I'm an almost-40-year-old married woman who's been out of the dating scene for 15 years. I dated before the Internet, before texts, before caller ID. I dated in a terrifying age of having to have face-to-face conversations with my mate for the evening. Even more terrifying, we had to actually break up with each other. In person. Using our voice, and emoting, and maybe even shedding a tear. The horror of it all.
My single friends are navigating new waters.
And because I love my friends and can sit on my married perch and spew advice, I have a few things to say. Not to my amazing friends who are the real deal, the total package, the prize. But for the guys they date. Just a few pointers.
1. If you meet a woman and you go out on a date and had a decent time, call her and ask her out again. If you had a horrible time, call her and tell her it was nice to meet her and wish her luck in the future. Don't just disappear. Unless you are hospitalized in a coma. Or you got kidnapped and are in a ditch with Jesse Pinkman. When you just walk away and never call or text again, this is what you are: a coward. And someone who will do the same thing when you're in a relationship and things get uncomfortable or tense. It's cowardly and unattractive. The karma you put into the world when you make that uncomfortable call will come back to you many times over. I have seen it happen.
2. Ask a woman at least three questions about herself. And listen to her answers. Or at least pretend to listen. No one but you and your mother want to hear a monologue about you.
3. If your best friend is a single woman, you will need to explain that dynamic at some point.
4. If you have ever been married or are still married by law, that's important information to share. On date #1. You don't need to go into detail, but you need to put it out there. Not sharing that information makes it more charged and suspicious. And if you're still legally married, it makes you a shady dude. Her friends will never like you until you, ya know, stop being married.
5. Pay for the first date. I don't care how liberated and progressive you are. Or she is. Even Gloria Steinem likes someone to pay for her dinner. It's sweet. It's classy. It shows her that you were raised well. She can pay for the next dinner. If you ask to split the check, you immediately look like a cheap guy who may be living in a van by the river. If you are living in your van by the river, pay for dinner at McDonalds. Or a cup of coffee. A generous man is so much more handsome than a miser.
6. Don't shovel food in your mouth. Don't hold your fork like a first-grader. Use a napkin. Chew with your mouth closed.
7. Smile. Laugh. Smile more. You look better when you do that. It will make you both less nervous.
8. If you have more than one cat, you may want to save that nugget until date #7. Hopefully, she will already be in love with you by then and be OK with it.
9. If you're super-close with your mom and sisters, that's sweet and most women will find that sensitive and endearing. If you say your mother is your best friend, they will never want to date you. Because that's creepy. Your best friend should be a man close to your age. Not the woman who changed your diapers and grounded you. It also means you are looking for a mother, not a wife, and that's just weird and icky.
10. Again, men, CALL HER. Don't just walk away. Use your gonads and make the call. No one likes a quitter.