List of Date Must-Brings

Theoretically, your presence should be enough on a date, but not always. It’s probably better to be somewhat overprepared rather than get caught in a tight situation. Over the course of my admittedly not humongous dating career, I have compiled a list of pocket-stuffers for the boy scout dating girl. No lightning bolts here, but don’t leave home without ’em.

1. A credit card. Yes, he’s supposed to be paying, but just in case, bring backup. You don’t want to spend the evening washing dishes to pay for your meal. On my second ever date, the guy patted his pocket and gave me a terrified look, declaring that he must have forgotten his wallet. I shrugged and pulled out my own, figuring that accidents do happen, though this was definitely a poor choice of accidents for a date. When I extracted my credit card and matter-of-factly reached for the bill, he informed me that, in fact, he was joking. I probably looked as incredulous as I felt. I also felt a drop stupid – I mean, was I supposed to figure he had to be kidding? And what exactly was he hoping to learn from that kind of prank? That I considered him enough of a schlemiel to believe him, or that I’m calm about mishaps, that I’m liberal with Daddy’s plastic, or that I share his endearing sense of humor? I still don’t know, but after that I considered a credit card a must-have item.

2. $20-$40 in cash, including a few small bills. This is a definitely a worst-case-scenario item. While I can’t think of too many situations where you’d require cash specifically, it is an almost guaranteed way out of most sticky positions, from muggers to unfriendly vending machines. If you should happen to be dating a guy who doesn’t offer to treat you to a drink, if you should happen to split a stiletto in a lady trap and need to get replacement slippers in Chinatown, or if you stop for a snack at a hot dog stand and he only has his credit card—cash is king.

3. A metrocard. In the very worst case scenario, when you find yourself slithering out the window during an ostensible bathroom break, you’re going to need a way home. Or if he slithers out the bathroom window, for that matter. (Hey, nobody’s perfect.) Or if he disappears during a blackout, is finally caught by the FBI, or winds up in the emergency room getting his stomach pumped (this last one, unfortunately, has occurred). A girl (or boy) should never leave herself (or himself) at the mercy of her (or his) date. They just don’t make ‘em the way they used to.

4. Directions to a good restaurant. Speaking of things being different than they used to be, some liberated men show up without destinations in mind. This happened to me three times in succession, sad but true. Now I have learned to be prepared with a location that I want to go to. Make it a good choice: out of the way, unfrequented or quiet, good menu, not extravagant (you might like him), and maybe even in a good neighborhood for walking (because you might like him).

5. A cell phone. I don’t actually carry one of these, but they’re very useful in a pinch. You can have a friend call with the sad news of your grandmother’s death, allowing you to regretfully cut the date short. Or if you get completely lost, you can call someone within reach of MapQuest for directions. This is not, admittedly, a likely scenario, since it is unlikely that a guy will let you give him directions, let alone call a girlfriend for them. This I learned the hard way one date; we were partway to Queens before I could convince him that he really wanted to go in the opposite direction. After that I decided to just get lost. It’s less frustrating, and not necessarily worse a dating venue than a lounge. But once you’re out of gas in Mystic, CT, you’re going to need a cell phone to call Chaverim (don’t they have a branch in Mystic?), so definitely bring one along.

6. Photo ID (driver’s license recommended). This is the sort of thing you should always carry around anyway, but definitely don’t leave it behind because you’re trusting someone else to orchestrate a flawless evening. ProfK has a story somewhere about a time she was compelled to take over the driving on a date, for the health and safety of herself and everyone on the road. Alternatively, you might get caught in an illegal immigrant roundup and have to prove your citizenship. OK, it’s an unlikely scenario where you’ll need it, but aren’t all bad date stories unlikely?

Bad date stories are splendid things after the fact, but you don’t want to be stuck in them for an unnecessarily lengthy amount of time. With a drop of prescience and the right things in your pocket, you can weather even the most unbelievable dates with some grip on your sanity.

