on the highest setting for an hour, then reduce it to the setting the recipe calls for. This will help your slow cooker reach a high enough temperature faster. Also, if you’re unsure whether your food is done, use a thermometer. Poultry needs to reach at least 165 degrees Fahrenheit, while beef, pork, veal, and lamb need to reach temperatures of at least 145 degrees Fahrenheit.

Advocare 10 Day Cleanse Dos and Don’ts (Tips to Succeed)

I am so excited to have some of my friends starting on the Advocare 10 day cleanse, which is also the first 10 days of the Advocare 24 day challenge. Here are some Advocare 10 day cleanse dos and don&rsquots that will help you lose weight! This is all about Spring Cleaning for your body. It is also known as an oil change for your body. It is a gentle way to cleanse your body and restore the good stuff to your gut. Most lose weight on the cleanse. In fact, that is where I lost MOST of the weight.

It does not cause you to sit on the toilet all day. No running to the toilet. Other than feeling awesome, you will not even realize you are on a cleanse.

  • Use the virtual coach. It is free. You can use it everyday and get recipes, tips, and help to guide you through the cleanse.
  • Use the booklet that comes with the cleanse.

  • Use the first part of the 24-day-challenge-daily-guide.
  • Drink clear liquids such as water, herbal teas, diluted fruit juices and SPARK!
  • Avoid fried, heavy foods, junk foods and fast food.
  • Avoid dairy. They recommend that because dairy contains sugar and can help feed your gut with toxic waste instead of flush it out.

  • Do not take thermogenics (MNS® color packets, ThermoPlus® and AdvoCare Slim®) when using Herbal Cleanse. All other AdvoCare products may be continued but should be taken several hours after consuming Fiber Drink.
  • Herbal Cleanse should only be used once every 90 days.
  • Stick to the guide and the foods that are suggested.
    • Fruit
    • Veggies
    • Protein
    • Whole grains

    What is included in the 10 day cleanse:

    Probiotic Restore Ultra: This is included with the herbal cleanse kit, but you can also purchase this on it&rsquos own for benefits. This probiotic fills your gut with GOOD bacteria, helps strengthen and support our immune system, supports intestinal health and function, aids in digestion and enhances your weight loss program.

    Fiber Drink: This helps move the waste material through the digestive tract while cleaning out your intestinal tract to support improved nutrient absorption. You take the Fiber drink on days 1-3 and 8-10. Each serving contains 10 grams of soluble and insoluble dietary fiber. Fiber Drink also helps move the toxins and waste material through the digestive tract while scouring your intestinal tract to support improved nutrient absorption.This is included with the herbal cleanse kit, but you can also purchase this on it&rsquos own for benefits. I LOVE the FIBER! It keeps me regular! YAY!

    Herbal Cleanse Tablet: The Herbal Cleanse tablet provides herbal extracts that help rid your body of the impurities that may be obstacles to achieving better health.One ingredient, senna leaf extract, is known for its use to relieve occasional constipation, as well as to encourage the movement of waste through the intestinal tract. Take on day 1-7.

    • Beet root powder and wheat grass juice are included to aid in the reduction of metabolic by-products in the blood and liver.
    • Cranberry juice powder helps cleanse impurities from the kidneys and aid in excretion through the bladder.
    • Milk thistle extract, which has the active component silymarin. Silymarin has been traditionally used to aid in eliminating toxins from the liver and is also an excellent hepaprotectant and antioxidant.
    • Echinacea, astragalus, garlic, zinc and vitamin C help support the immune system.
    • B-vitamins to help maintain energy levels during the detoxification period.


    • Herbal Cleanse Tablet: Senna extract, cranberry juice powder, burdock extract, astragalus extract, milk thistle extract, schisandra extract, beet powder, odorless garlic powder
    • ProBiotic Restore&trade ULTRA: Probiotics (Lactobacillus acidophilus and Bifidobacterium bifidum) fructooligosaccharides, artichoke leaf extract, beta-carotene, zinc
    • Fiber Drink: Fiber blend, both soluble and insoluble, including gum acacia, guar gum, cellulose, oat bran, fruit pectins and psyllium seed
    1. If you purchase with the 24 day challenge, you will also receive the Omega Plex. It is amazing.
    2. The Catalyst is a remarkable product to help protect your muscle during the cleanse. It peels the FAT!

    Let me know if you have any questions. For complete information, visit the Advocare 10 day cleanse page.

    Dog Walking Dos and Don’ts

    It’s officially March which means that warm (or at least not below freezing) days will be with us again soon! Warmer weather means spending more time outdoors, both for us and our furry friends. One of the most popular ways to spend time outside with your pup is to go on a walk.

    Therefore, here are a few dos and don’ts of dog walking to ensure that you and your pup get the most out of your walks together.

    • Use the right type of leash for your dog and walking route, as there is no one leash that fits all:
      • Nylon leashes: for unpredictable weather conditions (snow, rain, etc.)
      • Leather leashes for hand comfort and to avoid “leash burn.”
      • Retractable leashes: only in areas where your pup has room to wander (parks, hiking trails, etc.)
      • Chain or harness leashes: if your pup tends to tug or pull.
      • Be consistent: use the same leash, walk the same route, etc.
      • Tire your dog out just a bit before a walk.
      • Use treats and positive reinforcement when they do the right thing.
      • Walk your dog without a leash. Even if your dog is well-trained, it tends to be safer and more comfortable for yourself, your dog, and especially those around you if you keep your pup on a leash.
      • Let your dog tug or pull on the leash. A few quick tips include:
        • Use a halter or chain leash.
        • Practice, practice, practice! (Check out our tips above).
        • Walk at dawn and dusk when there is less wildlife outside.

        If dog walking is not a viable option for you or your pup for any reason, never forget that our Doggie Day Care also provides a great opportunity for dogs to get their recommended amount of daily exercise and relieve some extra energy.

        Of all the additions to the Old Fashioned over the years, the orange peel has become the most welcome. However, it’s also best not to add an entire orange slide and muddle it in the glass. Instead, use only a portion of the peel, shaved off the fruit with as little pith as possible, as your garnish.

        Back in the 1800s, ice cubes were typically cut two inches on each side, unlike the tiny versions we have today that are made to melt more quickly. If you want to be a purist (or at the very least impress your guests), keep some large cubes in the freezer ready to go. Your cocktail will remain chilled without diluting too quickly.


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