First dates should not be called dates.
Yes, I know we all want them to be "dates" because no one wants to feel like the guy she likes is doing something other than dating her. Yes, I know it's a big deal to get a guy to even use the word because they seem convinced it commits them to some sort of indentured servitude. It is already next to impossible to get a guy to admit we're even on a date - and here I am, taking the word away and making us one outing further away from a relationship.
But hear me out.
The first time you meet someone, you don't even know if you like him. Sure, you know enough to know you want to meet him in person (assuming you met online), or you liked him enough during that first chance meeting to set up something a little more formal.
But you don't really know if you like him. You don't know how he behaves in public, how good he is at conversation, how he'll treat you, or how he'll treat others. You have no idea how much you enjoy talking with him, or if his jokes are too corny or goofy - or just the right amount of both. You don't know what type of future you might want with this person, other than the hour or so you're willing to devote to finding out if he might be worth more.
There are no romantic feelings at all - yet "date" implies that there are. It implies that you have decided you can't wait to see him. It implies that he is worth a new outfit or super-uncomfortable shoes. That he deserves your best perfume or the few extra minutes it takes to do your eye makeup just right.
You don't know any of that yet, though, because you haven't even met him. How could you possibly know if he's worth all that time or effort, until you've had a chance to talk and get to know at least a little bit about him?
Until you get to that point, it's not a date. It's just a meeting. Or as Baking Suit suggested, an "initial assessment."