- Gender and Relationships
How to Survive the Dating Game
Playing the Dating Game
There comes a time in every life when being single loses allure.
The roller-coaster ride of perilous and pleasurable encounters with fellow seekers of companionship would run more smoothly if both parties acquainted themselves with romance's rules of hunting and gathering.
Read this tongue-in-cheek guide to survive the dating game!
Where to Take Her on a First Date
In case she turns out to be a psychotic bunny boiler, choose a public location for your first date.
Restaurants are useful because they're very public, yet allow for semi-private conversation. If her gaze keeps roaming round the room, then you're either boring her or in need of cosmetic surgery. Assuming radical surgery is not an option, ask her about herself. She's bound to liven up at her favourite topic.
Under no circumstances take her to a sports event. Even if she truly loves football, stock car racing or darts, this is not the time.
Where to Take Him on a First Date
In case he turns out to be a psychotic axe murderer, choose a public location for your first date.
Restaurants are useful because they're very public, yet allow for semi-private conversation. If his gaze keeps roaming round the room, stop talking about yourself. Ask him about his car. As he sees this as an extension of his own physicality, he's bound to liven up at his favourite topic.
Under no circumstances take him shopping, especially if this involves choosing soft furnishings or DIY. There is time enough for such feminine tortures should the relationship develop.
Rules of Dress for Him
Football shirts are for sports events or BBQs, not dates. And there are very few men on this earth who can wear shorts and not look slightly silly, especially if paired with dark socks and beatnik sandals. Just don't. Unless, of course, you really are a beatnik-hippy type, in which case add a straw hat and an armful of colourful beads and really go for it.
Equally, you're not going to a board-room meeting of executives. Leave the attache case at home. No need to look like you've just stepped out of an advert for life insurance or a funeral parlour.
And the hair - only Yul Brynner, and maybe Patrick Stewart, looked ok with a shaved head. Everyone else just looks like they can't grow hair or they catch nits a lot.
Rules of Dress for Her
This is a date, not an audition for a pole-dancing club. So for goodness sakes put it away, dear! Let the guy enjoy hinted-at possibilities, rather than confront him with anatomical details which leave no mystery for his imagination to play with later.
Equally, the floor-length baggy sack dress from Frumps-R-Us might win favour with your elderly spinster aunt who was once a nun, but when it comes to romance it just won't cut the mustard. Neither will anything in beige, mud, taupe, sludge or any other colour devoid of life and cheer.
And the hair - if you're pretending to be blonde, don't walk round with a dark stripe of regrowth along your parting. Such patterns are acceptable on a humbug, but unless you're trying to pass yourself off as a boiled sweet, get thee to a salon!
Conversation for Him
Resist any temptation to extol the many virtues of your mother. Even if you are totally certain that her cooking is the best in the world and that nobody irons your pants as well as she can, keep quiet about it. Besides, it's high time you ironed your own pants.
If you still live with your parents and you're aged over twenty-five, you'd better have a VERY good reason for this. Otherwise your date will think you're a mummy's boy who's scared of the big wide world.
Make absolutely no mention of your ex-girlfriend's fabulous breasts, flat stomach, flawless complexion and faultless taste in clothes, her ability to cook a four-course meal for twenty at the drop of a hat, or her awesome dealings on the Stock Exchange. Actually, make no mention of her at all.
Avoid describing your hundreds of one-night stands and resulting visits to the clinic. Reserve such topics for the ears of drunken male friends, especially if there's much truth in any of it.
Conversation for Her
Resist the temptation to whine about your nightmare of a mother, who runs your life and who is always phoning your boss to defend you. Even if she meant well, her shouting at your ex-boyfriend at his wedding is not something you should mention. Besides, it's high time you fought your own battles.
If you still live with your parents and you're aged over twenty-five, you'd better have a good reason. Otherwise your date will think you're daddy's precious princess who can't handle money.
Make no mention of your ex-fiance's god-like physique and fat bank-roll, his Arctic expedition, pioneering scientific invention and how he single-handedly saved little orphans from a man-eating tiger. This is not the time to try to inspire healthy competition.
Do not talk about the three wedding dresses already in your wardrobe. In fact, you would be well advised to not mention the 'M' word at all. Men think lots of scary words begin with 'M': matrimony, mortgage, maternity, monotony, mother-in-law...
Questions He Should Ask
Of course you want to know if she's likely to saddle you with kids by someone else, but be subtle about it. Maybe you'll even like her kids if you give them a chance. If she's a good mother, rejoice, as you know you're a little boy at heart.
If she hasn't got any children the two of you can probably sort that out later. If you both want to, of course. There's nothing written in stone which declares children to be the only foundation of a happy relationship. Maybe the two of you could embark on a life-long project of some other kind, such as creating the perfect chocolate muffin recipe, climbing Everest on roller-skates or opening a cuckoo clock museum. Whatever floats your boat.
If you've seen her face before, make sure it wasn't in one of your "brother's" adult films.
Questions She Should Ask
You will want to know how much money he earns and will be likely to earn, but be subtle about it. Otherwise he'll think you care more for his wallet than his stamp collection, his Sunday afternoon model boat club, and his expert way of waxing his beloved car to keep it bright and shiny.
If he hasn't got any money you'll probably lose all interest in him, but maybe he has a friend or cousin with more potential. In a small world, it's best not to bite the hand that could lead you to someone more useful.
If he's a religious maniac, you need to know about it. Maybe you share the same mania, in which case there should be no problem. Otherwise, ditch. A similar approach to political views is advised.
If you've seen his face before somewhere, make sure it wasn't on a Wanted poster.
If He Wants a Second Date
Trust me on this one - if he wants a second date, he'll ask.
If She Wants a Second Date
He'll either like you or he won't. If you chase him, he surely won't. Men are old-fashioned that way. Feign indifference to irritate his ego, which wants to be admired and to conquer, and you'll be more likely to have your way.
How He Declines a Second Date
If she asks him for a second date and he's not interested, rather than tell her in person that he finds her moderately less attractive than a peat bog mummy, he'll say he's unsure of his work schedule that week so he'll phone her later.
He won't phone. Ever.
He does not require messages to be left on his answer-phone to remind him to call. If he can remember the scores in a rugby championship from three decades ago, or the exact mechanical specifications of his dream car, his memory isn't that bad.
How She Declines a Second Date
If he asks her for a second date and she's not interested, rather than tell him in person that he has less prospects than Quasimodo, she'll say she's unsure of her work schedule that week so he'd be best to phone her. This way, she doesn't pay for the phone call.
She cannot be persuaded with flowers, chocolates or fluffy teddy bears. She does not require cute presents to be left on her doorstep. This kind of behaviour can get a guy arrested.
An alternative method is to arrange a second date and not turn up. She might be tempted to pass by in a taxi so she can see him standing forlornly in a rainy theatre doorway. She will never look back.
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© 2010 Adele Cosgrove-Bray