Dating any of the six girlfriends is not required for 100% Completion with the exception of Millie Perkins, who can be killed on the first date. If 100% completion is not a goal, simply the completion of the main storyline missions, it's possible to complete the game without dating anyone, since Millie's encounter is part of an optional mission strand, and Denise can be ignored after rescuing her.
Denise is first encountered during the mission Burning Desire for Frank Tenpenny, whilst Millie first appears during the mission Key To Her Heart in Las Venturas. The remaining four girlfriends are Michelle Cannes, Barbara Schternvart, Helena Wankstein and Katie Zhan, none of whom are tied to any specific mission; they are encountered at certain locations around San Andreas. Michelle, Katie and Helena become available to date once Flint County, Whetstone and San Fierro are unlocked (although Helena is first encountered in Red County, which is accessible from the start of the game, she does not appear until the second region is unlocked). Barbara does not appear until Tierra Robada, Bone County and Las Venturas are unlocked. Michelle is the only "optional" girlfriend who is first encountered in an indoor (i.e. "Hidden Interiors") location.
One of three activities is possible when dating: a visit to a restaurant, dancing at a nightclub, and driving around. Each girlfriend has her own specific tastes as to all three activities, as well as Carl's physical appearance. After a certain number of successful dates (which varies per girlfriend, which is approximated at around 50% or more progress.) Carl may be invited back to her place for "coffee" (i.e. sex), and once the relationship status is maxed, Carl will receive a gift from the girlfriend - a unique outfit to wear, "gimp suit".
There are also many ways for a date to be ruined. Restaurant types in San Andreas vary (e.g. Fast food chains, diners, formal restaurants, and bars, including the bar in dance clubs), and each girlfriend has specific preferences on where they want to go. If Carl takes them to a restaurant they like, romantic music will play and it will show the two having a good time with each other; if Carl takes them to a restaurant they do not like, the song "Killing in the Name" by Rage Against the Machine (featured on the radio station Radio X in the original versions of the game) will play and the girl will show her obvious annoyance to Carl, who is gobbling his food. When dancing in a nightclub, if Carl does not score a high enough dancing score, the girlfriend will be disappointed. When driving around, if Carl insists on consistently driving in areas the girlfriend doesn't like or drives in a speed the girl doesn't like to the point that her fun meter has gone back to zero, the girlfriend will just ask to be taken home. Hitting, punching, and shooting a girlfriend will be considered abuse, and the girlfriend will walk away and end the date. Getting in a vehicle and then driving far away as well as jumping off a high cliff to a body of water (which means Carl will live despite jumping without a parachute) will be considered as abandoning the date and will degress Carl's progress meter. The girlfriend's date can also be ruined by not taking them home after five minutes of a date, even if the date went well.
In order to maintain (and increase) relationship status, Carl must date his girlfriend regularly, otherwise the status will decrease. However, this does not apply if Carl remains outside the girlfriend's geographic area. For example, as long as Carl stays outside of Los Santos, he has no obligations towards Denise and his status with her will remain static so long as he doesn't reenter the city; once he does, he may need to date Denise at least once before leaving the city again in order to maintain his present status with her.
If one of the girlfriends is killed, they remain that way for the rest of the game, making it impossible to revive them without restarting. However, if the player collects all 50 oysters, they will be revived and it will be possible to date them again, although Millie and Denise cannot be revived at all.
|Denise Robinson||Denise is encountered during the mission Burning Desire and she lives a block away from Carl in Ganton, Los Santos.||Heather Alicia Simms|
|Millie Perkins||Millie is encountered during the mission Key to Her Heart and she lives in the Prickle Pine district of Las Venturas.||Orfeh|
|Helena Wankstein||Helena can first be found at the Ammu-Nation store in Blueberry, Red County and she lives on a farm in Flint County.||Bijou Phillips|
|Katie Zhan||Katie can first be found on the golf course near the Martial Arts gym and she lives in Paradiso, San Fierro||China Chow|
|Michelle Cannes||Michelle can first be found at the Driving School in Doherty, San Fierro and lives in Downtown, San Fierro.||Vanessa Aspillaga|
|Barbara Schternvart||Barbara can first be found at the police station in El Quebrados, Tierra Robada and she also lives in El Quebrados.||Danielle Lee Greaves|
- At one point, even when the girlfriends are not present in their home, their vehicles will spawn outside their houses. Although this may not be a glitch, it could be trying to signify an attempt at realism by making it look like they are out for a walk.
