For InsideHook’s first edition of First Date With, we link up with model, outdoor lover and good woman to know Jessica LaRusso to chat bad first dates, #dadbods and how some good ol’ fashioned chivalry never hurts. Below, she reveals all while revealing a little more for a shoot with Chicago-based photographer Marc Moran. Enjoy.
Name: Jessica LaRusso
Hometown: Chicago, IL
And now you live in: Columbus Circle, NYC
Best bar to meet someone in New York City? I tend to like bars in Brooklyn, and places where you can actually hear someone talk. Hotel Delmano comes to mind. Lounge-y. Cocktail bar. Good ambience.
First date: drinks, dinner or neither? A lot of women in New York expect at least drinks. Just drinks is fine if it was a brief encounter. If you’ve put in the work, dinner is a safe way to go. But you don’t have to do both.
Do you like a guy who asks where you want to go or just chooses? I like to be surprised, at least for the first date. Shows a good initiative. And it’s a good judgment of character. Asking for a little input like her favorite cuisine or mood helps.
How do you like a guy to dress on a first date? There’s nothing worse than a girl getting dressed up, and the guy just showing up in some T-shirt. I personally like urban sophistication, but not an overly dressy look. Go classic. Nice shirt. Leather jacket or blazer: always safe. Brands I like: Theory, Vince and Derek Lam.
One conversation topic that should always be avoided? The ex-factor. That does not need to be brought up. Don’t do it. It’s not good. And really, a little disconcerting. No ex-talk!
Tell us about the worst date someone’s ever taken you on … It was a combination of talking about an ex a lot (see above), and the fact that we met up with his friends. Leave the friends at home on the first date. Get to know the girl. I just spent the whole night chatting with his friends.
Yay or Nay:
Guys who open the door? Yes. Definitely yes. Chivalry does not go unnoticed. All girls like it.
Guys who order for you? No. Suggestions are nice. But no ordering for me.
Shots? In general, no. But there are a few exceptions. Depends on the vibe.
Splitting the check? For the first date, if the guy asks the girl out, it’s nice if they at least offer to pay. Otherwise, I’m totally open to splitting the check.
Kissing on the first date? Don’t try unless it’s really obvious.
Man buns? 90% of the time, no. If you’re just trying some new look, I’d say no.
Dadbods? Ha! I don’t think a man needs to be wildly in shape to be attractive. Now, a dadbod with a manbun — that’s a look.
Walk us through a perfect date in New York … A date I went on this summer: surfing in Montauk. On the drive up, we stopped at Lobster Roll, this iconic restaurant on the side of the highway. Then we surfed for like five hours with a private instructor. The place is called Flying Point Circle School. We finished the day with dinner at Harlow East in Sag Harbor. I loved getting out of the city. But I also love it when there’s some sort of activity involved. Takes a lot of pressure off. And it gives you something to chat about.
Photography: Marc Moran