‘Anyone can be heroic from time to time, but a gentleman is something which you have to be all the time. Which isn’t easy.’-
The previous issue of First Date Code featured a few pitfalls to look out for when on a first formal date- this describes a situation in which a mature gentleman and lady who aren’t too familiar with each other socialise (I felt the need to define that to clear any confusion). That is however not all there is to know.
•The dress code need not be anything flamboyant- a beautiful, knee-length dress for the lady and a dark suit for the gentleman.
The choice of a tie and tux is really up to him.
While picking the dress, the lady may bear in mind that this is a time to get to know her and not her ‘assets’. Be decent.
- Since he asked (I assume he did) the gentleman should not hesitate to offer to pick the lady and drop her off afterwards…on time (except the lady prefers to assume responsibility in either or both trips). Keeping late night isn’t ideal for a first date. If you had a good time, there’s an option of a second date.
•That ancient rule is everlastingly relevant- Ladies first! Any gallant young man knows how to walk behind a lady in social settings (yes, you are her escort!).
Yet, he’s in time to help her with her chair.
It is true that this practice is not common in the modern African society (more’s the pity) and it is also true that the practitioners inevitably belong to a rarefied class.
It’s been said, ‘Conventionality is the refuge of a stagnant mind.’ Think unconventional and think courtesy.
•As in most situations, it’s gentlemanly to allow the lady to place an order first, except she insists that you do so before her.
Howbeit, irrespective of whose meal arrives first, it is ethical to wait till the other is served before eating.
You don’t want to finish even before your date begins.
A word of caution to the ladies here.
We are famous for ordering food to bankruptcy.
Isn’t it time we reviewed that position? Lol! Just because you know he’s footing the bill doesn’t mean you should order for the N40,000 lobster on the menu list!-except this is what is in the moderate price range of the restaurant.
If this is the case, the lady is in the clear- it shows the gentleman (who likely chose the location) has done his financial homework and is confident of handling things.
The situation is however different if you have as your date a Warren Buffetian, a Bill Gatean, or a Dangotean.
If that is the case, my dear, feel free to order the N1.8M wine (tee hee…jest keeding!).
On a serious note, moderation is the word.
•It is improper to request a second helping on a first date. A date is not about the food per se- the food acts as a convenient reason to get to know someone better, it’s a good distraction.
You are therefore not supposed to eat to your filling- there’ll be plenty of time to do that later.
If you can help it, I recommend that you don’t go on a date on an absolutely empty stomach, nor on a full one.
The former will lead to a very clean plate after dinner, and the latter to a very full one. None of which is acceptable.
Even though a clean plate may be the lesser of two evils, it is quite repulsive.
Ladies, we are guilty on this occasion again.
You don’t want to waste the food, neither do you want to act like a contestant in a ‘Clean All’ eating competition!
A few pieces/ grains of food on the plate after dinner is the evidence of sound table manners.
•You can only respect the stand of a teetotaller.
They are normal people with health, moral or religious convictions.
The gentleman (or whoever is responsible for the choice of location) bears the responsibility of choosing a restaurant whose range of drinks includes non-alcoholic drinks considering that some restaurants do not take teetotals into account.
We’ve previously discussed ‘unmentionables’ on a first date.
What then can be talked about on a first date?
A lot- Hobbies, what’s done for fun, type of work they do, kind of books read, movies they like to watch, schools attended, priorities, mentors…the list is inexhaustible.
When these make the focus, a common ground or grounds is noticed upon which one can capitalize.
For instance, If you play volleyball, your date may enjoy playing too, and, who knows, you may get together sometime to play.
So rather than misspend the time asking the wrong questions, ask relevant questions and answer them too.
•If you feel free to talk about your ex (which is not exactly a brilliant idea), don’t expect your date to do likewise.
For a first date, that may not be a topic they want to discuss.
If their past relationship was good enough, they probably wouldn’t be on a date with you. The fact that the relationship is in their past may suggest something went sour.
So respect their wish ‘not to talk about it’.
•Even though it’s not a paramount requirement on a first date, a gift could speak volumes of a person’s forethought.
It needn’t be anything expensive (neither should it be a pen).
Expensive gifts place the lady under an obligation to go on a date with you again, even though she may not want to.
So let her accept solely on her own volition.
Suitable gifts in this instance could be a box of chocolate, flowers.
The gift is presented by the gentleman, which says ‘thank you for honouring the invitation’.
Let me reiterate it, this is not compulsory.