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How to really sweep a girl off her feet . . .

First impressions last, so make your date one to remember -- for the right reasons, writes Deirdre Reynolds

From first date to First Lady, Michelle Obama has revealed how she was swept off her feet by the President of the United States more than 20 years ago.

President Obama has just a few months left to convince American voters he's the right man to remain on at the White House.

But it took his wife Michelle less than 24 hours to decide that he ticked all the boxes after a their first date -- including lunch at an art museum and a trip to the cinema.

"It was a cool date," recalls Michelle (48). "We spent the whole day together."

The couple met when President Obama joined the law firm his wife worked at as a summer associate in 1989.

And it was love at first bite when he invited Michelle for a lunch date at the Art Institute of Chicago, before taking a stroll down Michigan Avenue and finally going to see Spike Lee movie Do the Right Thing.

"He showed me all sides," told the First Lady in a video to promote a competition to win dinner with the power couple. "He was hip, cutting edge, cultural, sensitive."

Hollywood heartthrob Mark Wahlberg took a more unorthodox approach to wooing his wife Rhea Durham.

"We met through a mutual friend in New York," reveals the Ted star (41). "I asked if she wanted to hang out the next day and she did, so I said, 'Well, come to church with me'.

"She was raised a Christian, not a Catholic like me. She did come -- and now she's converted."

Meanwhile, Mexican actress Salma Hayek (45) admits she didn't even know she was on a first date with husband Fran├žois-Henri Pinault: "I was set up by friends to think I was going to an event with many people, because they knew I wouldn't go on a date.

"I was angry (about being set up) . . . and was very nasty to him. It started out really badly. But as you can see, it ended happy."

When it comes to romance, first impressions count says dating guru Ger O'Sullivan.

"My biggest advice to anyone going on a first date is to make an effort with your appearance, be on time, ask questions and most importantly, smile," says Ger of FirstDate.ie -- a dating company that runs singles events such as wine-tasting in Dublin.

"Remember that the best things in life are free -- a romantic walk or hike are a great way to get to know someone without spending a fortune.

"However, if you don't spend anything at all, you might be considered cheap -- so it's a good idea to bring a picnic basket with a bottle of wine and fresh strawberries to show you've put some thought into the date.

"It's pretty hard to recover from a disastrous first date -- but asking for a second chance at least shows that you are genuinely interested in the person."

Irish Independent