During-The-Date Etiquette

17 May 2013
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During-the-date etiquette

A big question is always “Who pays?”. For my thoughts on this, please see one of my earlier blog posts:  http://sittinginatree.com/to-pay-or-not-to-pay/

Are there any topics that are taboo to discuss on a first date? Some might answer: “Yes, do NOT discuss religion, politics or past relationships on a first date”. There are many reasons why this is the general rule, however, as you may know – I believe rules are made to be broken, and do not really have a place when it comes to matters of the heart.

Making and sustaining conversation on a first date can be challenging at best – adding limitations and rules around what to talk about, and what not to talk about, can add undue pressure to an already potentially awkward or uncomfortable experience.  What’s important is to know your audience, to know yourself and to understand how others may perceive you, your opinions and your anecdotes.  Whether it’s subconscious or not, deliberate or unintentional, you are being evaluated by your date. They are determining whether you are a suitable mate for them (as you are likely doing too – them for you) and you will not know ahead of time what the criteria is. They may not even know.

Understand that any information you share forms the basis of their opinion of you and that the less they know you the more room there is for interpretation, assumption and misunderstanding.  Similarly, sometimes less is more as it creates intrigue, mystery, curiousity and…ultimately…interest.

Wherever appropriate – and without overdoing it – qualify questions.  Say to your date “That’s a great question…I’ve never been asked that before! I’m curious, before I answer, why you ask”.  See if you can both put some context around your discussion without making it too formal so that it’s properly “framed” and the likelihood of a misinterpretation is reduced.  For example, if your date asks you if you’ve ever been married before he/she could be asking because:  a)  that might be a deal-breaker for them; b) it might be an experience they can relate to, c) they are genuinely curious and believe it’s an obvious and necessary question to begin to get to know you.

People have asked me what’s appropriate to order (to eat) on a first date. Here are some guidelines:

1) Ask your date if they’re interested in sharing before ordering anything. Sharing can be fun, flirtatious, sensual or just a simple way to break the ice.

2) If you’re getting the “vibe” and feel like being playful – feed your date a bite off your plate. If done casually and naturally, this can be a huge turn-on.

3) Be honest about what you eat and what you don’t eat. If you’re sharing and your date suggests something you don’t like, say so. Frame it like this: “I don’t really eat seafood [as an example], so the calamari and shrimp are out, but I like the seven other choices – so please pick your favourite.”  Please just be careful not to get into a monologue about your battle with anorexia/bulimia as a teenager, your long list of food allergies, your diabetes, or any other ailment that plagues you.  At least not on a first date.  It’s too much information and can be perceived as a turn-off.  Conversely, once a person has established that they are interested in you romantically and the relationship is progressing – what you or your date might have initially thought was a “big deal” easily becomes a moot point, or at the very least, less critical in the selection/deselection thought process.

4) If you’re hoping for a good night kiss, don’t eat anything with onions or garlic, OR be sure to brush your teeth and/or chew gum after dinner.

5) If you’re a female, and you order a salad, make light of the fact that you’re playing in to a stereotype (because, you are).

6) Don’t take yourself too seriously. I used to be self-conscious about the fact that I can be a messy eater. Now, I favour self-deprecating humour in that regard. It takes the pressure off me, and sometimes entertains my dates.

First Date Kiss – To Have or Not to Have?

I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again (thanks for the quote Ferris Bueller) – I do not believe in “rules” when it comes to dating and relationships. Kissing is a wonderful and beautiful thing, and a great way to determine whether physical chemistry exists. If the moment is right, and it feels good, do it. If you prefer to wait until you know the person better, then wait. When it comes to being physical, it should always be about your comfort level.