Man...... I haven't read all the other responses but you're massively overthinking this. I really wouldn't do this elaborate book thing, the bracelets were cool but there's a line between nice and desperate.
How is this even remotely coming off at desperate? Over thinking, definitely. Somewhat more excessive than is necessary, probably. But desperate? If I had asked her out already, was turned down, and I did stuff like this, then that would be desperate. Or, you know, begging and saying things like "Please just give me a chance!" which has the added bonus of being selfish and manipulative in addition to being desperate.
I keep forgetting that I haven't been very active over the past year or two, and there are probably people around that aren't familiar with me. Being over-the-top isn't just something I do when I'm trying to impress a girl I like. I'm always over-the-top and intense. If I'm not like this when interacting with women, that would be violating the "be yourself" rule. Those that have said "just ask her out and be simple about it" are, in effect, recommending that I put on an act. If this kind of thing is out of the ordinary for someone, acting over-the-top when interested in a girl is probably a mistake. That's not the case with me though, so it's cool when I do it.
Also, the thing with the bracelets was a good idea, no one is questioning that. (If they are, they're wrong.) She was talking about how she was supposed to have gone to the Renaissance Faire with this other girl in the class who dropped it early on and how it didn't happen. (It was over at that point, otherwise I would have suggested her and I go together.) So I thought, people that like Renaissance Faires generally like chainmail as well, I make chainmail, so I made her some bracelets. It was very thoughtful and an awesome thing for me to do. Of course, had I hesitated and made a thread about it, I'm sure some people would be telling me it was a creepy thing to do and I should just ask her out for coffee.
I'm thinking he is enjoying the overthinking.
It's more that I'm not capable of not over thinking things and I've gotten used to it. It's a pain in the ass sometimes, but it works for me, and is generally better than not thinking about something enough.
Jeez, not even pool?
Those things on pool tables, while they look like holes, are called pockets, so it's okay.
Actually I would prefer the thing you list as a nono.. coffee.
I've changed my mind, I need to read this guide now. If there's suggestions about where to go and what to do activity-wise, that could be useful and is a good idea. I also need to know what the reasoning behind coffee being a bad idea is. If it's a first date, I'd say that coffee isn't only a good idea, but the only acceptable one:
First dates usually involve a lot of talking, and coffee places are good for conversation.
Coffee shops have a very relaxed atmosphere. People are usually a bit nervous on first dates, so this helps.
There are no time restraints. If two people catch on early that they have no interest in each other, they can leave after ten minutes. If a very engaging conversation starts one can sit there for hours. Also, it's pretty easy to leave and go do something else if the mood strikes.
One for the ass holes: Even the most expensive coffee shop is still pretty cheap compared to other things. If the other person sits there an texts people the whole time rather than talking to you, you're only out $10.
A lot of people are concerned about date rape. As comedians liked to point out in the '90s, there's a Starbucks every few hundred feet. It's easy to meet up at one and then leave separately.
Most of this is true of bars as well, but drinking on a first date can be risky for a first date. Alcohol helps people relax, but it changes behavior in other ways, especially with judgment abilities. Say the date ends with sex. The next morning things might be fine, but it can also be awkward, and might even be rape.
The only downside I can really see to the coffee date is that lots of people do it, so it's boring and uncreative. Which, given everything else I've said, one would think I'd be against it. However, the benefits outweigh this one tiny downside. Also, boring and uncreative are two things I'm not, so I can easily work around it.