Relationship expert Rachel MacLynn writes exclusively for Askmen with some advice on first date etiquette.
In an age of equality, understanding etiquette is a mine field of potential faux pas. Chances are, you’re probably not getting it quite right. For example, do you think twice about remaining seated on a crowded tube or bus while allowing other commuters to stand? Probably not (and why should you, you may ask). Do you pass through doors into shops or restaurants not pausing to see if someone is following you in or even stepping back to let someone else enter before you while holding the door? You’ve got a lot to learn. If you care about how you’re perceived — especially in the world of dating — make sure you’re putting your best self forward with these etiquette tips. Because no, chivalry isn’t dead.
It turns out, women love a man who has manners and grace but still manages to be strong. A guy who knows how to treat a woman right is a guy who has a good grip on etiquette. The trick is to make sure that what you do is smooth and natural… and not awkward and staged.
Let’s start with first communications when setting up the date. Texts withBTW, OMG and WTF don’t really scream “gentleman”. So you might want to use full words and make sure you sign off with something warm and friendly like, “Really looking forward to meeting you.” Yo, later, wassup,and what you into? Just do not sound like a man who is in command of himself, his language, or his style. Be yourself but think ‘I am a gentleman and she is a lady’. Casual text banter is all good — once you have gotten to know each other.
The Meet + Greet
So, meeting for the first time, do you lunge in for the cheek kisses right away? Probably not. Usually that would be a little awkward, whereas a warm, not too firm grasp of the hand that lingers while you smile and say “Hello, really nice to meet you,” is a great way to start out. After all, if you fancy someone, isn’t it great to feel the build-up of romantic tension when you wait to hold hands or kiss for the first time?
First-Date Dinner Etiquette
As much as you might like the opportunity to view your date from behind, if you go into a venue that has a flight of stairs, you should walk ahead. If the moment arises, you can reach back and offer your hand so there is a nice moment to touch. If your date is wearing a coat, you should offer to help her with it when she takes it off or when she is putting it on. When you head for the table you should look to offer your date the best seat or position and ensure she is seated and comfortable before you sit down. It’s a natural impulse to sit on the side of the table looking out onto the restaurant — but if you fight the urge and offer the best seat to her, you will have her swooning at your good manners and chivalry. In terms of ordering, make sure you allow your date to place her order first.
If you’re hoping for a first date kiss I would recommend avoiding the garlic infused dishes or salads riddled with raw onion.
Paying The Bill
Then there’s that moment of who pays the bill. My recommendation is for men to make the first move when the bill arrives. There is something about the man picking up the bill that says you are solid, can manage things, that you’re generous and kind. It says a lot about you as a gentleman and women really appreciate this show of generosity on a first date. Of course, you will help her with her coat again and open the door for her when leaving.
So, you are walking down the street, possibly in search of a coffee or an after dinner drink. A gentleman should always place his date out of harm’s way; it sounds old fashioned, but walk closest to the curb and the road and have her walk on the inside. As you cross streets or turn corners, always move to this position. Again, be sure to do this smoothly and naturally to show gentlemanly care.
What about if your second stop is by taxi? Open the car door and allow your date to enter while you walk around the other side. What you should try to avoid is clambering over her. When you pull up in black taxi you should alight first and then turn and offer your hand to your date, who is exiting the cab, to help her out onto the pavement.
Seems like there are so many things to think about, right? But really, if you only master these few etiquette tips, you will be well on your way to establishing yourself as a real gentleman whose good manners women will recognise.
Rachel MacLynn is a psychologist and founder of Vida, one of the world’s most exclusive matchmaking agencies. She has been professionally matchmaking for successful, erudite professionals since 2006 and works with clients located in cities all over the world to help them find their life partner.