Dating Tips #1

The single man's guide to successful dating

About The Author

I am a woman in my 40's, in a very happy, loving relationship who, having survived the Dating Chapter of my life, wishes to pass on some of the "Do's and Don'ts" of dating for the Single Man.

Prior to meeting my boyfriend, the men I dated were varied. Some dates were great and some were tragic, none were perfect. It took a while and I enjoyed the journey but I finally found the perfect man for me and most of the good deeds mentioned in the following pages are performed by him, so I can speak from personal experience about those things a man can do for his partner to make her feel special on an ongoing basis.

After lengthy research with lady friends and acquaintances (willing accomplices), a working set of rules for the dating male emerged. What we girls would like to see more of or less of. What "worked" for us and what definitely did not.

Thank you to all the contributors who shared their stories for the greater good. You shall remain anonymous to protect the innocent (and not so innocent) but you know who you are and please know that I appreciate your honesty and support for this project.

Please note: I am not "having a go" at the male population buts simply noting some observations from a female's point of view.

Where To Find A Date

Apart from the usual way of meeting people – work, family, friends, parties, clubs/nightclubs – here are a few suggestions as to where you might meet someone you would like to ask out on a date:

Introduction agencies

A perfectly legitimate way of meeting women that have been screened by a professional, to ensure their sincerity. Make sure you use only a reputable agency that helps bring genuine couples together with a view to a relationship and does not deal in "added services"

Internet

Never tried it personally, but I've heard of some successful romances blossoming as a result of meeting via the Internet, as well as some disasters. (Also Introduction Agencies promote their services via the Internet these days.)

Gym

Working out on a regular basis will help you look and feel better, on the inside and out. This will not only increase your energy levels but also your confidence and the gym is a great place to meet people. Just don't be sleazy (no obvious perving).

Your child's school

Volunteer for canteen duty one day a term or help out at the sports carnival. There are plenty of single/divorced/widowed mums out there you can meet if you get involved in school activities.

Community groups/volunteer organizations

Why not help out at an animal shelter after work? Animal loving women love to see men caring for animals.

See if your local retirement village has a program where volunteers read to seniors (sure to catch the attention of nurses).

Walk the dog

A dog is a real "chick magnet" at parks. If you are not willing or able to own one yourself and look after it full time, offer to walk your neighbours dog for them once a week. Not only will you be getting some regular exercise, but your neighbour will think you are wonderful.

Night school

There are some great adult courses on offer for education or just for fun.

Try a cooking class – not only will you learn how to whip up fantastic meals to impress your friends, but there will also be a smorgasbord of ladies in the class.

Business associations

Networking functions attract a diverse range of people wanting to promote their businesses, including women.

Shopping

Always look your best as you never know who you'll be standing next to in the checkout queue or even the frozen food section (yes…I was asked out on a date when reaching for the frozen peas).

Bus

You never know who you'll be sitting next to on the bus on the way to work. If it is someone who appeals to you, try to make eye contact with them and strike up a conversation. Asking where she works is a good start and will also give you a way of tracking her down in the future.

Aeroplane

I've never met a love interest on a plane but I did sit next to a professional golfer on a very interesting four hour flight once. Remember everyone that sits next to you has a story to tell and you never know when your paths might cross again and who they may introduce you to – so be courteous and keep an open mind.

Above all, remain hopeful – every time you venture out there is a possibility you may find the woman of your dreams.

How To Get That First Date

If you've just met and have an urge to see her again, just invite her out then and there. If you haven't had a chance to think of an appropriate place to go for your date, just tell her you want to see her again and ask if you can phone her to arrange a catch up. Remember though that phone numbers can be lost so ask her where she works AND LISTEN – you may need to track her down if her phone number ends up going through the wash!

Have the format and venue for the date already planned before you invite her out. Don't ask her where she wants to go or what she wants to do – most women find this annoying. She can make the plans when she invites you out.

If you already know her, phone her, but don't leave a message if she's out because if she doesn't phone you back, you won't know whether she did in fact get the message or if she simply isn't interested. Keep phoning until you get to speak with her in person, then ask her out. Don't do it be email or SMS for the same reason – if she doesn't reply, you can't be sure she actually got the message and you may give up prematurely and miss out on something fantastic. Don't be afraid of a knock-back – any decent woman will do it nicely and in a way that won't leave you feeling too bad. And if you get a knock-back on the phone there won't be any witnesses. Its better you know immediately if she is not worth pursuing rather than sitting around waiting on a return phone call that may never happen. At least with a knock-back you know where you stand and can move on. Her loss!

