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What Not to Do on a First Date

Real women on their biggest turnoffs.

Real women on their biggest turnoffs.


By Cassie Shortsleeve, Men’s Health

Rudeness, a messy appearance, being late: Certain first date turnoffs are obvious. But if you’ve ever been ghosted after date number one, or simply thought an evening went well when it didn't, it could have been something you wouldn't necessarily expect. After all, looking the part (and showing up on time) is only half the battle.

We partnered with Hugo Boss's BOSS The Scent to ask real women about their biggest turnoffs. Commit these seven crimes and she could say sayonara before happy hour ends; avoid them, and you're one step closer toward nailing the first date.


Using bad grammar

“When I was in the thick of online dating, my number one turnoff was bad grammar. It didn’t matter if he was Ryan Gosling-level hot, the minute I saw a ‘their, there, they’re’ or a ‘your, you’re’ mix-up, he was done.” —Lauren R., 32, New York, NY


Smelling bad

“When you lean in for that first-meeting hug, I instantly notice if a guy smells good or not. B.O is a definite turnoff, as is bad breath! Scent memories are strong, so you really don’t want to screw that up.

A spray or two of a nice cologne can go a long way in making a positive and lasting first impression.” —Ashleigh M., 29, New York, NY


Being polar opposites

“I went on a first date years ago during a presidential election season. Everything on the date was going fine, but then we started talking about our dream jobs. He said his dream job would be to work in the administration of the candidate I didn’t support, and it turned me off right away!

It’s one thing to date someone with different political views, but if they want to dedicate their working life to those views... that’s a deal breaker. —Julia M., 29, Amsterdam, the Netherlands


Having a dirty car

“I don't care what kind of car you have, but if it's full of trash and crumbs or smells weird, it's totally a turnoff. It doesn't have to be spick and span, but if you're not taking care of your car, I'm gonna assume you're not taking care of your living space, too.” —Emily S., 28, Allentown, PA


Asking for your IG handle instead of your number

“I was at a bar and rather than asking for my number, a guy asked for my handle. I have a boyfriend, so I would not have engaged anyway, but I asked him, ‘My Instagram handle?’ And he said, ‘That’s how it’s done these days. So we can check each other out and talk in DMs. It also helps to see you in my feed so I don’t forget to reach out.’

I was amazed that simply having a conversation and getting someone’s number wouldn’t be enough to prompt him to reach out. It seemed wildly odd to me. I wouldn’t give someone my Instagram handle so that they can look at my feed and determine whether or not my life is interesting enough for them to maybe slide into my DMs.”—Madeline H., 29, New York, NY


Talking $$$

Guys who talk about money. Even if they aren't bragging, it's not an attractive topic to bring up on a first date.—Sydney G., 25, Boston, MA


Having food in your teeth

For some reason, the deadly duo of food in the teeth and bad breath has always been a major turnoff for me. I still have PTSD from a high school dance make out when a crush of mine had clearly sampled the party snacks pre-smooch. Remember those honey mustard pretzel bites? Gross, me too... —Hailey C., 24, New York, NY
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Men's Lifestyle: What Not to Do on a First Date
What Not to Do on a First Date
Real women on their biggest turnoffs.
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Men's Lifestyle
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