Thursday, June 14, 2007

This just in: It is hot. Also, I have tips. (Many tips. English tips. Or, no tips. There won't be any tips of any kind.)

First things first. I feel compelled to mention that it is currently 87 degrees in my house. I know this not just because of the handy little digital display on the programmable thermostat in my bedroom, but because the previous owner left no fewer than eight thermometers situated in various areas of my home. Apparently Ralph was a bit of a weather buff. I am actually afraid to go see how much hotter the upstairs thermometer reads. (Hot air rises, after all. Science is fun, folks.) Actually, I'm not so much afraid to go up there as too lazy to do so. Let's just say it's likely 110 up there and leave it at that.

Anyway, I am hot. That is my point. And to all those people I scoffed at when they said they couldn't live without central air? All those people to whom I've said, "You really only need it four days a year..." To all those people, I would like to say, OK fine. You are right. Now can I come sleep at your house tonight, please?

Honestly, what the fuck, people? It is only June. Argh.

All right then. Moving on. Since I have been a bit delinquent and tardy in my Friday Five postings of late, I thought I would get this one in early this week. The topic I'm going with tonight is not culled from any particularly recent experience. I haven't been on a date since the very nice but unattractive guy I met in the Mixology class a while back. Still. I've dated enough in the past couple of years that I'd like to think I've picked up at least a few pointers along the way. And not just pointers for myself (although those are plentiful, too). I'm talking about pointers for the men out there looking to get in good with the women they date.

This post is actually probably a dumb idea, now that I think about it, because (A) by my non-scientific calculations, I have approximately six men reading my blog, and (B) if I do have more than six men reading, a topic like this is more likely to offend and drive them away than make them feel I've helped in any real way.

I don't care. I'm going here anyway. Controversy be damned. Ready?

Five things all men should know about dating us

  1. You really do need to pay for the first date. No, you shouldn't have to. No, it's not "fair" or "right." Yes, it is the 21st century, and yes, chances are the woman you're with calls herself a feminist. I don't care. It is what it is. Just trust me on this. Pay. Don't blame me. Blame the 95% of other guys who insist on ponying up the bill for that initial date. In comparison to them, you'll look cheap, no matter how unreasonable and unfair that may be.

  2. While we're on the topic of first dates, stop thinking that drinks are the better option for a first date just because you don't want to invest the time or cash for dinner. If you choose the right place*, dinner can cost less than two drinks, and you can be out in an hour and a half. Drinks can drag on indefinitely. I speak from experience on this.

    * "Right place" does not mean overtly cheap. I am not suggesting a McDonald's or even Chipotle date. But there are plenty of kitschy and cheap but charming dive bars with good enough burgers to divert attention from the menu price. As a bonus, you get a casual laid-back atmosphere that always wins over stuffy first-date spots.

  3. If you pick her up, walk her to the door at the end of the night. Not only will it gain you points for chivalry in an age when chivalry is at best a novelty, but it also effectively facilitates the lean-in for a goodnight kiss. You can both hem and haw and make small talk in your car, neither one knowing whether to shut up and move forward or not, but the walk to the door is a cut-to-the-chase smooth exit plan with an automatic setup for a doorstep kiss.

    P.S. Ladies, this tip has a flip-side, as so many tips do. If you do not want a kiss, it's really best, of course, not to let the guy near your front door. A quick "thanks for a nice time" with your hand on the car door handle is typically the best option in that scenario. If you play it abruptly enough, you may not even have to have the awkward, "I'm just not feelin' it" follow-up conversation. [OK, honestly, you all hate me now, right? You're thinking I deserve to be single for life? Ugh. I am sorry. Just telling it like it is.]

  4. Please, do us all a favor and forget you ever saw the movie Swingers. The "three-day rule" is not a rule; it's a ridiculous and insulting game you play with our heads. Forget anything you've ever heard about waiting too soon to call after meeting (or after a date). I know no woman who was otherwise interested in going out with a guy but changed her mind and called it off because he phoned the following day. It doesn't happen, guys. Surprise us. Call.

  5. And finally, simply because I can't immediately think of another G- or PG-rated tip, I'm going to get uncharacteristically dirty for the second time this week and list something a bit more personal that's bugged me once or twice. You know how guys don't particularly like being pressured to perform? You know how it wounds your delicate egos if we ask you what's wrong or demand more than you've got at the moment? Well, the same thing goes for women, whether you choose to believe it or not. We may or may not "get there," but it doesn't mean we didn't still have a lovely time. Let it go. Don't pester and make us feel self-conscious. Better luck next time, OK?

