Whether it's a blind date or someone you've met on the Internet, that first face to face impression is crucial.
Although you want the mood of the first date to feel casual and relaxed, that doesn't mean you should be too casual with your preparations.
You won't ever get back the chance to make a first impression that rocks his or her world.
A first date should require at least as much preparation as an important job interview.
You would never go into an interview wearing clothes that weren't ironed or without brushing your teeth just before arriving.
Treat your date with the same courtesy.
Take the time to look your best.
This means shaving, showering and taking the time to fix your hair.
Primping a bit is a good thing, but remember that less is more.
Use a light touch with your makeup; less makeup looks fresh and natural; too much makeup looks harsh and ages you.
Perfume or cologne is fine, but don't let it overpower you.
You don't want to cause a sneezing fit, and too much cologne may make women wonder what odor you're trying to cover up.
Small details matter.
Check your fingernails.
Are they neat, clean, and properly filed? Are your shoes polished? Do you have any loose threads or missing buttons? If you're wearing jewelry, keep it understated and simple.
Don't show up dressed so casually you look like you're headed for the gym or are anticipating a night curled up on the couch with some popcorn.
Sweats are a no-no.
Jeans are also out, unless your first date is to a ballgame or some other very casual venue.
Be rested and refreshed.
If you have a date planned for Saturday night, don't stay out till the wee hours on Friday.
Dark circles under the eyes, puffiness from too much drinking the night before and apologies for being "wiped out" are all unattractive on a first date.
Get plenty of sleep the night before; if you can't do that, take a short nap in the afternoon before getting ready for your date.
While you're getting ready, get yourself pumped up and energized.
You could listen to some music with an upbeat rhythm and dance around a bit, or try a brisk walk before getting your shower.
Anything that gets the blood flowing will also trigger the release of endorphins, the feel-good chemical produced by the brain.
Have a plan.
Nothing is worse than getting together and having the endless discussion, "What do you want to do?" Take the time to plan something for the evening so you aren't left with an awkward decision to make.
If you aren't sure about your date's preferences, have two plans.
You can then suggest both and ask your date to decide which he or she would rather do.
Being prepared with a definite plan for the evening lets the other person know you've put some thought into it.