SOME Jamaicans do not fully understand the concept of dating. We were introduced to this term in our teens, but no one really took the time to explore and explain to us the etiquette of this relationship-building activity.
You see, dating can be the conduit through which people meet their soul mates; it can be the indicator for what is to come in the future, but failure to learn the proper way of conducting yourself on a date can be life-altering, not to mention embarrassing.
Here are some simple guidelines to assist those about to embark on this experience.
1. If you decide to ask someone out on a date, make sure you get a firm acceptance before making plans. Telephone or face-to-face communication is normally the ideal method of inviting someone out, but you can send a text or an email. Be sure to get a response before you commence the planning.
2. This tip is for women only. When a man invites you out, never tell him that you do not have any clothes to wear, hoping that he will give you money to buy an outfit for the date. This is disgraceful and shows that you have no class.
3. If you are the one who is inviting someone out for the first time, please do not expect the other party to foot half of the bill. If they volunteer, then by all means accept or reject the offer, but you should have all the resources available to show your date a good time. If you do not have the means, forget inviting this person out until you are confident you can afford to.
4. When the person accepts your invitation to go on a date, you should disclose the intended venue, the dress code, the time and all the pertinent information needed for the date. Do not invite the person out and when they dress inappropriately you get upset. All of this must be discussed after the invitation is accepted.
5. If you are invited to a restaurant, do not order the most expensive meal on the menu simply because you will not be paying. Have a bit of decency. Do not order things you cannot pronounce or spell, or food you do not know about just because you can.
6. If there is a budget restriction, full disclosure of this is needed so that your date can know your limitations. Do not brag about having lots of money and when it is time to pay, you are searching for money you never had. If you have unlimited funds then by all means you can solicit suggestions from your guest about where to go for the date, but if you are working on a budget you need to decide what you can afford and plan around that. Do not ask your date, "Where would you like to go?"and when you reach there, you can only afford the juice on the menu. I cannot stress enough that full disclosure is the way to go; it will save you from that unavoidable embarrassment that is looming around the corner.
7. If you really want to know someone, then the cinema is not the ideal place for a first date. You need to go somewhere relaxing, quiet and peaceful, somewhere that is conducive to good conversation. Do not invite someone to your home on the first date. That is far too quiet.
8. On a first date, it is very important that you avoid the topic of your ex-girlfriend or boyfriend. Do not overwhelm your date by talking about the number of baby mothers and baby fathers that you have. Just give a brief synopsis of your past relationships, but do not give too much information immediately. Leave some of the information for dates two and three. You do not want this date to be about them. If it was a bitter break-up, learn your lesson and get over it, but do not swear off men or women while on that date. Do not bash the ex either, as it may seem as if you have unresolved feelings.
9. Do not assume that everyone drives, so when you decide to go out with a person, please find out how you will reach the venue, and how you will get home. If both of you are without your personal transportation, do not allow the person to keep you out too late and then he/she jumps on their bus leaving you stranded.
If you have your personal transportation, please give it a proper cleaning before you attempt to take someone in your rat/roach-infested vehicle. If that is not possible, do not drive.
10. Time is money; do not have your date waiting forever at the venue for you. Not only is this tacky, but it is disrespectful and distasteful.
11. When the date is over, do not expect to get sex or a kiss or anything. No one is bound to give you anything based on the amount of money you spent or didn't spend. Thank the person for a good time and if you want to plan a second date right there and then, do so; if not, move on and continue dating until you find your heart's desire in a partner.
Shornee is an adventurer who likes to give a comedic spin to intense issues. A single professional, she writes to keep sane.