What Men Really Want: What Excites Men On A First Date What Men Really Want: Indian Men Describe Their Ideal First Dates
What Men Really Want: What Excites Men On A First Date

In our weekly series exploring men in love, or attempting to be in love, we ask the question – Do men really want anything beyond “Netflix and chill” or “coming over”?

Earlier last week, a list went viral, detailing places women refuse to go on a first date. This triggered a long-forgotten memory from about fifteen years ago when a teenage me was metaphorically twirling his pre-pubescent moustache because a girl from the same coaching class had agreed to a coke and kachori date at a nearby mithai shop. 


Much has changed since the last decade and a half, with many of the first dates now as blurred as the faces you swipe right on. The tenderness of a mithai shop date, now replaced with timed 90-minute coffee runs at a pseudo-aesthetic cafe or expensive cocktails at a bar that is just too damn loud. But is that what men really want? 


Still From: ‘Begin Again (2013)’. Credits – The Weinstein Company


Recounting his most memorable first date; Jehan, a 30-year-old media professional, mentions how he traded an overly expensive restaurant meal for something more intimate: “I cooked a meal for my date. I had prepped some lovely pesto chicken and spaghetti for dinner, which was followed by a dating card game afterwards. After a small makeout session, I then dropped her home on my bike.” 


For 27-year-old “Sundar B. Hole” (a pseudonym, of course), it was a late breakfast at a Parsi Cafe in Mumbai, which was then followed by going “used-book hunting and then sneaking into a then-shut Ambedkar Bhavan. Later we got a couple of drinks and then kissed goodbye.” 


Still From: ‘(500) Days Of Summer’. Credits – Searchlight Pictures, RatPac Entertainment


While Sundar didn’t exactly feel the chemistry was enough to take it further than a friendship, he remembers how, “the entire day was filled with absolutely fantastic conversations, especially in terms of how well they intersected. We were able to segue from food to politics, sex to fashion, Bombay social life to career slags—I remember feeling very ‘refreshed’ in terms of how much I learned, both about the person and about their world. It didn’t lead to anything, but it remains a memorable day regardless.” 


Similarly, Siddharth, 32, tells us it is the effort that counts, as he remembers: “Both of us took the effort to meet each other after work despite heavy rain. We walked to a quieter place under the same umbrella and talked through the night. It was like I had met a long-lost friend.”  


It’s hard not to echo Sundar’s or Siddharth’s thoughts here. Through my brief yet painfully extensive time in the dating world, the most memorable connections were made in the quieter, intimate moments, with nothing overtly sexual between us. One instance that I still look back on is when my date and I decided to walk around Ballard Estate for hours, followed by ending up on the steps of the Asiatic Library, again just talking.  


Still From: ‘The Perks of Being a Wallflower’ (2012). Credits – Summit Entertainment


A Mumbai-based media professional, “Khush Kyo-Ni” (yes, a pseudonym), shares something similar: “We ate at one place, drove across town for dessert, and then drove her back home. I think I just valued the time spent, also because we kinda had a lot to talk about.” 


There’s a valid cultural generalization that happens with men, where their idea of “meeting” often revolves around “getting high together at my place” or “Netflix and chilling.” But in between the angry and justified Twitter rants, seldom do we choose to ignore that men too enjoy simple things in life. For Jehan, the idea of a dream date involves: “having good quality time getting to know the other person, fun laughter, and good grub to accompany.” Meanwhile, Khush Kyo-Ni, says: “A nice dinner in a quiet setting. Nothing fancy-schmancy, with some amount of driving.” But the crux of it comes down to what Siddharth puts it as: “The dream date would feel effortless, natural, and happiness-inducing.”  


Feature Image – ‘Before Sunrise (1995)’

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