In my eyes, the whole dating game is a bit like doing the Hokey Pokey. Ultimately, you just want to meet someone who makes you think ‘That’s what it’s all about!’ (whoa, the Hokey Pokeyyy, whoa, the Hokey Pokeyyy…). But until that point, you go through the motions of the dating dance. At times it’s good fun, even exhilarating; at times it’s exhausting. And at other times you’d rather lop off a limb that participate in any more rounds of this bizarre social ritual.
Obviously how you perceive a date or a romantic gesture depends on whether you like the person. If someone you like remembers your favourite song (which you mentioned in passing 6 months earlier) it’s sweet. If someone you don’t like tries to serenade you with this song, it’s creepy. The adorable/deplorable line is pretty much subjective.
That said, there are certain things you can do to set a date up for success:
I know I belabour the Paper Heart point waaay too much, but one of my favourite scenes is Charlene Yi interviewing a bunch of kids about love. They hit the nail on the head in terms of ‘perfect dates’
Out of the mouths of babes: “You need to take somebody to Applebee’s and get them hot wings.”
Classic is good, off kilter is better. Think my friend Freya getting a first date avocado from her now-boyfriend Mike. Or, to give a more relatable example (but only if you’re a romcom enthusiast), Ashton Kutcher presenting a bouquet of carrots to Natalie Portman in No Strings Attached.
- As I’ve said before, I don’t think you should excessively compliment someone’s appearance. Telling someone they ‘look really nice from this angle’ or ‘have beautiful soft hands like a Sylvannian rabbit’ is not endearing, but chunder-worthy.
- Maybe don’t refer to Nacho Libre as ‘the best film of all time’. Or at least don’t insist on giving a 92 minute blow-by-blow of the movie in a stilted Spanish accent with one-man renditions of the wrestling scenes.
- Don’t call the waiter Brosef.
- Don’t brag about being a blood donor.
- If you’re a gangly, bespectacled guy with Paul McCartney circa 1980 hair, who cajoled someone into going to dinner on the pretence of a ‘group thing’, don’t keep insisting (in attempted sultry voice) that you’re ‘not a bad boy’. Your companion’s half-suppressed snort and chuckling ‘okaaaay’ are not signs that they don’t believe the veracity of your statement.
- Don’t ask if you can put your arm around your date. I know it can be a daunting move to make. But just read the vibe. Maybe try touching their hand first and see how they react. If they give an involuntary shudder, recoil like a slug being pelted with Epsom salt, and look like they’re going to sick up, hold your horses.
- If you got your t-shirt by mailing in 6 cereal box coupons, it’s probably low-grade slub cotton, not date material.