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8 Awkward stages of a first date, as seen in GIFs

Based out of Dallas, Texas, Mary McCoy is a writer and social worker for disenfranchised women and children. She's a single mom, lover of Texas barbecue, and a die-hard fan of yoga

Photographic proof that first dates are an emotional roller coaster

First dates, like roller coasters, are only fun when you're between the ages of 13 and 19.

From 20 on up, they're a strange mixture of nausea and existentialism. "Why am I doing this thing again? And why do I want to hurl?" Good questions, all of 'em.

Of course, we do it for a shot at love — but that doesn't mean that true love is without awkwardness, jitters and social ineptitude. Please tell me I'm not alone in these first date reactions.

1. The jitters

Photographic proof that first dates are an emotional roller coaster

Photo credit: Tumblr

Will he like me? Am I funny and do I have decent ankles? Omigod, I hope he likes me and I hate that I feel like a teenager.

2. The unrealistic expectations

Photographic proof that first dates are an emotional roller coaster

Photo credit: Bigfitdeal.com

What if he's The One? What if he's totally dreamy and wild and whisks me away for an adventure, and buys the whole meal and possibly fronts my bills for a month? But, like, in a chivalrous and non-creepy way? What if he's The One??

3. The moment of truth

Photographic proof that first dates are an emotional roller coaster

Photo credit: gifrific

OK, here he comes. It's time. He's not entirely unattractive. Dear mother of God, what should I say? And do I greet him with a handshake or a hug? Get it together, girl, this isn't a business meeting.

4. The enormous letdown

Photographic proof that first dates are an emotional roller coaster

Photo credit: Photobucket

His eyes are too close together, he has girl hands and he's boring. Dang it, I knew I should have watched Netflix and worn granny panties. Night=wasted.

5. The salvage

Photographic proof that first dates are an emotional roller coaster

Photo credit: Just a Road Dot Com

As long as I'm here, I might as well make the most of it. Yep, I'll have another round of queso and margaritas, since good impressions are out the window.

6. The glimmer of hope

Photographic proof that first dates are an emotional roller coaster

Photo credit:  Intrigued Clip

Hang on a second, he laughed at my queso joke. And he seems like he might actually be listening to my bizarre rantings. Maybe I was unfair — his hands aren't that effeminate and I can probably get past the placement of his eyes. Yeah, yeah, I really like how well he listens.

7. The long goodbye

Photographic proof that first dates are an emotional roller coaster

Photo credit: Funny Junk

Ugh, here comes the most confusing part. The long freakin' walk to the car. Is he going to go for the hug? The kiss? What do I even want? And how do I manage the weird dance if we go for the opposite move? Ack — I guess we're going for the kiss. OK, this isn't terrible.

8. The debriefing

Photographic proof that first dates are an emotional roller coaster

Photo credit: Ryanseacrest.com

I think I kinda like him. Do I call, or does he call? No, don't call or text or you'll seem desperate. Better call the bestie and tell her about his weird hands.

More about dating

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