Do's and Don'ts of Dating

Lessons from the Mistakes of British Boys: 

     After being set up with public schoolboys, dating ordinary Londoners and enduring a great number of drunken stories at parties, I have a new-found appreciation for American guys," said Mary Lader the daughter of American diplomat and President Clinton pal Philip Lader.

     The brunette beauty and native of Hilton Head, S.C. - who lives in London with her parents and sister Whitaker, 13 - went on to slam England's male youth as "scrawny, pale and unhealthy looking."

     "As sexy as I once thought guys with British accents were, their lack of appealing social skills and poor dress sense soon overshadowed their attraction," she wrote  in the August 2000? edition of the British magazine Tatler.

"I'm not sure it's actually possible to become friends with a British teenage guy," she continued.

"His idea is to ask two questions ... and then feel entitled to stick his tongue down your throat."

Mary-Catherine, who attends London's posh all-girl St. Paul's Cathedral School, added that too many British lads act like a tongue-tied Hugh Grant trying to pick up Julia Roberts in "Notting Hill."

"American guys just ask girls out without any fuss," she quipped.

"In the absence of a mate to ask for them, British guys usually come up with such vague comments as ‘We should, um, you know, get together some time.' "

Minnie Driver said that British men "take you to McDonald's, make you pay and ask if anyone is dating your sister."

   I'm sure these generalizations do not apply to all British men and that there are men of every nationality to which they apply to but they are good lessons in what women don't want.  Most women want a confident man, not one who acts like Hugh Grant did when trying to pick up Julia Roberts in "Notting Hill".   Making a girl pay at a date is a sure way to alienate her.

  Be generous during dates. My wife tells me that's one of the things that she liked the most about me when we were dating. So many women complain about men being cheap. Take them out somewhere nice and pay for it. I once took a very attractive girl to to a nice French restaurant and a movie. She said I knew how to treat a girl. We spent more time kissing in the movie than watching the romance on the screen.  My wife said that if men spend a lot of money on a girl they'll be like putty in their hands. That's not true all the time but by spending money on a girl you tell her that you value her and think she's worth it. 

Volunteering Negative Information: 

     I know people who volunteer negative information about themselves in social situations.  Sometimes people do this to get support or sympathy and sometimes for other reasons but it's a recipe for failure.  One thing to remember is that people have a tendency to misinterpret negative information.  For example, lets make up a hypothetical man, John who when he was an adolescent had psychological problems.  He worked on those problems, overcame them and now he is all the stronger for it.  Let say that John now is less likely than the average person to succumb to such problems because he's stronger as a result of having overcome them.  John meets Melinda and dates her.  They fall in love and are considering becoming engaged.  John decides that it wouldn't be fair to Melinda if he hid his psych history from her and so tells her.  Melinda if she is like most people is likely to be alarmed by this psych history.  She might tell her psychiatrist about John's past problems.  She might tell her parents and friends and ask them for advice.  Everyone she tells is likely to be alarmed by the psych history as well.  Melinda's mother is likely to warn Melinda that these problems could resurface and encourage her to date someone more stable.  Her psychiatrist is likely to want to meet John and assess for himself how stable he is.   If they meet, the psychiatrist may discover pathologies that aren't there since he believes they must be there.  Melinda is likely to interpret John's behavior to be signs of his psychological problems.  If she and John have an argument she will wonder if John's past problems are resurfacing and causing him to argue.  As a result of all the advice that she gets, and her own misinterpretations of reality Melinda is likely to break up with John. 

    What's going on here is that everyone is misinterpreting the truth.  They are misinterpreting the fact that John had psychological problems to mean that he has them now and he will have more in the future.   John's praiseworthy honesty is likely to cost him his relationship. 

    John's honesty did not lead to people knowing the truth.  It actually led people to believe things about him that were not true.   Sometimes volunteering information does not bring people closer to reality. 

Instant Judgements:   Instantly deciding the person is not for you is a mistake many people make.  Waiting for Mr. or Miss America and rejecting everyone else is a common thing people do.  The longer one waits the less attractive one will be until one won't even have a chance with Mr. or Miss OrdinaryLooking.  Mr. or Miss OrdinaryLooking may be a lot more beautiful inside than Mr. or Miss Gorgeous.  Also there is a lot more competition for Mr. and Miss Gorgeous which means that even if you succeed in dating them they are more likely to leave you.  An ordinary looking person is a lot more likely to be faithful than one who looks like Ava Gardner did.  In fact Ava Gardner had affairs with more than one man at at time.   Frank Sinatra became furious when he found her in bed with her ex-husband Artie Shaw and fired two shots into the mattress.

