Friday, 22 January 2010

Details on a Date

I went on my first date when I was fourteen. I'm amazed my mother let me go on a date at fourteen, especially as Doctor Spock held that girls ought not to go on dates until they were sixteen. However, my mother's hands were tied by the historical fact that she had been invited to a formal dance when she was fourteen, and Grandma had let her go. She probably made her a dress, too.

This date was a parish youth group dance, and my date, whom I decided I didn't like as much while dancing with him to "Careless Whisper" (by Wham), kissed me on the cheek good-night. I thought this frighteningly forward and told all to my friends in the parish hall kitchen. They were underwhelmed and said it didn't count.

Anyway, that was my first date. It totally beat a friend of mine's first date, which was to her graduation formal, or as Americans would call it, the prom. Her date kept taking nips from a bottle all through dinner and generally behaved like a jackass. When the girl who had arranged this date for my friend demanded of the young man why he had behaved in such an appalling manner, he said that he had never been on a date with a virgin before and didn't know what to do.

I think I should have a "Worse Dates Ever" weekend, in which you all send me stories of the worse dates you ever had and the worst dates you ever heard of. This would be followed by a "Best Dates Ever" weekend, to cheer us all up and restore our faith in humanity.

Three of the best dates I ever went out on were with someone who liked going on dates with respectable women but didn't really want a serious girlfriend yet. He was a perfect gentleman, took me to great restaurants, and paid the tab. No stress, no more than air-kisses, mwah mwah, gentle flirtation, lovely.

But on one of these dates, the second one, my dress exploded.

It was a strapless dress, made of grey pinstripe, resembling businesswear, only sexy. And, once zipped up, it was tight. It had been a bargain, and halfway through dinner, as the zipper began to sneak down, I realized why. Somehow I managed to back away from the table before my dress fell off and found a waitress, who couldn't find a safety pin but brought me a straight pin. The straight pin worked but inperfectly, so I had to make another escape or two to the loo to adjust it.

I learned from this that one must always carry safety pins in one's handbag. ALWAYS!

Another great date tip, which I shared with a friend the other day, is that the way to keep your perfume going all night is to stick a Q-tip in the bottle and then poke it down the centre of your bra, with the perfumed end sticking out a bit. My friend said this was genius, and I said, "I don't think I will be mentioning at my vocations lecture at St. Andrews in February." But it is genius so, St. Andrews girls, take note now.

Also, if you are wearing fantastic high heeled shoes on your date (or anywhere), put a pair of cheap and skinny flats (like you can find at H&M) in your handbag. That way, once your date is gone, if you have to walk anywhere, you will be comfortable. (Also handy if, God forbid, you have to actually run away from your date.)

Finally, there are the date rules that everyone should know, and I will repeat here:

1. Always meet a blind date, an internet date or any man you don't know well in a public place.
2. Never ever let a man you don't know well into your house or flat.
3. Make sure your mobile (cell) phone is charged up and has enough money on it for emergency phone calls.
4. Carry emergency cab fare.
5. Carry an emergency credit card. I have a friend whose date ordered a huge meal, ate it, took off and didn't come back.
5. Tell someone (e.g. mother, best friend) the name of the man you are meeting and where you are meeting him and when you expect to be home.
6. If you are absolutely stuck for something to talk about, look at your date and say, "So tell me about yourself." If he, conversationally challenged, says "What do you want to know?" Say, "Well, I find it interesting that..." And fill in whatever it is that made you decide to go on a date with this guy in the first place. In general, men like to talk about themselves. So let them.
7. You don't have to kiss him if you don't want to. Seriously. Just don't. You don't have to do anything you don't want to except breathe, excrete, get sick, and, eventually, die. Human freedom is a wondrous thing.
8. If dating a suave, silver-tongued I'm-not-religious-but-I-am-spiritual man, look out on the Third Date. Don't go back to his place. Don't let him into yours. Be prepared to give The Speech over dinner. If you're a Catholic or Evangelical girl, you know the Speech I mean. Yep.


theobromophile said...

Wonderful advice. :)

As for the perfume thing: Sephora (those are in the UK, right?) has lovely small bottles of roll-on perfume. Before there is any nose-crinkling at the thought of roll-on perfume, it's lovely stuff. My bottle of Juicy Couture's perfume cost $16, is two inches long and a half-inch wide, and lives in my purse.