Arranging The First Date

When you get a "yes" offer to pick her up from home or work rather than meet at the venue. If she insists on picking you up and driving, you should pay for parking if necessary.

When arranging a time to meet, give yourself a 15 minute window (e.g. 7.00 to 7.15) and try to arrive in the middle of this time frame. Don't be late as it may indicate you don't consider her time as valuable as your own. Don't be early – she'll appreciate all the time she can get to prepare and you don't want to catch her this early on in the piece without make-up on!

Where to go and how to pay?

Ideally a first date should only be for the two of you and should not include your friends. It is a time for finding out about each other – chemistry, likes and dislikes, hobbies, things you have in common. This is best done in a reasonably quiet, casual setting that provides time alone with some distractions to take the pressure off.

Best venues for first dates include:

Movie followed by coffee

Choose carefully – avoid movies that include sex scenes, depression or terminal illness which rules out most art flicks. A sad movie will make her cry and she'll be paranoid about ruining her make-up. Too much violence or over-the-top action movies are unlikely to appeal to her and beware of sci-fi movies where the make up and costumes are better than the storyline. Go for a light-hearted/humorous movie (but nothing to silly such as Flying high or Dumb and Dumber). It won't kill you to watch a feel good movie once in a while, especially if it set's you up for a feel good future together! Go for coffee afterwards to discuss the movie and find out more about each other.

Theatre

The smaller theatrical venues regularly put on small plays performed by local talent. These shows are often very good and inexpensive.

Casual restaurant

Try ordering shared food like Fondue, Tapas or Dim Sum as it is a more intimate form of eating and can break the ice. Always allow her to go first when sharing food.

Picnic

Try lunch at a special park or where an event is showing, e.g. outdoor cinema, play, or concerts. You can buy prepared picnics hampers from any cafes or pack your own with easy finger food like cheese and crackers, dips, olives, nuts, strawberries etc. Don't forget to pack some exquisite chocolates (these are worth the money) and a bottle of champagne/wine with unbreakable wine glasses. Take a rug for you both to sit on (or wrap around the two of you if it gets cold or rains).

Afternoon Tea/Coffee

Try something located near to somewhere interesting you can go for a walk afterwards, maybe the beach, along a river or through the hills.

Worst venues for first dates include:

Inappropriate movies

As already mentioned; no sex scenes, depression, terminal illness or gratuitous violence.

Pub/nightclub

Too dark, too noisy and too sleazy for a first date.

Party

Parties can be boring for your date if she doesn't know anyone there, plus there's always a possibility someone else will chat her up.

Beach

She's unlikely to want to expose herself in a bathing suit on the first date, and asking her might make her uncomfortable.

Group scenes with your mates or her friends.

Being with a group of people you know well and the person you are with may change the way you or she would otherwise have behaved. Try to keep your first date to just the two of you and keep it real.

Football (or any other sporting event that may cause you to change character and yell like a yobbo!).

Speedway (too noisy, too dirty, too smelly and too monotonous.)

If you're the one that did the inviting, then automatically pay. Never discuss the price with her. Do your homework ahead of time so you know what to expect to pay. If you can't afford it or don't feel comfortable spending that amount of money, go somewhere else. Never, ever, complain to her about the cost.

If she invites you out, you should offer to contribute half when the bill comes, but if she insists on paying it all, let her.

Note: Payment for all future dates can be on a shared basis.

How To Behave On The First Date

Holding hands

A bit of romance on the first date is nice. The easiest way to introduce this at an early stage, is to hold her hand when crossing a road or walking through a busy area. Don't make a big deal of it by asking, just reach for her hand and lead the way. Most women will appreciate this gesture, but if she really doesn't like it she'll pull her hand away. This won't necessarily mean she's not on interested, it may be that she just likes her personal space and is not ready for this closeness. It could also mean your hands are:

 

  • rough – avoid this by applying hand lotion before meeting her,
  • sweaty – wipe your hands on your trousers first, or
  • dirty – no excuse for this, just wash them!

 

Note: Always hold the hand on the opposite side to where she carries her handbag – not only is this more comfortable for her, but it will save you from the bruises incurred by a swinging handbag weighed down by hairspray, mobile phone, purse, make-up keys etc.

