The Secret to Getting the Date (Not Just the Number)

by Michael on February 3, 2010 · 0 comments

The new, improved version of the watch just sprays chloroform.

If you’ve ever had a girlfriend with Netflix, you probably had to watch the seminal ’90s slacker dating movie Singles. One of the minor characters was David, best friend of the main character Steve. David was all about meeting as many ladies as possible:

David: Man, check it out. My new Gor-Tech watch. I can store 20 numbers in this watch. Tonight I’m gonna fill it. All or nothing. No compromises. Tonight I’ll be the Super Me!

Steve: What if the Super You meets the Super Her and the Super Her rejects the Super You?

Later, in the movie, David has accomplished his mission and taunts Steve, who met one girl but didn’t “close”:

David: Always get the number. Steve. Tonight I got 20 numbers! Twenty numbers!

Steve: Really? You got 20 numbers of 20 girls that you will never call, never go out with, never see in the daylight. 20 numbers that exist only to make you feel like a guy who can go out and get 20 numbers.

And it’s true. Let’s say about 25 percent of the guys you see going “all or nothing” meeting women are going to get a number from someone that night. (I’m being generous.)

Out of that 25 percent, about half are going to actually call.

About half of those women are going to answer or return that call.

And out of those women, let’s be generous again and say half will agree to a date.

Doing the math, out of 25 guys who get a phone number, a whopping 3 get a date. About 1 in 10. That’s not exactly an inspiring ratio.

But what if I told you there’s a way to virtually assure that the girl you met tonight will go out with you? That you could take that from a 10 percent chance to a 90 percent chance?

The secret to securing the date

The good news is that the principle is incredibly simple, and you’ll kick yourself for not thinking of it. The secret is to plan the date before you get the phone number. That’s it!

Of course, there’s a bit more to actually accomplishing this. First, you need to be armed with some excellent choices for date venues. Put some thought into activities that women will find exciting, that put you in the best possible light, and that leave you options to move on to drinks or dinner. (Tip: don’t make the date itself drinks or dinner.)

I’ve had a couple of venues that served me very well indeed. The first was a local rock music museum. Because I’ve been in the music world, I could personally guide my date through the exhibits. There are interactive rooms where we can play music—usually in a small, soundproof room with just the two of us. Also, there was a restaurant and bar on site, making it easy to create a “virtual second date.” The second venue, well, that’s the beach. So many things to do in a beach area: walk the boardwalk, walk in the sand, throw a frisbee, get ice cream, watch a sunset…

So do a little planning. A beach or riverwalk is good, a museum too, or maybe a funky part of town where you can visit clothing stores and try on things for each other. For an evening date, if you’re a great singer try a karaoke bar. Hell, Google “date ideas” and you’ve got thousands to choose from. Just make sure you have at least a few in mind so you can take her somewhere she hasn’t been.

The hard part

Planning the venue is easy. So is dropping in the question, “have you ever been to…?” But there’s something else—you have to know when to ask.

Most guys who go fishing for numbers never bother to build much rapport with women. They go in, drop a few funny lines, ask for the digits and eject, virtually ensuring that the number they’ll get is 555-1212. You’re smarter than that. If you’ve been reading the Tao, you know there are three stages to seduction. If she only feels attraction, that may not be enough to convince her to meet you. But if you can get her feeling comfortable with you, the sky’s the limit.

Don’t ask her out until she’s showing you that she’s enjoying the conversation: she’s contributing, asking questions and displaying the physical signs that she’s into you.

One great way to steer her into agreeing to that first meeting is to have a great story to tell about the venue. Do the waves seem 30 feet tall at your favorite beach? Can you show her a photo on your iPhone of the moon reflecting on the river, with the city lights all around? Can you share how you feel when you nail your signature song at the karaoke bar, or find that awesome jacket at the thrift shop near your school? Tell a story that will draw her into the experience of going on that date with you.

For example, I would mention a certain exhibit at the music museum with a show poster. “I couldn’t believe that poster was there! It was a charity show, and my band was like 5th on the bill. But it was only our third gig, and we felt like rock stars! Playing that show was like an out-of-body experience—like a feedback loop with our energy and the energy of the audience.” Then I mention a new exhibit I really want to see there, and then…”hey, how about you come see it with me? I can show you a few chords in the guitar room, and give you the personal guided tour. It’s way more fun than renting the headphones.”

Okay, come to think of it, this part’s not so hard either.


Once she’s excited about meeting you, settle on a date there and then. “I’m free Thursday evening and Sunday afternoon: which do you prefer?” If she can do neither, have her offer. If it’s not a Friday or Saturday night, and you really don’t have something else going then, check your schedule on your phone and set it up. The date should never be more than a week away, preferably just a few days.

Then exchange numbers. One great way to do this is by putting her number in your phone, then either texting her or calling and leaving a voice mail immediately. “OMG who is that hot guy you’re with?” is a classic. Make it clear that the number is not for “confirming.” It’s so that in case of emergency you can contact each other. “I’ll see you Thursday” is the last thing you should say to her before you walk away. By reinforcing that yes, you are definitely meeting her there and then, it will take effort on her part to not go on the date—she’ll have to specifically call or text you to reschedule or cancel. Flaking on you is harder for her when she has to work to do it.

Feel free to send a text message a short time later, telling her it was great meeting her, perhaps reminding her of an inside joke you discussed and that you’re looking forward to the great time you’re going to have.

Avoid the curse

Too many guys suffer from the curse of confirmation: giving her several opportunities to change her mind. By just getting the phone number you add one layer of confirmation (you have to ask her out at a later time) as well as complexity (you have to remind her why she should go out with you). Then you agree to “call to confirm.” In reality, you’re agreeing to give her another shot at flaking: by simply not answering your “confirmation” call she can call the whole thing off without lifting a finger.

By making the date at the time you meet her, you can “sell high” (ask her out when she’s most interested) and avoid giving her a lazy way to flake. This also shows you’re a man who can take charge and make a plan.

If David had secured 20 dates instead of 20 numbers, I think Steve would take him a little more seriously.

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