Arguing:  Arguing with someone you are trying to attract can be a big turnoff.  A woman friend of mine from France told me how an American who was interested in her started arguing with her about what life was like in France.  That was a big turnoff for her. 

Malicious Gossip:    Saying bad things about someone's friend is a stupid thing to do that a friend of mine did.  I have a woman friend who just went on a date with a former male friend of mine.  She told me how he made critical comments about me.  She felt he was attacking her friend (me) and that make her dislike him. It also got back to me.

I have a young lady friend now who has ended several relationships or not started them because the man put down others.  In one case one a man invited her to a party and then proceeded to tell  her how dumb the woman who invited him to the party was.  My lady friend felt that if a woman is nice enough to invite you to a party you shouldn't be badmouthing her and decided not to go to the party and to not date the man.  Another man who she was having a relationship with started making fun of a lady who had a rasping voice at a restaurant by speaking in a loud rasping voice at the same restaurant so that the lady could overhear him.  That made my friend have a negative view of him and in addition embarrassed her and made her worry that the woman with the rasping voice would think that she was making fun of her also.  My friend told me that experience made her wonder what negative things the man she was dating was saying about her behind her back.

Guilt:   Manipulation of your partner with guilt will lose your partner.  No one likes to be around someone who makes them feel guilty.  Your much better off showing appreciation to your partner.  I have a girlfriend who is constantly making me feel guilty about everything I do.  I feel that I make an effort to do a lot of things that she wants but she just sees the things I do that she doesn't want.  I need to feel appreciated. 

Looking for Sympathy:  Some people look for sympathy and support from the girl they have just met.  They talk about their problems, their insecurities, how bad their ex-girlfriend or ex-wife was to them and so on.  A woman friend of mine told me how she had a horrendous date with a man who kept telling her how awful his ex-girlfriend was.  She said it made her think that he would think that she was awful if they were to get into a relationship. 

   Some dating gurus even advise not to talk about other women at all who are in your life even if your relationship with them is totally platonic.

   The last thing people want is problems and if you look for sympathy from them you are telling them about your problems and they know that if they get involved with you they'll share your problems.  When going on a date it's important to think about what the other person wants.  The girl one goes on a date with is not going to be looking for a man to console.  She wants a man who'll make her happy.   A man who is looking for sympathy is more likely to drag her down then to make her happy.  On the otherhand, if a girl goes on a date with a man who cries about his ex and she is still interested in him, the best thing for her to do is not to say "I don't want to talk about it" but rather to listen and show compassion and sympathy.  

   It may also be a bad idea to ask one's date about their ex.   I got a very negative reaction from a girl who I was on a date with when I asked her about her ex.  I was just curious.  She though, had, had a bad experience with him and didn't want to think about it and resented my bringing him up.

Showing Insecurity and Helplessness and Complaining About Problems:   In nature the female is attracted to the dominant male.  Many women throw themselves at power.  A male with problems hardly qualifies as a dominant male.  A successful happy non-fearful, non-timid confident male does.  Note by dominant I don't mean domineering.  Women, likewise shouldn't come across as depressed or insecure.   I have a woman friend who constantly asks me for reassurance about her figure etc.  and I can't stand it.   Insecurity is a big turn off.  Why would I want to get involved with someone who is always asking me for support?  I want someone who brings happiness into my life, not problems. 

    I also am turned off by women who are too dependent.   If someone I'm dating keeps asking me to do things for her and tells me that she's afraid to do something herself that's a real turn off.  I'm turned off by women who can't get control of their lives.  I dated a woman who was overweight and whose excess weight was causing her diabetes.  I encouraged her to diet and she kept telling me that she was trying but every time she saw a bag of potato chips she had to have some.   This helplessness is a real turn off to me.  I am attracted to women I admire.

    If one is rejected a lot one becomes insecure and that in turn causes rejection.  As a man I don't want to go out with a depressed insecure woman.  I want one who is happy and who will make me happy.  If she's depressed I would be concerned that she would make me depressed and her problems would become my problems.

    I think it's important to have fun in social situations.   When people are having fun they smile and they are easier to talk to. It's better to be laid back than uptight and serious.  Being uptight and serious gets other people uptight.  If one is desperate for a girlfriend one is likely to be a lot more serious and uptight. 

