I went to my college reunion this weekend, spending time reminiscing about how many hills (in the snow) we had to climb to get to class, how many hours we spent sleeping on the desk in the library (which my parents never seemed to get), and how many whole pecan pies we stole from the campus dining hall (my answer: one). Ah… the good ol’ days of college.
At the reunion, I ran into a friend whom I hadn’t seen in 10 years. When I asked about his love life (I’m allowed to do that since my job is in the dating industry!), he told me that he had been seeing a girl for several years, and she came as his guest. When his girlfriend went to get a drink, my friend looked at me with mischievous eyes and asked, “So, what are some of the dating questions men ask you anyway?” I laughed because the questions run the gamut from things about texting all the way to sex… and everything in between. (Please tell me you know there are things in between.) A few of the memorable ones are below, with my responses.
Flummoxed Texter in Flushing
Flummoxed Texter in Flushing: How many days should I wait before I text my date to tell her I had a good time and want to see her again?
Erika: Text her the next day saying you had a great time and that you’ll call the following day to set up plans… and then actually call! Bonus points. (Double bonus points if you text her right after the date making sure she got home okay.)
Flummoxed Texter in Flushing: What if she doesn’t respond to the text?
Erika: I’d still call as planned.
Flummoxed Texter in Flushing: And if she doesn’t return the phone call?
Erika: Barring some unforeseen circumstances, she’s not interested. Move on.
Note: Women, if you are not interested, please do respond saying that you didn’t feel a connection or some variant of that. No one likes to be ignored. The same goes for men.
Shorts-lover in Springfield
Shorts-lover in Springfield: Do I have to wear pants on my second date?
Shorts-lover in Springfield: No, I mean, can I wear shorts, or do I have to wear pants?
Erika: Are you going out to dinner?
Shorts-lover in Springfield: Yes.
Erika: Then yes. Wear pants even if it’s a hot day. It takes the same effort as the shorts, but it looks like you tried harder. Points for you.
Clueless in Cleveland
Clueless in Cleveland: Where do I take a girl on a first date?
Erika: Coffee or a drink. Remember, you can always add dinner, but you can’t take it back.
Clueless in Cleveland: Okay, but where specifically?
Erika: Ask what part of town is convenient for her, and then choose something around there. Let her know that chivalry isn’t completely dead.
Dateless in DC
Dateless in DC: I don’t understand why I can’t get a second date.
Erika: How does the date usually end?
Dateless in DC: Sometimes a handshake, sometimes a little hug.
Erika: Do you ever offer to walk her home or wherever she’s going?
Dateless in DC: You’re supposed to do that?!
Erika: Try this on for size… When the date is over, give her a little hug (handshakes are for business meetings) and ask if she’d like you to walk her where she’s going. Whether she accepts will be a good indicator of whether she likes you. And if you’d like to see her again, follow the advice for Flummoxed Texter in Flushing. (I’m also not against kissing on a first date if the moment strikes!)
In all of the scenarios, it’s the little confident touch at the end that makes the difference. Whether that confidence is real or you’re just “talking the talk,” it shows that you know how to take control of a situation, not in a rude way, but in a decisive way. If she is not receptive to you, she can decide that on her own, but you’ll know you’ve put your best foot forward by calling when you say you will, wearing pants, choosing a date place around her, and offering to walk her where she’s going. None of these things takes very much time or thought, but the effects are huge.
After I told my friend all of this, he looked at me and said, “I had no idea! I guess I’m lucky my girlfriend’s been with me for so long!” Don’t leave your relationship up to luck. It’s the little things in life that go a long way.
This article has also been featured on JMag, the online magazine for Date.
Erika Ettin is the Founder of A Little Nudge, where she helps people stand out from the online dating crowd and have a rewarding experience. An archive of all of Erika’s columns is also available. Want to connect with Erika? Join her newsletter for updates and tips.