1 Keep things simple: nothing more off-putting than full on candelabras, lace table cloths, red roses and 100 Greatest Love Songs on a second date.
2 That goes for the food too â€“ youâ€™re aiming to impress with You not the seven courses that keep you in and out of the kitchen all night. As in life, so in food; trying way too hard is never sexy.
3 Cook something youâ€™ve cooked before, or are confident about. Make sure you have time to do it. Think about how youâ€™ll serve it â€“ in bowls family style or onto the plate directly.
4 Donâ€™t carb overload or nobodyâ€™s likely to do anything in bed other than sleep; bruchetta followed by lasagna followed by bread pudding is unlikely to work out so well.
5 Take allergies seriously, even if you suspect the person of being unnecessarily fussy. A date is never improved by a trip to the ER.
6 Donâ€™t dump your guest with kitchen chores. Get the prep (and ideally the cooking) done in advance. Sure, cutting some bread or tossing a salad can foster a spirit of collaboration thatâ€™s a good start on a date, but thatâ€™s as far as it needs to go. Yes, Andrew. Inviting me for dinner then asking me to de-scale and fillet a whole salmon was precisely why that dinner did not get you laid.
7 Invest in some basic white china. Everything looks better on it. Get real (not plastic) cutlery too while youâ€™re about it. Look out for interesting glasses and platters in thrift stores.
8 Candles bathe everything and everyone in a flattering light, but donâ€™t get too Phantom of the Opera about it.Â A few tea-lights scattered on the table perhaps, a few pillar candles on a mantle-piece. But beware scented candles unless you want all your food to come with a side of Autumn Spice or Ocean Breeze.
9 Think about the music. Something light and jazzy is usually a good bet. Ghost Face Killah is not. I have it on good authority.
10 Prosecco always gets a date off to a good start – it’s like Champagne, but with a little less full on Scary Romance. Move onto a white or red with dinner â€“ who knows, maybe youâ€™ll get to finish the bubbly in bed later.