The glorious and courageous phenomenon of dating – the batting of eyelids, the nervous handshakes, the lump in the throat before asking someone out. If you really think about it, dating is such a courageous act, and noble too, because the future of humanity rests on the fact that men and women find their mates and well, propagate. Unlike a late nesting country like ours, where we go years under our parents’ sheltering wings, and have the fallback of an arranged marriage, in many other countries, dating is the norm to find a person to spend the rest of one’s life with.
Let’s look at the usual cycle of a date. For a typical date, a man walks up to a girl that he’s interested in to ask her out. In doing so, he withholds nervous twitching and bad humor, and tries to conceal it with a charm that will try to get her to say yes. In the eternal pause between his asking and her answer, the girl does a preliminary assessment of the guy and decides whether or not to take a chance. Various factors come into play here, which we will not go into, considering I need to save that material for my thesis paper. Just as important is her courage to say yes to him. We can look at some factors that can help a girl on a date, a few pointers –
1. The finer things: On a date, instinctively the girl will observe the man’s finer behavior. This stems from their need to see if they are credible in the long run. The guy obviously understands this, and behaves likewise. No one is their true self on a first date, which is why so many are needed!
If the man is chivalrous on a date, appreciate his chivalry if it is consistent. Just like women like to be appreciated for the subtleties of their appearance which they have worked on for that evening, men like to be reminded that it’s nice to be with a chivalrous man these days.
2. The Good guy argument: Shyness is not a bad thing, nor should it be distrusted. Some men are confident in other pursuits, but cannot muster the courage to talk to a woman. It may be due to their upbringing, their circle of friends, and hardly ever because they are clingy, stalker types.
Do not let some man’s reserved nature put you off; they will come into their own in a while, if you give them a fair chance. If I can only count the number of really nice guys who get ignored for the charming heartbreakers with baubles to show for it, I’d probably lose count.
3. The Bad boy argument: There is an unmistakable charm that the bad boys carry, an air of mystery that is almost magnetic. Where to draw the line between dating a commitment phobe, and taking on a human overhaul project, is a decision to be made with much thought.
If the word around the guy in your social circle is that he’s not reliable, he probably isn’t. Do not let the naiveté of you being capable of changing him draw you to him. Some are just mysterious, brooding, bad boys because they are compensating for years of good behavior. These guys are the catch, really!
4. Tips for dates:
- If it’s the first date, let him pay. If he asked you out, it is also the protocol. It isn’t too important that both of you need to establish equality and ground rules right at the outset. He should ideally behave in ways that express your femininity and thought, and you ideally should let him express his masculinity and gestures. Like I said, no one is ever truly themselves on a first date; they are just trying to put their best foot forward. We are so eager to make a good first impression that we leave no stone unturned. What the pair of you is trying to see is if you are each worth the effort.
- If you are new to dating, or shy to ask or get asked by guys, then try going out with friends in groups that commingle. You should find your comfort zone and grounds of preference (in terms of which gathering or kind of ambience and which kind of crowd is comfortable for you). This should not hinder you from going out of your comfort zone to try new places eventually though.
- Mind your drink! Guard it with your life if you have to. If you are with friends, and someone offers to buy you a drink, make sure you see it being made. Like the wise and beautiful Stella Bridger from ‘The Italian Job’ once said – “I trust everyone. It’s the devil inside them I don’t trust.”
- If you are uncomfortable all evening with the guy or feel that there could be no progress, break it off at the end of the date or when he says something like “We should get together again”. Gently at first, but firmly stand your ground. No reason to persist being nice till 4-5 dates or to avoid calls or make excuses. We like to know early on if it won’t work out instead of getting mixed signals for a while. Men also prefer a direct no, even if it hurts the ego for a while.
- Guys do not handle subtleties well. If you need to express something, and he isn’t taking your hints, chances are he is not being blunt. He does not really understand them. Make them clear; spell them out. This is a good tip in general too!
- No matter how much you like the guy or how good you think he is, do not bring up parents on the first date. Ideally, that’s a topic for dates 5 & 6, which is where things start to pick up real pace and you want to test him. He becomes a deer in the headlights if this topic comes up really early.
The main essence of being on a date is to have a good time and come back from it feeling good about life. If someone can consistently make you feel this way, (without trying to buy his way through expensive gifts, of course), he’s worth considering. Happy Adventures!