Incidentally, I fully realize some of these may be controversial, so feel free to dispute me with your own arguments. No hate comments, please; we're all entitled to divergent views. Tell me, however, what tips are on your list?


Biby Cletus said...

Cool blog, i just randomly surfed in, but it sure was worth my time, will be back

Deep Regards from the other side of the Moon

Biby Cletus

Paisley said...

I HATE the three day rule (the call ing thing...heh heh...). I think it is totally unnecessary. WHY? I personally hate games. You either want to move forward or you don't. No need to do all that crap along with it.

P.S. Ants taking over your yard...try taking over your dishwasher! Ants in my dishwasher! WTF?

3carnations said...

1. Completely agree

2. I think I also agree here, though I had never thought about it. It's really kind of awkward to sit there on a first date sipping a drink. Especially if it was already awkward. Is it rude to down the drink in two minutes so you can say "Well, I'm all done. Nice seeing you."? On the other hand, I once had a first date that was dinner where I really couldn't eat fast enough to make it end...Who knows. Maybe McDonalds is actually the way to go after all. :)

3. Goodbyes in the car are awkward.

4. Heck yeah, I agree here. Soooo frustrating to wonder "Will he call? Has it been so long that he WON'T call?" Hubby called the next day. It scored big points for him. Heck, it scored a wife for him a year and a half later.

5. Thank you. No one has ever said that before, but it needed to be said.

NancyPearlWannabe said...

So, speaking of science and weather- did you know Mr. Wizard died the other day?! I know, it almost ruined my morning.

Also: I love your tips! You crack me up.

NancyPearlWannabe said...

Oh, and I forgot to mention- I'm with you all the way on the telephone thing. From the first phone call I ever had with C, there has never been a day that he hasn't called me, even if it's for nothing important, and even though we now live together. Major bonus points.

Darren McLikeshimself said...

Hm. This will all be very helpful in my next life when I come back as someone who isn't perpetully in a long-term relationship.

I also hope that there will be Chipotles when I come back because I am SO going on a Chipotle date.

Noelle said...

Chivalry is so important, nothing wins a girl's heart faster than a guy willing to be a bit of a fool for the sake of her. On one of our first dates, Birmingham and I were hiking, and out of the blue, he lifted me up and carried me over a big puddle.

The only problem is that I've been waiting three years for an equally romantic gesture.

I don't have AC either, and my upstairs is about 10 degrees hotter than downstairs. By July, downstairs catches up and nobody's happy.

lizgwiz said...

I think those are all fine tips. I believe I may have been sitting here nodding vigorously while reading number 5.

I like a drinks with dinner optional first date. You meet for drinks somewhere that also serves food, and if things look promising, one or the other of you suggests ordering something. But you still both have an out if it's not working. "Thanks, but I had a really big lunch." Or "thanks, but my 90lb Doberman is probably STARVING by now." Hee.

nabbalicious said...

I guess Darren and I were meant to be, since a Chipotle date would be aces with me!

I think one of the biggest turnoffs ever on a date was when the guy asked me in all seriousness, "So, what do you think of Eric here? Do you like him?"

Yeah. He asked me what I thought of him in the third person. On our first and only date. Forgetting about the third person thing for a second, asking someone whether they like you in your second hour together is so desperate and a complete turnoff. Just go with the flow, dudes, or at least wait a reasonable period of time before bringing up the whole "Where is this going?" discussion.

3carnations said...

Nabbalicious' comment reminds me of that Seinfeld where Elaine has a crush on a guy at the gym, and doesn't know his name. Another guy (Jimmy) comes up to her and says "Jimmy likes you." and she thinks he's talking about the cute guy. Nothing good comes of talking about yourself in the third person. :)

beingmccrary said...

Ha! Those are good and funny!

-R- said...

I have no dating tips but enjoyed reading yours.

I have the opposite problem about the heat in my house because H keeps setting the thermostat to 68 degrees. But in the winter, he wants it set at 72 degrees. AARGH.

L Sass said...

I always say that I'll reconsider the guy-pays-for-date-one rule when the wage gap closes. Men make more than women on average, period. Now that I'm in a relationship where I have the more lucrative job, of course I pay my fair share!

