Like many people in our society, I put a lot of time and effort into my appearance, particularly when I am meeting new people and trying to make a good first impression. A couple of months ago I went out on a first date with a woman that I had met on JDate, and put a lot of time and care into my appearance since I was nervous and excited about meeting her.

From her pictures I could see that she was attractive so I wanted to present myself in the most appealing light. I fussed with my hair to the point where each strand was exactly how I wanted it and took great care in selecting my outfit. Even though I am someone who is generally very hard on myself, I had been so meticulous in getting ready for the date that even I had to internally admit that I looked good. As a result of my extensive preparation I showed up for the date that night feeling very composed, which helped me remain confident and relaxed throughout the evening.

Recently I have been planning dates for during the week, and therefore have been going straight from the office to the date; I haven’t had the time or opportunity to make myself look as pretty as I did for the date I discussed above. This being said, last week I made a plan to have a first date with another woman that I had met on JDate and was very excited about meeting her and going to dinner. My plan was to schedule dinner for a time that was not only reasonable to eat at, but would also allow me enough time after work to change and freshen up.

Regrettably, this plan went to you-know-where when work ran late and I ended up throwing on some clothes and racing out of the office. Even though I had pushed back our meeting time by over an hour, and had shown up looking tired and disheveled, she was very understanding of the situation and didn’t appear to hold it against me. Since, by the time I arrived, it was too late for even a “late dinner,” we decided to just walk around her neighborhood and grab some frozen yogurt, which ended up being really nice.

It’s funny because, as I was driving to meet her, I was very aware of the fact that I didn’t look and feel my best. Even so, I kept telling myself that I needed to relax and just be myself in spite of my appearance. By the time I met her I had calmed myself down and actually felt much more relaxed than I had on previous dates, probably because I hadn’t spent so much time preparing and building it up in my head.

Even though I probably didn’t look as out of sorts as I felt, the way I perceive myself in a given situation is ultimately half the battle in my being confident. Fortunately, for me, I was able to relax during our date and make a good enough impression to schedule another date for this upcoming week. I suppose in a lot of ways it feels good that even though I didn’t look or feel my best we still had a nice time and she wanted to go out again. Hopefully, this situation will have taught me to put a little less emphasis on deriving self-esteem from my appearance and more from how I am able to project myself and my best qualities.