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Well, not so much for happy healthy dating, more for a happy healthy first date.

Plan the meal. Every first date should have food involved, and in my opinion should start with food. It is your responsibility to make sure that meal is somewhere she wants to go. So when you set up the date, ask her where she’d like to go. If she has no preference, that’s fine, some people aren’t good at fill in the blank exams. Ask her if she would like to go to A or B, two restaurants you have already picked out before the setting up of said date.

Setting the date is not a time to be wishy washy or indecisive. If you would classify yourself as either of those, make sure you have ideas for everything before you ask her to dinner.

The restaurants should be places you enjoy and should be very different, Italian and seafood or something along those lines. Do not pick a restaurant where you will eat with your hands. Do not pick a restaurant where you are the chef, no matter how much you think she’ll love your cooking; this includes your house. If you have a restaurant where you are well known by the wait staff, suggest that place, but do not hint that the wait staff knows you. The first date should not be surprising, you should be surprising. It will surprise her that people know you. This is good. If the wait staff also knows your ex, don’t suggest the restaurant, that’s not a good surprise.

If she doesn’t like one of the two suggestions, that’s fine, some people don’t do well at multiple choice exams either. Tell her where you’re going, so she knows what to expect. Again, the date shouldn’t be surprising, you should be surprising. If at this point, she complains about the choice you’ve picked, don’t go on the date. You gave her a free response, she turned it down, you gave her a multiple choice, she declined. The decision is yours to make, if she rejects the decision, it’s just the first of many times you’re going to be shot down. Walk away while you can still walk.

After you have set the place and time, do not, under any circumstances, call or talk to her before the date. Every sliver of communication between the two of you will lessen the excitement of the unknown. It’s her right to get as excited about the date as she wants, don’t ruin it for her.

I would suggest when setting up the date, that you arrange to meet at the restaurant. Do not, I repeat, do not allow her to come to your house. She shouldn’t know your address; for that matter she shouldn’t even know your phone number. The less she knows about you, the better. First, it heightens her excitement of the unknown. Second, and far more importantly, when she decides to pull the psycho plug and let her neuroses come flooding out like a Norwegian maelstrom, she won’t know where you live, and so you might survive the tempest.

If you do decide to pick her up, get there two minutes before you said you would pick her up. If you have to sit at the corner store down the street for ten minutes, do it. She won’t know what to think if you’re at her house two minutes before you said you would be. If you’re late, you’re a slacker, if you’re too early, you’re just weird. When you show up, expect to wait. If you don’t have to wait, consider it a blessing, but be prepared to wait. If she invites you in, go in, but just to the entry way and stand, if she invites you to sit, sit. Don’t do any more than she invites you to do.

Always always always let her be the one to touch her door. Let her open her own door, let her shut it. She is the first one in through her door and the last one out. She gets to completely control access to her house and what you do in it. Do not question this rule, obey it completely.

As soon as you’re outside the house, allow her to walk in front of you or to your side, wherever she feels comfortable. Do not walk in front of her. Don’t ever walk in front of her, unless you are entering somewhere dangerous, or your house, which I suppose for most guys might be redundant.

And here we get to a very important point. Do not touch her. Don’t even brush up against her. When you step to the side to allow her to walk past you so that she can walk in front of you to the car, do not touch her, but put your hand behind her to guide her past you. Do not touch her.

Have I said it enough yet? This is the most important rule of the entire first date. If you do nothing else by my instruction, do this at least. Get close to touching her, as often as appropriate, but do not touch her. She is in control of when you touch her and how. You should do what you can to casually be close enough to her that she can touch you when it feels natural and right for her, but under absolutely no circumstances should you touch her.

Ok, if she’s choking, you can perform the Heimlich, but that’s it.

When you get back to your car, open her door, and shut it for her when she gets in. It doesn’t matter if she thinks it insulting or old-fashioned. Do it anyway. You control your car and who gets into and out of it; it’s your right, use it. She doesn’t get to control access to your car just because she thinks it’s insulting.

It takes me 3.8 seconds to walk around from the passenger door to the driver’s side door on my car. On a date, I’ll stretch that to 5 seconds. She has 5 seconds to unlock my door. If she doesn’t unlock my door, in 5 seconds I will be back around to her side of the car, opening her door, and telling her it was a pleasure meeting her but I’m afraid things just can’t work out between us.

The entire date is my chance to make her feel like she is the only woman on the planet. The only thing I ask is that when I let her into my world, she doesn’t shut me out. You might think the car door is only symbolic of shutting me out of my own world. You couldn’t be more deluded if you tried.

Successfully in the car, make sure the radio station is on but not blaring. After you start the car, turn off the radio. If she wants it on, she’ll probably tell you that you don’t have to turn it off. In the same way, have the A/C or heater, whichever is more appropriate, on when you start the car, but turn it down after you start the car, and again, she’ll probably tell you what she would like. If she doesn’t say anything to either, it is polite to ask about the temperature, again the idea is to make her as comfortable as possible while staying in control of your car, and perhaps more importantly, while not sounding like you’re trying too hard to make her comfortable.

When you get to the restaurant, try to get a table in the middle of the room rather than a booth. Your job is to make her feel like the center of attention, that’s a little more difficult of a picture to paint if you hide her in a corner. Don’t do anything before she does. Don’t sit until she does. Don’t pick up your menu until she does. Don’t touch your silverware until she does. If she doesn’t order a meal with a salad, don’t order a meal with a salad, because you’re not going to eat until she does. Don’t drink until she does. Don’t put your hand on the table until she does. Don’t look around the room until she does. Nothing. Period.