Listen and be observant

Give her your undivided attention and listen to what she is saying rather tan just thinking of what you want to say next. Also be observant of what she isn't saying and be aware of her feelings and whether she is comfortable and at ease with the situation. If you notice she is uneasy about something that may be happening, tell her you've noticed and ask her what is bothering her. She will be impressed that you are in tune with her feelings and the situation may be easy to remedy once you know what the problem is. A friend of mine was in a situation where she felt embarrassed and frustrated because she was unable to perform a simple task that she could do easily prior to suffering and injury. Her date picked up on her feelings of unease and discreetly fixed the problem for her. She was touched by this gentleman's thoughtfulness and remembers it was at that exact point in time when she fell in love with his manners. They have shared over 10 years of wedded bliss since that date and she still refers to him as the "love of her life".

Hygiene

Don't overdo the aftershave – less is more. You don't want her suffering a sneezing attack or worse, think you are trying to cover up some other smell. On the subject of smells, keep your body odour in check. Have a shower immediately prior to leaving for your date. If you are unable to do this (e.g. you are meeting straight after work) at least change into a clean shirt. Always apply and underarm deodorant and brush your teeth or chew on some mint flavoured gum shortly before you met her (absolutely no gum chewing when you are together though).

While on the subject of personal hygiene, wash your hair within a reasonable period of time prior to your date – don't turn up with greasy, dirty hair. If you suffer from dandruff, invest in a good anti-dandruff shampoo or snuggling up will be out of the question… she won't want to be dusting of her clothes afterwards.

Dress to impress!

Dress for the occasion but never, ever go under-dressed. She will gauge how much being with her means to you by what you wear. If you dress like you don't care, that's how she's going to feel. Having said this, don't overdress for the weather conditions; don't wear a jacket that can't be removed or a thick shirt if it is likely to be warm as sweat marks on shirts are real turn-off. Wearing a jacket over a presentable shirt is a great idea because if it gets cold you can take your jacket off and offer it to her. This is another way of injecting romance as it makes the woman feel special by showing you care about her comfort.

Note: Always empty out your jacket pockets before you leave home. Toss out those phone numbers obtained on your last night club visit, dirty old tissues, lolly wrappers and wishful thinking condoms. If your jacket ends up being worn by your date, she may just put her hands in the pockets for warmth and warmth should be the only thing she finds!

Have one good pair of shoes that go with both jeans and trousers (preferably not sneakers/sports shoes and definitely not thongs). Keep them clean and in good repair. It is universal – all women judge men by their shoes!

While on the subject of dressing appropriately, let your date know if you are doing something out of the ordinary that may require her to dress in a certain way. For example, let her know if you intend in picking her up on your motorbike so she can choose suitable clothing. She may still decide to wear the mini skirt as planned, but at least she has all the facts in case she wants to change her mind and wear jeans instead.

What you ALWAYS need to do

Always open doors for her. This means holding a door open for her to walk through first and opening the car door for her to get in. No need to rush and open the door for her to get out, unless she is sitting waiting there for you to do so.

Always pull her chair out for her at a restaurant or bar and make sure she is seated before you sit down.

Always choose the best seat for her, i.e. don't choose the river view for yourself!

Always ask her what wine/drink she would prefer when ordering drinks. Don't just go ahead and order a bottle of wine without consulting her. She won't choose the most expensive as a matter of courtesy. If she does choose an expensive wine (or one you just don't like), see if you can order it by the glass and choose a less expensive wine for yourself if you want to save money. You will probably be driving and shouldn't be drinking too much anyway.

Always use a serviette to wipe your chin if you have the slightest notion you might have gravy dripping from it. If you feel like there's something there – THERE USUALLY IS!

Always phone when you say you will – she needs to be able to believe in and rely on you.

Always thank her when she pays, even if she just buys you a drink.

Always walk her to her car or see her safely onto public transport or into a taxi if you are not driving her home after your date. Her welfare really should be important to you and she will appreciate your thoughtfulness.

Always thank her at the end of the date for her company.

To kiss or not to kiss?

My research produced two schools of thought here:

A recommendation you kiss her on the cheek when you say goodbye. Women like to feel they are desirable without fending off an invasion of the tongue too early in your dating cycle. A peck on the cheek says "thankyou", "I find you attractive" and .or "I enjoy being with you" all at once. Most women will not be offended by a peck on the cheek. It shows a level of interest on your behalf and once it has been broached, it sets the scene for perhaps a more intimate kiss on your next date.

