For some reason, I have an inexplicable urge to write something on dating. Why? I have absolutely no idea. Maybe it's because of the worrying decline in the number of men who do things properly. You and I may differ on the topic of chivalry. While I think that it is just as relevant as it was 50 or 100 years ago, you might think that is is old-fashioned and has no place in the modern world. That's okay, you are entitled to your opinion. I only ask that you acknowledge that my opinion is right and that yours is stupid and wrong.
Here are a couple of tips:
You ask her out, personally. Doing it over the phone is also acceptable. You do not ask a friend to do it – what are you, 5? You do not do it over an IM or via SMS. You do not expect a woman to ask you out on a date. You're the hunter, they're the prey and they tend to like it that way. Your ancestors hunted, you hunt - that's how it works, so deal with it. If you can't man up enough to ask a lady on a date, get in your car and drive to the zoo. When you get to the zoo, find a lion. When you find a lion, climb into its cage and punch it in the nose. Survive the ensuing chaos. Repeat this procedure until you've grown a pair (if you do not understand this statement, you are too young to date).
When you pick her up, you do not stand in the street and honk. Get out of your car, and meet her at the door/gate.
If she has a pet, be nice to it. At this stage, Fido is more important to her than you are.
Give her an indication of where you are taking her. Women like to worry about what they should wear. If she knows where she is going, it'll be easier for her to decide what she should wear.
If it's a first date, you do not take her to the movies. The first date is the talking date, and talking in the cinema is rude. Coffee and a stroll is a good idea, as is dinner and a show. Mind your table manners. Prawns may be eaten with your fingers, T-bone steaks may not. If you order prawns or ribs, the waiter may bring you a little bowl of water. This water is not for drinking. The napkin comes on your lap. If it's a very classy joint, use your cutlery from the outside in. Give the waiter a decent tip – unless your lady friend is extremely desperate, she does not want to be stuck with a cheapskate. For the record, McDonald's does not qualify as a restaurant – it has a clown as mascot. Also, you might view Col. Sanders as a fine gentleman, but his establishment does not qualify as a restaurant either. If you're unsure of whether or not your dining establishment of choice qualifies as a restaurant, ask them if they have a wine list. If they do, your choice is probably safe. While we are on the topic of a wine list, take it easy on the hard stuff – you don't want to give the wrong impression and you don't want to park your car up a tree on the way home. Lastly, anywhere with topless waitresses won't do, even if they have a wine list.
Be it dinner, coffee, parking or a show – you pay. This is not negotiable. If you are in a steady relationship, your girlfriend may offer to pay from time to time – that is fine, but no more than 25% of the time. If you try to split the bill on a first date, you should be locked up in a jail cell with a big hairy guy named Bubba. Bubba has not seen a woman for the past 6 years.
You open doors. This rule applies to everything from car doors to restaurant doors. And after your lady friend has passed through the door, do not let go of the door and allow it to smack the little old lady behind you in the face. If there is someone behind you, hold the door until they get to it. This is called manners.
You may pull out your lady friend's chair in a restaurant or coffee shop. Be warned that ladies are no longer used to courteous behaviour like this, and she may not understand the gesture and opt to take another chair. This is called awkward.
If you meet her dad, look him in the eyes and shake his hand. If he says that she should be home by 22:00, you have her home by 22:00. If you run late, let him know. He can be your best friend or your worst enemy.
Wash your car before picking her up.
Wash yourself before picking her up.
When you are talking to her (which you should be doing on a first date), look her in the eyes. Since you are a warm-blooded wise man (homosapien), I know that her eyes might not be your first choice of things to look at. However, looking at her eyes will help her understand that you see her as something more than the juicy piece of steak on your plate. Don't tell her about how awesome you are. Don't tell her about your fancy car. Don't tell her about your gold credit card. Don't tell her about your ex. The safest bet is to get her to talk about herself – they seem to like that. If you have to talk, tell her about your interests, your plans for the future and books and movies that you enjoy. The weather and the latest news are also okay to talk about. You'll get extra points if you can make her laugh. Do not tell her any scientific jokes, unless you are sure that she'll get them. If she doesn't, you'll look like a moron. Hint: anything that starts with 'pull my finger' is not funny, nor is any other vulgarity – this is a date, not your buddy's bachelor's party.
Unless you are a teenager, you do not wear a T-shirt on a date. Particularly not one that has 'FBI: Female Body Inspector', 'I Like Boobs' or anything similar printed on the front. By agreeing to being seen in public with your ugly mug, she's doing you a favour. The least you can do is to look decent. Do yourself a favour and get a sports jacket. Make sure that you always have your wallet, a pen, a clean handkerchief and breath mints with you. Said sports jacket provides more than enough storage space for the above items. Shine your shoes until you can see your face in them. Note: if you are taking her to the beach, the No T-Shirt, No Shorts rule does not apply.
When you drop her off, walk her to her front gate. If she doesn't have a front gate, walk her all the way to her front door. If she doesn't have a front door or a front gate, be aware that you are dating a homeless chick.
When you bid her farewell at the end of the date, you may kiss her on the cheek or give her a hug. Some women will prefer a hug to a kiss on the cheek. Since you've had the whole evening to talk to her and get to know her, you should know which will be best. You are not entitled to anything more, nor are you entitled to being invited in for 'coffee'. The fact that you spent your hard-earned cash to take her on a date does not mean that she owes you anything. If you want a girl who rewards you in accordance with the amount of money that you spent on her, look for a man with a purple suit and big-ass dice hanging from the rear-view mirror of his pink '53 Cadillac El Dorado. He'll get you sorted, but you'll have to pay by the hour.
Lastly, if your date gets cold at any time during the date, particularly during an outdoor stroll, give her your jacket (you do have a jacket, right?). As a man, you are hairy. Because you are hairy you are naturally warmer. She needs that jacket more than you need it.
Gentlemen, I leave you with this. Happy hunting!