Getting that first date!

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Ms. J’s Advice

Graduation Gift Giving

Spring is finally upon us, and as the weather warms, people want to get out and connect with others. So what better time than now to discuss dating etiquette?

I recently received a question from one of my male clients, asking, “How do I set up a great date for my loved one?” How sweet.

This is an awesome question because it shows that men still want to get it right, or in other words, put their best foot forward in the dating arena.

I thought I’d be able to quickly sum up this whole dating thing in a couple of short paragraphs. It seemed pretty simple to me because of how I like to be asked out on a date. Just ask: “Juliet, I’d love to take you out on a date” or “Would you like to go on a date with me?”

That’s actually how my husband of 15 years asked me. It was kind of old-fashioned and sweet, yet direct and confident — gentlemanly. Of course, I said, “Yes!” The rest is history. There was no mystery around whether it was a date or not. By the way, he’s still a gentleman and, yes, we still have date night.

Have you ever gone out on what you thought was a “date” only to discover it wasn’t? I have. So being vague about going out on a date does not work for me.

After pondering this issue — the etiquette of asking for a date — I decided that my response may have been a little short-sighted. To get some unbiased responses, I reached out to my email buddies and Facebook friends.

I texted, tweeted and even had a few face-to-face “interviews” asking the question: “How do you like to be asked out on a date”? I covered the gamut, from millennials to super-boomers (70-plus).

I was blown away by the plethora of responses. More than 80 women from all over the country gave such a wide range of responses that I decided to summarize those responses and share them with you. Therefore, this column is dedicated to the question, “How do you like to be asked out on a date?”

Nearly 80 percent said they like to be asked out directly. They prefer face-to-face or telephone calls. Some said an email is fine, but it couldn’t be an email that sounds like a test message with an emoji, e.g., “wd u go out w/me.”

Here are five of the top comments from those who like a clear, direct approach to being asked out on a date:

  1. Call me or ask me in person; emails and texts are not private enough.
  2. I’m old school — ask me. Arrange the date or give me options.
  3. Hanging out is hanging out; a date is a date. Make it clear if you are interested in a date.
  4. Keep it casual; there’s less pressure and a better opportunity to make an authentic connection.
  5. Be okay with a friendship, it could blossom…or not.

Also, you may have noticed that in these “modern times” it seems that people are not sure if they are on a date or just hanging out. Oftentimes, this is how it happens.

Him: “Do you know about that new restaurant on Chicago Avenue”? 

Her: “Yes, I know about that new restaurant.”

Him: “We should go sometime.” 

Her: “Yes, we should.”

Him: “What about Friday night?”

Her: “Sure, that will work.”

Is that a date?  Or, are these two just hanging out? Are they going Dutch?  Actually, some of the respondents said that hanging out together is a more contemporary way of dating in today’s culture. Do you agree?

The respondents who took a more casual approach were less than 1 percent. And as I continued to review their responses, something jumped out at me that I hadn’t considered — there are many women out there who have not been on a date in years! Years!

Age was not a significant contributor in that there were reports from women 20 years old to 70-plus who have not been asked for a date in over five years — one even said 10 years. Minnesota men, I’m just sayin.’

Some of the women have settled into their singleness; others who would love to go on a date but have not been asked. I know, I know, women can ask, but as you can see from some of the responses above, many women still like to be asked.

Now that we know that many women DO prefer to be asked out on a date, here are some ways to say it or to ask — in their words:

“I’d like to take you out on a date to a museum or a walk around the lake.”

 In a card or text: “Could I have the honor of your presence at dinner (insert date)?”

“It seems we have a lot in common. I would love to learn more about you. Do you think we can schedule time to get together over coffee desert or dinner?”

“I would love to take you out to lunch, (coffee) etc.”

“Are you available on Sunday? There’s a jazz brunch that I think you would enjoy. Would you like to join me?” or “Would you be my date?”

In closing, gentlemen, allow me to sum up 10 points to consider when asking a woman for a date.

  1. Let the lady know you want to get to know her better.
  2. You can ask her what she enjoys and what she likes to do, but you should do the planning.
  3. Allow her to choose or decide together where to go and what to do.
  4. Get to know her as a person. Take it slow, be low-key, and ask lots of questions and LISTEN.
  5. Pay attention.  Is she attentive? Is she asking questions about you? Is she listening?  Or, is she checking text messages or making calls or taking selfies?
  6. Find out if there is a connection point and if there appears to be mutual interest and attraction. Then, take it from there.
  7. Remember, hanging out is hanging out. You need to make it plan that it’s a date.
  8. Be nice about it; be a gentleman.
  9. No means no. As you can see from above, there are plenty of fish in the sea; keep trying and enjoy the adventure.
  10. Finally, no creepiness or weirdness…a turn off! Warning, warning! You can’t appear too eager, anxious or desperate. If you exhibit these characteristics, you may have been lucky enough to get a first date, but it’s not likely that you will get another. You should appear interested but not overly so. In other words, it’s a delicate (fine) balance between showing genuine interested and being a bugaboo.

If you don’t know, let me tell you, most women are checking you out. They are Googling, Facebooking, looking at arrest records and credit reports; some are even going to mostwanted.com.

What’s on your social media account? If you Google yourself, what will you find? Have you dished it all on Facebook? If you have anything out there that makes you appear “suspect,” then clean it up and be willing to share about it with your date or potential date.

If you’re interested in more dating tips, make sure to keep an eye out for future columns about the topic.

“Juliet, I’d love to take you out on a date” or “Would you like to go on a date with me?”

Get a Date