When you’re on a first date, few things are more endearing than being willing to look foolish. And if you’re a first-time ice skater, you’ll have plenty of opportunity. Stepping cautiously onto the rink for the first time, you’ll have all the coordination and grace of a newborn deer. Before you can glide smoothly enough to autograph your name into the ice, you have to learn how to take your first steps. And before you can do that, you have to learn how to fall. Breaking news: Ice is hard. Really hard. So—to protect your knees, elbows, chin, and skull— try to “sit down” instead of crashing on your tailbone. And try not to stiffen up your limbs. Edge along the boards, until you’re feeling brave enough to head out into the open ice. Try marching in place for a little, and keeping your balance by holding your hands out to the side like a high-wire walker. It might take a while, but eventually you’ll be get used to gliding, crossing over, and stopping. Though you might want to save the cinematic spinning for your second or third session. Once you settle in, and feel one with your edges, you might relax enough to start noticing the sensations around you: If you’re indoors: the way this old hockey rink still smells like how movies from the 1970s look. The unique reverberations of dozens of skate blades scraping into the ice. Or, if you’re outdoors, the jittering twinkle of skyscrapers at night. The way how, every time you fall, and your date laughs at you, their breath turns into a plume of vapor that hangs in the air for a second. A fleeting fossil of the first memory you just made together.