A recommendation that you say "I'd like to kiss you goodnight" and lean forward. This gives her the opportunity to:

 

  • say "I'd rather you didn't",
  • offer her cheek for the kiss or
  • Meet your lips with hers for the real thing

 

What NOT to do

Don't give false hope by saying you'll phone if you're not interested – it's not fair on her and you don't want her telling others what a bastard you are!

Don't talk about money and how much or how little you have.

Don't let your eyes wander around the room while she's talking to you. Keep your eyes on her. It is disrespectful to do this to anyone you are speaking with but your date in particular deserves your undivided attention. If you are keeping an eye out for someone you are expecting to join you, forget them! They will find you and even if they don't will it really matter? Isn't it more important to make your date feel at ease? If you are not interested in what she is saying, just try to steer the conversation to a more interesting subject. If you find that the initial attraction isn't working, you owe it to her to remain attentive for the duration of your date. Don't burn your bridges by behaving rudely; you never know when your paths may cross again and what the future holds.

Don't pass any sexual comments about others in the room, e.g. I'd bed her if she asked! You may think you are coming across as nonchalant, but you'll just look like a jerk and will guarantee no romance transpires.

Don't talk about your ex-wife or past girlfriends. You'll either come across as bitter or in mourning.

Don't say anything negative about her body, e.g. "ever thought of getting breast implants?" or "you've quite dark roots don't you, do you colour your hair?"

Don't discuss your health issues with her (nobody wants to visualize you with the runs or hear how "backed up" you are).

Don't say anything remotely negative about her clothes, e.g. "you would look fantastic in red" when she is wearing green, or "My mum wore platforms like that when I was a kid".

Don't pass negative comments about others – you don't want to appear bitchy or judgemental, unless it is backing up a comment she has made in which case you should agree rather than disagree.

Don't talk about your desire to move interstate or overseas unless there are firm plans in place. She won't want to invest any more time into a relationship with you if she thinks there is a chance you may up and leave.

Don't just talk about yourself. You should use this opportunity to find out as much about your date as possible, but be careful not to appear as though you are interrogation her. Ask her a question and when she has answered it you should volunteer some information about yourself on the same subject. For example, you may like to ask "Have you travelled overseas?". If she tells you she has backpacked around Europe, you can explain the furthest you have travelled is Bali but that you're hoping to travel some more. Ask her advice on which European towns you should visit. Another easy question that will open the conversation up and give you both a chance to talk about your interests is to ask her which is her favourite meals/movies/books/music.

Don't show road rage when driving – you won't look like you're right, you'll look like a hothead and be feared rather than admired.

Don't walk ahead of her – she won't feel too special racing behind trying to catch up to you. Walking ahead of her may give the impression you are ashamed to be seen alongside her and nobody deserve to b made to feel like that.

Don't be rude to serving staff – you won't look sophisticated or important, you'll just embarrass your date and run the risk of your waiter spitting in your food before serving it.

Don't talk to others you might bump into without introducing your date to them first. Don't spend too long with them; be polite and move on with your date.

and above all…

DON'T GET DRUNK! Alarm bells about alcoholism will ring for her and nobody wants a boyfriend that needs to get drunk to have a good time.

How To Behave After The First Date To Ensure More Dates

If an early date coincides with her birthday, make her feel special with flowers or a small gift. No need to go overboard, just show some effort. Find out what books she like to read – this makes a perfect first gift showing you've put some thought into it without spending a fortune so early into the relationship.

You should definitely phone her on the day of her birthday to give her your best wishes.

Giving flowers on Valentines Day is a must. Preferably delivered to work so she can show them off to her colleagues. If you are shy you can do it anonymously – bit make sure you leave her a clue so you get the credit for it (wouldn't want her to think they are from her ex!).

Wait until there has been some obvious romance between you before you ask her to spend the night. This may seem obvious but I was taken out to see a movie once and since it was near my dates house we went back to his place for coffee afterwards. Throughout the evening there had been absolutely no romance; no holding hands, no kissing, not even a peck on the cheek. When I used his bathroom, I discovered a brand new toothbrush next to the basin. I tried not to laugh and asked if it was intended for me. My date, appearing a little embarrassed now, said her had bought it for me in case I had wanted to spend the night. Although I was touched by the sentiment, there was no way I would entertain the thought of spending the night with him when there had been no romance between us up to this point. And I admit I laughed all the way home and again the next day when I shared the experience with my best friend.

