Thursday, February 7, 2013

Etiquette is not just really hard to spell.

I have said it before and I will say it again; first dates require a certain set of rules in order to be successful.  First dates are first impressions.  This should be obvious. But not everyone seems to understand that first impressions can be either wonderful or lethal.  From what you wear, location of the date and conversation topics, everything on a first date should be in place to make you look your best, or even better than you really are in real life.  But it seems that many men forget this rule and come to the date 'as is' which is barely accepted in the car dealership world and cannot be tolerated in the post divorce dating world.

So clothing.  Yes we are judging.  As women we are looking you over and saying to ourselves, 'Can we fix this?'  We assume you have worn your red corduroys and high school letter jacket to a date because there was no woman in your life to say to you, 'Really?  You are wearing that?'  But then when we realize that you are a 50 year old successful attorney and you high school letter jacket was actually within reach as you walked out the door, we become concerned.  Shouldn't that be in a dusty box stuffed up in your attic or still in the possession of your high school squeeze?  And soon we realize you purposely went out and bought those ill fitting red corduroy pants.  Unless you are part of a teenage boy band, these pants should not ever be worn by any man.  I blame the cashier who allowed you to purchase them.  But putting all those terrible clothing choices aside under the pretense that no one was home with you to edit, it still is hard to look past your choice of carrying a man-clutch to the date.  I say man-clutch because a man bag presumes an Indiana Jones style satchel which again, under the right circumstances, could be cool.  A man clutch is the kind of bag that if said man was on the red carpet, the E! news reporter may ask him, 'Who are you carrying this evening'.  This first impression worries us to no end.  What decade are you living in and can you come back to this one?  Please, please when in doubt, go for jeans and a button down.  We can work with that.  We can imagine you meeting our friends in this outfit.  We can imagine peeling you out of these clothes.  When you wear red corduroys and your high school letter jacket, the terror at the thought of what lays underneath is almost too much to bear.

But say we can look past the poor wardrobe decisions.  Can we move on beyond what comes out of your mouth?  There are topics that are to be avoided on a first date.  Any lengthy conversation about your ex and your break-up and how much you are really truly ok with it, is a no-no.  Yes, can you briefly describe the demise of your marriage?  Of course you can.  But details and in depth analysis should be redirected to your friends, or your shrink.  Your kids?  Is that safe terrain?  Yes of course, but again within reason.  A couple quick anecdotes and then move on.  No one becomes sexier talking about how they had to go to their kids basketball game or clean up their kids vomit.  And then there is religion and politics.  Again skimming the surface here is a good call for a first date.  Of course you want to make sure your date is on the same page as you ideologically, but preaching about your view points, especially when they are extreme, is not a turn on.  So don't tell me that you left the United States and moved to the Netherlands because we elected Ronald Reagan.  It makes you sound crazy.  And don't tell me that you only watch foreign films, because all Americans are fat and stupid and make fat, stupid movies, cause all it is doing is challenging me to tell you that my favorite film is 'Deep Blue Sea'.  And don't tell me that Israel is the only place we should live because I am going to tell you to move there.  But at the end of the date, after preaching your insane uber liberal thoughts, don't, don't, don't walk me to my car, take one look at my giant gas-guzzling American SUV and tell me how 'disappointed' you are in my automobile choice.  Cause, dude, I am going to track you down and run you over with said 'disappointing choice', 

The goal of date one is usually to move onto date two.  But if you drive us away by showing your bad hand of cards up front, and not bluffing, we are probably going to fold right away.  You need to be a little mysterious.  We don't want to know about your most recent bout with food poisoning or the fact that you generally suffer from lower back pain.  We don't want to know that you don't own a television because you see it as the corruption of America.  And we certainly don't want to see you in acid wash jeans.  We want to be wooed and flirted with.  We want you to want us to want you.  We are not asking you to lie.  But like when you are selling a house, you should show us all the good stuff first; the granite counter tops, the heated bathroom floor, the beautiful built-ins.  You should save the bad stuff until after we have fallen in love and desperately want to purchase the house.  Presumedly you are going on this date to turn it into a relationship.  Ensnare us with you wonderful qualities and save the crazy for when it is too late for us to leave.  Put some work into it, because we are.  We want to like you.  We just need you to make it easier for us.  And despite your missteps, I will keep dating because after all I am divorced and single.