Recently, I had dinner with a friend in Palo Alto and at the table next to us a guy was on a first date with a beautiful girl. He was talking a lot, getting more and more worked up, his volume rising, and she wasn’t saying a word…
I said to my friend, “He’s blowing it, someone has to save him (and her) from this train wreck. If she goes to the restroom, I’m going to say something to him.”
A few minutes later, the girl goes to the restroom...
“Pssst, psst… “, I say in the direction of the guy. He looks over. I say, “Are you on a first date?”
“Maybe.” He says.
“Well, you’re gonna blow it. Calm down, show her your interested in her, ask her questions like, “What are your hobbies or interests?” or “What’s your family like?”
He says, with a glimmer of desperation in his voice, “Really? That’s great. What else can I ask her?”
This is a true story. I was a self-proclaimed “Dating Angel” for the evening and I’d do it again. It’s incredible how little the sexes know about each other, we often have no idea what makes the other gender tick. And even worse, its trial and error! Why don’t they give us dating manuals at confirmations, quinceañeras, or barmitzvahs? Maybe its a form of population control?
In this post, I’m going to focus on helping men. (Maybe next week, I’ll write one to help women.) These are my five tips for men to help them date successfully (Assuming success is getting a second and third date with the same woman.)
1) Slow down. Women like men who are calm, cool and collected. Speak and move calmly and slowly (But not so slow that you bore us to death.) It’s very attractive when a man “glides” around a room, taking charge assertively, yet smoothly, so as not to seem arrogant or demanding.
2) Ask questions. It’s amazing to me how many men have no idea that women want them to do that. (In fact, when women do it, men are annoyed by it.) They also don’t have a clue what to ask. The guy in my restaurant story above actually asked me, “What other questions should I ask her?” And I said, “What would you do if you won the lottery? What’s the last book you read? Movie you saw? Anything not overly personal or inappropriate.
3) Remember the 70-30 rule. She should be talking on the date 70% of the time. Listen, probe, chuckle, praise, and encourage her to keep talking. She’ll remember the date as fun and you as a sweet, attentive and attractive guy. Listening is the sexiest thing in the world for a woman. And its the last thing men think about doing. It beats flexing your muscles, talking about your Porsche, or even using humor. (However, if you’re funny, that’s a close second.)
4) Compliment us. This is a good sentence to use on a really innocent first date, (You know, the kind of outing where you’re not totally sure its a date yet?) “I hope I’m not being too forward, but you look lovely tonight.” Or the neanderthal version: “You look great.” Tell us we’re clever, smart, interesting, or funny and it will please us to the core. Another good phrase, “I never looked at it that way, you’re so insightful…” will get you lots of points. But make sure you mean it when you say it, so it doesn’t sound overly schmoozy.
5) Make her feel special. This may go without saying, but it astounds me how many men treat women on first dates as if they’re their best friend from college, a colleague from work, or a female gym buddy. Show her she’s special, bring a small gift or a flower, open doors, make your car smell good, wear something a little nicer than normal, order a special drink or bottle of something, share a dessert, walk her to her door, hold her hand, give her a hug, even go in for the (romantic) kiss. Let her know you thought about her and prepared for your time together.
So the end of my restaurant story goes like this:
The girl comes back to the table from the restroom and he quietly asks her, “What’s the last good book you read?” She starts chatting away, laughing… He asks another question and another… he’s speaking softly, chuckling at her answers.
They’re finished with dinner and the waiter comes over and asks if she’d like another glass of wine. Me and my friend, and I’m sure the guy on the date with her, all hold our breath for a moment,
“Yes, that would be great.” she says.
As we pay and get up to leave, I give him a thumbs up…