GEOCON High Society Masthead

Five first dates. Canberra Style.

Samantha Bradley

I hate first dates. A lot. You know the ones where you usually straighten the crap out of your hair, painstakingly apply your most expensive makeup, wear your prettiest dress and place yourself on your perfect, ladylike first-date behaviour so you just generally look and act nothing like your typical self? Yep. Those ones.

One of the biggest dilemmas surrounding the usual first-date conundrum is where to go and what to do. Guys, upon showing interest or maybe asking for your number, will invariably suggest you meet them when they are (1) drunk, and (2) out with their mates. Words of advice – just don’t. 87% of guys act like complete morons around their mates (yes, I made up that statistic), particularly if they are trying to impress a girl.

Furthermore, this aforementioned moronicness (yes, I made up that word, shhh) is going to be exacerbated by even an only slightly intoxicated state. Another reason is that this situation falls perilously close to booty-call territory – and you, gorgeous, intelligent, antonymous woman, certainly do not come when called. Ever.

My advice is that you subtly, cleverly (so they think it is their idea) push things in more a traditional first date direction, for your own safety and sanity at the very least.

The ideal first date is (1) somewhere public (just in case they turn out to be a sociopath), (2) un-intimidating (so you don’t do that awkward nervous giggle thing), (3) cheap (so you don’t feel guilty if they insist on paying), and (4) casual (so you don’t have to wear heels, ew). Here are five first date ideas for Canberra girls.

1. Coffee coffee coffee.

I don’t really even drink coffee yet this is my standard fallback first date option. It fits all of the above criteria whilst also being incredibly versatile. For example you could get takeaway and go for a leisurely walk in the sunshine or, instead, sit down and enjoy the ambience.

My favourite cafes are Lonsdale Street Roasters in Braddon, Gus in the city, Bees & Co in Yarralumla and My Cafe in Manuka.

2. Meet for a drink.

In daylight hours. Evening at the latest. This is similar to the coffee date yet lacks some of the flexibility as you cannot get takeaway G & Ts and bars generally open much later in the day. It is also casual, cheap, flexible, and public if you suddenly need a fast and safe escape strategy.

Some of my picks for this particular option would be Hippo Bar or HonkyTonks in the city, The Durham in Kingston or maybe The Duxton in O’Connor.

3. Go to a movie.

I mainly reserve this option for dates I don’t particularly want to hold a conversation with. However, setting my personal idiosyncrasies aside, there are some other benefits to the standard movie date.

To begin with they are cheap and flexible time-wise. The biggest advantage of this option however is that now, having watched a movie together; you and your date have something to connect with on a more intellectual level, something to talk about other than yourselves. This can indeed be a sly way of bypassing inevitably awkward well I’m at uni, have a deep emotional appreciation for Star Wars, love the colour yellow, and have a kelpie called Jigsaw that likes to eat my shoes getting-to-know-each other conversations.

You can always grab coffee (see option (1)) after the movie if it went well. For example, maybe you could see a movie at Dendy then grab a post movie coffee at Gus’ or a drink at HonkyTonks.

4. Lunch.

Generally this is one of my least favoured options as I’m a vegetarian with food allergies and prefer for potential suitors to remain blissfully unaware of these facts for as long as possible. However, in lieu of options (1), (2) and (3) I guess lunch dates also have their benefits. They are generally pretty relaxed, nice and quick if things aren’t going too well, and, if you choose your venue wisely, not too pricey.

Some good options could be Brodburger in Kingston, Purple Pickle at ANU or Burmese Curry Place in the city.

5. Dinner.

Dinner dates I find particularly unpleasant as a result of my abovementioned food requirements coupled with the crippling paranoia of having spinach stuck in your teeth that arises when you are forced to eat in front of someone whose opinion you value. Additionally, they usually aren’t that cheap and can tend to drag on for a bit.

However, if you must, even dinner dates can be enjoyable. I would go for somewhere relaxed and cheerful where an over-attentive or inappropriately flirtatious waiter doesn’t make things awkward for you and your date. For example Sammy’s Kitchen is always excellent, or maybe La Rustica in Kingston, or, alternatively, share a couple of plates of tapas at Playground in the city.

Enjoy ladies. Remember, quality boys respect your opinions, space and time, and if they don’t then roll those pretty eyes and walk away. Also, don’t straighten your hair too much because split ends are Satan, and pause to consider how much pain you will be experiencing in roughly an hour if you wear those peep-toed wedges. Ditto the g-string. On a general note, hot pink nail polish is just always more fun, and, if things happen to take a turn for the dull you can always amuse yourself by scratching it off!

Samantha Bradley

Sam is a camera-happy aspiring writer only a little bit through her Law degree at the ANU. She blogs here ( and tweets here ( More about the Author

  • Helene Jermolajew

    Love your advice Sam, all points are equally relevant for the ‘older’ single again lady! I have only been on one first date (coffee at Jammo) and one 2nd date (dinner at the Southern Cross) in recent times, after the ‘2nd date’ where he proved to be an extremely boring, rude (after asking a question in the middle of my answer he honestly said ‘I wish I hadn’t asked now’) I decided that really most men just aren’t worth the trouble, I’ll wait till a decent one stumbles over my fee (I’m old enough to not care and not settle for 2nd best)t. I’m so unimpressed with guys that I’ve devised a list of really hard questions for them (if they make it to a 2nd date) one of which is ‘What does a day in a relationship with you look like?’ Mostly they haven’t thought about this and the answer tells you a whole lot about him.

  • Mel

    I loved the article – very well written, funny & witty!
    I met my fiance 10 years ago, well nearly, on a blind first date (I was wearing heels, I’d already had a couple of Vodka’s, I’d tried on several dresses before deciding on one, hair and makeup looked pretty good) – New Year’s Eve at 9pm at a local pub!
    I think I broke all of your rules in the above sentence, however this New Year’s Eve we will be celebrating our 10th Anniversary – we’re the exception that proves the rule 🙂