I broke this into parts because I don’t like posting longer than 550 words and also so I get more mileage out of it. Been doing homework, not writing.
Technically, preparation begins about 13 hours in advance, since I take care of my hair in the morning. Or maybe it starts an hour before, when I eat supper so I won’t be hungry if we go out for drinks, but won’t be full if we go out to eat. But otherwise, it takes about 20 minutes to get ready, though I usually allow myself a half-hour, just in case.
Clothing is a predetermined FDO (first date outfit). This is a survival necessity, as neither the shadchan nor my parents or even the date ever seem to realize that it is Important for me to have an idea of the sort of venue we’ll be taking in. Well, why would they? They never browsed B&N in their Shabbos finest or tottered down a dirt path on 3-inch heels. I know there are guys who think that it shouldn’t matter – I should be dressed the same way no matter what, but that is usually the kind of nonsense you get from the types who would wear a suit to plant a tree.
IMO an idea about “where” should be just as essential as “when.” When you say “Six-thirty Monday afternoon,” can’t you throw in “I was thinking we’d go for a coffee”?
Instead, I’m left guessing about whether the guy is a lounge lizard or a coffee consumer.
Case in point: I once guessed that a guy would be the lounge type, so I ate supper (chicken and rice) beforehand. Naturally, we wound in Starbucks. As we walked through the door he joked, “This is the part where you tell me that you’re fleishigs.”
“I am,” I answered.
I had tea. No crisis. Still.
Anyway, back to prep, makeup probably takes the longest. I try to keep it natural looking, and somehow that’s harder than just looking gooped up. Jewelry time is negligible unless I have trouble getting the earrings in. Tights are the last to go on as they are the most objectionable. I strongly suspect that one could correlate the increased use of epidurals with the invention of nylon and control top. God is just keeping the score even. I mildly resent every minute the guy is late because that’s an extra minute I’m wearing those darn things that I didn’t have to be.
I’m usually sitting in my room twiddling my thumbs for a few minutes in advance of Guy’s arrival, because I don’t dare do anything that will crease my clothes. Which rules out everything I do on a regular evening. Sitting around doing nothing irritates me almost as much as wearing tights, so I make up for it by sitting at the window watching the cars drive past. I can usually pick out the Guy’s car because it comes down the block slowly.
Good4 is better at spotting them than I am, though. Usually, when he pulls up, she’ll say something like “Hey, he’s been around the block three times already.”
I watch Guy check the time on his cell phone, get out of the car, open the back door, take out his hat, close the door, put on the hat, tug his suit, check the time on his cell again, and then head to our front door. I get a very inaccurate, foreshortened view of him that is mostly blocked by brim and then grab my shoes and head down one flight.
The parents usher him into the dining room where they offer him refreshments he won’t eat, because he’s uncomfortable, and beverages he won’t drink, because none of the options include carbonation or added sugar and he’s not sure that they’re actually potable. If I can’t hear any of his answers to their questions (“How was the drive? Much traffic?”) then I get impatient quickly, slip on the shoes, and make my grand entrance.
Guy looks up briefly, smiles to be friendly, and then looks away quickly so nobody will think he’s a gawking creep. Which leaves me free (after smiling back) to check him out for: