1. Oscar Leigh
    Offline

    Oscar Leigh Contributing Member

    Joined:
    Jan 21, 2016
    Messages:
    4,425
    Likes Received:
    1,982
    Location:
    Australia

    How to Do Date Talk

    Discussion in 'Research' started by Oscar Leigh, Feb 19, 2016.

    So, for my main WIP, it's a romance/drama, there's a scene where the main characters and narrators are on their first date. What kind of things do people talk about in that situation? How do they talk? I have them so far with a mixture of discussing their families, their past and making flirty cutesy jokes. I was thinking I'm going to move the conversation to their hobbies and stuff, because they'd be getting to know each other, right? They've only known each other for about a week. Did I do it wrong/am doing it wrong? What's your advice, people with dating experience. How does this stuff work? Oh and for personality reference, Oscar is a mischievous vocal nerd with a bad history with bigots and Luke is a sweet jocky guy who normally fits in but is shy about his sexuality. And yes, I know, all my questions on this set end up being related to gay charaters. I swear, I do actually have non-gay characters, in fact there always represented as a majority like real life. But I like my gay couples. A lot. (sighs in a lonely fashion)
     
  2. Sack-a-Doo!
    Offline

    Sack-a-Doo! Contributing Member Contributor

    Joined:
    Jun 7, 2015
    Messages:
    2,231
    Likes Received:
    1,511
    Location:
    [unspecified]
    Any kind of dialogue, under any circumstances, comes from what the characters want and what they're willing to say.
     
  3. Oscar Leigh
    Offline

    Oscar Leigh Contributing Member

    Joined:
    Jan 21, 2016
    Messages:
    4,425
    Likes Received:
    1,982
    Location:
    Australia
    Uuum, yeah, but circumstances affect stuff. Nobody lives in a bubble. Social norms, for a start, would create expectations of what you talk about on a date.
     
  4. Mckk
    Offline

    Mckk Moderator Staff Supporter Contributor

    Joined:
    Dec 30, 2010
    Messages:
    4,749
    Likes Received:
    2,534
    There's no such thing as "date" talk. If you know how to hold a conversation, that would be how you'd go about one on a date too. If for some reason you're stuck regarding these social norms you mentioned above, then I shall assume you may be writing a different culture to one that you know? If not, then you shouldn't really need to ask. What your characters will talk about depend on their age, mutual shared interests, and how well they know each other at the time of the date.
     
  5. Wreybies
    Offline

    Wreybies The Ops Pops Operations Manager Staff Contest Administrator Supporter Contributor

    Joined:
    May 1, 2008
    Messages:
    18,914
    Likes Received:
    10,106
    Location:
    Puerto Rico
    Yep, date talk isn't a thing. It exists only in movies and TV.

    I would ask instead: What brings your two people together? Are there shared interests? If there are "first date jitters", talking about these shared interests is a safety zone.
     
  6. Tenderiser
    Online

    Tenderiser Not a man Contest Administrator Supporter Contributor

    Joined:
    Aug 12, 2015
    Messages:
    4,291
    Likes Received:
    5,163
    Location:
    London, UK
    I echo the above.

    Personally, I wouldn't be talking about my past and family on a date. I'd be talking about what I'm doing now and wanting to know where that person's at in their life now. I don't really care where they grew up or if they had a paper round.
     
    jannert and Sack-a-Doo! like this.
  7. Oscar Leigh
    Offline

    Oscar Leigh Contributing Member

    Joined:
    Jan 21, 2016
    Messages:
    4,425
    Likes Received:
    1,982
    Location:
    Australia
    It's not that kind of past stuff. And it comes up more than it's asked about. They have interesting pasts.
     
    Last edited: Feb 19, 2016
  8. Tenderiser
    Online

    Tenderiser Not a man Contest Administrator Supporter Contributor

    Joined:
    Aug 12, 2015
    Messages:
    4,291
    Likes Received:
    5,163
    Location:
    London, UK
    I hope so. You're going to have a tough time making sure it doesn't read like infodump-backstory-disguised-as-dialogue.
     
    Sack-a-Doo! likes this.
  9. Oscar Leigh
    Offline

    Oscar Leigh Contributing Member

    Joined:
    Jan 21, 2016
    Messages:
    4,425
    Likes Received:
    1,982
    Location:
    Australia
    It's only a small paragraph, a few other sentences, and like two more. Even combining the little chunks, it's not one of those big backstory monologues.
     
  10. Sack-a-Doo!
    Offline

    Sack-a-Doo! Contributing Member Contributor

    Joined:
    Jun 7, 2015
    Messages:
    2,231
    Likes Received:
    1,511
    Location:
    [unspecified]
    And no one knows those circumstances and social norms—as they apply to your characters in the situation you've invented—better than you. :)
     
  11. Oscar Leigh
    Offline

    Oscar Leigh Contributing Member

    Joined:
    Jan 21, 2016
    Messages:
    4,425
    Likes Received:
    1,982
    Location:
    Australia
    Yeah, but don't you have any tips on how to write date scenes? I could give you more specifics on the circumstances if you want, I would really like some kind of experienced perspective on how good dates run so I can depict that accurately.
     
  12. Oscar Leigh
    Offline

    Oscar Leigh Contributing Member

    Joined:
    Jan 21, 2016
    Messages:
    4,425
    Likes Received:
    1,982
    Location:
    Australia
    To clarify, I'm not asking for "date talk" as a stereotyped fictional representation of dates. I could do that myself. I'm asking for the opposite, I want real accounts of how dates function and feel.
     
  13. Oscar Leigh
    Offline

    Oscar Leigh Contributing Member

    Joined:
    Jan 21, 2016
    Messages:
    4,425
    Likes Received:
    1,982
    Location:
    Australia
    So fair I've got "shared interests" which is what I've plan to move on to now that they have got the really serious stuff of their chests. Do you have anything more you can give me? I could give you what I've got so far and you could review how realistic it is. That's probably a good idea. I'm suspicious that some moments might be a little too corny.
     
  14. Doctore
    Offline

    Doctore Member

    Joined:
    Oct 25, 2015
    Messages:
    60
    Likes Received:
    34
    I think to start you should think about your characters and what they are like when talking to anyone, date or no. Some people are talkative, some are more into listening, some are in between, hell some people hate talking about themselves while others do. Get into the head of each character and see how they think first. Now for the scene you need to figure out what you want to happen, where is this going? It's a date, but will this lead to a second, or is this the only one, if that is so does something happen in this scene that makes or breaks the deal? If it's just a date that has no REAL meaning other than showing them on a date I'd say forget writing it out and leave it at a mention because it doesn't matter either way. Now if there is a meaning to it, focus on that and getting that portrayed in the scene.

    Make sense? In romantic scenes some times its just about one person or both showing that they do care, and showing a side of themselves that the other person already loved, or will in the future.

    NOW..

    Dates ..what to talk about, I'd say sometimes less is more and there is no reason to drag a scene on so long that is already giving you trouble. So rather than shared interest, what if you started with the visual? People love compliments and that can lead to a bit of talk between them. I think it better to start off on something small and nice, starting off with heavy stuff can seem unrealistic and a bit much. So the visual, maybe there is a story behind the hair style? The jacket is borrowed? The shoes are..something? Try it out!
     
    tumblingdice and Oscar Leigh like this.
  15. doggiedude
    Offline

    doggiedude Contributing Member

    Joined:
    Feb 15, 2016
    Messages:
    1,454
    Likes Received:
    1,250
    Location:
    Florida, USA, Earth, The Sol System
    I hope you're asking for a writing project and not because you're on a date right now with your phone out reading the suggestions.

    As others have said, your particular dating conversation is going to depend on what environment the characters are in. A dating conversation between two twenty somethings living in the USA in the year 2016 is going to have a very different conversation than two teenagers living in 1800's England. There's also the personality and background of the individual people. Are these two both college graduates with professional degrees or are they both high school drop outs working minimum wage. Is it one of each type? Most people that go on a date with someone they're interested in will adjust their own personality to help mesh with the other person. So not only are we trying to show off our best self we are displaying what we believe the person wants as your best self. On top of all that you also have the issue of what sort of date person is each person. Some people treat a first date like an interview others just go out to have fun and if something develops then it does.

    So keeping that in mind, I'm going to base the following information on USA and now, because that's how I've dated.
    1) Ask open ended questions. Just like a job interview, ask the person what they like to do when they aren't working or just for fun.
    2) Ask about favorite things ... films, music, books --- Use these topics to inject common cultural comments.
    3) What's the basis of the two people meeting? If they met through work, some (but only SOME) talk can be about their common work. If they met through a dating website talk about their experience doing that. Here's another cultural division, some groups of people avoid talking about their dating past others have no issues with it. Maybe they met because their dogs chased each other in a dog park, so talk about dogs.

    Keep in mind that in the initial stages of dating your goal isn't just to get specific information on someone, it's about learning how and why they think certain things. If my date tells me she can't get into red Toyotas, is it because she just "finds them creepy ? If so I would think very different about her than if she told me that as a child she had been abducted in one.

    Lastly I'm going to say that first date conversations need to be organic not scripted (in real life not in your writing .. there go ahead and script away). If I were to write a first date scene I would do it the same way as I would in real life. Start by asking the character a question. Let them answer, then decide where the conversation leads from there.
     
    jannert and Oscar Leigh like this.
  16. Oscar Leigh
    Offline

    Oscar Leigh Contributing Member

    Joined:
    Jan 21, 2016
    Messages:
    4,425
    Likes Received:
    1,982
    Location:
    Australia
    I'll definitely try to incorporate that kind of thing if I see any good opportunities I'm missing.
     
  17. Oscar Leigh
    Offline

    Oscar Leigh Contributing Member

    Joined:
    Jan 21, 2016
    Messages:
    4,425
    Likes Received:
    1,982
    Location:
    Australia
    No, no, no. I wish I had a date, but I don't. I'm probably not going to get any dates till college because all the gay guys I know at my school are not my type. I'm in year twelve now so not long though. And I would never use this site for real time tips. I would get tips in advance. (wink, wink) But seriously, this is for the writing. I want to accurately depict it.
    As for your questions/advice there, the question flow thing is how I have been writing it. The context is two 25 year-old Australians in Sydney present day. They are both comfortable middle-class citizens (like me). Oscar has way more dating experience. Luke is barely more than a virgin. They met because Oscar showed up at the gym where Luke works as a trainer. and luke is a fan of Oscar's plays he writes, as well as his hobby of activism.
     
  18. Mckk
    Offline

    Mckk Moderator Staff Supporter Contributor

    Joined:
    Dec 30, 2010
    Messages:
    4,749
    Likes Received:
    2,534
    All right, my best tip is probably is - first of all, do you want the date to go well, or go badly. Should it be a funny scene, a romantic scene, an awkward scene - what's the tone you're going for? What's the purpose of this scene? If romance is an important part of the story, I wouldn't be too worried about it being a little cheesy - romance readers tend to enjoy cheesy - and with practice and some critiques you should be able to adjust it to the right level of cheesiness :)

    Now, based on how you've answered my above questions, imagine yourself on a date. How would you go about one, what would you talk about, based on what you want to achieve? Are these things your characters would do and say? Adjust as necessary. Steer the conversation in the direction of the purpose you have in mind for the scene.

    It really doesn't matter that it's supposed to be a "date" scene. Just try to create the tone you want for the scene that suits the purpose of the scene, and use dialogue according to what you need for the story.
     
    Last edited: Feb 20, 2016
    Oscar Leigh likes this.
  19. Wreybies
    Offline

    Wreybies The Ops Pops Operations Manager Staff Contest Administrator Supporter Contributor

    Joined:
    May 1, 2008
    Messages:
    18,914
    Likes Received:
    10,106
    Location:
    Puerto Rico
    Ok, actual examples? :) Here we go:

    When I was in my late 20's I dated a fellah named Shane. I had just gotten out of the USAF. I met him at the local gay club and then again at a house party. Both times he was clearly the bright, blond little center of a group of friends of which my younger brother was a sometimes/peripheral member. When I saw him the second time at the house party a mutual friend, Heather, cornered me and told me Shane was into me. I inserted myself into the conversation and made my way to the figurative middle of things. When it comes to me liking a guy, I'm not shy. I don't pussy-foot around. I make my intentions clear. "Social awkwardness" is a completely foreign concept to me. I pealed him up and out of the conversation over the course of an hour. I courted him aggressively after that. I was a little older than him and more established in life. It was easy.

    But he was trouble. Of the legal kind. Not for being under age or anything, but for other things. We parted ways because that's not my life.

    When I went back to university (I'm 27 at this point) I met a fellah' named Danny. Again, the bright little center of his group of friends, but I didn't know anyone in this group. I was a stranger. He wasn't the prettiest guy you've ever met, a little soft 'round the middle, but I don't care about things like that. I've dated startlingly beautiful guys and it didn't equate to things being any better. Anyway, same thing, I knew that I wanted to know this guy. One night, in the upstairs part of the club (quieter, a seperate bar, pool tables, a somewhat older crowd) I made my way over to him and introduced myself. The first date-date we went on was just a walk around campus (University of Florida, Gainesville) where we both talked about what we were studying, me prattling on about my fascination with anthropology, he talking about how clueless he was as to what he actually wanted to do. We got back to my place, and I said to him, "I want to kiss you but I'm not sure if you want me to." To which he replied, "Then for a smart guy you're really stupid because I've been wanting to kiss you since you came up to me at the club." We dated through the whole of university, on again, off again, but always amicable. We both wanted to enjoy the "experience" of uni and we didn't stand in each other's way.

    When I moved to PR I had a short-lived fling with an emotionally unavailable little dude named Miguel Angel that doesn't merit recount. After him I met my husband, William. We met online in the last days of MySpace. We talked for a few weeks via that venue then I asked him for a date. We met at Plaza Las Americas in San Juan. He had a strange little smile that I later came to know as his "I'm so nervous/excited that I'm about to pass out" smile. We had dinner at Chili's. It was the first time in a date that I didn't feel like I had a strong platform to talk about myself as regards work, stability, all that. I had just moved to PR after having sold pretty much everything I had just before the housing bubble in the U.S. burst. I was one of the lucky people right at the end who benefited from the situation right before everything went tits up. I let him talk about himself and then meekly explained my situation. He was still impressed because taking that kind of risk is not something he understands. He still works for the same company he started with after university, his only job ever. I took that cue and glamorized the life of a military person, seeing the world, circumnavigating the globe twice (all true) and when the date was over it was the first time that someone ever one-uped me and asked me back to his place rather than the other way around. We've been together ever since.
     
    Mckk and Oscar Leigh like this.
  20. Oscar Leigh
    Offline

    Oscar Leigh Contributing Member

    Joined:
    Jan 21, 2016
    Messages:
    4,425
    Likes Received:
    1,982
    Location:
    Australia
    When you say "glamorized the life of a military person" do you mean, described your job in the military in a glamorized way? Didn't you say you were doing PR? Was it military PR? I'm confused. Also, William sounds like a sweetie.
     
  21. izzybot
    Offline

    izzybot Human Disaster Contributor

    Joined:
    Jun 3, 2015
    Messages:
    867
    Likes Received:
    957
    Location:
    SC, USA
    It's been a few years since I've been on a date but honestly I think that at this point 'dates' are mostly just chances to hang out? You don't have to do or say anything special, it's just about spending time with someone you like / want to get to know better. That's been my experience, anyway.

    As far as first dates go, they can be sort of awkward and nervous, but I'd tend to talk about what I'm doing, ask about the other person's life/interests (in broad, non-prying ways), share funny anecdotes - personal stories or things I've read, whatever. I tend to bond with people over pop culture so asking "hey, so have you seen Rick and Morty?" or something would be my kind of go-to, though unfortunately current pop culture references can be pretty hit and miss in prose. Referencing something more established that more people know about and are likely to still have some impression of in the future is probably a better bet, might come off a little pretentious or unlikely ("oh, how convenient we both have the same favorite Shakespearean play!"), but I did end up talking to a guy about Dante's Inferno in a restaurant once - and we weren't even on a date, hahah.

    I have totally talked about my family on dates, but it's worth mentioning that I live in the SE US where we tend to be pretty family-oriented, so it's not really out of place - someone who has a good relationship with their family is a bonus. And as far as writing goes, if they don't have a good relationship with their family but the other person brings it up in a lighthearted way, you have an opening for ~drama.

    I'd say loosely that the 'goal' of dates is to 1) have a good time, and 2) form connections with the other person. Hence finding common ground, things you both like. If one person is more nervous that the other they might talk too much, get flustered and stop talking, try a little too hard with jokes/funny anecdotes that don't really land because they're rushing it. If one person is more 'experienced' than the other they're more likely to be relaxed (or they've really got it bad and despite dates being old news they're nervous anyway), laugh easily, not make a big deal out of anything, share things more casually. If they're pretty much on even footing that gives them something to bond over - whether it's realizing they're both nervous and ending up giggling over it, or being happily relieved that everything's going well because man have some of their dates been doozies.
     
    Oscar Leigh likes this.
  22. Oscar Leigh
    Offline

    Oscar Leigh Contributing Member

    Joined:
    Jan 21, 2016
    Messages:
    4,425
    Likes Received:
    1,982
    Location:
    Australia
    I'm thinking from what everyone's saying that I should include discussion of Oscar's work, seeing as Luke is a fan.
     
  23. Wreybies
    Offline

    Wreybies The Ops Pops Operations Manager Staff Contest Administrator Supporter Contributor

    Joined:
    May 1, 2008
    Messages:
    18,914
    Likes Received:
    10,106
    Location:
    Puerto Rico
    I mean glamorize the life of someone in the military. And no, I didn't do PR (Public Relations). I was a military interpreter. If you've seen me mention PR, it's in reference to where I live, Puerto Rico.
     
  24. Oscar Leigh
    Offline

    Oscar Leigh Contributing Member

    Joined:
    Jan 21, 2016
    Messages:
    4,425
    Likes Received:
    1,982
    Location:
    Australia
    I realise I never answered the question of the date's relevance. Well, to clarify when I said first date I was implying they keep going, and the romance of the romance/drama genre description is primarily between the main characters. Though it's about quite a bit more than romance, their relationship is the main plot arc that drives the story and that it centres on.
     
  25. Oscar Leigh
    Offline

    Oscar Leigh Contributing Member

    Joined:
    Jan 21, 2016
    Messages:
    4,425
    Likes Received:
    1,982
    Location:
    Australia
    @Wreybies Would it be a bad idea to post what I've got of this scene so far? Would it be giving too much away of the book? And should I put in the workshop, or here because I want to discuss it as the subject of this question?
     

Share This Page