First date ‘pub drinks’ may take time to quench the thirst

Tuesday, March 02nd, 2021

7 reasons why proposing drinks at a pub, as soon as the new old normal opens up, may not be best fit for a first date

Outside in April or indoors in May, there is, understandably, already pent up excitement about the imminent prospect of a pint or prosecco in a pub. Boris’ roadmap to a life more normal has certainly quenched the thirst of the nation.

One muddy singleton told us this week that the reopening of pubs, bars and restaurants ‘changes the dating game’ and he’s already filling online dating inboxes of people on his favourites list with message invites to connect over a cold one as soon as possible. He simply can’t wait to line up dates for a drink or two.

However here at Muddy Matches, as much as we love everything the country pub stands for, we see fair reason why proposing drinks at a pub, as soon as the new old normal opens up, may not be best fit as a first date idea. For us, and we think we have a good gauge of our muddy singletons, we wouldn’t be entertaining the idea of ‘first real life meet’ drinks so soon after reopening, especially if the groundwork hasn’t been done to build meaningful connections online beforehand. We’d like to know how the land lies before even broaching the notion of a first date tipple.

Here’s why.

Appreciate life’s pecking order
After months of lockdown-limiting contact with close friends and family, many singletons will be hell bent on catching up with their nearest and dearest as top priority. The thought of meeting someone new for a drink might not register on their to do list.

So don’t take it to heart if your offer is given a rain check; it may just be a case of ‘get in line’. The secret here is patience and let life’s pecking order play out first before making advances.

Curb your enthusiasm
Look, we get it; you are over eager to get yourself back out with a ‘getting to know you’ date – but others may not share that excitement or eagerness. We suspect there will be many people likely taking tentative steps out of lockdown, who still harbor reservation about engaging with others in whatever the new old normal may look like. So your idea of a drink in a pub garden or bar filled with people, after months of isolation, may fill them with nerves for all the wrong reasons, none of which you can really influence.

Our advice, start off slowly, online message with suggestion of doing something they are more comfy with and build up to a drink or two.

Breathing space before beers
New research published before the pandemic pointed towards a growing preference for simple, active, outdoor first real meets for online dating singles – such as walking dates – that bring few barriers when it comes to cost, effort and preparation. Women, especially, wanted their suitors to show more creativity with countryside dates than simply ‘let’s grab a drink.’

That trend is likely to become even more prominent now the nation’s singles have rediscovered a love of open space and fresh air in lockdown and the confines of table service at a bar just won’t cut the mustard.

Back in the game… but goalposts have moved
Like it or not, the pub and bar scene will have to adapt and adjust to new ways of working and we’re sure it will take time for them to offer the same comforts for a first date you’d expect. The rigid formality and inflexibilities of table service, app ordering, one way systems and social distanced seating plans are sure to pile extra undue pressure on top of all the nerves and natural pressures that come with a first meet.

It’s unlikely to be a haven for casual catch ups for a while yet – but give it time. Let the venues find their rhythm again.

Virtual has become reality
Believe it or not, virtual dates and video calls are now woven into the fabric of society and singletons are showing a genuine preference to get to know someone through a screen at first – from within their home comforts – rather than’heading out’ on a first date. It’s a dating trend that experts say will stick around.

It’s also a low cost, low effort way to sort the wheat from the chaff volume wise. So don’t be alarmed if your idea of a pub date is put on the back burner in favour of a virtual catch up first. It gets the nervous ‘introductions’ done and dusted from a distance. They aren’t ruling out a drink – it’s just fairs better as a second, maybe third, date further down the line. PS; it gives you something to aspire to.

Distraction of friends United
Let’s face it, those first few weeks of reopening will be about mates meeting up, families getting together. This limits your chances to get to know a relative stranger in a quiet, personal space in a pub that could well be full of distraction. There will be faces wanting to say ‘Hi’ to you, and what should be your one opportunity to focus on someone new – albeit through a mask! – runs the risk of becoming a bit of a circus, in terms of some privacy.

The awkwardness of the ‘well, who’s this then?’ question is also something no first dater wants to face and meeting ‘friends’ on a first date is somewhat of a step too soon, especially if you’re still trying to find common ground.

Distraction has the power to break down any bond, as quickly as it develop ; so halt the urgency to meet in real life, and instead connect online for a little longer first. Let the hubbub die down.

The 3-second rule
You know the 3-second rule, right? Apparently us humans can gauge sexual chemistry and compatibility within the first 3 second of the first welcome. Mutual attraction takes longer to burn; but the 3-second rule isn’t overly conjudive to app ordering and table service which brings undue delay – we will know if there’s no chemistry before our drinks even arrive.

Nor do one-way systems offer much by way of good ‘easy out’ options for those who decide early on, the date isn’t for them.
Jumping the gun and going to a pub too early, gives rises to that awkward, uncomfortable feeling of having to make small talk whilst waiting for drinks to arrive at your table (it’s why a restaurant dinner date isn’t recommended as a top first date idea).