    I know a guy who a lot of woman are interested in and I could never figure out why.  He was quiet, and not particularly attractive although he wasn't overweight.  I asked one of my friends who was very interested in him and she thought about it and finally told me that there was one thing all the men she was interested had in common.  "They knew how to flirt".  It's very hard to flirt if you're serious and uptight.

    I have not overall been a Lady's man.  Recently I have been dating someone and going to singles events and yesterday an attractive woman asked me if she could give me her phone number.  That was a shock because normally I ask women if I can have their number and they say no.  I think because I am dating someone I treat other women differently.  I think it is because I behave more normally when I'm not desperate for a girlfriend.  

    Her asking if she could give me her number was   lot more comfortable for me than if she had asked me if I would give her my number.     I feel threatened if I give out my number.  For all I know the woman could be some kind of Kook who could call me all the time when I don't want her to.   I think women also feel more comfortable accepting a man's number than giving out their own.  On the other hand many women feel the man should do the calling and the pursuing.  A diplomatic way may be to offer one's number and then if she wants to she will offer hers back.

    There's another reason that I think this woman asked me if she could give me her number.  This was the first time she was at the singles event and she didn't know anyone.  She had trouble finding someone to talk to.   I make it a policy at these events to talk to people, both men and women, who have no one to talk too and introduce them to my friends.  I do this because I've been in that situation and I know what it feels like.  I did this in her case and since I was the only man she talked to and she wanted to leave the singles event with a boyfriend or at least the possibility of one, that might have been the reason she asked me if she could give me her number.  One's chances at singles events may be best if one talks to people who are by themselves.  Often people who are already in a conversation resent intrusions by others.  If a man found a woman he was interested in, the last thing he wants is another man joining in the conversation and walking off with her.  I had a man do that to me.  He joined the conversation, diverted it to what he wanted to talk about and monopolized the conversation with the girl I was talking to. 

    Sometimes even women who are talking to each other resent men joining in.  I once joined in such a conversation and one of the women became angry.  I found out from the other woman that the reason was they were talking "girl talk" and didn't want a man listening in. 

    The general lesson I've learned from these is that if I try and initiate conversations with strangers it should be with strangers who are not in conversations with other people. 

Talking About Work:

    I went to a cafe with a woman friend and a man met her there and they got into a conversation about work.  I was very interested in their conversation because it was about work I knew nothing about and I was interested in learning about it.  The next week I met her and she told me she was not going to date him.  I asked her why and she said all he could talk about was work.  She said she wanted to get away from work when she was socializing.  From this I would conclude that one should not talk about work however, I was recently at another singles function where this man talked about how he jetsetted from city to city in Europe as part of his work and the woman who was listening to him gave him her number. 

Talking About Your Ex:

   A lot of men bring up their tragic experiences with former loves on their first dates with new girlfriends.  That is NOT the way to score.   Paula Froelich wrote an article that appeared in the New York Post of October 18, 2000 called My Date with New York's Hunkiest Chef.  The article was about Rocco DiSpirito who Ruth Reichl, the editor of Gourmet Magazine described as:

He is just the most gorgeous man.  Everyone I know has a crush on him

   Paula in describing her date with him wrote:

The New York woman in me was unnerved. (What, no extra seat for the emotional baggage?  No sob story about a mother/ex-girlfriend/sister traumatizing him for life?)

   When women hear how terrible your ex was some of them start worrying if you'll think that about them some day.  They don't want you to think bad things about your ex, they want you to think good things about them.  Also most women want to have a fun time on a date instead of giving free psychiatric counseling for a man's past traumas.

   Although it's not good to talk about how bad your ex was it's also not good to talk about how great she was either.  A woman friend told me about a date in which a man told her how great sex was with his ex-wife.  That's the last thing she wanted to hear.   In general it's not a good idea to talk about one's ex.  If you say you still love your ex it sends the message that you're not able to give love to the girl you're on a date with and if you say you hate your ex it sends the message that you'll hate the girl your on a date with. 

Staying at Home:  

     A lot of people wonder how to find someone while they are constantly doing things that preventing them from finding someone.  I know people who stay at home being depressed that they don't have anyone.  They're not going to meet anyone staying at home. 

Obvious Things To Do During a Date:

    Do an activity that you know the other person enjoys.   Talk about a subject the other person enjoys talking about.


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