Wednesday, 1 April 2009

The First Date - How to Navigate It

The first date can be a disaster if you do it wrong. From the predate to the follow-up, keep in mind this six-step dating guide on how to do it right.

1. The Predate
- Dress for the occasion, but more important, dress to show respect. Reminder: It's still better to overdress. - Easy on the cologne. Avoid novelty ties. Arm yourself with the tools of modern chivalry.

2. The Pickup
- Be on time. - Go to the door. - Do not bring flowers -- it's outdated. You may, however, bring a small, thoughtful gift that you did not purchase from Wicks 'n' Sticks or B. Dalton Bookseller.

3. The Drive
- If you're taking a cab, you should open the door for her, give the directions, and pay. - While amusing, avoid that bit where you go and then stop and pretend to drive away without her. - No music -- try talking. - If you find the ensuing silence unbearable, you may put on music, but avoid the following: a) talk radio; b) anything in which R. Kelly describes something overtly about intimacy; c) playlists consisting entirely of songs that feature her name.

4. The Restaurant
- Open the door for her. In case of revolving doors, you go first. - Wait until she's seated to take your seat. At fancier joints, it's the waiter's job to help her with her chair, not yours. - Never order for her. And never present a coupon to the waiter while saying, "And the lady will have something of equal or lesser value." - Sharing food: If she suggests it, you're doing it. - Pay. If she offers to help, say something sincere like, "It's my pleasure," not something you think is witty, like, "I'll consider this a down payment for later, if you know what I mean!"

5. The Walk
- Walk at her pace. - Tradition dictates that you should walk on the outside of her to avoid puddle splashes and runaway carriages, but feel free to disregard this unless your date takes place in Colonial Williamsburg (not advised). - Offer her your arm. It's chivalrous and also a good way to initiate contact. - Be a man. Make your move. May God be with you. - You're not going inside. Unless she suggests it.

6. Following Up
- No texting. Call the next day. Two days, tops. - If she answers the phone, thank her for a great night and schedule a second date. - If you get voice mail, thank her and ask her to call you back. - If she answers the phone "Sam's Pizza" and pretends you've got the wrong number, all bets are off.

Saturday, 28 March 2009

10 Things I Hate About Valentine's Day

1. The Reservations.
Single or coupled, if you didn't make a reservation in January, your options for going out to dinner are limited to the local fast food drive-through.

2. The Greeting Cards.
The hour of our lives we waste every year in the greeting card aisle, looking for the perfect one.

3. The Flower Fund.
The overnight tripling of the price of roses, forcing your boyfriend to choose between getting you a bouquet of a dozen or paying his cable bill that month.

4. The TV Schedule.
The 24/7 romantic comedy marathon on TV during the month of February either makes you feel like a loser for being single or makes you resent your boyfriend for not being John Cusack.

5. The Relationship Conversation.
If you've had anything resembling a date in the past two months, it always prematurely launches the "where is this going?" conversation.

6. The Girls'-Night Cliche.
If you're single and lucky enough to have three close, single girlfriends, you can't go out in the town with them without being a cliche.

7. The Generic Gifts.
We don't need another stuffed teddy bear holding a heart or a cheap box of "guess the mystery filling" chocolates, thanks.

8. The Absent Cards.
They don't make Valentine's Day cards for friends-with-benefits or "I think I like you but it's too soon to tell."

9. The Bills.
We just started paying off our credit card bills from holiday shopping -- our bank statements can't handle another gift.

10. The Hearts.
Those gross taste-like-sidewalk-chalk conversation hearts.