Simple Dating Rules (For Valentine’s Day and Beyond)
Cross-posted at my blog: The Unmitigated Word:
Happy Valentine’s Day, you lovestruck muddasuckas!
So I’ve long since moved on from the psycho otherwise known as my ex, and am now headed toward much friendlier and happier climes. As such, I’m in a very generous (and yes, Cupid-y) kind of mood today. This one is for the bruhs. Now, I’ve never believed in giving other men gifts…on Valentine’s Day, no less. But since I’m pretty much the smartest person I know, allow me to impart some sage words to the fellas that will ensure this Valentine’s Day won’t be your last (OK, you might ruin things some time during the year, but not tonight). Here goes:
1. Be on time. For people of color, I know this is genetically a challenge. But it’s imperative to ward off any genetic predispositions to being late. If your plans called for 8 pm, then dammit, be there at 7:45 pm. Now I know with men, there is some inexplicable differentiation in the ontology of time and we will likely get stuck waiting on the woman to get ready. But it is vital that at least WE are on time.
2. I don’t think I really need to tell you this, fellas. But when you’re picking up your date, get out of the car. Don’t wait in the driveway and blow your horn. Trust me: if you do that, she won’t come out.
3. Fellas, under NO circumstance should you EVER expect to “Go Dutch”. Perhaps after the fifth or sixth date, you can suggest she leave the tip or offer gas money. But even that’s a stretch. Even the most bold and unfettering feminists who “don’t need a man” apparently don’t expect to ever have to pay. I know: that one tripped me out too! I would’ve never thought…
*Important note here: If a woman offers to pay half or all of the tab, never, ever, ever, ever, ever take her at her word. If she makes a suggestion that seemingly lets you off the hook (i.e. “I don’t mind paying my half” or “Let’s do what YOU want to do”), think the opposite. If you take her at her word, you’ll live to regret it.
4. Don’t be deceived by the women’s liberation movement. Contrary to beliefs, we are STILL expected to be the decision makers when it comes to places to eat, movies to see, events to attend, etc. The key is, however: it HAS to be something she likes. As such, we need to poke and prod our way around their psyche to know what they like. From there, its our job to identify locations most germane to their interests. First, you have to find out she likes sea food. THEN you have to find a good sea food joint. One and two.
5. Once plans have been established, maintain those plans. Deviations and improvisations are not acceptable, unless she prompts them (and be prepared for changes and Plan Bs, especially if you’re dating a single mother, a work-a-holic, a fashionista, or a church girl).
6. Once you arrive at your destination, it is imperative that you do NOT flirt with the female employees at that establishment. Restaurants, for instance, are notorious for having female servers (usually pretty hot ones, too) who always seem to be ‘too friendly.’ Avoid the temptation. Avoid it.
7. If you are at a restaurant, leave a good tip. Throw the 10-15% rule out the window.
8. Be willing to pay heavily for a meal even if it means you have to solicit a Congressional bailout package to cover the tab.
9. Do not drive in separate vehicles unless – again – she prompts it.
10. Do not order FOR your date or BEFORE your date.
11. Shut up and listen. The only time you should speak – as Chris Rock brilliantly pointed out – is when you ask questions which allow her to continue talking.
12. When talking about the future, avoid being the first one to use personal pronouns in the plural sense (i.e. “we”, and “us”). To her, that sounds like you’re planning your future together before she is. Road closed. Thin ice. Drive around. THEY have to be the one who makes it official. Not us.
13. Go to unique places. Frequenting the same joints with different dates (if applicable to your dating situation) is dangerous, especially if the people around you mistaken your date for someone else.
14. Never accept seating in a ‘bad part’ of an establishment. Sitting behind the loud people in movie theatre, the messiest part of a restaurant, the nosebleeds of an event, etc. will lead to some sort of enigmatic transferal of blame. Even if you have nothing to do with the seating, it will nevertheless get pinned to you. I don’t understand that one. It just is.
15. Groom yourself well. I know being the pretty boy seems a little…uh…unmanly (?), but keep yourself well groomed. Don’t go overboard, though. Looking good for your date = good. Looking BETTER than your date = not so good.
16. Don’t do flowers, candy, balloons, or the other Hallmarky stuff until you know what she likes. If she doesn’t like it, she’ll dismiss it (and likely, you) as being corny.
17. Opening building doors is a given. Not so obvious is the question of opening car doors. This is one that even my female friends – much to my surprise – can’t universally speak to. The only cases where it seems mandatory to get the passenger door is when you’re already approaching the car from that direction or when weather is an obstacle. Every other situation is subject to debate. I’d just err on the side of caution and open every single door you encounter. Play it safe.
18. Only hugs are acceptable at the end of a date, unless – again – she prompts something different. Handshakes are too corporate. Kisses are too violating. Hugs are a safe middle ground.
19. Walk her as far to her door as she’ll allow. She will usually let you know where to stop when she stops the first time (once again, a subtle move I never picked up on…). Also, don’t drive away until she’s safely inside. Sheesh.
20. No matter what you’re doing, calling her the next day is vital. To date, I can’t figure out what its so critical that a woman be called back the next day. But apparently it is. Just do it. Ours is not to reason why…
Anything else you can add? If not, be on your merry way. Get it done, bruhs!
– Captain ALou