Quite Continental Charm School: Day 18 — Date with Great Charm

18/02/2012 § 2 Comments

The Quite Continental Charm School
A modern guide to creating a charmed life
Mariemont High School Prom, photo by Francis Miller for Life.

Day 18: Date with Great Charm
Dating: the inescapable social custom most all of us go through to find a mate.  In this era of Match.com and sexting and status updates, the world captured in the photo above can seem like light years away.  While I’m definitely not advocating we all go back to the 1950s, I do believe dating has definitely lost a bit of the charm it once had.  We will have to take it upon ourselves to spark something of a revolution.  Below, a few humble suggestions on how to be a dater with great charm:

The Ask

  • First and foremost, make clear that you are asking for a date.  Obvious?  Count how many times you’ve heard: “Well, I’m not sure if it’s a date…”  A charming dater will make sure the datee knows they are being asked out.  It makes the datee feel more secure and frankly, more desired.
  • Make concrete plans in advance.  When a charming dater asks someone out, they have a plan in mind.  They don’t vaguely promise to text them next Friday to “figure something out.”  This is apt to make a datee feel like a lower priority.  If you can’t be bothered to think of what you’d like to do with them, why should they wait around until you figure it out?
  • Give notice.  A charming dater will give their desired datee a few days notice, so as not to disrupt plans already in place.
  • Anyone can ask.  Men are not always required to ask, and if a lady take it upon herself to ask, the same rules on clarity, plans and notice definitely apply.
  • Make a personal gesture.  Asking in person is best, followed by a telephone call…where you actually talk to the person, no messages left on their voicemail, please.  Your charm diminishes inversely if you rely upon: texting, Facebooking, Tweeting, and all other forms of social media.
  • Accept or decline promptly.  Period.  And thank them either way.
  • If you accept you go.  Barring any serious emergencies, you should go on a date you have accepted, even if Brad Pitt himself appears on your doorstep.  A charming datee honors their commitments.  And Brad will wait because you’re obviously that fabulous.
  • Have high standards.  If you receive a request that falls short of the above, ask for a revision.  They will either respect you for having high standards or think you a pain in the ass and lose interest.  I humbly suggest that someone who considers these tiny requests too onerous will likely prove not worth your while in the long run.

The Date

  • Be on time.  No matter if you are arriving to pick them up, or being picked up, or meeting there.  Being prompt shows respect.
  • On a first date, avoid the topics of religion, politics and past relationships.  A first date is for figuring out if you actually like the person, and you’ll have plenty of time to discuss such matters at a later time…if the date goes well.
  • No introspective soliloquies.  You already know all about yourself, a charming dater will want to find out what makes their prospective partner tick.  Ask thoughtful questions, listen, and remember.  Conversely, your prospective partner should be doing the same to you.  Beware dates who can only talk about themselves.
  • If it is not a love match, be gracious.  Even if you don’t sense any chemistry, you can definitely be polite and have an enjoyable time.  They might prove to be an excellent friend or know someone you might be better suited for or be a good business contact.  At any rate, burning bridges is for short-sighted, uncharming people
  • Whoever asked, pays.  However, this rule has one gender-specific corollary for hetero dates: in general, a gentleman pays — but the lady should always go for “the reach.”  I agree it isn’t fair, but it is social custom.  If you feel strongly about it, there’s no need to adhere to it.

The Close

  • Always leave them wanting more.  Do you best to end the date on a high note.  First (and even second) dates don’t need to be epic 18 hour affairs.
  • Positive affirmation.  If you had a good time, let your date know.  Similarly let them know if you’d like to see them again.  A charming dater affirms that they enjoyed the evening because it will reinforce the fact that they are interested in the datee, leaving no vagaries to be endlessly dissected at brunch the following morning.
  • Sexytime is at your discretion.  No hard and fast rules here, as I’m definitely not a priss.  I’m not against a first date kiss or three, but I might caution against first date sexytime though.  I believe that relationships are defined by early actions, so if you sleep with someone early, your relationship might end up revolving around sex.  If that is what you want, go forth.  If you want something more, be purposeful in deciding when to make the love.

For the Veterans

  • If you make it special, they’ll feel special.  Long-term relationships can easily fall into a rut, but you can recapture some of the magic by applying some of the tips I mentioned above.  Call your partner at work and tell him you’ve made reservations at his favorite restaurant for Friday.  Ask her about her day and really listen.  Bring flowers.

What are your dating rules?  How do you make or keep it special?

The Quite Continental Charm School
A modern guide to creating a charmed life
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