(The Frisky) -- Common sense says to keep first dates light and breezy, to stay away from controversial topics, and to avoid discussing former relationships at all costs, but that doesn't mean you can't learn some very important things about your date. In fact, it's your obligation to learn six particular date traits to save yourself time and potential heartache.
Here are six things you'd be a fool not to find out about your date.
1. Pet Situation
Sure, knowing whether your date has any pets may give you some insight into the kind of person he is or life she leads, but, more importantly, it may give you some clues about your compatibility. If you're allergic to cats and she has three, or you hate dogs and he has two Rottweilers, this may not be a match made in heaven.
While inconvenient, pet incompatibility doesn't have to be a dealbreaker, though. I had two cats when I met my boyfriend, who happens to be allergic to felines, and we've managed to make it work. A combination of a weekly lotion on the cats, and my boyfriend's growing immunity has made it possible for us to live together happily.
2. Employment status
With the economy in the crapper and so many people receiving pink slips lately, one could argue that unemployment is the hot, new trend this year. But the bottom line is being unemployed sucks, and it definitely affects one's outlook and one's dating life.
Still, it's not impossible to start a relationship with someone or while unemployed, but it's certainly something that will need a bit of strategizing and forethought, and it's definitely something one should be prepared for from the first date.
3. Dream vacation
Like the pet situation, finding out what your date's dream vacation is not only gives you insight into him or her, it clues you in on your compatibility. If he dreams of spending a week on a golf course in Arizona while you fantasize of a riding on the back of an elephant in Thailand, you might want to keep looking for Mr. Right.
Likewise, if she dreams of a yoga retreat in India and you haven't stretched to your toes since 8th grade gym class, being together may be a challenge neither of you is up for.
Then again, you might find the differences between you enough of a turn on to give it a go. Either way, it's good to know upfront what you're getting yourself into.
4. Perfect Saturday night
If he still loves hitting the local shot bar and finding the nearest beer bong and you'd rather order a pizza and stay at home with a pile of movie rentals, you might think about avoiding some potentially unbearable weekend nights and lose his number at the end of your first date.
On the other hand, knowing that she loves spending Saturday nights grabbing some Thai food before catching an up-and-coming indie band as much as you do might entice you to overlook her three cats, after all.
5. Perfect Sunday afternoon
How one chooses to spend a Sunday says a lot about his personality or how compatible she is with you. After all, if you're coffee shops and used bookstores and he's buffalo wings and ESPN, you might want to schedule another date, um, never.
6. Romantic aspirations
While you don't have to -- and really shouldn't -- come right out and ask whether your date wants to be married sometime soon, it is important to get a sense of whether you two are on the same page, romantically speaking. It's a little corny, but asking where he or she sees himself or herself in a couple of years may give some indication of whether he or she envisions a committed relationship for himself or herself in the not-too-distant future.
If you're eager to settle down with someone soon and he loves being a bachelor and has no interest in changing that, why bother wasting your time? On the other hand, if you both love the single life and playing the field, you may have found yourself perfect fling material.
7. Kissing style
Forget about not kissing on a first date. Kissing says so much about a person and is one of the best ways to see how compatible you are. If he's all wet, sloppy tongue, or she's nothing but a loud suction cup, the sexual attraction may fizzle to nil. The Frisky: Man's perspective on how to be a better kisser
Sure, you can always teach an old dog new tricks. But sometimes finding a new dog is just easier.
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