In chapter 2.6 we looked at what both men and women should do prior to the date. In this post we’ll cover the actual date itself.

Picking Her Up:

Men should always pick up women to take them out on a date. The only exception to this rule is when the woman and the man are strangers and she is not comfortable giving the man her address. Otherwise, it is incumbent upon the man to drive to wherever the woman is and pick her up for the date (yes, even if you have to drive across town to pick her up and then back into town for the date and then back out of town to drop her off). Why? Because the method communicates the message, guys. Same as always: “You are worth it.

The man should show up on time, not one minute late. He should walk up to the front door of the house and knock on the door strongly and with confidence (because there’s some symbolism there, right?). When the woman opens the door the man should be the first to speak; and he should offer her an honest compliment about how she looks (not overdone like, “You’re the most beautiful woman I’ve ever seen!” or underplayed like “Nice shirt”). It would be very nice for the woman to return the same kind of compliment. He should escort her to the car, open the door for her and close it behind her.

On the Way to Dinner:

First impressions are a big deal. Assuming the man was clean, well-dressed, and on time, the car ride to dinner is his last chance at a first impression. There is little else to do in the car besides talk. The woman will not be eager to strike up the conversation. She will be looking and watching how the man will handle this first part of the date. So, the man would be wise to think through A). how long the car ride is and B). what the conversation topics will be. Whatever the man chooses, the conversation should be focused on the woman and be as casual and relaxed as possible. The woman should participate in the conversation once the man initiates by asking questions of her own.

At Dinner:

These are some practical tips and pointers for the man to practice once at the restaurant:

  • Continue to open all doors for her and pull out her chair for her once at the table. The woman always sits before the man.
  • If ever the woman excuses herself from the table, the man should stand up both on her departure and upon her return to the table.
  • When the waiter/waitress arrives,  make sure that he/she takes the woman’s order first.
  • Don’t forget to maintain eye contact throughout the evening. Don’t let your eyes wander around the room; stay focused on her.
  • When it comes time for the check make sure the waiter/waitress knows to give you the check. (Women it is unnecessary to offer to pay. In fact it can often be mildly insulting for some men). If the man wants to be super slick, he can pay for the meal away from the table before the check even comes (he can do this either by excusing himself from the table during the meal or calling ahead and making arrangements with the manager for his credit card to be charged after the departure).
  • [Update]: both Abbey and Michael had some great comments for the men, so I have added them here:
    • When the man arrives to pick up the woman who lives in a gated apartment or community, the man should never text her that he has arrived; a phone call is always preferred.
    • After the date, the man should not drive away until the woman is safely inside her home.
    • Turn off your phone on the date and don’t use it unless absolutely necessary.
    • Men should offer suggestions off of the menu for what is good to eat at the restaurant as a way of letting the woman know that it’s okay to order something more expensive.

Some practical tips and pointers for the woman to practice once at the restaurant:

  • The woman should order whatever she wants. She should not feel pressured to order the least expensive thing off of the kid’s menu. The man counts it his privilege even to be in her presence; he is not judging the woman based on how cheaply or expensively she orders.
  • The man is going to be trying hard to ask the woman genuine questions and perhaps may over-ask. If ever the woman feels like the man is firing away too many questions, she should help him out by interjecting a question or two of her own.
  • Unless the woman is experiencing some kind of illness, she should not excuse herself from the dinner more than once during the course of the meal.
  • Don’t forget to maintain eye contact throughout the evening. Don’t stare at your plate the entire meal; receive his attention and enjoy it.
  • Be sure to compliment the man’s choice of restaurant and thank him for the meal.
  • In addition to focusing on the man and participating in honest conversation with him, the woman also needs to be silently considering whether or not she would be interested in going on a second date with the man. She needs to decide how she is going to respond if he asks because, if he’s a front-door-man, he will likely ask before the first date is over.

Ending the Date:

Once back at the woman’s house the man should immediately get out of the car and come around to open the woman’s door and escort her back to the front porch (the end of the date conversation should not happen while sitting in an unromantic car). Once at the front door, assuming that the man is still interested, the man should ask the woman for a second date. It might look something like this:

“Sue, I had a great time tonight. I very much enjoyed getting to know you better (insert compliment here based on what you learned about her that evening). Thank you so much for allowing me to take you.”

“You’re welcome, Bob. I had a great time too.” (insert giggle & wink here, ladies, if you want)

“I’m glad. In fact, I was wondering if you’d be willing to do it again sometime. Could I take you on a date?

“Yes. I would enjoy that. I’d love to.”

“Great! Tell you what, I’ll call you on [insert day here that is 2-3 days after the date] and we can work out a time that we can go.”

“Sounds good!”

“Thank you, again, Sue. I had a wonderful evening. Goodnight.” (Don’t forget eye contact!)

“Goodnight!”

Bob promptly walks away from the front porch without so much as a hug and certainly without a kiss. Physical affection has no place on a first date and, arguably, has no place in the first several dates (if not more). The general reason why we employ physical affection is to communicate to the other person how we feel about them. A hug or kiss at the end of the date is supposed to be a “sign” that the other person still likes you. In this case, however, the need for physical affection is removed because the front-door-man asked her on a date the same way he did the first time. It clearly communicates that he is still interested and her response can communicate the same (That’s not to say that physical affection doesn’t have its place. It certainly does – just not on the front porch after the first date).

Thus, in chapter 2, we have covered the basic principles and practices of asking a woman on a date and taking a woman on the first date. In chapter 3 we will discuss the next steps in the dating relationship. We’ll cover developing a date into a relationship in chapter 3.1.

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What other suggestions do you have for the first date? Any stories of guys who did it right? Guys who did it wrong?