Also--thank you for #5. It may be dirty, but it is TRUE.

abbersnail said...

1. Don't ask me if I want kids on a first, second, or third date. That is EXACTLY like me asking you if these pants make me look fat. If I say yes, you think I'm trying to suck you into the whirlpool of my biological clock. If I say no, I'm cold and heartless, probably not nurturing. And if I say I haven't decided? Then we have to have a long-ass conversation about it. Please, just leave it alone for a while. You don't need to know yet.

2. It is absolutely appropriate to put your hand on the small of my back when we walk into a room. It is absolutely appropriate to open the door for me. It is absolutely appropriate to tell me I look pretty tonight.

3. You see Stefanie's number 5? Yeah. That.

Blitz Krieg said...

I actually like all these rules and I'm a guy. It is sort of how I was taught to act on dates. Let's also remember I stopped dating in late 1987 and have been married ever since. My opinion probably doesn't count anymore.

Poppy Cede said...

Stef, you are a wise woman. And brave for posting number 5. You'll probably get offered a weekly sex column now!

Anonymous said...

Thanks for the tips, Stef, I'll give them a try. #5, really? That always makes me feel so bad, but now I don't have to worry anymore. You're the best!

--Pseudo Anonymous

whiskeymarie said...

If it helps, my AC is misbehaving and now, as if I weren't complaining enough this week, I'm now getting sweaty just SITTING.

I haven't dated in a loooong time, but I always liked going to divey bars for the first date. It's cheap, there's usually a little background noise to cover any awkward pauses, and the drinks are generally strong enough to help a bad date be at least somewhat tolerable for an hour or two.

I always hated guys that agreed with everything I said on the first date in hopes of making me think that we were "soul mates". It just made me want to slap them and offer them some cash to go out & get a pair.

LC said...

It was 119 F yesterday where I live.

I need to move.

Your dating tips are awesome.

Married Jen said...

1. Agreed
2. GREAT idea. I never thought of that. Although drinks w/ the dinner is a must.
3. I don't think I EVER had a guy walk me to the door. I would have been very impressed, however, and likely invited them in! I'm slutty, though.
4. BIGGEST PET PEEVE EVER. I'm married to a guy who called me the next day. Of course, he had to preface it with, "I know I'm not supposed to call you for 3 days", but still, he did.
5. Is it wrong that I don't think that is hardly dirty at all? Although true. And I think you should let them feel guilty! Cause once you get married, they sure don't. :)

6. Guys, please have a restaurant in mind when you pick us up! Everyone HATES the, "I don't care where we go, you pick" game! If she doesn't want to go there or really like that option, she should feel free to suggest otherwise, but bring your A game!
Have a great weekend!

The Other Girl said...

I completely agree with number 5. Don't make me explain female physiology to you, guy; you're killing the afterglow.

In defense of the three-day rule, I will say that it's pretty uncomfortable to be somewhat on the fence about a guy and then have him be all up in your face the next day with an array of second-date options for you to choose from. Or worse, the ones who ask you out for a second date while you're still on the first date. If you like the guy, then you want both of those things to happen, but if you're not sure, then it's really off-putting. And if he can't tell whether or not you really like him or if you're just kind of thinking about it, then he's not paying attention, which automatically puts him in the "maybe" category.

Paying for the first (or any) date is completely situational for me. If it's just casual, like drinks or coffee, I'm happier to pay for my own; if it's dinner, the person who did the inviting does the paying. And if, midway through, I decide that the first date is going to be the only date, then I want to pay for myself, regardless of any other factors. What I can't stand is when I clearly want to pay and the guy refuses to let me, citing the fact that "[he's] the man." Because maybe he is and maybe he isn't, but paying for my quesadilla isn't evidence one way or the other.

I think you should have made this a meme. I also think I've been dating for way too long.

stefanie said...

Oh my goodness. I am so glad you all had fun with this one. I really should have been replying to comments periodically, because it's too damn daunting now.

BC--Cool. Welcome. Stop in again any time.

Paisley--Word. And also, ants in your dishwasher? What, they can swim?? Gah.

3Cs--Goodbyes in the car are totally awkward. But it wasn't until just recently that I realized the walk to the front door was a perfect solution. Seriously, men need this tip. :-)

NPW--I know a few other women who've said the same thing--that they've talked to their husband/boyfriend every day since they met. Jimmy the pothead (two boyfriends ago) had that track record for a while, and part of when I knew it was going downhill was when he stopped calling every day. :-( I'm glad Chris is still holding strong!

