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Archive for the ‘Ettiquette’ Category

Some time ago, I was cockblocked by a baseball game. Seriously. I was supposed to go out with this guy, who, when trying to pick a night, rattled off which nights might be booked based on when his favorite team was playing and whether or not they were likely to win the night before. Strike one.

We agreed on a night, and my calendar became booked with other things in the days after. He tried to reschedule the day before the date, and I was unable to but was fine with pushing back an hour. I show up at the new time, I get a call. He’s stuck watching the last inning, can I wait a bit or reschedule? Strike two.

Unlike baseball, I wasn’t feeling too generous and never game him the third strike. “Listen, I can’t plan my life around the game schedule of a baseball team,” I said. “I’m going home. Priorities, man!” He emailed the next day to apologize, but by then I was done. Now, I get that sports (or other hobbies) might be very important to a person. But, if you’re looking for your future girlfriend or boyfriend, that takes time and effort. That first impression is key. You don’t want a girl thinking that if she marries you, you’ll skip out on the birth of your first child to watch the baseball game. When your whole life revolves around one thing, I get a little put off. We all have many things on our plate — family, friends, dating, work, hobbies, errands. If you ignore any one of those things for long enough, the results will be unpleasant.

The takeaway? Keep a calendar, don’t double-book, and when you barely know a person, don’t tell them why you’re busy. Just say which days you’re free and leave it at that. I could have been that guy’s next girlfriend, but he had to watch the game. Priorities, man!

(I called my brother to get a guy’s opinion, just to make sure I wasn’t being unreasonable. His reply: “Is that guy fucking crazy?”)

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How to be a good date

You can’t get to the second date if you bomb the first one. Dating is a skill that, like any other skill, needs practice. Most people are not naturally good at making conversation in a high-pressure situation with someone they might not know well. Most people also don’t marry the first person they ever date, so anticipate having several year’s worth of good and bad dates under your belt by the time you meet The One. Those past dates are your learning experiences. Here’s what I’ve learned:

For both parties:
Show up on time and be polite. Keep your cell phone on silent and ignore it. Dress well. You don’t have to avoid talking about religion, sex, or politics, but try to gauge how your date will react if you bring those topics up. Smile, be engaging, and don’t stick to some script (often the case on blind dates). Be the best version of you. Don’t be rude to the waiter.

For the guys:
Don’t let feminism lead you to believe otherwise — women totally dig chivalry. Open doors for her, pay her a compliment, and be a gentleman. On a very basic level, we love the big strong man taking us out for a night on the town. To that end, have the date planned. Know where you’re going and how to get there. Be open to your date’s ideas, and then take the lead. It’s hot. At the end of the night, don’t say you’ll call when you’re not going to. Just say it was nice to meet them and leave them safely in front of their house.

For the ladies:
Be gracious and thank the guy if he pays for the date. Don’t shoot down your date’s plans in a bitchy way (unless you have severe food allergies and he suggests a restaurant you can’t eat at or something, and even then be nice about it and suggest something else). Let him make the plans and surprise you! It’s fun! And if you’re not interested after getting to know the guy better, being direct is better than leading them on.

Remember that most dates won’t turn into your future girlfriend or boyfriend. Just relax and enjoy the adventure. All you’re finding out is if you’d like to see them a second time. Don’t think beyond that point.

Do any of you have any tips?

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Be cheap about it

I got this link from psuacoustician: Dating on a Budget: To Eat or Not to Eat? Basically, it discusses how expensive dining out with dates can be if you do it very often. Think of creative and cheap dates!

Or, you could just guarantee they won’t want to go out with you again…

…by getting wasted and acting the fool. A co-worker of mine experienced the horror of witnessing precisely why his date generally doesn’t drink often — she has no tolerance and is a whiny, awful drunk. He never called her again. I once had to take care of a guy I was dating when his stupid fratty friends pumped him full of vodka on his birthday. I spent the evening stopping him from picking fights with strangers. Attempting to sleep on his couch in my street clothes while he locked himself in the bathroom and (loudly) prayed for death was not what I had in mind when he invited me to his birthday party. We didn’t last much longer.

Despite what you might think about yourself, most people are not attractive drunks. Maybe if you’re tipsy after three drinks, fine. But no one — no one — is remotely cute when they’re slurring, falling, crying, breaking stuff, or hurling on their date’s shoes. A long-time girlfriend or boyfriend might put up with you if you get like that once every three years, but someone who barely knows you will probably stop returning your calls.

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Hey ladies: If you’re looking for a nice guy to take you on hopefully more than one date and seriously consider whether or not you’re girlfriend potential, don’t commit the faux pas of bragging about your recent sexual conquests to said nice guy.

The only guys you’ll attract if you do this are, forgive the phrase, the pump-and-dumpers. Relationship-minded men will think you’re a skank. Don’t kiss and tell. Everyone has a past, but no one needs to know about it besides you and the person testing you for chlamydia.

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I don’t like when people pay way too much attention to their cell phones. I get that they’re really handy. I get the internets on mine, and reading the New York Times from my phone makes waiting in doctors’ offices more tolerable. But I hate when people are out for a meal with other people and they spend an extraordinary amount of time on their phone, ignoring their companions. The saddest case I saw was during brunch, when a mother spent 45 minutes chatting on her phone while her four-year-old daughter attempted to climb onto her lap, pull her hair, call her name, and so on, just to get her mother’s attention. Why go out to breakfast with your daughter if you’re just going to ignore her the entire time?

Recently, my parents witnessed a young couple with a baby at a restaurant. The husband was on the phone for a long time, to the point where the wife rolled her eyes at her husband several times. I’ll bet he didn’t get laid that night.

I don’t put my phone on the table when I’m in a restaurant unless I’m waiting to hear from one of the people who will be joining me. For one thing, I’m afraid I’ll accidentally forget to take my phone with me when I leave. For another, I don’t want to tempt myself into looking at my phone while there are real, live people in front of me. If I feel the phone buzz in my purse, I’ll wait until I go to the restroom to check it. I recently went out on a date with a guy who profusely apologized when his phone, which was in his pocket, rang. He had forgotten to silence it before we sat down. He went on to compliment me for not having my phone in sight. “I’m not that important,” I replied. “Anyone who needs to reach me can wait until I get home.” He liked that answer. I sent the message that my priority was talking to him.

There are reasons to be glued to your phone. You’re a doctor who’s on call. A relative is about to have a baby and you’re waiting to hear news. You left a message with someone you’re going out with later and you expect to hear back from them shortly. You’re in the middle of putting a bid on a house and your realtor said they’d get back to you today. You’re on your lunch break from work and your boss might call. Whatever the reason, you can throw out a preemptive apology. “I don’t normally like to talk on the phone at a restaurant,” you could say, “but my cousin is supposed to hear if she got into Harvard today, and I made her promise to call me the second she found out.” Okay, I dig. At least then I anticipate the interruption and I know you’re conscientious enough to keep the conversation quick. Also, at that point, I’d be cheering on your cousin, too! You have just included me in the excitement.

This is a serious enough issue for me to be a deal-breaker when it comes to dating. If a person is willing to check out from your conversation on a first date, when they’re on their best behavior, they certainly won’t stop after 20 dates. In your mind, fiddling with your Blackberry might make you seem busy and important to your date. In your date’s mind, it makes it seem like everything is more important to you than they are. If I went on a first date with a guy who spent a lot of time on his phone when there was no emergency, I wouldn’t go out with him again. I’m not alone in this mindset. Curb your phone usage, or you might find that your first dates often don’t lead to second ones.

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