Other items the Boy Scout dater will want to consider:

Slim jim




Flats/spare heels


Zipcar reservations

Supercompact umbrella

43 thoughts on “List of Date Must-Brings

  1. When I extracted my credit card and matter-of-factly reached for the bill, he informed me that, in fact, he was joking.

    What a jerk.

    Very smart to carry cash, credit card, cellphone and a metrocard. I told that to my sister as soon as she started dating.

    Not quite sure what you’re going to do with a derringer, unless your date involves a 19th century saloon.

  2. Yes, your ID is a must-have. Just learned that after the guy I was dating took me to a lounge that required ID. Ooops, didn’t have it with me. I felt really bad but he found another place nearby. I guess that shows that he can keep cool under different circumstances but alas it doesn’t matter cuz we’re not still dating.

    Also, if you’re carrying a little dating purse, I suggest lipstick for touch-ups and rewetting drops for those late night dates when your contacts start crying “please take me out!”

    It’s nice to date when the weather is cool enough for a jacket cuz then you can bring a lot of these must-haves just by sticking them in the cute little jacket pockets, instead of carrying a purse.

    Oh, and another one… if it might rain, BYOU – umbrella. I do NOT want to share an umbrella with a date.

  3. Yes, good idea bringing cash and a credit card–one of my dates once tried paying for our restaurant meal with his GAP card (yeah, he wasn’t the brightest). Fortunately, I always carry my wallet, and gracefully bailed him out. And yes, bring your cell phone (on silent). Another date once got very lost trying to get me home and I had to call my mother (who is excellent with directions) to get help. I’m sure the guy was pretty embarrassed, but I really couldn’t think of anyone else at the time to call. Maybe that should be something else on the list–a name in mind of someone (perhaps not a parent) who is really good with directions.

  4. 2. $20-$40 in cash, including a few small bills. This is a definitely a worst-case-scenario item. While I can’t think of too many situations where you’d require cash specifically, it is an almost guaranteed way out of most sticky positions

    There is a mesorah in our family called “having emergency money.” My grandmother used to tell my mom to always have some money on her whenever she went on dates “in case the guy got angry and left you stranded.” Now, granted, any guy who would do that is a complete jerk, but I suppose she meant if you went out and then broke up with him…or anything, really. You never know. So my mom told me the same thing (as a joke), always have some money with you.

  5. Boy you guys are so cynical. Admittedly, after I got engaged I did hear about the cash “just-in-case” idea. I don’t know; but I managed to live through dating without any major horror stories (unless you can call really boring dates)and find my bashert. Although I did get lost with one boy in Manhatten, trying to get to the FDR. I, not mapquest, led us to safety.

  6. What LWY said. You never know what might happen, from an accident to a really crazy date that you need to escape from to who knows what. Good post… and SaraK, the ketchup is because most places simply don’t have good ketchup, duh! 🙂

  7. Some of this is redundant. If you bring cash and a credit card, you don’t have to bring a metrocard, as you can buy in an emergency.

  8. I had two such mishaps – dating guys take notes:

    1) certain restaurants (the nice ones in the upper east side) only accept American Express. At least the waiter knew exactly where the closest ATM was. If you don’t have one – get a no-fee AMEX card.

    2) Parking at Chelsea Piers was cash only when I was dating. The girl ended up paying for that – embarassing but we got married anyway.

    Id. is very important – girls should not forget it.

    Shifra – the area where your parents live is really confusing!

  9. I always bring most of those things (okay, no ketchup), and once I actually needed the MetroCard . . . to make a long story short, the guy’s car got towed and we needed to get back to my place so I could drive him home. He was not from NYC and this was his first trip on a subway(!).

  10. I always carry cash with me. Unfortunately I seem to date guys that think a $2.00 tip on a dinner is acceptable so I always have some money to slip the waiter.

    When I go on Frumster/Sinai dates I do carry something that can be used as a weapon – it may seem a bit much but in all honesty I don’t know these guys and you never know.

    I have also noticed that guys don’t have a set place in mind anymore. Maybe they want to see me and decide from there? In any case when they don’t have a clue I just decide on Starbucks.

