Tuesday, December 15, 2009

What to Wear and First Date Etiquette, Part One

What to Wear on a First Date. If a woman your age has complimented it (assuming the compliment was within the last year), wear that. Otherwise, ask a woman in your life what you should wear--the girlfriend of a friend, or your gamer girl online friends. But, for God’s sake, don’t ask more than once. Don’t do a poll of everyone you know. You don’t need to obsess about this. Once you’ve picked a first date outfit, make it easy on yourself and stick with that outfit for all your first dates (weather permitting).

First Date Etiquette. If you do end up driving to pick her up, now is not the time for talking to yourself (or other drivers), or driving like a maniac. Stop for crosswalks, don’t run yellow lights, and don’t tailgate. Women are not impressed with dangerous driving. A sixteen year old might be but you’re not dating a sixteen year old. Right? Unlock her door first--I do not care if you have electric locks and it’s raining and it’s just as fast for you to go to your door and unlock both doors at the same time. Gas up before you get her. I hope that goes without saying.

If she’s picking you up, don’t criticize her driving unless you’re in real danger or she’s about to hit something. In those cases you have an obligation to say something.

We’re talking about chivalry here, otherwise called Basic Consideration. Geeks can be very self-absorbed people. Doted on by parents who constantly referred to you as their little genius, or just being amazingly self-conscious because of your lack of social skill, has made you used to not thinking about other people. So some reminders:

Watch your voice. Geeks are notorious loud talkers and because they hang around other geeks whose unfortunate social code is never criticize the personal habits of others (lest their own personal habits be judged), no one has ever told them they talk too loud. Also, what is it with kids these days? Am I just old or do twentysomethings mumble? E-nun-ci-ate. If *anyone* has *ever* told you that you talk too loud or that you mumble, you do it all the time.
Hold open doors for her. This is not old-fashioned. It’s polite. This is not sexist. She’ll open them for you, too.

Pay attention when she is hesitant about a movie or restaurant choice. Don’t steamroll over her. She’s being polite by not saying no outright, but, if she’s hesitating, she does not want to see that movie or go to that restaurant.

Don’t shoot down her ideas out of hand. This bluntness may be acceptable online but it isn’t in real life. If you really can’t go somewhere that she suggests due to an allergy or complete dislike, do not go on and on about why. No one cares about how you finally got diagnosed with a seafood allergy after having gone to five different doctors. One sentence, one phrase will do. “Nah, I’m not so fond of sushi” is all you need to say. No one cares about your allergic reactions or your reason for hating things. Negativity has no place on a first date. Also, people do not like having what they like criticized. So don’t call things she likes “stupid,” or “puerile.” Don’t say “I don’t know why anyone would like such and such”, or “Why on earth would you [fill in the blank].” Your world is very, very small already. You do not need to be cutting yourself off from stuff by being so close-minded.

Quit interrupting. It’s not all about you. If you forget what you were going to say by the time she finishes what she is saying, that’s okay. Your thoughts aren’t that profound. Don’t be thinking of your next question while she’s talking. This disengages you from active listening.

Don’t order for her. It’s supposed to be romantic or something, but it ain’t. Unless she asks you to, don’t do it.

Up on Friday: Date Etiquette, Part Two

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