Miss Debrett on... Dating
terminally tedious or erotically
charged, dates are the currency
of romantic life, the oil that keeps
the wheels in motion. No matter
how much you procrastinate -
flirting in cyberspace, seductive
phone chats, emailed inanities
- you will have to face the
horrible truth at some
point; without a face-to-face
meeting your relationship is
going precisely nowhere.
You're probably wise to bite the bullet and arrange to meet sooner
rather than later - ultimately it saves a great deal of time. Dates can be instant passion-killers or they can inflame your senses and ignite an obsession.
Looks, body language, conversation, a shared sense of humour… an evening with a complete stranger will bring all these traits into sharp relief. You must also be hyper-aware of the hidden, subconscious signals that, on a visceral level, will give you a green light or stop you dead in your tracks. Intense eye contact, lingering touches, physical proximity - these are your passports to a second date. Read the signs and react accordingly.
With so many complex messages seething beneath the surface you would be foolish to get the simple surface things wrong. So organise your date properly; make punctuality a priority, phone ahead if there are any hiccups, pay the bill (if you're the inviter) and don't, whatever you do, succumb to the irresistible allure of your mobile or pda mid-conversation.
If you think you like what you see, follow up swiftly with a text, email or phone call. Don't leave your date hanging around for days on end because you think it looks cool. It doesn't…
If that elusive connection just hasn't clicked into place, stay polite. Resort to the universal language of failed dates, "Thanks for a lovely evening - let's do it again some time", which is a sop to bruised egos, but promises absolutely nothing.
Miss Debrett's Top Tips
- Make all the arrangments (dinner, meeting place etc) carefully. Have a back-up plan at the ready in case things don't go as expected.
- Avoid controversial topics of conversation and make sure you each have equal opportunity to speak.
- Never seem bored by your date or more interested in your mobile phone than your date. She deserves your unwavering attention.