You don't have to do anything you don't want to except breathe, excrete, get sick, and, eventually, die. Human freedom is a wondrous thing.

A lot of women (like moi) need to tape that to their bathroom mirrors. :)

If dating a suave, silver-tongued I'm-not-religious-but-I-am-spiritual man, look out on the Third Date.

In my experience, men who were raised Catholic or Protestant, call themsevles Catholic or Protestant, but aren't really so, can be the worst. Hands down, my two most hurtful "he dumped me when he figured out that I was serious about this chastity thing" came at the hands of those types.

This isn't criticism of your (great) advice, but is more of an addendum to it. :)

Seraphic said...

I agree about the "Catholic" and "Protestant" guys who think they're a new, evolved, superior, fornicating version of "Catholic" or "Protestant".

In my experience, they ARE the absolute worst because on some level they know they are wrong, and some want to "cut you down to size" (e.g. get you ino the mire with them) and some just plain hate your guts for making them "feel guilty."

Well, they ARE guilty.

But those guys are bastards (who, ahem, need our prayers, etc). It might be even worse if a very kindly secular-humanist or Wiccan you've worshipped for ages decides that this "no-sex" relationship is not for him. Sorry.

Ah, let's face it. The aftermath of the Speech always, always, always sucks unless the guy says (as he does if he really loves you) "Okay, I'm cool with that."

One of my friends gave The Speech to a lukewarm Catholic, he said he was cool with that, he started going back to Church to make her happy, and now they're getting married ASAP.


Actually, with some cultures The Speech is part of your ticket to marriage. Sometimes a guy who would have married a girl if she made the Speech doesn't marry her because... Okay, not going there.

Dominic Mary said...

One of my female friends has the same tip about fragrance, but prefers cotton wool pads - which seems (to a mere male) more sensible, as there's nothing to stick into you !

Seriously, though; isn't one reason why the aftermath of The Speech sucks simply because you had to make it in the first place ?

The 'right' man would, surely, share your views, so that The Speech would never get said . . . because it wouldn't need to; the tragedy is that that so rarely happens.

Seraphic said...

Um, DM, I'm not going to discuss the structure of women's undergarments with a man to whom I'm not married. This post was for the girls.

Yes, it would be nice if we never had to make the Speech. But women have always had to make the Speech, in every generation, if not to every man we have shared a meal with. Sometimes even the right man needs to be smartened up. Most women are not interested in carbon copies of Saint Dominic Savio. And most men are not carbon copies of Saint Dominic Savio.

Worse things than having to make the Speech happen. I know women who were courted by gay men for years, wasting years of their lives and blocking more honest suitors.

The Speech, incidentally, is a great tool for sorting out the serious suitors from the guys just hoping for sex. The Speech should then not be seen as an embarrassing moment for a woman but for a test that a man either passes or fails.

All hail the normal male sex drive, and all hail the Speech that reminds it of its moral boundaries!

theobromophile said...

IMHO, the timing of The Speech, not The Speech itself, is what has changed in recent years. Seraphic isn't kidding about the third date part of it. The problem is that it makes it very difficult to weed out the nice men from the not-so-nice men, when you don't know them very well.

In one of my less-than-stellar moments, I was slightly inebriated (ha!) when informed a guy friend, after weeks of mad flirtation and dates-that-weren't-official-dates, that I didn't want to sleep with him. In my state, I blurted out something about really not wanting to do that in college, let alone out of wedlock, and was so tired of men dumping me over it when they found out that I actually meant it and please run off now if that wasn't okay with him because running off would be easier on me.

He's not remotely religious, but said that it was fine with him. As he put it, not a deal breaker.

I've worked on The Speech since. :)

Alisha said...

"The Speech should then not be seen as an embarrassing moment for a woman but for a test that a man either passes or fails."

Yes! Plus, I actually find their secular humanist confusion funny. The poor things - they have no idea what they've just run into! I just look at them in their so-called enlightenedness and shake my head in pity - I have 2000 years of history, faith, saints, broken hearts to back up my reasoning for happiness looking a certain way. What do they have? MTV?