The State of Atrophying Etiquette As It Affects Dating

There are so many things in this modern life that would have Emily Post clutching her pearls if she were alive to witness them. Over-sharing via the Interwebz (I know, I know, I’m the pot), cell phones glued to hands and eyes glued to cell phones and ears glued to headphones during dinner with no regard for the company we are in and forget about the good old standards like standing up as a lady leaves the table or to an event.

  1. Still the most arrant and common errors seem to arise in the dating world. Many of these rude behaviors manifest themselves in the form of a flake. The most flagrant flake will simply disappear while others simply won’t be pinned down for a plan. It’s as though they think agreeing to be in a certain place at a certain time will indicate that they aren’t as popular as they’d have you believe. I will let you in on a little secret, I don’t care how popular you are, I just want you to at least pretend spending time with me isn’t at the bottom of your to-do-if-I-have-the-time-list.

    As much as I love to point the finger of blame at the darker sex, I fear that my gender is the bigger offender in this. My poor man friend is constantly struggling with girls saying “yes” to the date and then waffling when it comes time to commit to a day and time. He’s not asking for your hand in marriage ladies, just the courtesy of following through on your “yes” with a concrete plan. He will only chase after so many “let me check my schedules” and “well this week is kind of busys.” Can you blame him? Who wants to feel like they are wearing someone down? I’m not expecting you to be over-the-moon about the first date. Maybe just on board enough that I don’t feel like you are showing up under duress.

  2. Then, once you’ve been kind enough to OK a day and time for a cup of coffee, dinner or other innocuous date-type activity, maybe try to show up on time. Dating is nerve-wracking enough as it is. You’ve been there, waiting nervously for your date to arrive, looking up expectantly every time someone struts past. It’s miserable. If the unsuspecting passerby meets your eye line you feel like a creeper and you just know all those around you are placing bets on how long it will be before you realize you’ve been stood up and go home to your empty apartment and watch reruns of The Bachelor. That purgatorial period sucks, so be kind and show up on time.
  3. Ok, you’ve committed to the date, you arrived precisely at the given time and your doting date is sitting across the table from you. Your cell phone rings. Now what? Do you answer it? Whatever shall you do? Unless you are a single (if you’re here, you better be single) parent and the babysitter is calling or you have a sick relative who could be meeting his maker at any moment, ignore it. There is no reason that the person calling can’t wait an hour or two for you to give your undivided attention to someone who could be your happily ever after. Don’t even get me started on texting. It’s not ok. Ever. Ok, one exception the guy is beginning to completely skeeve you out and you want to discreetly tell a friend where you are and who you’re with so the cops know who to look for. (Actually you should do this before every date ladies, it’s just good sense).
  4. This little tidbit is mostly for the guys. I know I’m likely to catch some flak for this, but I’m unapologetically old fashioned so, when the date is over. Offer to pay. Even if she offers to split the bill (which she should) insist. It’s just a nice gesture on the first date. You want to impress her don’t you? This will do so. Unless you are the aforementioned creeper, then nothing is going to save you. If you are strapped for cash and can’t afford to take on a huge bill, you don’t have to. Make the date for drinks or coffee. It doesn’t matter how small the amount is, footing the bill is the gentlemanly thing to do. I’ve been equally pleased when a guy insisted on picking up my $2 tea as I was with the guy who paid for a full evening of activities. The date is over and you are ready to bid adieu. There are really only two options for ending this evening. If you know for sure you want to see the little chippy again, tell her so. Being coy and playing the Will He/Won’t He game is for the birds. But only say it if you mean it, mister.

    If you know for sure that the first date will be the last or even if it could go either way, just say, “thanks for the nice evening.” That’s it. Don’t indicate that you’d like to see her again. Even if you think you maybe might, but aren’t sure. Leave it opened ended. Otherwise she has every reason to expect a call from you or will call her herself. And realizing that when he said, “I’d really like to see you again,” what he meant was “This is so not going to work for me, but I’ll throw you a bone,” sucks.

Overall basic human decency should be enough navigation in the murky waters of polite dating. Unfortunately, I’ve come to realize that my generation is increasingly rude and self-centered and apparently we need to be told how to conduct ourselves in nearly every social situation. For more reliable advice on dating etiquette and manners in general, turn to the always polished, reincarnated Emily Post.