  11. Don’t forget an extra pair of stockings. Runs/Holes and dating just do not fit.

    And a photo id is sometimes necessary for certain arcade places, btw. 😛

  12. I don’t know about girls, but here are some things I’d recommend for guys:

    1) Mapquest directions or, ideally, a GPS.
    2) a) For those who wear their hats at all times: some contraption that keeps the hat on in inclement weather.
    b) For the bums: bobby pins.
    3) a) For those who own their own car: jumper cables.
    b) For best-guy-in-Lakewood driving totty’s Lexus: turtle wax.
    4) Cheat-sheet containing conversation jump-starters in case of a severe lack of having anything in common.

  13. certain restaurants (the nice ones in the upper east side) only accept American Express. At least the waiter knew exactly where the closest ATM was. If you don’t have one – get a no-fee AMEX card.

    Been there, done that. I got an AMEX card the next day.

  14. What I found helpful to bring on my dates:

    a) A towel- you never know where you’re expected to sit.
    b) Purell, or some other generic brand of the same, when you’re going to be touching things with fingers you don’t want to get near your mouth later on (needles, snails, goopy moss, etc.)
    c) Basic change of clothing, in case you fall into a body of water.
    d) Something to jack your tire up with when you get a flat.
    e) Crossword puzzles to do when you are lost, at a rest/truck stop, or at a loss for words.
    f) Blanket/towel listed above in case you fall asleep in the car. Wouldn’t want your knees to show if you put your feet up.
    g) Gum- no explanation necessary
    h) Bottled water- one for you and one for him.
    i) Of course a bag big enough to fit all of the above. I have found that a beach bag usually works pretty well.

    That’s all I can thing of for now. From the way many of you write, it would seem that bringing these things would be a severe breach of dating etiquette, but all my dates were “conventional”, and no one ran away screaming. There is a way to be prepared and be normal about it. 🙂

  15. you guys are all too funny.
    i’m married and i love this blog. not because i laugh at you guys, but we can all laugh at the same things together. i love how this is a place where everyone can laugh at things that the world does not deem “laughable.” and when it doesn’t seem laughable even to you guys, the sarcasm that sets in is the best. keep it up and may you all find your basherts whenever it’s right. and may you all remain chilled until then.

  16. Credit card and cash are important–I’ve never needed the credit card, but I have needed the cash. We’d ordered ice cream cones and they were already made when the guy tried to pay with plastic and they said only cash. Poor guy looked panic-stricken, and I pulled out my wallet and paid. He was so apologetic, but really I had no problem with it–after all, he had just paid for dinner!

    I take my metrocard with me everywhere. And yes, I have taken the subway, from, and on dates. And more than once I’ve wanted to but haven’t because the guy decided we have to take a cab, even though we both have unlimited metrocards and there’s a subway right there and no cabs in sight.

    If you’re going to drive and you don’t know the area, either do your homework, bring a GPS, or let me tell you where to go. If I know the city better than you do, there’s no shame in taking directions from a girl. Really.

    The guy who brought two umbrellas with him on a rainy day got extra points.

    I always have my cell phone with me, and I carry my driver’s license in my wallet. Thankfully, I’ve never had to take over the driving for anyone I’ve dated. It’s also useful when going someplace that cards…not that that’s happened often. And guys? Don’t try to take a girl who’s under 21 to a place that requires ID that she’s 21 or older. (Not that this applies to me at this stage in my life, but I figured I’d put it out there.)

  17. anonfan…i found your comment slightly offensive and condescending. But thanks for the bracha. amen.

  18. CG- BUMS??!! Not that I should be the one to get indignant about that, but come on… 🙂 (and yes, I know it’s a joke)

    Too Sensitive, I don’t see anything offensive about Anon Fan’s comment. He’s just saying we have a positive attitude, that’s all.