Ask lots of questions before your meal arrives. It’s your responsibility to do everything possible to find something she might like to do after dinner. Therefore it’s your responsibility to know what there is to do in town. Find out if she likes dancing, movies, music, disc golf, origami, or walking through a park looking for baby frogs. Know what concerts or movies are happening that night, and have an idea of when.

This all assumes that you’ve decided you would like to actually spend more time with this woman than just the meal. If she is truly boring company, I would like to recommend building card houses out of the sugar packets or balancing everything on the table on top of each other. I have built a 3 story card house out of sugar packets and balanced forks and knives in the shape of Texas, both on first dates. If anyone has a better way to pass the time with a boring date, please share.

But assuming you do want to do something else with this woman, figure out what that something is by the time the meal shows up. Once your meal arrives, find out what is really important to this woman, family, work, pets, church, etc. It’s better to do this once the meal arrives because the conversation will naturally tend to balance out with both people talking and listening/eating. This is not the time for long winded stories, there will be plenty of time for that later.

When the check comes, do not let her pay, but do not make a scene. If she pulls her credit card out, let her put it on the check, but put it in your pocket until the waiter leaves with the check. The more subtle the better. If you have followed my suggestions this far, she will not be able to come up with a good reason for you to not pay.

If you do go do something after dinner, remember, she is the center of attention. And don’t do anything until she does. And don’t touch her.

Instead, focus on watching how she acts, and how she reacts to you. Don’t worry about showing her your quirks, and in fact, go to great lengths to show her your quirks. Do what you can to see how she reacts to who you are. Remember, if you spend all night trying to convince her how wonderful you are, you’ll probably miss out on how wonderful she is. Don’t be afraid of embarrassing yourself in front of her. Women only want two things, to be the center of attention and for a man to make a fool of himself for her.

Be extremely aware of her. Notice her perfume, but that doesn’t necessarily mean you have to comment on it. Notice her laugh. Do your best to run her through the gamut of human emotion, and notice her reaction. Don’t be afraid to bore her, upset her, anger her, offend her, or annoy her. It won’t be the first time you do any of those things, and it’s probably a good idea to find out how she reacts to those emotions early.

But in doing this, be very careful to not try too hard. In fact, in all of these suggestions, do not try too hard. Don’t try to hard to notice her perfume, that would probably come across as pretty creepy. If you mess up any of the rules and make a big deal out of it, she’ll think you’re insincere. And if you make it look like you’re trying to hard to not touch her, she’ll think you’re socially stunted.

And since we’re back on the physical contact thing… If she does touch you, that doesn’t give you free reign to her body. You only get to touch her in the way she decides, when she decides, for as long as she decides. If she puts her hand in yours, hold it until she takes it away. If she touches your arm, you can return the contact, when it is appropriate, but only once. If she leans against you, provide support until she moves away. She always gets to decide when, where, and how long. And just because you were allowed to touch her arm an hour ago doesn’t mean anything now.

If you’re taking her home, the same rules apply. Do not touch her. Don’t go in her house unless she invites you. Don’t sit down unless she invites you. Don’t do anything until she does.

What about a goodnight kiss? Have you heard a word I’ve said so far? She decides when where and how long. End of story. If she kisses you, then there’s a good night kiss. If she doesn’t, there isn’t. There probably won’t be one. But I can promise you, if you make her wait, when she finally does kiss you, she’ll forget how to breathe.

The longer a woman waits for something she wants, the more she wants it. If you do find a woman who wants you, it is in your best interest to make her wait.

And whatever you do, don’t for a second think you’re playing by the rules if you tell her any of this. Don’t tell her you’re not touching her. Don’t talk about it at all. Don’t even hint about going in her house. Don’t ask if you can sit down. Stop trying to find loopholes in the rules, and just follow them.

At the end of the date, set up the next interaction. If it’s a phone call, decide when. If it’s lunch, or another date, set it up right then. If you don’t set it up then, then don’t ever call her again. Don’t make it a surprise when she’s going to see you next. Time isn’t the surprise, you are.

And no matter what, don’t make her leave, don’t make her be the one to say good night or good bye. And when you do say good bye, only say it once, then leave. If you do as I suggest, you’ll be pretty worn out from the evening anyway. It’s extremely hard work to be that attentive all night, but I assure you, if she is worth it, the effort is worth it.

Women aren’t like us. They see every bit of this. In their world, this isn’t sneaky or subtle. But they’ll go nuts trying to figure out if it’s even possible for a guy to do any of this. And they’ll think about it until they’re around you again. Attention is better than chocolate to them.

My advice, practice this until it comes second nature, until you’re treating every woman you know this way. And remember, while it may feel like a game, and they might accuse you of as much, it is most certainly not a game. Respecting women takes effort, and no matter what the Political Correctness people might tell you, it’s not about equal pay and not telling dirty jokes. It’s about treating women like they’re important, like they’re worth protecting, and doing so simply because they are. The world doesn’t revolve around them, but when they’re with you, they should be able to forget that for a while.

Anonymous said on 2004-08-10

Remember, he’s not just the president, he’s also a client.

Erin said on 2004-08-09

Please write a book that I can distribute to every man I meet :-)

Posted with : Carbon 14