- Sometimes a glitch may occur, where the girlfriends attack Carl when he approaches them in their meeting place. The actual cause of the glitch is unknown, but a lot of players claim the cause is using the infamous riot cheat code too many times. See cheats for the Riot code.
- If Carl is wasted or busted during the "Would you like to come in for coffee?" cutscene, when he respawns the camera will be in cutscene mode. While in this mode, Carl may interact with his environment semi-normally, but the player will notice much odd behavior; cars and pedestrians will appear and disappear, even while visible; the auto-aim works but the crosshairs aren't visible; the mini-map and ammo displays are missing, as are mission starting points, but walking into where the red circle would normally be will still start the mission. Getting killed or busted again will not reset the camera; however, starting a mission (or presumably, anything that causes a cutscene) will get the display back to normal.
- On rare occasions, while the player is dating a girlfriend, he can be spotted by another girlfriend as seen in this video. The player must lose the girlfriend who spotted him, or the date will be over, which triggers a special cutscene where one girlfriend criticizes the other.
- If the player collects all the oysters in the game, the various appearance demands Carl's girlfriends make are nullified, and "coffee" is offered after every successful date. In addition, should a girlfriend dump Carl, she can be found again at her original spawn location. Cheat codes, such as "helloladies" in the Windows version, can be used to boost Carl's sex appeal to maximum, having the same effect.
- Millie and Michelle have unique dating activities the other girls do not have. For Millie, by simply appearing in a gimp suit (which will be in Carl's wardrobe after their first encounter) to pick her up, regardless of Carl's progress with Millie, she will offer to have sex with him and the progress will increase. As for Michelle, instead of driving her around, she might ask to be the one who will drive, and as long as Carl does not bail out of the car, the date will be successful.
- Denise has no unique dating activity that will improve Carl's progress, however, if Ballas and Vagos are present on the streets during the drive to wherever she wants to go (or if she wants Carl to drive her around), her mood will go significantly higher when she suggests to do a drive-by and manages to shoot some of the enemy gang members. Her fun meter during drives will increase faster when she is shooting gang members. However, Carl should not shoot, especially while using Denise's window, because the game will take this as shooting Denise, which is considered abusing his girlfriend and will end the date immediately.
- Despite being introduced to Carl in a sequence titled First Date, Catalina is not considered a girlfriend, as her dates are not considered dates, but rather storyline missions.
- If Carl pulls up in front of a girlfriend's home and stays in his car, his girlfriend will automatically enter the vehicle. She will always try to enter the passenger seat next to Carl. However, if any object or the way the car is parked blocks the door to the passenger seat, she will sit in the backseat.
- If the car is parked or blocked in a way that all the doors are compromised, the cutscene of the girlfriend will end with her still outside her house and the car, giving the player the opportunity to move the car to let her in.
- After meeting a girlfriend for the first time, whether or not she asks Carl out, if the player attacks her, she will fight Carl and run after him until the player can get him to a far enough distance for the girlfriend to despawn out of the location. If she accepts and Carl attacks her, it will not affect the first date.
- Helena is the only exception and will not run after the player. However, because she is in an outdoor firing range when Carl meets her, if Carl attacks her, she will shoot at Carl while he is in her line of vision. She has a very good aim, and it is best to escape her vision as soon as possible.
- Carl can kill the girlfriends before he talks to them, and they will respawn. However, after they accept Carl, they cannot respawn.
- The player can notice that Carl treats his girlfriends differently based on the dialogue he uses. He can use abusive dialogue wherein he calls his girlfriend a bitch and openly acts uninterested in what the girl has to say. Other times, he act like his regular self using his ghetto accent. And at times, he will act very gentleman-ly and use a soft, gentle voice, and act very interested even with menial conversation lines the girlfriend says. The dialogue he uses does not affect the date, however, and the girlfriends do not react over the dialogue he uses.
- Katie and Barbara can be acquired as girlfriends if the player has high sex appeal, irrespective of his physical stats. The best way to increase sex appeal is to drive an expensive car. On the other hand this method does not work on Helena and Michelle; the player has to meet their physical standards as well.