  19. Anon,
    Most of my dates tended to be day trips! Given my personality, and the fact that I manage to get most guys suckered into it, I usually got my way and most of those items were utilized. 🙂

  20. I pack all of those things everytime I go out but guys always ask me “why do girls bring bags on dates”? Instead of explaining all the reasoning, i just say “well, you never know…” 🙂 It’s a kind of ackward question though.

  21. PS: Regarding the towel – for anyone dating on Sunday, May 25th is International Towel Day, a celebration of the fact that towels are among the most versatile pieces of equipment to never leave behind. In celebration of which, adherents carry their towel around all day. I’m not sure I’d recommend it for a first date, though. 😉

    Gila – earplugs? Like if you want to tune him out and nap?

  22. [/no sarcasm]Cute.

    [/sarcasm]Also don’t forget to bring a personality, a sense of humor, an opinion, some patience and little bit of slack.

    Don’t even get me started on the things that one SHOULD NOT bring with them…

  23. and when it doesn’t seem laughable even to you guys, the sarcasm that sets in is the best.

    Wait a second, WAIT JUST ONE SECOND!

    Do you mean to say that you are able to figure out what is sarcasm and what is not just by reading??? You are able to do this w/o anypromptingwhatsoever???

    I’m shocked! SHOCKED!!

  24. B4S -Earplugs in case he is really, really dull. Plug them in, continue smiling, nodding and saying “oh, really” at regular intervals and let your mind wander.

  25. Might as well add a can of Lysol to the bag for those cars you get into that are less then clean and smell off. when the boy gets out of the car quickly spray a few bursts and then get out yourself. By the time you get back to the car the germs should be dead and buried and the aroma at least neutral. Then again you could also carry one of those small handivacs that work on batteries. Or a few of those portable injection pens with a nice dose of penicillin.

    Then again, you could just decide that shlepping all that stuff is ridiculous and refuse to date ever again.

  26. G, we’re so proud!
    Listening to the blogsters like a nice yingalah! (and for those of you who weren’t fortunate enough to grow up with Yiddish, it means, “little boy”)

    LOL with the humour on this blog… Who needs Seinfeld?

  27. That’s me, just another sad misguided boy making his way through world as best he can given the inherent disability of having a Y chromosome.

    Thank the Lord that there is the other gender out there willing at every turn to correct our foibles and instruct us as to the “better”, oh who are we kidding, the “correct” way.

    Woe unto he who does not avail himslef of these wise sages as they are only doing what is necessary. Truly we are all naturally flawed and can only attain a higher plane by following the carefully layed out path of mankind’s better halves.

    As Samuel L. Jackson so famously reminded us…The path of the righteous man is beset on all sides by the inequities of the selfish and the tyranny of evil men. Blessed is he who in the name of charity and goodwill shepherds the weak through the valley of darkness, for he is truly his brother’s keeper and the finder of lost children…

    recent studies have shown that, in truth, the pasages originally read as follows:

    The path of the righteous woman is beset on all sides by the inequities of the selfish and the tyranny of evil men. Blessed is she who in the name of charity and goodwill shepherds the weak through the valley of darkness, for she is truly her brother’s keeper and the finder of lost male children.

    How well this fits in with what have learned, and really deep down know, about how this world really works.

  28. Floss, or something to pick the food out of your teeth with. Nothing is more distracting/disgusting than trying to pretend to pay attention to someone who has green stuff stuck on their teeth. Just go to the bathroom for all hygiene and grooming and don’t do it in front of your date.

  29. Also, I find it very useful to bring a paper and a pen. I realized I forget most of the things I taled about on a date even if I enjoyed my time. So now, after 1hour 1/2 or something, I go to the bathroom and write down the topics we discusses.
    As for the money, it happened to me twice with the same boy that he forgot his wallet. I would judge him lekaf zechus and say he was extremely absent-minded…;)
    Also, if you meet your date by the dating place, bring a Tehilim or an occupation in case he shows up late…

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  32. If you are visiting a city you don’t have a public transportation card for- enough change to pay for the bus/subway/whatever BOTH ways. Pretty obvious, but for some reason I forgot. Dollar bills often won’t work.

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