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The Saratoga Falcon

The Saratoga Falcon

The Saratoga Falcon

Lessons outside the classroom: teachers’ dos and don’ts for a first date

Beverly Xu
From stories of old shoes, hockey games and Ultimate Frisbee matches, teachers on campus give us their best first date advice from their best and worst experiences. 

For all our hopelessly single SHS students, we’re capitalizing on the greatest source of dating experience on-campus — people who teach us how to find chemistry, dance to our own tunes and find integral traits we want in a partner all while writing our own stories — our teachers. 

We interviewed five teachers on the “do”s and “don’t”s of first dates — and they gave us some great advice, accompanied with some personal experiences to corroborate their claims. 

Whether their first dates were trainwrecks or the start of a long and happy marriage, our teachers have plenty of advice to offer, and we hope you’ll learn as much as we did. 

Physics Teacher Thomas Casavant:  Pace yourself

Falcon: What is some advice you have for going on a first date?

Casavant: Oh my god. You are definitely talking to the wrong person. Anyone in this [physics classroom] would be better than me. 

Falcon: But do you have advice on two things to do and two things to absolutely not do?

Casavant: I’m trying to look for the right word, but to be kind or be understanding — to be empathetic.

Falcon: And what should you absolutely not do?

Casavant: I would say don’t try to over impress.

Falcon: Do you have any experiences that were either really great or complete train wrecks?

Casavant: This is embarrassing — so in high school, I remember the one time when I had a first date with a girl and I turned her face to me so I could kiss her, and she said: “What?” So I was like: “Okay, I think we’re done here.” And I just remember the whole world kind of crashing at that point. And then I kind of slid away. So yeah, that was a pretty embarrassing situation.

Falcon: Was this a first date? Or just a hangout? 

Casavant: Well, that’s a good question — that probably depends on who you ask. I thought it was a first date. That’s a good [piece of advice] then: Don’t necessarily assume too much. 

Math Teacher PJ Yim: Be genuine about your character to find your “old shoe”

Falcon: What would you say to absolutely do on a first date?

Yim: To do? Show the worst side of yourself.

Falcon: And the reasoning?

Yim: Well, the thing is, if she still likes you after seeing the worst, then she’s a keeper. 

Falcon: And anything absolutely not to do?

Yim: Don’t show the best side of yourself. Do you know why? Because that’s false advertisement. You’re at your best like 1% of the time.

Falcon: What about your average self?

Yim: So that’s what I do. [What I said before about showing the worst side of myself is] a lie: I didn’t show the worst side of myself; I just behaved as normal. What I would never do is show the best of myself — go out of my way, because it gives a false impression. 

Falcon: Do you have any experiences with first dates — any trainwreck experiences?

Yim: If it’s a bad thing, there’s one case where I got set up. I couldn’t stand her because she was like a sack of potatoes — while everybody else is helping out, doing the dishes, she just [sits] there … She just sat there like a little princess. One thing: I don’t date princesses. I try to treat them like one, but if they act like one, then … But I felt obligated to just continue to go out and meet her because we were set up. That’s one of the worst things about being set up.

Falcon: What year was this? High school? College?

Yim: [My] early 20’s? But other than that, I always had good experiences with people because I didn’t think about dates seriously; to me it’s a hangout. I just treat it as I’m getting to know somebody so I don’t put any expectations on them or me … But you know what the best thing is? I don’t have to worry about that anymore. I’m married.

Falcon: How long has it been that you haven’t had to worry about first dates?

Yim: Since 2001.

Falcon: Would you say that with your wife, you hit it off instantly or afterwards?

Yim: You know, the funny thing is, it was instant. As soon as she walked in the door: ‘Yup, we’re done.’ 

Falcon: How did you know? 

Yim: I don’t know, I just felt it. 

Falcon: How long did you guys date? 

Yim: Three days. 

Falcon: Until you guys got engaged?

Yim: Three days and she left Korea. We talked over the phone for a little bit and I said, “Let’s get married.” She said, “Really?” And I told her, “If you don’t know it, you’re too young for me. I’ll move on.” And she’s like, “No, no, no, hold on.” I said it again and she said yes.

Falcon: That’s very impressive.

Yim: No, she felt like an old shoe. [Awkward silence.] Okay, always pick the positive thing. What’s so good about old shoes? 

Falcon: They’re reliable?

Falcon: They’re warm?

Yim: The fact that they’re old shoes and you’re still wearing this pair — they must be really comfortable. I felt this comfort with her that I never had with anybody else. I just felt comfortable — that was it. I didn’t have to try, she didn’t have to try; we were just comfortable with each other.

Math Teacher Lisa Ginestet-Araki: how to ensure a successful first date

Falcon: What are three “do”s or “don’t”s for a first date?

Ginestet-Araki:  I would say one thing to not do would be to make the first date on Valentine’s Day. That’s a lot of pressure. I would also say don’t give an extravagant gift too early, or don’t have a first date that’s too expensive or fancy. Make the first date in a public place, so everyone is comfortable. I’d also say pick a first date where you can actually talk to them — not like a movie where you can’t talk. 

Falcon: Do you have any experiences that were complete and horrible and train wrecks from first dates?

Ginestet-Araki: I went on a first date, where the guy played in this adult Hockey League, and he asked me to come watch him play his adult hockey game. So like a big chunk of it was just me watching him do something and not actually talking to him. So that was a little weird.

English Teacher Erick Rector – laughter is the indicator

Falcon: Do you have any advice for a first date? 

Rector: Have fun, have fun. You can usually tell within like five minutes whether or not a date has potential or not.  So if you don’t laugh at them within the first five minutes, the date’s not going anywhere. 

Falcon: How do you get through those awkward dates to let them down easy?

Rector: Be honest. You say, “This is really fun, but I just don’t feel an X factor spark and so I don’t think this is gonna work.” And sometimes two really cool people just don’t have a spark — which is fine — so you’ve just successfully eliminated someone who [is not meant for you].

English Teacher Megan Laws: Be clear that it’s a date

Falcon: So what is your advice for going on a date?

Laws: I met my husband in high school, so it’s been a long time since I’ve been on an actual date. I remember in high school, one time I went to play Ultimate Frisbee with someone and I didn’t know it was a date. So make sure that people are clear about whether it’s a date. The guy had different expectations and wanted something more and I was like, nope. Also, don’t chew with your mouth open. 

Music teachers Sean Clark and Micheal Boitz: Just don’t

Falcon: We are asking teachers on campus what is some advice for do’s and don’ts on dates and we are wondering what is yours? 

Clark: Don’t. You can write it in quotes, “said by Sean Clark,” with a period.

Boitz: You know, if you want to get a lot of dates or a lot of interest, be Sean Clark.

Clark: [proceeds to ignore Boitz.] Don’t. Just don’t go on a date.

Falcon: Why just no? So you don’t have any actual advice for dos and don’ts?

Clark: What do you mean “that’s not the actual advice.” Don’t. Don’t go on a date.

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