all illustrations, including lead art, by Aubrey Casazza
Dating is an adventure for the daring and intrepid, often requiring resources like self-awareness, a group chat, clean jeans, and therapy. Sometimes it requires even more concrete things to throw into our bags before we leave the house! Here are the things we try never to leave home without if we’re headed to a first date or a hopeful hookup.
Bailey , Writer
I once brought spare underwear in my jean jacket pocket to a date. Turns out I needed them the next morning.
No harm in carrying a dental dam in your purse, bag or jean jacket pocket either. As I’ve learned, jean jacket pockets can fit a lot!
Gum’s a given! You just never know when you might kiss or feel sick on a bus home! (cheap travel nausea deterrent)
Dani Janae, Writer
Travel toothbrush and paste, floss, a nail kit, an extra pair of underwear, warmly scented body oils (my current fave is patchouli and amber). cell phone charger and little charger box thing. I’m a slut so I always say be prepared for sex on the first date, but don’t expect it.
Heather Hogan, Senior Writer + Editor
It’s been a very long time since I’ve been on a first date, and I know this answer is going to make me sound a thousand years old, but before I met my partner Stacy (and the night I met Stacy) nine years ago, I always brought one of my favorite books along with me. I knew if I gave it to her, that meant I enjoyed our conversation so much I wanted to hear her opinion about something I loved. It meant I wanted to see her again. It meant I wanted to start a conversation and keep it going. It meant I wanted to share something with her that meant something to me, to see how she would handle the dearest thing to me — stories. It meant I hoped she’d share one of her stories with me too. I carried a lot of books in a lot of backpacks over the years and only ever ended up giving one away to one girl. It’s on the bookshelves we share now.
Kayla Kumari Upadhyaya, Writer
When I went on my first date with my current girlfriend, I meant to bring along sleepover things and DID bring some (change of clothes, clean underwear, makeup bag) but I forgot my toothbrush. I decided to text her that I forgot my toothbrush, which was also my not-so-subtle way of saying that I was interested in sleeping over assuming things went well. TO BE FAIR, our “first date” was at a hotel bar so…
But yes, I think in general some good things to bring on a first date where a sleepover might be possible are: gum, toothbrush, clean underwear/socks, Advil (in case drinking is involved).
Ro White, Sex & Dating Editor
I’m one of those fanny pack queers. I almost always carry a tooth brush, deodorant, Rescue Sleep Remedy (I’m an insomniac, especially in unfamiliar beds) and extra undies. If I’m definitely in for a sexy date, I’ll throw in my travel size bottle of Sliquid Sassy, my favorite water-based lube.
Rachel , Interm Literature Editor
I keep a mini-bag inside my shoulder bag containing an extra pair of underwear, face wipes, deodorant, toothbrush and toothpaste, and some condoms and lube. 90% of the face wipes get used in my own bedroom in my own apartment when I am too tired to walk all the way to the bathroom to wash my face. I also always have vitamin c immunity tablets, not so much because I need them at all times but because I always forget to take them out of my purse.
Rachel Lewis, Writer
Oh yes. I always have a very casual combination of my must-have skincare and makeup essentials: Milk Makeup’s Kush Brow (because I do not exist in public without my eyebrows) and a face oil. At this point I expect most adults to have extra toothbrushes, but, tbh, I’d rather go without a toothbrush than without my eyebrows. Sorry.
Renea Baek Goddard, Writer
Deodorant and fresh panties. It’s a lifesaver after an impromptu sleepover. And at the risk of sounding like an old lady: mint candy. First of all, even good dates can get awkward, especially when you both want to make a move but don’t know how. Second of all, candy is way sexier than gum. In my experience, mints freshen my breath, give me an excuse to break the silence by offering one to my date, and are very fun to play with when you’re (finally) making out.
Reneice Charles, Writer
In terms of first date preparation I just bring chapstick and gum for kissing purposes. Usually if it turns out I want to take it further I just invite them back to my place (or schedule the date there in the first place) but when it seems like i’ll end up elsewhere I grab a toothbrush, deodorant, extra pair of underwear and a mini tub of shea butter. Basically things that I wouldn’t feel comfortable asking to borrow, cover the important bases of hygiene when I leave, and fit into a small purse.
Shelli Nicole, Culture Editor
Ok let’s get it!
Because I perhaps have slight commitment issues I often call first dates “first hangouts”.
When I want it to go from the coffee shop or bar to a cute drink in their (hopefully) cozy apartment or invite them back to my cute ass place, the first thing I bring is extra confidence.
I tuck it in my bag along with my “let’s get it” kit.
First thing is cash. I always want to pay because I want her to know that I can take care of myself and want to do my part, I’m a brat who gets her own bag. How embarrassing would it be to get the check to head back to your place and your card gets declined?
Second is soft lips. I buy the little mini Vaseline that I can pop in my bag for a quick touch up. My lips stay soft and shiny and ready to be kissed and for me to kiss all on them.
Third is nail glue. Your girl is a high femme with sexy pointy acrylics that make any outfit extra sexy. The girls like it and I’ll be damned if a nail breaks and I’m holding my martini with my pinky nail missing.
Next we got sour candy and deodorant. My breath will smell sweet and taste yummy and, I’ll smell good while we are hopefully getting sweaty.
I also pack the cute to-go organic baby wipes to clean up pre hopeful sexy times, extra panties (usually a tiny lace pair) to change into and travel size non fragrance lotion to put on so I’m extra soft when she’s peeling my clothes off.
I’m usually in their bathroom for 3-4 minutes putting my kit to use and it turns out that I never need to do all that because she was ready to bang me the minute we got back. I still go the extra mile every time though because I’m an overachiever ;)
Stef Schwartz, Vapid Fluff Editor
I keep what I generously call a “slut kit” in my purse for slut emergencies, which in my life are sadly quite rare these days. It’s a gold pencil case bag with extras of all my makeup, a travel toothbrush and toothpaste, an extra set of contact lenses and a face wipe or two. It’s not ideal, but it’ll get me through awkwardly sneaking out of someone’s place in the morning with morning breath, smeary makeup and blurry vision.
Vanessa Friedman, Community Editor
If I’m going on a first date that I hope will go well I am bringing enthusiasm, confidence, and a bold lip. If I think there’s a possibility we’re gonna fuck I will probably also throw a vibrator, gloves, condoms, lube, and my pink leather collar in my bag, along with a toothbrush and an extra pair of underwear. But honestly I’m less worried about if I’ll have my fave sex toy or clean undies the next day than I am about meeting my date where they’re at, asking engaging questions and making cute jokes, listening when they share, holding positive boundaries and not over-sharing myself, and communicating clearly every step of the way!