One: Turn off your Grindr profile before the date begins, even if that's where you found him. That little "pop" sound while you give him flowers is a romantic buzz kill.
Two: You're "Checking In" at the restaurant where you've made dinner reservations? Seriously? Nothing like telling 5,000 Facebook friends the location of your intimate rendezvous.
Three: Do not "friend" your date on Facebook before or after the initial meeting. If you're not a good match (and dates are like new restaurants; about one in eight survive), you're both going to share that awkward moment of "Do I un-friend him or keep reading about his 'Why do I always meet losers?'" updates.
Four: Even though gay men love to label everyone, they despise being labeled. So whether he's a Bear, Twink, Twunk, Cub, Daddy, Dilf, Otter, Chub, Gym Rat, Gym Bunny, or any of the other zillion names we give one another, only address him in generic terms, like handsome, sexy, hung. If he's 22 years old and wears glasses and weighs 108 pounds and says "for some reason people tend to think I'm a Twink," feign surprise and say "men are so into labels." Then help him lift his martini glass to his lips and move on.
Five: If you're over thirty and at least four years older than your date, don't be surprised if he calls you Daddy. Take it as a compliment; do not take it as a reason to pick up the check.
Six: Unless he can juggle or tap dance in bed, "versatile bottom" means only one thing, so be prepared to take charge if things go well. If you're lying when you call yourself a "versatile top," either call it quits now or start working on your oral communication skills.
Seven: If he insists on taking "important calls" several times during your date, don't automatically think he's blowing you off. In today's complicated world, he might be calling work, his sitter, or his ex-wife to see if she can pick up the kids. Chill out, and use the time to call your sponsor for encouragement.
Eight: In the old days, it was common, and common sense, to say that, if you sleep with someone, you are also sleeping with everyone he's slept with. Nowadays, it's common sense to remember that, if you sleep with someone who's in a 12-Step program, you are also sleeping with everyone in his Home Group. Be prepared to be judged by all the members of the orgy.
Nine: If you've met the guy online and have never met in person, and if his entire chat so far has been about how amazingly hot you are and how amazingly much he's into you and how he's quite certain you're the guy for him, he will hate you within 20 minutes of your date and you will never hear from him again. If you request an explanation, he will call you a stalker and block you from any social media sites you might share.
Ten: While it's nice to have a grasp of current events and knowledge of local culture, it's no longer a first-date pre-requisite. However, if you don't have an immediate answer for "Do you want to get married?" and "How many kids would you like to have?" the date has just ended; don't even bother to take your coat off.
Eleven: Contrary to popular belief, opinions are not like assholes, because in today's gay world, assholes are glorious and sexy and displayed prominently in photos sent to you from potential suitors. Opinions on a date are more like your lesbian best friend: We know she's important to you and we're glad you have her, but we have no idea why you'd want to introduce us to her on a first meeting and turn the evening into a serious downer.
Twelve: If you do opt to discuss current events, avoid anything so controversial it will destroy potential chemistry, like Crimea, Obama's job performance, or the relevance of HBO's "Looking."
Thirteen: Fashions change, so know the basics: No flip-flops, no shaving, and, even if it is after Memorial Day, absolutely no white underwear.
Fourteen: If you like the guy and want things to go well, put everything out on the table: HIV status, views on monogamy, and, for Florida residents, guns.
Fifteen: It's a sign of a true gentleman if you walk him to his door and he says it's too soon for you to come inside. It's also more than likely a sign that he still lives with his on-again off-again ex.
Sixteen: If, in the heat of the moment, you do find yourself in bed together after the date, remember to keep the foreplay going for at least 30 minutes. This allows ample time for intimate kisses, exploring each other's body, and for the Cialis to kick in.
Seventeen: Sadly, gay men are self-centered and narcissistic, so instead of talking about your abusive childhood upbringing and triumph over Legionnaires disease, read this piece over and over and out loud until I'm so happy I wet myself. We're a match!
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