I’ve recently been pondering yet another of my apparently antiquated expectations when it comes to dating. I am of the belief that when someone asks another person on a date, the asker should have a plan set in place. The askee should be informed of time, location and, if necessary, proper attire within an appropriate amount of time before said date.
This rule should carry through the initial dating period until you get to that comfortable boyfriend/girlfriend stage where you ultimately do nothing more than cuddle and stare lovingly at each other. Or, in less successful situations, sit bitterly and silently watching American Idol or CSI on opposite ends of the couch.
In all seriousness, having a plan set in place illustrates the fact that the asker not only cared enough to want to spend time with the person they asked, but that they actually were willing to take the time to put some level of thought into the date. To me, the I-don’t-know-what-do-you-wanna-do game is not only vexatious, but it says “you’re not worth the energy it would take to pick a restaurant, movie or other date night activity.”
I’ve heard multiple arguments as to why this idea is everything from unnecessary to slightly esoteric. The claim I hear the most often is, “we’re just being considerate. How else would we know what you want to do?” Well this appears to be a valid point, it really isn’t. The askee then has the pressure on their shoulders to come up with something both of you would enjoy doing, when the asker should take on this responsibility.
The simple way around this is, do your homework. Talk to the person you asked out, figure out their interests and work off of that. You can questions as basic as “what’s your favorite food, what kinds of movies do you enjoy” or kick it up a notch with “how do you feel about weekends in Paris?”
Or, for a date with a more unexpected personalized touch, do a little research (stalking). Ask mutual friends what the person enjoys doing. If you are Facebook friends (which is likely given the fact that anyone you come into contact with for more than five minutes is suddenly Facebook-friend material), check out their page. It’s a bit stalkerish, but reading the “About Me” and “Favorites” section on the person’s profile is a far cry from peeping into his or her bedroom window with high-powered binoculars.
Bottom line is, if the person is worth asking out on a date, it’s definitely worth spending ten minutes developing a plan of action for that person. Less, if it’s the standard dinner/movie combo, which is perfectly acceptable. Just don’t make the askee track you down for details, it’s awkward and completely inconsiderate.