By Gina Bever
“She offered to split the check,” my hairdresser said, “and he got out a calculator.”
My answer was exactly what you should be thinking: “What?!?!?”
In our post-modern, post-feminist world, it seems a few basic dating rules of etiquette have become a bit mucked up. The women’s movement has apparently given some people the impression that women should always be treated like men. But you can’t treat ladies like your bros, especially on a date.
And so in case you needed it, here’s a refresher course on Post-Modern Dating Etiquette 101. Because I don’t want you to be That Guy, and neither do you.
Dating Etiquette Rule No. 1: The inviter, usually the man, pays for the date. Paying for dinner is a way of showing your appreciation that this gorgeous creature of femininity is spending time with you. And who knows, she could one day be the mother of your children or responsible for deciding your long-term care when you’re 85. It might be a good idea to get on her good side early and buy her some food.
And in the truly modern case of a woman asking a man out? Lady pays. Of course, if the guy is smart, he’ll go ahead and pay anyway, thus securing brownie points, another date, some possible smooching action and perhaps a better post-retirement living situation.
Dating Etiquette Rule No. 2: Always have a plan. Yes, spontaneity is a beautiful thing and can lead to some of the most fun you’ve ever had in your life. But first dates are pretty stressful for all parties involved. Having no plan is one of the best ways to invite dating disaster and ensure there won’t be another date.
This is exactly what happened to me earlier this year. I went on a date with a man who didn’t have a plan. At all. I had to pick the time, day, cuisine, restaurant, give him directions to the restaurant, talk him through the drive to the restaurant with turn-by-turn directions, call around to other restaurants because the wait at the first one was two hours long, and then direct him a la a GPS to restaurant No. 2.
I didn’t feel like a date; I felt like a social secretary. No, actually, I felt like his Mom. And trust me, your date doesn’t want to feel like your Mom. Ever. So please plan accordingly.
You don’t need a minute-by-minute itinerary for the whole date. A general idea of where you’re going, making reservations or buying tickets ahead of time, and having a back-up plan in case something goes awry (i.e., a two-hour wait at your favorite sushi restaurant) will suffice.
And speaking of planning ...
Dating Etiquette Rule #3: Make plans with your lovely lady several days ahead of time. Almost every single woman I know has the same deadlines for date plans: Wednesday for Friday dates, and Thursday for Saturday dates.
No, we’re not playing hard to get. We’re just really busy and trying to pack as much fun and time with friends into each weekend as possible. Just call before the date deadline. Otherwise, your erstwhile date will be cocktailing it with her girlfriends instead of laughing at your witty banter.
You’re not That Guy, so don’t be That Guy. Just mind your dating manners. And whatever you do, leave your calculator at home.