My purse might well be a portal to Narnia. Yanking out my headphones is a gamble. I have no idea what I might fish out of that Netherworld. Tampons, six different lipglosses, the Flying Dutchman – who knows?

Trying to fit ‘the essentials’ in a bag that’s small enough for the dancefloor can be a Herculean task. So when it comes to preparing for the first date, what’s essential and what can be left at home?

If you’re heading out on a hot date, you’ve probably spent a good portion of your pre-game ritual dedicated to hair and makeup. I’m pretty terrible at purse-hoarding makeup. At any given time I have more makeup in my handbag than I do in my apartment. So what should make the cut?

Invest in a small makeup bag if you don’t own one already. It keeps all of your makeup in one easily accessible place, and you can stash an emergency tampon in there. For some reason, that I can only attribute to an ancient curse, at the worst possible moment your tampon will launch itself out of your personage and hit your date square in the jaw. Or roll awkwardly to his feet. Safeguard yourself against the projectile tampon, and keep that sucker in a zipped pouch.

Put a powder compact in there too. Powder will maintain your look without having the burden of bringing concealer or foundation. Sephora offer really cute charcoal blotting papers, which take up less space than a full compact. That said, it’s a good idea to bring a compact mirror. You might end up in one of those sacrilegious bathrooms that don’t have mirrors. Bring a kohl pencil if you want, but leave anything that requires brushwork at home. Throw a few q-tips in your makeup bag, a seductive smokey eye has the tendency to go full panda at midnight.

As for keeping up with the coiffure? I’ve always kept a trial size hairspray in my purse for two reasons. If a bubble were to burst within fifty feet of me, my hair will puff up like a blowfish. Humidity! Isn’t it swell? Secondly, hairspray is a fantastic makeshift weapon. So are hairsticks. I’m not advocating hitting the streets like Buffy The Vampire Slayer*, but should your date get creepy, a brisk spritz of Elnet in the eyeballs should get your message across. I would never recommend this for legal reasons, but if combined with a BBQ lighter you have a decent makeshift flame thrower on your hands. But it’s not safe. And you should never do it. You could always invest in pepper spray, like a regular person. But pepper spray won’t tame flyaway hairs. Hairspray. It always has your back.

*Or am I?

For all my Rapunzels out there! Don’t forget to bring a hairband. I always forget a hairband. I’ll

be schvitzing all over the dance floor trying to secure my hair with a biro, mad at all the hair

bands that live in my vacuum cleaner. Don’t be like me. If a date goes really well, there will be a magical moment when it becomes acceptable to pull up your hair and get down with the fun.

Now we can move on from the pouch of secrets, and into the other necessities. Sunglasses! It’s 8pm, what do you need sunglasses for? Trust me. You never know where the night might end up, and should it turn into a dusk til’ dawn event, you will thank your stars that you brought a pair along.

Obviously you’re going to bring your cellphone. But make sure it’s charged, and consider bringing a charger just in case. Have you considered downloading any safety apps, like Circle of 6? There are a variety of apps to choose from, and they could save your life. Safety first!

While we’re cruising down “Dad advice” avenue, let’s talk cash money. Do you have enough cash to take a cab home? And pay for dinner if your date turns out to be that guy? Keep your emergency cash in a side pocket. Keep it secret. Keep it safe.

Now for some Mom advice. Do you have protection? You may not think you need it. Until it’s too late, and then you have to face a merry hell of anxiety in the aftermath. Just navigate around that sweaty ball of stress, and pack a condom in your purse.

Congratulations, your purse should now be equipped to deal with almost anything! What do you think are the first date purse essentials?