12 Rules For First Dates In Singapore That Cupid (Or Your Mum) Never Told You About
1. Meet in a central location (unless both of you live in Yishun)
Generally, you should meet someone offline in a busy, crowded, central location for safety reasons. But for practical reasons, unless you are picking up your date, it is a polite gesture to meet at a hood between yours and theirs. Why? Because in tiny Singapore, commuting from Jurong to Tampines for a dinner date is considered long-distance dating liao. Even worse: getting your date to change two MRT lines (East-West, then Circle) to get to you.
2. Meet somewhere with air-conditioning
You can save Coney Island Park for your 16th date when you are totally comfy with seeing sweat stains on each other’s underarms and smelling each other’s musky-fragrance-mixed-with-oily-hair smells. Do we sound like spoilt brats? No, it’s Singapore where it feels like 50 deg C every day.
3. Don’t go for anything all-you-can-eat
....Unless both of you met on a closed Facebook group called “Buffet Fetishdom 4ever”. This is the trickiest meal style when you are dining with someone you are not familiar or comfortable with – think your CEO, future in-laws and unfriendly people in a three-day course – because you never know when you should cut short a conversation to get another round of food, you never know if you are eating too much (or too little), and - tip for post-COVID, once buffets are allowed again - you never know if you are going to spill the laksa onto your new dress when you are carrying it (ugh, self-service!) to your table.
4. Don’t talk about money
Nobody needs to know how poor or rich you are on the first date. And don’t try sneaking it in by saying “I changed jobs because now I get to earn $500,000 a year” or “I don’t eat at hawker centres because growing up, we had a private table at Les Amis.” On the contrary, it’s also impolite to remind your date that you are always broke (and hence, who suggested having $12 designer coffees!). Remember, you want to be charming, not cham, on a first date.
5. Don’t boast about which school you went to
In Singapore, elitist people like to either boast about where they work or which school they were in. Talking about this is okay. But you yourself know when you are humblebragging about it.
6. Don’t boast about where you live
Same, same. Don’t drop nudge-nudge hints too, like “My estate doesn’t have any HDB flats, only good class bungalows”. Or “Wow, where is Bukit Gombak?”.
7. Don’t say “this is so cheapppppp”
We know it’s hard to contain your very Singaporean excitement when you spot a $6.99 ramen promotion or half-price movie tickets for credit card holders. After you’ve dated for some time, it’s called sensible frugality. But for now, it’s just called, well, cheap.
8. Don’t be a complain king or queen
Singapore is a really little red dot. Which means, each time you complain about your colleague or your best friend’s husband or your university lecturer, chances are he or she is related to your date in some way.
9. Make sure you have an app like PayNow or PayLah!
There may be first dates when the other person would prefer to split the bill. Now, you don’t want to be fumbling through your purse for the exact change.
10. Be as close to your social media persona as you can IRL
It’s 2020. People google other people before meeting them. So, if your real-life personality (you are prissy) deviates too much from what you are like on Facebook, Twitter or Instagram (you post hum sub jokes), your date may feel a little suspicious of you.
11. Don’t like every one of their social media posts. Or comment on them
After your first date, don’t act super enthu and like/comment on every cute pet turtle or #foodgasm photo that he or she posts. That is a modern-day form of calling someone non-stop.
12. Don’t stalk their Instagram Stories if it doesn’t work out
And if the first date amounts to nothing and he or she ghosts you on Whatsapp, don’t unfollow on Instagram, then devotedly and secretly view their Instagram Stories every second. Because there’s no such thing as “secretly” there. He or she can see that you have viewed every Story.