One advantage women have in the dating world is that men often let us choose what we want to do on dates. They’ll either run date ideas past us, or flat-out let us decide where to go. But some still try to rock our world with unpleasant surprises or talk us into experiences we end up dreading. Guys, here are some tips on places we’re never interested in visiting.

Sports-themed venues
When we’re with you, we don’t want to compete with the big game or struggle to hear you over a crowd of screaming sports fans. We’d rather be in a place where people are less likely to bump into our chair or spill something on the cute outfit we put too much time into selecting. Likewise, we don’t want to feel ignored by our date because he’s watching his favorite team or can’t hear us because of that old 50 Cent song blaring from the speaker by our heads. The Buffalo wings are pretty much the best part of this experience, and they had better be outstanding.

Theme parks
In life, there are rollercoaster people and there are those who get queasy looking at the merry-go-round. Find out which one your date is before you take her to the nearest Six Flags to ride the Mind-Eraser. We know you’re eager to be the manly man as we clench your arm in terror while spinning upside down in a quadruple loop. It’s just that some of us are not aching to toss our cookies in the bushes next to the churros stand while you watch. Sure, we might get to know you better while waiting in those long lines, but we’ll probably have other things on our minds if our stomachs are filled with knots and our hearts are racing in anxious anticipation — like avoiding the next date.
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Chain restaurants
We love a guy who wants to feed us and perhaps even more so a man who wants to pay to feed us. But if you take us to a place we can find in every major city where the interior always looks the same, you might as well feed us lattes at Starbucks. Fast-food joints obviously rank as the worst dinner choices, but corporate restaurants (oh, don’t make me name names… you know the ones I mean!) also lack originality and thoughtfulness. As a general rule, don’t take us to a place where we know what we’re going to order before we walk in. We’d rather be taken somewhere off the beaten path — where there are candles instead of fluorescent lights and we don’t have to listen to Top 40 songs blaring from a speaker overhead. If you have no idea where those places are, remember — the Zagat Guide was created for a reason.

Gross-out comedy movies
We know you think the whole dinner-and-a-movie idea is infallible, but not if the movie completely grosses us out. You might find it funny when Jim Carrey is channeling one of his alter egos — but for the most part, we don’t. Men and women have different senses of humor. Various studies have proven this, so try to respect this biological fact and refrain from making us indulge your Three Stooges sensibility for two hours. Your buddies may laugh, but we’ll simply be rolling our eyes.

Paintball
Yes, some women are members of the National Rifle Association. No, most of us don’t want to be moving targets on a date. We know you might have an urgent need to explore your inner hunter, but we’re gatherers — and those little pellets sting and leave bruises. Being shot by your date isn’t fodder for a romantic afternoon; it’s warfare.

Your mother’s house
True, it might happen eventually, but casually hanging out with your mother — wonderful as she may be — is not our idea of a relaxing time. Neither is getting tips from her on how to find a better hairstylist or job. Sure, she might make the best fried chicken or pasta primavera on the planet, but her long, loving gaze might make us feel less like family and more like we’re on the wrong end of a long microscope — especially if you take us to meet her on the second or third date. If you want to see your mom, that’s cool. Just don’t make us a permanent fixture in her house too early in the relationship or we’ll start wondering why you’re so busy showing us off, or worse — why her opinion of us matters more than your own.

Guys, if you really like us, you should be eager to sacrifice a few testosterone-driven activities to demonstrate your thoughtfulness and consideration. Nothing reveals those qualities more than respecting our dislikes instead of trying to railroad through them. That’s not too much of a chore, is it? Show us a nice date or two and chances are we’ll be more than happy to share those Buffalo wings with you…

Nicole Kristal has written for Newsweek and Premiere and is a staff writer for Back Stage West.