Well, you should be. Dating is a dizzy disaster for most. Who asks? Who pays? Do we split the bill? Does coming up for coffee mean sex? Sounds fun, right? Navigating relations is a bit trickier today and all of these uncertainties sometimes cause people to avoid dating altogether. Fret not! I’ve got you covered with the basics you need to know in order to have an ordinary romantic appointment.
The Contemporary Date: You ask; you pay. Think of it like any other activity. If you invited friends over for dinner, you wouldn’t expect them to cook. The person who initiates the date is expected to take care of the date. That might be you, or it could be him. Women today generally have more financial freedom than their grandmother’s generation did. Besides, there’s power in paying your own way. It proves to a man that you’re financially secure with or without him. It provides an equal playing field and releases some of the pressure associated with first-time dating. The best way to let us know we aren’t getting any at the end of a date is to shake our hand and pay for the bill. That’s the perfect opportunity for you to state your standards.
The Traditional Date: Date 1: We pay | Date 2: We pay | Date 3: You offer, but we pay | Date 4: You pay. For some men, letting a lady foot the bill is an inferiority complex, just like some women take offense to us holding open your door. Let’s not make a big deal about this. If we insist on paying, don’t hesitate to let it be. Also, don’t hesitate to let us know that paying for a meal doesn’t entitle us to anything. Some men think that buying dinner means you owe them sex for dessert. Well, they should be arrested for prostitution solicitation. The only thing we’ve rightfully earned is a thank you. Don’t get caught up in the moment and make decisions you’ll regret. One good meal shouldn’t seal the deal. Don’t get overly excited that he took you out for sea bass and wine. If you do decide to give it up for fish and grapes, let it be your decision. It must be a decision that you’re comfortable waking up in the morning with.
There exists a difference between a man who spends on you, and a man who invests in you. Figure it out.
Just because he’s paid and he pays doesn’t mean he thinks you’re worth his time. Once you’ve figured that out, figure this out: Money is easy to get back—time, not so much. It’s by far the most valuable resource. Figure it out.
The $15 Date Challenge: Challenge your date to only spend a total of $15 for the entire outing. This forces creativity and thoughtfulness. It can get interesting! It also alleviates any concern we may have about your motives. In all seriousness, a creative date is doper than dinner and a movie. Movie theaters require you to sit still in the dark and be quiet for an hour or two. If a day is organized and specifically tailored to you, it’ll be unforgettable. Some of the best dates require lots of thought, not lots of money. Fresh fruit, an early morning hike, the art gallery, change clothes, have a picnic with wine on the beach and then cook what’s already in you fridge over sensational conversation that leads far past your bedtime. Don’t forget to watch the sunset. Expensive doesn’t mean enjoyable. Trust me, try it and enjoy! Just don’t be so quick to call home and tell everyone about it. Stay levelheaded with a clear mind and wait a few more dates before throwing your “I just had an amazing date, I think he’s the one” party.
Have you ever felt like you were in love, then you burped and it went away? Don’t let those little butterflies in your stomach fool you into thinking you’re compatible—it’s probably just gas.
Before telling him what you’re looking for, let him show you who he is.
Sometimes you just have to sit back, watch and observe. People will eventually show you who they are without you saying a word. This doesn’t mean to shut down and close off all conversation. It means to be wise about all the information you divulge and when you divulge it. Some people will use your own blueprint against you.
You know that thought you thought about, but forgot about it because it seemingly came out of nowhere? Well, you might want to rethink that. Red flags are conveniently present prior to relationships. Don’t ignore them. A woman’s intuition isn’t insecurity. When someone unravels and reveals their true self, you must believe them. There’s no need to nag or snoop. Plan your exit, grab the popcorn and enjoy the show.
And finally, just be you. Don’t show up as your representative. That’s the common act of attempting to impress someone with everything that you’re not. We’ll spend an entire relationship trying to find a person who never existed.
– Enitan Bereola, II
Bereola is the author of the new best-selling book, “GENTLEWOMAN: Etiquette for a Lady, from a Gentleman” and the award-winning/best-seller, “BEREOLAESQUE: The Contemporary Gentleman & Etiquette book for the Urban Sophisticate.” He’s the go-to ghostwriter, columnist, public speaker and etiquette impresario for our generation. Visit: Bereolaesque.com, Twitter & Facebook for more info. Follow him on Instagram @bereolaesque.