While on the subject of sleep over's, make sure your place is clean if there is any chance you may have company at the end of your date. Pull out clean towels and change the sheets and pillow cases. Remove all clothes and shoes from the floor and clean the bathroom basin and toilet. Empty the bin and make sure you have plenty of toilet paper.

After a few "safe" dates, ask her to your place and cook a meal for her or buy some nice take-away and serve it up nicely. It will make her feel special (as long as your dinner set is in decent shape, not chipped or made of plastic). Find out if there are any foods she can't eat beforehand and ensure you have some matching wine glasses. Play some background music but keep the volume down so you can speak freely. Jazz or lounge music is good for this sort of occasion – heavy metal is not!

How To Ensure A Future Together

Let's presume you are now living with the love of your life. Spoil her from time to time to let her know how much she means to you. Here are a few ideas:

Continue opening doors for her, especially when you go out on special occasions.

If she is the one who normally cooks, cook her a meal occasionally but tell her the day before so she doesn't make any plans. Decide on a menu then check for yourself what extra ingredients you need to buy rather than asking her what she would like you to cook. Every now and then, make it extra special by setting the table properly, with cloth serviettes, candles, a bottle of wine and soft music.

Make her breakfast in bed on the weekend. This can be as simple as toast and coffee but should always be accompanied by the morning paper for her to read. This will be especially appreciated if there are children in the house. Close the bedroom door and leave her to enjoy her breakfast and paper while you look after the kids.

Leave a card or note to let her know you are thinking of her. This is your chance to say thank you for something special she does, or to say something romantic, or something funny to brighten her day. Leave the note somewhere only she will find it, e.g. on her car seat before she leaves for work, in her lunchbox or on her pillow.

Surprise her every now and then with a bunch of flowers picked up on your way home from work. Not only will you score great points at the time of giving, but they'll last about a week and every day she walks past them she'll have fond thoughts of you and be reminded of how thoughtful you are.

If you know she's had a particularly hard or exhausting day, offer to run her a bath while you do the evening's dishes.

If you arrive home first and notice washing on the line, bring it in before the rain or dew gets to it. She'll love that you've taken the initiative and done something helpful without being asked.

ALWAYS acknowledge anniversaries so that she knows you consider the time you have spent together is special to you and worthy of celebrating the milestones. A simple card may be all that's necessary…or flowers…or chocolates…or diamonds! This one is up to you; just make sure you do something on the actual date of the anniversary.

Make a fuss of her on her birthday and organise something special for dinner – a lady should never have to cook on her birthday!

Give a little with TV shows. Be considerate and don't hog the remote. Deciding what program to watch should be a joint decision.

A lady likes her man to have good manners and there are some basic rules that should prevail to ensure you do not embarrass her to the extent that she considers moving on.

When you have guests over for dinner they should be served first, starting with the ladies. Your guests should also be offered seconds of any remaining food and you definitely only take seconds when everyone else has declined. There is nothing more unattractive to a lady than her man rushing in to take a second piece of cake before anyone else gets it – greed is not good!

Always put the toilet seat down when you are finished; not sure why it bugs us so much, but we can't abide it.

Don't blow your nose in the shower – she always knows! She may not say it, but this repulses her.

Don't pee in the shower – DITTO!

Use a toilet brush to scrub the toilet bowl when you've finished – she doesn't want to know!

Don't deliberately belch or pass wind in her presence. Although these are necessary bodily functions, they should not be break. On the rare, occasion one pops out by accident, excuse yourself, but don't think that it is okay to drop them at your leisure and all will be forgiven if you say "sorry".

If you are entertaining guests, the TV must remain off. It is not OK to ask if you watch your favourite program. Most people will politely say it is fine but in their minds, they will be disappointed that you rate watching TV higher than conversing with them. It shows a total disregard for their feelings. This is the height of bad manners and bound to embarrass the lady in your life, particularly if you do it to her family and/or friends.

In conclusion, I'd like to leave you with the most important tip of all – NEVER GIVE UP TRYING. The cliché "there is someone out there for everyone" is true. It just takes some people a little longer to find each other. All you can do is give yourself the best opportunity by continually putting your best self out there.

I hope you have found this information both entertaining and useful and I wish you every success in your romantic endeavours. I'd love to hear from you with any success stories (or disasters). Please email any feedback to: info@solutionsmatchmaking.com.au

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