So what should we do now?’ Rohan* asked as we finished our roasted butternut squash ravioli on our first date. I so wanted to answer his question honestly. I wanted to tell him that there would be no more ‘we’ tonight, because all ‘I’ wanted to do was go home and finish binge-watching Euphoria.
The good news: that was the old me. I was newly single and trying my best to ‘get back out there’ despite hating every second of small talk, pleasantries, and overly blah happy hour chardonnays. Every night, I’d find myself on another first date. It got to the point where I was barely seeing my friends—mainly because I was hungover from the second, third, or fourth round of drinks I didn’t want or need the night before. And the night before that.
But then I discovered something so, so crucial: I was doing first dates entirely wrong. They were way, way, wayyy too long. In reality, first dates should never be longer than an hour. More specifically, they should only be 57 minutes long, on the f*cking dot.
57 minutes is the perfect amount of time to grab one round of drinks, sip down one coffee, and figure out if your dating app match has any sisters or not. This is about the same length of a workout class, a boring work meeting, or how long you spend talking to your mom on the phone.
Does your Hinge match really deserve a longer amount of your time than your mom does? (The answer is no—she birthed you!) So allow me to explain my reasoning:
First dates—especially the ones that come from the swipe of a finger—should only be about gauging interest and attraction.
That’s it. And, according to science, you can tell if you find someone attractive in three seconds. You don’t need to spend your whole evening with someone you just met when you can assess in three (three!) seconds whether or not you’re physically attracted to them—and you def don’t need any liquid poison convincing you, either.
The 57-minute rule allows you to have an easy way out if you are not feeling things.
Sure, it’s basically one hour of your life wasted, but at least it’s not three hours plus an annoying ride back home, ya know? Tell your date your ‘first date rule’ ahead of time, and when time’s up, you’ll have given yourself the opportunity to exit the date sans any awkwardness, hard feelings, or dodging of a goodnight kiss.
It’s respectful of your own time as well as your date’s.
People are busy! Dating can be a full-time job if you’re single enough. Add that to your (hopefully) already full-time job, and time becomes money, ya’ll. Trust me: 57 minutes is the perfect amount of time someone can comfortably chat about themselves, their passions, goals, and type of dog they want to adopt (because obviously you want to hear about Good Bois only) without checking their phone or wanting to get the eff outta there.
It sets up the perfect second date.
If you happen to find yourself on one of those magical first dates where time stands still, and 57 minutes is simply not enough time to get to know this stranger who you’re pretty convinced is your soulmate, good for you. You can wait another few days before seeing them again. It’s a total power move. It also keeps you from going too deep, and ensures you don’t montage what your wedding and kids will look like right then and there. (Hi, its me!)
Anything longer than 57 minutes is too much too soon!
First dates at a Michelin-star restaurant, with hours of flowing conversation, and deep eye contact sound like the very reasons why people avoid first dates all together. These types of dates could ‘bachlight’ a single person (read: gaslight, but instead of being manipulated by psychological means, you’re swayed by a date that’s so decadent, fancy, and extravagant, even Bachelor producers would call it ‘over the top’.)
Personally, I followed my 57-minute-first-date rule for an entire summer. A lot of guys respected it. I found it not only efficient, but great parameters for meeting new people. I didn’t dread going on first dates anymore; I had a schedule again, which was weirdly freeing.
Then, one September night, I met a Bumble date at my favorite bar. I was so confident this date wouldn’t work out due to his creepy cubicle selfie and love for EDM that I even made plans to hang out with my bestie afterward. Turns out, it was one of those magical dates where time stood still—and we’re still dating today. And yes, I did see my friend right after those 57 minutes were up. So, if actually leaving your apartment and going on first dates sounds like your nightmare (been there), try the 57-minute date. Worst-case scenario, you’ll lose 57 minutes of your day. Best case, you meet someone worth deleting your apps for and *fingers crossed,* you’ll never have to go on a first date again. Get those timers set, ya’ll...you’ve got less than an hour.”
By Carina Hsieh