The 15 Stages Of A First Date, Musically Illustrated

Confession: I have a tic that automatically musically illustrates my life. I can't even take a step "to the left" without the beginning of Beyonce's "Irreplaceable" repeating in my mind. And much to my annoyance, when I notice I'm halfway through a run, "Livin' on a Prayer" starts belting between my ears no matter what's coming out of my headphones. However, the most fruitful grounds for real-life music illustration are probably our love lives. There are enough songs written about love to provide a soundtrack spanning every moment a couple spends together, not to mention every moment a single person spends seeking a counterpart.

To limit the scope of this article, I'll simply provide a soundtrack to accompany the initial, nerve-wrecking process of a first date. Perhaps you can use it as a playlist next time you go through the giddy number-exchanging phase, the pitiful text-awaiting phase, and all the other moments in the painful but sometimes rewarding ritual known as dating. Just don't let your date catch you dancing around to "Call Me Maybe" or humming along to "Telephone." Or maybe do? It's one way to be open with your feelings. 

Here's how a first date goes down, according to a few particularly catchy songs:

1. The Giddy Number-Exchanging Phase: "Call Me Maybe" By Carly Rae Jepsen

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So, you've just met this person. And this is crazy. But you kind of want their number, because then they'll call you, maybe. Who doesn't feel like a giant flirt in high demand with "all the other boys" during that hopeful act of typing your number into someone's phone (or, let's get real, into an OKCupid message)?

2. The Pitiful Text-Awaiting Phase: "Hey Boy" By The Blow

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You know you have better things to do than lounge by your phone with high hopes that your potential date will call or text, but you have the phone with you anyway, so you'd might as well check it, right?! If you don't hear back, you can consult the following theories, courtesy of The Blow: "A. You're gay. B. You've got a girlfriend. C. You kind of thought I came on too strong, or D. I just wasn't your thing." If you let Carly Rae Jepsen send you into song and dance upon receiving their number, I'm going to guess C. But you can't send any texts yourself quite yet because you've got to get through...

3. The Playing-It-Cool Phase: "Telephone" By Lady Gaga And Beyonce

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Skip this one if you can. It's not worth it. But if the desire to play your cards close to your chest and feign disinterest gets the best of you, chances are you'll be acting like you're "k-kinda busy." If not, I have another song for you: "Hey Jude" by The Beatles, which advises, "It's a fool who plays it cool by making his world a little colder."

4. The This-Is-Definitely-Happening Phase: "I'm So Excited" By The Pointer Sisters

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You two are "gonna make it happen," so you "just can't hide" your excitement, though "I'm so anxious/nervous" may be a better song for some personalities.

5. The Getting-Ready Phase: "My Strongest Suit" From Aida

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It was between this and "Out Tonight" from Rent, but the latter's video was a bit too risque for a first date. Both songs express the excitement of getting ready for a big night, and "My Strongest Suit" reminds you to bring your "finest, most audacious, [your] divinest," whatever form that takes.

6. The Frantic Running-Late Phase: "Running Out Of Time" By Hot Hot Heat

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This is for when you take that extra minute to curl your eyelashes and end up "galloping to meet [your] bride to be" (or at least that's what it looks like in your own head).

7. The Cold-Feet Phase: "Get Me Away From Here, I'm Dying" By Belle And Sebastian

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You're in the car or on the train when you realize your hair has frizzed up or your palms are sweating, and suddenly you question whether this was even a good idea. What if you smell bad? What if your date finds your sense of humor totally weird? Your stomach hasn't been feeling too good, anyway, you tell yourself. You could stand to catch up on sleep. Your only hope is for something to "set [you] free," like a fire or an earthquake.

8. The Courageous Marching-On Phase: "Uprising" By Muse

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"The paranoia is in bloom," but your vehicle is already in motion, so you brave on. You've got this. You "will be victorious!" And you "will never be afraid to die"... yeah, this song is about something far more profound than a first date, but I just really like this band so work with me.

9. The Initially Awkward Conversation Phase: "Let's Talk About Spaceships" By Say Hi To Your Mom

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You scramble to talk about spaceships, the weather, and "anything except you and me" and the fact that you're on a date, because this is way awkward.

10. The Warming-Up Phase: "I Really Like You" By Carly Rae Jepsen

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Disclaimer: This phase may never happen (see phase 14). If it does, I've brought Carly Rae Jepsen back to tell your story: "It's way too soon" and you "know this isn't love," but you "really really really really really really like" your date and hope you can just get through the next few hours without humiliating yourself.

11. The Dreaded Bill-Paying Phase: "The Check" From First Date

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I couldn't musically illustrate first dates without including the musical First Date, which accurately sums up that moment when the waiter slides the bill onto the table as "a mystery where everything's at stake." If your date takes out their credit card, do you offer to cover your half? If you take out your credit card and they offer, do you insist? If you split the bill, is it not a date? If one person pays, have you set the stage for an imbalanced relationship? My head hurts.

12. The Ambiguously Enthusiastic Or Polite "Goodbye" Phase: "See You Again" By Miley Cyrus

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As Chandler hilariously demonstrates on Friends, asking to "see you again" can be a tic employed to close off a date. Or, it can be a genuine expression of desire to see someone again. You're gonna have to wait this one out to learn which one it was (see phase 15).

13. The Positive Evaluation Phase: "Love Can Kill You" By BT

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If you laughed at each other's jokes and completed each other's sentences, you're on cloud nine and totally sold on the idea that "love can save us all" even if there were times in the past that you swore it would "kill you." Or...

14. The Negative Evaluation Phase: "Bye Bye Bye" By N'Sync

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Whether the initially awkward conversation phase spanned the entire date or the discussion took a turn for something worse than awkward, you "can't take no more," and no, that "aint' no lie," so shake off the unpleasantness by going home and dancing to 90s music. However, if all went well..

15. The Follow-Up Text Phase: "Reunited And It Feels So Good" By Peaches And Herb

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Even though you were only "united" once in the first place, you'll be "so excited" to get a follow-up text because you really were "dreamin' of" your next reunion. 

I think I've been listening to too much music.

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