If you’ve ever recounted a horrible first date to a friend only to be told that dating is supposed to be “fun,” you’re likely a master at the dramatic eye roll. Yes, it’s true that bad dates happen — we’ve all sat across from that egomaniac who can’t stop talking about his “startup” — but believe it or not, good dates happen a lot more often than you might think. Here, seven real women recall the best first date they’ve ever been on after meeting someone online.
1. The 12-Course Meal That Ended In Pizza
When Jack* offered to take me out to a 12-course meal when our only communication after meeting on an app had been flirtatious texting, I was wary. Who did this guy think he was? But my best friend convinced me to go anyway, saying that the restaurant was good and she certainly wouldn’t be taking me there anytime soon.
When I showed up, Jack was obviously nervous, and I immediately thought it was a mistake. But after the snobby waiter who clearly thought we weren’t good enough for his restaurant rattled off the menu, Jack and I looked at each other and started cracking up. As soon as he left, Jack admitted that this hadn’t been his idea — his best friend had suggested it after told him he thought he might really like me. I told him I thought I should set his best friend up with my best friend, and we decided to ditch the whole scene and get slices of dollar pizza nearby. The night was cheaper, more fun, and probably more delicious for both of us. We’re still dating two years later! — Ella*, 25
2. The Spontaneous Trip To Vegas
I first met Tom* for drinks a few days after being fired from a job I hated. I was in a particularly reckless mood after the week I’d had, so I’d set up a few online dates thinking I had nothing to lose. I hadn’t thought much of Tom when I saw him on the app, but as soon as I sat down next to him at one of my favorite bars in L.A., it became clear that he had an adventurous spirit.
After recalling the week I’d had over a few cocktails, Tom asked if, instead of hiding under my covers all weekend, I wanted to go to Vegas with him. A few hours later, we were in my car, laughing and blasting music. We spent the weekend drinking, gambling, and eating at all the buffets we could find. We didn’t see each other much after that, but thanks to Tom I had one of the best weekends ever after the worst week of my life. — Anna*, 31
3. The Hike We Got Lost On
As a New York City-dweller, I’m not exactly a hiker — and it’s certainly not something I prefer to do on a first date. But when I met Steven* on an app and he suggested a short hike on a brisk fall day, I thought it sounded kind of nice. Plus, I was immediately obsessed not only with his cute smile but also with his funny texts. I knew I had to at least give the hike a shot.
As it turned out, Steven wasn’t much of a hiker either, and we ended up getting lost in the woods for hours. But Steven was making me laugh the entire time, telling me ridiculous stories about his family, his job, the list goes on. When we finally got home, we ended up going to his place, ordering a massive amount of Thai takeout, and watching bad movies until we fell asleep. Steven and I are getting married next summer! — Tanya*, 27
4. The Simple Dinner-And-A-Kiss
The truth is, the best first date I’ve ever been on wasn’t anything with a super grand gesture or adventure-filled, it was actually really simple. I met Billy* after chatting with him online for a few weeks at a restaurant near my apartment. We drank wine, ate delicious food, and had some of the best conversation I’ve had in months after a relentless stream of bad dates.
After realizing four hours had passed and nearly getting kicked out of the restaurant by the owner, Billy walked me home and kissed me. I went to bed that night smiling, with butterflies in my stomach that I hadn’t felt since I was a teenager. Billy moved to the West Coast last summer, but we’re making long distance work! — Elizabeth, 28
5. The Motorcycle Ride Along The Coast
The best first date I’ve ever been on was last week. I met up with Will* for coffee at a local San Francisco cafe after meeting him on an app, and we clicked immediately. After multiple rounds of espresso, Will asked if he could take me on a motorcycle tour of the city. I’m not exactly a hop-on-the-back-of-a-motorcycle type of girl, but the caffeine gave me confidence, and before I knew it I was on the back of his motorcycle taking in the incredible view and fresh air.
Will texted me to see if I can hang out again, so I guess only time will tell if we’re meant to be! — Callie, 30
6. The All-Day Movie Date
When Charlie* suggested I meet him at the movies on a cold and rainy Sunday morning in January, I couldn’t say no. I couldn’t imagine a better way to spend such a dreary day, and from what I knew of Charlie so far (photos, a little bit of texting, and a short phone call), he was a low-key guy who loved a relaxed Sunday just as much as I do.
We met for a matinee, and Charlie told me he was a huge movie buff and blogged about movies on the side. I admitted I hadn’t seen any of the Oscar-nominated films yet, so we ended up spending our entire day (and most of the night) watching all of them. My relationship with Charlie fizzled out shortly thereafter, but by the time the Oscars rolled around, I certainly knew who to root for. — Kelly, 24
7. The Bad Coffee Date With A Really Good Ending
When Jason* first asked me out to coffee, I was excited to meet him on one of the first beautiful days of spring. We ordered our iced coffees and started walking over to Central Park when I tripped over my new shoes and spilled coffee all over my all-white outfit. Jason handled the whole thing perfectly, suggesting we go back to my place (not in a creepy way!) so I could change, then came with me to drop off my outfit at the dry cleaners. Once that was done, he started laughing and said he already felt like he knew me so well. I felt exactly the same way about him!
We’ve only been dating for a few months, but it’s going really well so far. And thankfully, none of our subsequent dates have been nearly that catastrophic. — Kaitlin, 24
*Names have been changed.