The art of dating is one that is dying a slow, painful and unnatural death in this millennial age.
The average millennial has probably never experienced proper dating or even been on a proper date. And I don’t mean just “hanging out” somewhere; I mean, the whole nine yards of proper dating or going on proper dates.
What is dating and what is a date? Traditionally, dating is both the stage and the process whereby two persons of the opposite sex, who are attracted to each other and who see a chance of possible romance, meet socially with the aim of getting to know each other to better assess their suitability and compatibility for a long term relationship which mayor may not end in marriage. A date is the social meet up mentioned above.
Traditionally, romantic relationships develop in these stages and in this order: casual dating, exclusive dating, long term relationship (also known as courtship) and then marriage. However, this doesn’t mean that every date is carried out with an expectation of future marriage. Each dating experience is first and foremost simply that, an experience. So you do with it what you do with other experiences: enjoy it and/or learn from it.
Now that we have those clarifications out of the way, what exactly constitutes a proper date? Basically, any activity can be a date (there are no strict restrictions) as long as both parties knowand agreeto embark on such activity as a date. What this means is that two people can go on a picnic or go jet skiing together and it will not be considered a date because they haven’t intended it to be such. So it isn’t the activity per sethat makes the date, but the intention.
The art of dating involves the careful attention to detail that goes into putting together the various components of a date in such a way as to create a beautiful masterpiece of experience for the parties involved. For a date to be a success, both parties have a part to play and need to bring their best foot forward. Though the initiating party has a greater burden to bear for the successful execution of the date, the accepting party also has their part to play. For clarity, the initiating party is the person who has made the move to ask another out on a date; the accepting party is the person who has been asked and who has accepted the offer.
A masterpiece date is one in which all of it’s six components are skillfully executed. With the help provided below, you should be capable of making your next date a beautiful masterpiece.
1. The Initiation
This is when the chase officially begins. It starts from the moment the parties meet or set eyes on each other. It includes the smooth way which the initiating party finesses the number of their target; the perfect cocktail of witty banter and sweet talk they serve the target; and the patient wait for the perfect time to strike with their offer. The initiation stage is the point where first impressions are formed, both parties should make it count. It’s a tango between not giving away too much, and giving enough to keep the other party interested. Flirting at this stage should be very subtle and be presented in subliminal forms so as not to come off as a creep.
2. The Offer
This is the stage when the initiating party presents their offer to go on a date. Now, whether the offer is accepted or not depends largely on how the initiation and chase has been carried out so far. Consider it a game of chess, which depends highly on strategy; unlike other board games that depend on luck.
A pro tip: For the offer to be irresistible, it needs to be founded on an activity that both parties will enjoy. To be able to pick an activity that fits such a description, recourse is to be had to the parties common interests (e.g art). Activities centered around that common interest (e.g a Saturday morning painting class date) would be tempting and difficult to refuse, especially when laced with other attractive details (e.g brunch at a nice cozy restaurant).
3. The Planning
A date requires careful but not tedious planning. In planning a date, time is of the essence. A great date should be time sensitive but also flexible enough to ensure comfort. It shouldn’t be too early in the day or too late in the night. For first dates, early evenings have proven to be the perfect time. This is because the parties have not mastered each others schedules, so planning an activity for an odd hour may not be the best idea. Needless to say, weather and season has to be taken into consideration as well.
Finally, details like booking tickets, making reservations, meeting/pick up location should be discussed and taken care off before the day of the date. It is good practice for the accepting partyto call or text a day before the date to confirm that plans still stand. Doing so minimizes the chances of being stood up, and it shows that the party is looking forward to spending time together at their scheduled date. It also expresses appreciation for the planning that has been done by the initiating party.
4. The Execution
For the day of the date itself, it must be emphasized that dressing well is a sign of respect, first and foremost, for one’s self, and then for the person one is to meet with. It is highly disrespectful to show up for a date not well and properly dressed for it. Note that this doesn’t directly translate to formal dressing. One must dress properly for the activity that was planned for. For instance, it’d be rude to show up for a game of golf in a suit, or to show up for dinner in tennis shoes.
In the same breathe, I must place an even higher emphasis on punctuality. There is no excuse for tardiness; none whatsoever. If by any catastrophic imbalance in the cosmos, it is anticipated that one may be a few minutes late (not exceeding fifteen minutes), such mustbe communicated to the other party at least an hourbefore hand. If one’s tardiness would be over fifteen minutes, one must call at least three hours before hand to rescheduleto a later time. I say reschedule, because one should NEVER make another wait for anything over fifteen minutes. It is rude. Thus, the simple math is: the later you’d be, the longer the notice you should give.
During the date, easy charm and good breeding should ooze out of you like it’s second nature to you. Even if you never intend to see the person again, an effort must be made to be great company. Speak, but most importantly listen. Do not commandeer the conversations by rambling on and on. Do not interrupt the person without just cause. Keep the conversation topics light and pleasant. No gory topics, no political or intellectual debates, no sharing of too much information, especially on first dates. Ask them questions about themselves, encourage them to ask you questions too.
Your body language should not be closed off and rigid. Let your body language communicate ease and interest.
Last but not the least, keep your phones out of sight. Do not take or make calls, read or respond to texts/emails except its an emergency. Another exception is if it’s an important call of which you’ve priorly informed your date that you’re expecting. In any case, you must apologize and excuse yourself to take such call or respond to such text/email.
5. The Feedback
This is something a lot of people neglect to do. It speaks a lot about you when you admit to having had a good time at the date. In addition to doing so at the end of the date, the accepting party should call or text the initiating party not later than twenty-four hours later to thank them for the date and tell them they had a good time. Not only does this show gratitude, it also serves as feedback to the initiating party on how well the date went. The feedback could also include an expression of an intention to have an encore.
Please note that if you didn’t have a good time, you can skip saying you did, but must not neglect to show appreciation nonetheless. A simple “Thank you for dinner” would suffice.
This is the result of a great first date. A great performance, they say, deserves an encore. A second date proves to the parties that they both sustain an interest in getting to know each other better. Also, a second date serves as an opportunity for the parties to correct mistakes they may have made on the first date. It is also less awkward and a lot more fun.
The occurrence of a second date, however, does not mean that there’s a future for the parties. Just like the lack of one does not mean that any of the parties is unattractive or unpleasant. A second date is simply what it is, a second date. It should be enjoyed without assumptions, just as other subsequent dates should. No assumptions should be made on the part of any of the parties till they are both ready to declare their intentions and define their relationship.