Bugger it. I’m two days away from a date that I’m quite excited about, and panic has set in.

I’m not lacking confidence in my actual self – I’ve strong opinions, plenty to say and in between meaningful conversation I’m happy to flirt my way to a second date if we feel that way inclined. It’s the supposedly unimportant things I worry about, and when you’re dressing to impress in the big city (where sod’s law dictates that you’ll be perched on a dinner table next to an amateur model all evening), it eases the mind to know that you haven’t made the fatal mistake of over-preparing. Being too uptight about the small details leaves you feeling uncomfortable, and will affect your whole evening. We can’t be having that now can we?

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I propose a First Date checklist. Ask yourself the following questions and if any of the answers aren’t what they should be, change it up and step out in total confidence. Believe me, that’s the most captivating, interesting thing you can wear…

Do you remember the last time you wore this?

If you’re taking a chance on an outfit you haven’t worn for ages, chances are it’s for a reason. It’s understandable to want to wear something with a little something extra special, but clothes don’t magically look better because you need them to. Stick with what you’re confident in wearing now – not two years ago.

Is this looking even vaguely lingerie-like?

Remember that episode of Friends where Rachel has to pass off a sexy slip as an evening dress in front of her boyfriend’s mum? If your dress is even hinting at that look, don’t do it. Being sexy is about a concoction of allure, confidence, tease and charm, and leaving nothing to the imagination tends to create more esteem problems for you than it solves. Additionally, it’s never good to risk giving the wrong impression.

Are you happy with your makeup?

I have a true gift bestowed upon me – when I’m nervous, I can’t apply my makeup properly. Anything that can smudge, run or poke me in the eye comes out in full force until I look like I’m off out dressed as a Picasso. Leave time to take it off and start again, and if you’re going straight from work make sure you’ve got wet wipes to hand.

Are you wearing more makeup than usual?

Leading on from the above, don’t be tempted to cake it on. Also look out for neglected harsh lines – blend everything!

Will those shoes hold up if you go for a walk?

Don’t become that stereotype. Wearing shoes that you like and you know you are perfectly capable of wearing without a problem not only stops you walking like Bambi on a bender, but means you’re blister-free and up for a spot of spontaneity if the evening goes really well.

Are you putting on a front?

My particular first date is going to be interesting because I haven’t yet met the unsuspecting fella in person. We’ve texted lots, and though I started out perfectly laid back about the whole thing I’ve noticed that occasionally I’m texting things back that are quite transparently trying to big up my “coolness”. In turn this makes light of the fact that I’m trying to be cool, which isn’t cool. It’s not constant, and it only happens when I’m just trying to text back quickly with¬†some¬†sort of reply. It’s cringey and there’s no point – don’t do it. No one dies if you don’t reply to a message within 30 seconds, so just think before you stick any old thing down in a text. When you’ve thought it through like a normal person, you then don’t have the added worry that you’ve come across strangely every now and again due to excitement and/or nerves.

Have you eaten?

Obviously don’t eat if you’re going to dinner. But lots of first dates happen in bars and as there’s a high probably that mine will involve Beer Pong, I’m lining this belly of mine. Vomiting on a first date isn’t a thing I ever want to happen in my life.

On the subject of drinking, it’s not a great idea to get wasted. Drink what you know you can handle, and don’t cross that line that stops you correctly interpreting gestures. Mistakes will happen, plus they’re not really getting to know the real you if you’ve lost every single one of your inhibitions to a bottle of JD.

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