Male Geek's Step-By-Step Guide to Dating
Don't just date... date well! Be suave! Make her swoon! A 20-step flowchart.
If I could tell men how to date, this is what I'd tell them! What do you think? This includes The Super Suave Move of the Century as well as The One Thing You Must Do.
BEFORE YOU COMMIT TO DATING
1) Accept that you will be the pursuer. If you are not used to this because you are shy, adjust yourself to the fact that you must change your ways or continue to play Quake II on Saturday nights. If you are not used to being the pursuer because women come to you, why are you reading this?
2) Accept the fact that dating comes with some natural awkwardness. Gone are the days in school when dating just meant hanging out in someone's dorm or near her locker. Now there are actual activities and planning involved, and implementing them can be awkward. Accept.
BEFORE YOU ASK HER ON A DATE
3) Get to know her a little. Not too much - that's the fungus approach, where you become her best friend for a year before asking her out. That might have worked in adolescence, but no more. No you must be suave. "A little" means you should spend at least five minutes talking with her, as much as five weeks. Ask her some polite, friendly questions about herself and listen carefully to the answers.
4) Before you ask her out, consider what you are asking her out to do. A movie? Dinner? A sporting event? You have to know her at least as well enough to be able to have an idea of what she'd like to do on a date. If you don't know what she'd enjoy, go back to step 3.
5) Be suave: Go even a little further in the planning department. If you are going to ask her to a movie, make sure the movie is playing somewhere in driving distance and that it won't sell out before you get there (Super suave tip: Get tickets ahead of time). If you are going to ask her to go berry picking, ascertain berries are in season. Give her at least three days' lead time. E.g., don't ask her at four-thirty on Friday afternoon if she wants to go to seven o'clock movie that night. Not suave. She will not feel special.
AS YOU ASK HER ON A DATE
6) Breathe. Smile. Ask how she is doing. Ask her directly and specifically on a date. Look her in the eye and say, "I know how you mentioned you liked foreign films. There is a Fellini film festival at the art house this weekend; would you like to go on to one of the shows on Saturday afternoon?"
7) Watch and listen carefully to her reaction. She will most likely respond in one of three ways:
(A) With an enthusiastic yes. Nonverbal signs: Sparkly eye contact, big smile. Verbal signs: "Yes!" "That would be great." "Saturday? Sounds like fun!" If you get this response, skip straight to Step 9.
(B) With an unenthusiastic "maybe" or long hesitation. Nonverbal signs: No or broken eye contact, nervous, jittery smile, body turns away from you; hands on face, pushing back hair or touching forehead or chin. Verbal signs: Long pause, "Ummm;" or questions, which means she is stalling for time: "Hm, Saturday, did you say? I'm not sure... I think I have something." "Fellini, huh?' ALERT. She is trying to say no but doesn't want to hurt your feelings. Go to Step 8.
(C) With mixed signals. She may show the body language of a "Yes" but actually say that she already has plans for that day. Relax, buddy, she probably just has plans for that day, like she says. Go back to Step 6, either now or later.
8) OK, things are not looking good. All signs show she wants to say no to the date, not because she's busy but because she doesn't think she likes you, and she doesn't want to hurt your feelings. What to do? Super suave move of the century after getting an unenthusiastic response to your date:
Pause, waiting patiently. Wait to see if she wavers in either direction. If she is veering into " No," say these words as nicely as possible: "I'm sorry. I didn't mean to put you on the spot. I just thought we might have fun going out, but maybe you just think of me as a friend. I didn't mean to take you by surprise." Now hit pause again. Wait for her response:
(A) She says, "Oh, no, I'd love to go on a date. I guess you took me by surprise, but, really, it sounds like fun!" This is good. Go to Step 9. Nice move!
(B) She shows relief by exhaling and smiling, then says something to the effect of, "You're right, you did take me by surprise, and I don't really think of you as anything but a friend. I hope you understand."
If you get response (B), you have just let her off the hook. Remember when you hit that guy's old VW bug in the bank parking lot when you were sixteen and he said, "Don't worry about it, son, it's an old car," and you almost fainted with relief because your dad would never have to know? That's how she feels now. She is incredibly grateful to you. You have endeared yourself to her, which means a lot to her, even if she did say no. So end it smoothly and gentlemanly by saying, "I understand. If you change your mind, or if you just want to go out as friends sometime, just let me know." You may or may not mean that, but it's a smooth way to transition.
What now? Go back to Step 6 with another woman, or back to Quake II.
9) Lock in a time. "Great - Can I pick you up at two?" You don't want to be bookmarked; you want to make this real. Get her phone number so that you can call her for her address. From now on, you communicate with her only on the phone or in person. Instant messaging and email is for the non-suave.
BEFORE THE DATE
10) Clean your car.
11) No need to bring flowers, but wear a clean shirt.
12) Map out directions to her house and to the various destinations. Consider parking arrangements. Make reservations if that's an option, or at least call to make sure everything is definitely going to be open.
13) Consider the weather. Have an umbrella and a warm coat with you.
14) Have lots of cash and two credit cards on hand.
WHEN YOU PICK HER UP
15) Compliment her. "You look nice" is not good enough, sorry guys. "Wow, you look great!" is much better. Notice some small, innocuous detail about her that you like -- "I like your hair like that." "You look really nice in that coat!" "I haven't seen you in red before -- you look great!" You will be starting the date well by making her feel special right away.
ON THE DATE
Make her feel special throughout the night.
16) Pay the whole way, no flinching or sidelong glances at her. She is your date, after all.
17) Open the car door for her, make sure she's settled in, then close the door. When you reach your destination, open the door for her again.
18) Wherever you go, lead the way; unless you're at a restaurant and you're being seated by the host - in that case, she follows the host and you follow her. (Unsure about manners? Try an etiquette book.)
19) Continue to compliment her: her perfume, her smile, her eyes. But not just those things - be specific about those things. Is it the freshness of the perfume? Then say so. Her movie star smile? Her green eyes? Be specific, be suave.
AFTER THE DATE - THE KEY TO SUAVE
This is the MOST IMPORTANT PART OF THE DATE. If you fail to do this next step, even if you think you swept her off her feet on the date itself, all your good work will be for naught.
20) Call her within 24 hours of the goodbye to tell her you had a good time. You must to do this to solidify your suave-ness, no matter what kind of date you had. It's simply thanking her for her time; it doesn't mean anything in terms of the future.
If you really, really like her and want to see her again, you should ask her out at the end of your date. But if you forgot to do that, call the next day and tell her you had a great time and ask if she's available for dinner/movie/whatever next Saturday.
If you liked her but are not sure when you will see her again, call her when she is not home and leave a message on her answering machine that you had a great time and that you look forward to seeing her again soon.
If you didn't like her and definitely don't want to see her again, call her when she is not home and leave a message on her machine that says thank you for the date, you had a good time, you enjoyed talking to her and wish her good luck with her surgery (or whatever she has coming up). John Gray's book Venus and Mars on a Date goes into great detail about what to say after a date.
You too can be suave, no matter how much of a geek you are or have been. Good luck!
Pooty Pootwell is a hot property in Silicon Valley.