Darren--Ha. You have lucked out missing all this early dating stuff, haven't you? Also, I am not opposed to a Chipotle date; I am just opposed to a FIRST date at any chain restaurant (tasty and economical chain restaurant or not). I think we should all be more creative than that.

Noelle--That is a sweet story and a sad report at the same time. Also, it has been 90-something in my house all weekend. I'm not happy either.

Liz--See, that's a fine idea in theory, but my drinks dates are usually around 7:00... I always want to know if I should eat beforehand or if I'll have to sit there starving until 9:00. I'm too damn practical, I know.

Nabb--Oh my. I don't think I could have kept a poker face for that one. I would have crinkled up my face in horror right in front of the guy (which, I suppose, would have given him his answer right there).

3Cs--Ha. So true. So true.

BMC--Thanks. :-)

R--OK, now that makes no sense. He wants it warmer in the winter, when you're wearing more clothes? And colder in the summer, when lots more skin is routinely exposed. I don't get it. In my experience, though, I'll say that the "men having different internal thermostats than women" thing is a widespread and long-standing issue. It's just one of many reasons that maybe men and women aren't cut out to live together. See? Being single? Not so bad! :-)

L Sass--Good point. And there are, of course, all sorts of exceptions and considerations to that "men pay" rule. In the simplest terms and the most common situations, though, I stand by what I wrote.

Abbersnail--Amen. I love your additions to the list. And I'm glad you ladies are backing me up on #5. ;-)

BK--Your opinion totally counts. After all, if you're still married, you must be doing SOMETHING right... :-)

Poppy--No thanks. It needed to be said, but I don't think I want to be a sex blogger. There are plenty of people far more qualified than I already covering that topic.

Anonymous--"Pseudo-Anonymous" makes me pseudo-paranoid. Fess up; who wrote that??

Marie--Ugh. I hate the instant agreeing too. Particularly since you know they can't keep up that agreeable act indefinitely. Might as well show me who you REALLY are, buddy. And I agree: dive bars and alcohol are both great for first dates.

LC--Thanks for putting things in perspective for me. It could be worse than 90, obviously. But I'm still hot. :-(

Married Jen--Drinks with the dinner are DEFINITELY a must!

TOG--Oh, I hate the asking for a second date on the first date thing, too. I suppose in theory it's a good idea, and if there's some really obvious and mutual connection, it's nice, but if the guy's just trying to feel out an awkward uncertainty, it just makes things MORE awkward. Also, there are definitely all sorts of sub-rules or assorted schools of thought on the paying thing; I was just trying to sum it up into the most common scenario, I guess. (I could write a whole post on the paying issue; I've given it plenty of thought.)

As for making it a meme, if you had a blog at the moment, I'd say go for it! :-)

Anonymous said...

I thought you could see who writes the comments, hence the pseudo. Did you even count me in the 6 reader estimate?


Anonymous said...


You and I have had personal discussions about how much you hate a certain book, He's Just Not That Into You, but I am going to risk your rath and point out that some of your dating observations sounded as if they were direct quotations from the book. Are you secretly reading that book?


stefanie said...

Tim--Nope; if you sign in as Anonymous, I can't tell who you are, unless I can successfully sleuth it out of my stats. Thanks for fessing up. (Also, I had no idea you were reading, so no, I guess you make seven.)

Melinda--Ha. No, but I do think I'm reverting back to some of the more old fashioned expectations in some situations, for reasons we can discuss at our drinks date if you'd like. :-)

Tim said...

Stef -- I'm not really reading so much as scanning for libelous statements, but you are very addicting nonetheless. Plus it'll give us a whole 'nother topic should we happen to turn up at the same party. Thought you knew I read this...C once told me she told you...neway...the comments that are actually signed 'anonymous' were probably me and I really did assume you knew who I was due to my address. And, now I gotta ask...did you ignore the stupid google queries we did, or do you really not read those logs as a matter of periodicity?

stefanie said...

Oh, I still check the Google queries, but that doesn't mean I know who's doing the searching, unless it's a pretty obvious IP or domain.

And "libelous statements"? Never!

Simone said...

Pretty much agree with all 5, and regarding #5 guys, if she is saying “really, it’s OK”, let it go. Otherwise, by all means, help a girl out!