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Gentlemen's Day (April)

Tuesday, April 30, 2013
First of all, happy birthday to my brother Nulli Secundus. Second, welcome to the eavesdroppers who are still clicking to my blog because they cannot resist my allure. In the words (or to paraphrase the words) of a repentant German scientist at Harvard, "I wouldn't have gone out with you, but you were such a good writer."

"What about my beautiful blue eyes?" is what I should have said in reply. But that's all water under the River Street Bridge, and now that I'm married, the bachelors of the world can take me out for a coffee without being haunted by the doleful chime of phantom wedding bells.

"I don't mind you having coffee," says my husband, "but you're not allowed to pay."

Occasionally a young bachelor of the world puts aside his natural reluctance to allow women tell him what to do and asks for my advice. Obviously I find this charming.  I am reminded of the time a very sharp man took me and a pal shopping for our friend, his fiancee. We led him straight to Tiffany's. He shelled out, our friend was happy, they now have two children, it's a wonderful world.

Okay, so here is a bachelor asking me how to negotiate a first date at a dance. I've edited the letter a bit.

Dear Auntie Seraphic,

I have a date on Saturday.  I met a cute girl at swing-dancing, and after dismissing all the reasons I was coming up with not to ask her out, I went ahead and asked. We're meeting up for dinner and then going out to the dance (not being from the area, it was the only thing I could come up with without access to a computer to do research). The fact that the dance starts at a particular time will prevent dinner from dragging on uncomfortably.

Of course, the fact that we're going to the dance presents an interesting question that I hadn't considered when I offered the date. Swing dancing is a social dance, and there is an expectation that you will not dance with the same partner every dance (although some couples do that). I'm not quite sure how to strike the balance.  

On Gentlemen's Day, a post on first date expectations or what not to do on a first day would be most welcome. I'd be interested in your readerships's perspective.

Best Wishes,

Dear Eavesdropper,

That sounds like an intense first date but because just having coffee is completely impractical, it sounds reasonable. Dinner and dancing is pretty traditional. 

I recommend saying something between dinner and the dance like "Save me the first and last dances!" That way she'll feel free to dance with other guys, and you'll feel free to dance with other girls, and yet the most psychologically date-like dances will be all yours. (By the way, if you see her ever all by herself during a dance, and you don't have a partner yet, you may want to rescue her. Technically, she's your guest all evening, so you're in charge of making sure she is always having a good time.)

As for first date stuff, all I can say at the moment is look good, open doors for the lady, help her with her coat, ask her what she wants to eat, don't complain about anything, find out what she's interested in, listen as much as you talk, pay the bill and help her with her coat again. Finally, it's your responsibility to make sure she gets home safely. 

Keep an ear out for any red flags, but also remember that almost nobody is truly their best selves on the first date!  

Grace and peace,

Incidentally, the opening-the-door, helping-with-the-coat stuff is a good way of determining if a girl likes you that much or  is at all worth your time. Any girl who protests on a date, on an actual date, that she can open her own doors (duh) is not worth asking on a second date. As for coats,  I almost always need help with my coat. And I am always charmed when I am helped with my winter coat in particular because frankly I cannot negotiate the sleeves without flapping around like a seagull with its head stuck in a tin can. And of course it is flattering that a man would be that attentive to my needs and act as though he were willing to assist me in any difficulty, no matter how small. Of course usually he is not, but a teeny-weeny bit of illusion brightens a girl's day.

Now let me see. Questions for the gentlemen.  Female readers should not respond to anything the gentlemen say until tomorrow. Stand back and allow them some oxygen.

Nzie the Rosy Gardener has asked:

1. Are there certain things that make you think a girl you might otherwise be interested in wouldn't be interested in you? 

I'm asking because my mom suggested, and I think she's right, that I often put myself in a sister-like role and short-circuit dating possibilities. I think it's a combination of the fact that I'm very used to being big sisterly, and I'm a bit nervous/shy. So if there are behaviors that give off that impression, I'd like to know so I can pay attention to my own behavior (and hopefully stop turning into everyone's sister). :-)

2. What do you consider evidence of approachability of a woman for date-asking purposes? Do these matter less the stronger you're attracted to someone?

3. Do you feel like adding in the shared faith element makes people less interesting than they normally are when they meet outside religious dating contexts?
(Context/Explanation: It seems to me people think because they share faith and values, they *have* to discuss it, show how well read or devout they are, etc... is that something you've experienced? is there a "good way" to do it?)

4. What are you most worried about girls judging you based on? Looks? Money? Job/car/etc.?