I have often been given advice regarding the First Date by older members of my family.  The strange thing is that all of the advice has been so drastically different I wound up jumbling all this information until I finally discarded it and came up with my own rules or guidelines.   However the two things that I do remember about those tidbits of advice was that I thought them to be quite outdated and also that they were so heavily skewed to be at the advantage of the gender of whatever family member was giving me the advice.  Which I suppose is to be expected but even so that creates a system of people looking out for number 1 so much so that dating becomes more of battle ground for the upper hand as oppose to a friendly meeting where people get to know each other.

How many times have you heard some of these lines–

–Make sure He takes you some place that you really like.

–Make sure he pays,  because if he doesn’t then he is definitely “just a friend”

–Don’t get to know him over the phone.  He should be taking you out.

Olive Garden!? Please!   You make him take you to a real restaurant.

–If he cannot buy you a drink then you don’t need to talk to him.

And the advice I got from the men was just a bad.  It always consisted of me fooling a woman into believing that I was something that I was not and dangling my accomplishments in front of her like I was fur trapper hunting for mink or beaver coats!  Man when I met your Aunt……..I just pulled up in my clean car and told her I could give her feet a break if she hopped her fine self in my car.  And the rest is history! (for the record I really didn’t know what to think of my aunt or uncle when I heard that story but it kind of creeped me out on several levels.  They’ve been married for 3 decades so I guess I would just rather not even analyze that one)

Now, some of these comments are so standard and commonplace that I am sure that in some people’s minds I seem like a buffoon to challenge them.  Certainly I agree that a woman should maintain certain standards,  but understand that a man is not a menial servant who wants to be treated like a peon who must put on some type of impressive dog and pony show to be in the company of a woman.  That being said I am all for the polite and respectful treatment of women…. especially when you first meet them! (sarcasm)  But the same sort of courtesy must be reciprocated.

Imagine being a gentleman at a bar for happy hour. You spot an attractive, beautiful and respectable looking woman a few seats over from you.   So you carefully negotiate your way to the lady and introduce your self.

Man—“Hi”, with an extended hand, “my name is David”

Woman—“Hello, I’m Sheila. Nice to meet you.” (Throat Clear)

Man—“Nice to meet you Sheila. How was your day? OK?

Woman—(cough) “Oh it was Okay. Just long…..

Man—“ I understand what that’s like….my days have been pretty tiring at work lately.  So what do you do?”

Woman—(Repeated Coughing) I am in advertising.

Man—Oh really? I have been told that is interesting work.

Woman—(Coughing and patting her Chest) Yeah it is Ok.

Now I have watched this woman in a smoke-filled bar for a couple of minutes sit calmly with her friends laughing and enjoying each others company while unwinding after work.  However, when I approach her to ask her name she suddenly is coughing vigorously like she is about to spit up a fur ball.  My only point is that when you meet a gentleman just meet him……..and don’t feel like because you tell him your name that you should be getting something out of the deal.  He did not ask you to wash his car or do his taxes or clean out the chimney in his home.  Just your name.

Respect and politeness are not the same thing.  And furthermore, where a gentleman takes you or what he does for you has absolutely no correlation to his level of respect for you.  If I ask you to a place that might not have 4 star reviews in the Washington Post, it’s not because I don’t respect you.  It’s not because I don’t think you are attractive or because I don’t take you seriously.  It is because I don’t know you.  And I don’t know how you feel about me yet.  And mainly because if you are ever going to like me at all I would hope that it would be strictly because of my cute smile and pleasing personality and not where I took you for dinner on the first date.

Consider that when a man takes a woman out on a date without really knowing who she is or what she is about he is taking a bit of a risk.  Following some of the aforementioned rules can be quite unsettling for a man when there is no reward for him.  Let’s just say that a man meets a woman on Monday and instead of taking the time to slowly get to know her through phone conversations or less formal encounters, he asks her out on a date for dinner and a movie.  When you consider that he is following all of the so-called rules such as taking her someplace nice (i.e. expensive), picking her up and buying her preliminary drinks and what not, and of course picking up the tab then a man has ultimately spent roughly 150 dollars minimum.  And for what?  There is nothing more disappointing for a man than the realization that half way through dinner that this is a tremendous waste of money.  That this woman is so absolutely not my type that I wish that the bathroom window in the back of the restaurant was big enough for me to crawl out of.  Did I mention that this is expensive? If a man goes out on three 3 to 4 dates a month, at this rate he has spent enough money to pay his car note!

*  For the record I want to say that DC has two things that I really love.  A lot of nice, eclectic, trendy places to eat that won’t totally break your pockets and a healthy percentage of women who are willing to pay their own way……. But that other percentage is indeed cheap as hell.

Many things you do in life can be considered a risk, but most practical and safe people try to minimize their risk to match the possible reward.  If women respect a man who is practical, responsible, and sensible, then respect a gentleman who does not try to go over the top to impress you with a the date of your life.  Appreciate a man who presents an honest representation of himself and not the facade that he thinks will most impress you.  It not only makes him a more respectable figure but it also saves you the embarrassing agony of finding out at a later date that your dream guy that you have paraded around your friends is not the wealthy entrepreneur/businessman that you thought.  But instead, an out of work grocery store stocking specialist who leases an expensive car and lives in his mothers basement.