Going on the date
Most women like men who are kind and trustworthy. By agreeing to meet a man on a date, they are taking a leap of faith that they won't be meeting a rapist or an axe-murderer. So, as a responsible dater, you should be looking to reassure your date and set her mind at rest. That means:
1. Agreeing to meet in a public venue, midway between where you both live or work, easy to find, and where your date won't have to walk a long way on her own in the dark. Pubs are not great, because they're not easy places for a woman to sit on her own; better a hotel, wine bar, coffee shop, cafe or similar.
2. On the first occasion, meeting for a short time - maybe a drink or a coffee - so neither of you have too much invested in the outcome. Don't go for a three course meal on your first date.
3. Arriving early (it's no fun for a woman sitting on her own in a public place).
4. Making an effort on your appearance and arriving and leaving sober. Research by professionals' dating agency RSVP shows that, in dressing for a date, women prefer men to:
- be smart/smart casual in their choice of clothing
- have clean shoes
- be clean
- be clean shaven
- not overpower them with aftershave
5. Being certain to greet your date in warm and friendly (though not over-friendly) way, regardless of your initial impression. Our body language can give so much away; steel yourself against that.
6. Having a fund of things to talk about. These shouldn't be too deep; although dating is an accelerated process, there's no need to discuss whether you want children at the first meeting. Try to establish a light-hearted, fun atmosphere, with plenty of laughter. Virtually all women agree that men who make them laugh are much more likely to win their heart.
7. Finding some common ground - interests, work, holidays, music, film - so you can focus on building some shared experience.
8. Don't drone on about previous relationships. No-one wants to hear a blow-by-blow of your messy divorce.
9. Pay half.
10. To close, agree what you'll do next. Don't lie. If you like her and want to see her again, tell her what you will do to set up the next meeting - or agree it there and then. If you don't want to see her again: 'I've had a lovely time and thanks very much for meeting me. But I don't feel I want to take it further at this stage'. Some agencies organise events (see RSVP's singles events) and this offers a great (and somehow less final) exit if you don't want to see her again: 'I'll look forward to seeing you at an event very soon'.