One of the things I instantly noticed about my guy (the male half of the Dating Gurus) on our first real date, besides his warm welcoming smile and gorgeous blue eyes, were his incredible manners. As I nervously walked through the door of the charming little Tapas place he had chosen in a funky neighborhood of Seattle, he stood to greet me, (having arrived before me to secure a table) and took my coat. He had also taken the liberty of ordering us some small plates (Okay--maybe he was hungry--but I loved this).
Everything about this, from picking the place, to arriving early to make sure everything was comfortable, and standing to greet me to take my coat, illustrated not only his considerate nature, but his confidence as well.
Girls love a take charge attitude
Can I tell you how many dates had I been on where the guy started things out by asking where I wanted to meet, or what I'd like to do? Yawn.
If you are the one asking me out, come prepared with a game plan. You can always change your game plan, but have one.
While I'm sure that my dates were simply trying to be considerate, or were eager to please, what made me stand up and take notice of Lee is when the invitation to meet went something like this:
Let's meet at Ocho in Ballard on Saturday, 4pm. Great place, but should you find me reprehensible, Ocho has no bathroom window for you to desperately wriggle out of. You have been warned. Let me know.
By choosing the meeting time, place, and activity, he was forthcoming with what he wanted, and what he thought would make a good meeting spot. He presumed (correctly) that if I had any problem with any of the above, I would let him know. It was this simple and straightforward approach, coupled with dry humor, that made me sit up and take notice.
Show, Don't Tell
You can talk all you want, in your dating profile, about manners and chivalry. The real litmus test is how you handle yourself not just with your date, but also in your surroundings.
Example: Do you treat your server or barista with kindness? I've cringed as dates spoke rudely or dismissively to a waiter, or waived down a bartender with a "Dude!". We figure if you treat strangers with kindness, chances are that you're probably a kind person.
I once dated a fella who was a real techno geek and was always connected at the hip to his iPhone. I accepted that this was his thing, since he was a small business owner and leaned heavily on social media to market his biz and to keep abreast of his clients and the competition. While I understood all this, by our third date, it drove me crazy that the phone was constantly dinging, buzzing, or ringing. Most people, men and women alike, want to feel that when you are with them, you are with them.
Look Me In the Eyes
During our aforementioned great first date, Lee's baby blues were glued on me. Meaning: He didn't look over my shoulder to check out the gorgeous girls at the table next to us, he didn't watch the sports on the TV hanging over the bar. He asked intelligent questions, was willing to share experiences and opinions, and most importantly, made it known that he was interested by looking me in the eye.
The well-mannered man will offer to get the check on the first date. Now don't clobber me for saying this. You can do what you want, but I'm just telling you that if you don't offer to get the check, your date will almost definitely be surprised and taken aback, even if she doesn't show it on her face.
There will be plenty of time in the future to go Dutch or take turns treating each other, but the first date is not the time or place for this. If she offers, gently but firmly refuse.
During our first date? My fella took care of the first round of refreshments, and when the date went so well that we took a walk and then went for coffee afterwards, it was my treat. After a few dates, I told him that it was not my expectation that he pay for all of our adventures. Now, even after several years, we split the check, unless we make it known that we are taking the other out or treating the other to something on the fly.
It goes without saying that you will, of course, always open the door for your date. Heck, I'm a girl, and I open the door for whomever is behind me, male or female. This is simple kindness to your fellow human being.
Depending on your age, you may think it's cheesy to open the car door for your girl, or to come around to the passenger side to open her door and let her out, but I can tell you from first hand experience... this is the kind of alpha male stuff that sets you apart from the others. The difference is that you aren't being simply macho: you are are taking care of your date.
The key to this timeless chivalry? Act with confidence and don't second guess yourself.
Hint: Let her know you'll be coming around to get her door so she knows to give you a second.
Lee and I have been dating for several years now, and he still opens the car door for me to let me in and out. Every time. Even in the rain.
Ending the Date
While there are no hard and fast rules about how and when to ask her out again, if all conditions were go, you can tell her you'd like to see her again, and set up a day when you'll call to make plans.
Example: I'll call you on Tuesday evening and we'll make plans.
This will give you both some time to regroup, as well as let a little pleasurable tension build. And there won't be any of that teeth gnashing for your date about when and if.
Better yet: Text her the next day, and tell her that you want to see her in a dress, and that you'd like to take her to dinner. Quiet confidence (think Don Draper or David Duchovny) gets us every time.
Thou Shalt Not Come On Too Strong!
If you want to make a good impression, when you say good-night or good-bye, do not attempt to move too quickly, even if you think we want you to.
Much better to look us in the eye, give us a small kiss, if you feel so moved, and leave us wanting a little more. Want to know why? Hardly any men show restraint, and this will make you stand out from the pack. Now get out there and practice your manners.