Dear (single) gentlemen of the world,
I know it is confusing to navigate the modern world of romance, what with our busy schedules and numerous dating apps.
We have become accustomed to using G.P.S. to tell us where we’re going and how to get there, that when it comes to love, too many of us forget to use the inner compass of our own heart to guide us.
In short, we have become a generation of smart phones and stupid people.
Maybe it’s because I’m dating in my 30s. Maybe it has to do with dating in San Francisco. Maybe it’s dating in the year 2015. Maybe it’s dating in an era with too many tech gadgets, too many distractions, too little time and too small a priority placed on deeper connections.
Whatever the reason, the art of chivalry and gentlemanly behavior has become increasingly rare. Which is not to say that I believe it is lost altogether—far from it! I see bits and pieces, snippets and glimpses, here and there, but rarely the full package.
Being a gentleman, or just a “good man” in general, can take many forms—this is simply one of them.
10 step checklist to get (and keep) the girl.
Step 1: Listen to your instincts/intuition/heart/loins.
Notice I didn’t say, “Listen to your mind.” If your mind is anything like mine, it tells you terrible things and gives even worse advice. All. The. Time. Don’t overthink this. There are an estimated 7.3 billion people on the planet, and you’re probably only going to feel butterflies in your stomach for a tiny fraction of them. So when you have met someone with whom you actually want to go on a date, that’s a pretty special thing! Tune in and listen up—there is magic afoot!
Step 2: Do some reconnaissance.
Do you have things in common? Shared interests? Mutual friends? If so, find out (discreetly) whether she is currently available and/or has a high likelihood of saying yes if you were to ask her out.
Step 3: Open the conversation.
There is nothing sexier than a man who is not afraid to show a few of his cards and ask for what he wants. Send her a note that is confident without being presumptive.
Example: “I noticed we have X in common and recently found out that you may be available. I’d love to take you out for coffee, go for a walk or grab a bite to eat. If you’re at all interested, please send me your phone number so I can call you to ask you out on a date.” Boom!. Gold star for you, right out of the gate.
Step 4: Make the call.
If she’s interested, she’ll probably respond within a day or two with her phone number. Time to put on your big boy pants, pick up the phone and call—do it within a similar time frame. It shows you (a) have a life, but more importantly, (b) you respect her and (c) you don’t play games. Be prepared to spend some time on the call getting to know a bit about each other. If you are not sure by the end of the call how much you have in common, then propose a coffee, walk or a drink to continue the conversation. If you have a lot in common and there appears to be mutual interest, then propose a dinner. Close the call by setting a date and time.
Step 5: Confirm the date.
Send her a followup note confirming your plans. If it’s coffee/lunch/a drink, then agree on where you’re going to meet. If it’s dinner, then offer to pick her up. Make a reservation and request a special table if one is available where you can hear each other (probably not sitting at a crowded bar) and be comfortable (not too close to the door where she might get chilly).
Step 6: Sweep her off her feet.
Send her a message the day of your date to let her know you’re looking forward to seeing her. If you really want to make her feel special, follow even one of these steps and you’ve earned yourself some serious brownie points:
* Show up with a bunch of wildflowers; simple is beautiful, and shows thoughtfulness without going overboard.
* Open doors for her.
* Offer to take her coat.
* Pull out her chair.
* Pre-order two glasses of her favorite drink (if you know it) or sparkling rose to be delivered to the table before she’s even had a chance to open the menu.
* Pay for the drink/meal—if all goes well and there appears to be potential for additional dates on the horizon, maybe she’ll offer to pick up the bill the next time around.
* If you’re feeling courageous and the sparks are flying, close the date with a kiss to explore whether there’s chemistry. With that said, I recommend keeping it fairly P.G. on the first date which will leave her with a smile on her face and butterflies in her stomach. She’ll go to sleep thinking of you—and wake up looking forward to more.
Step 7: Call the next day.
None of this “wait 3 days to call” nonsense. Call the next day to let her know you had a great time and thank her for taking the time to hang out with you. If you want to see her again and think the feeling is mutual, say “I’d like to see you again.” (That’s not so hard, right?) Or if you’re just not feeling it, whether it’s the connection, the chemistry or the timing, let her know that’s how you feel. (Read: He’s just not that into you.) With 7.3 billion people on the planet, you’re just not going to “be into” every single person you go out with. You’re just not. In my experience it’s best to be honest and up front, so you can both continue along on your merry way.
Side note: unless it’s glaringly obvious that there is no future for the two of you, I personally recommend waiting to make an executive decision until after a second date. The reason for this is that first dates can be kind of awkward—sometimes even more so if she likes you! A second date can provide a more accurate representation of our whole selves and clear up how much of the awkwardness from the first date can be attributed to nerves.
Step 8: Repeat step 1.
Listen to your instincts/intuition/heart/loins to tell you if there is still an attraction worth exploring and investing in future dates getting to know each other. In fact, it’s generally a good practice in all relationships (new and old) to keep checking in with yourself as well as her to ask, “How is this going for you?” This could be a verbal check-in, if you’re both pretty vocal communicators, or an energetic check-in to feel into whether you’re both on the same page.
Step 9: Enjoy, invest or let go.
Know when to relax and simply enjoy being with each other, when to invest your time and energy into this person and when to let someone go.
“People come into your life for a reason, a season or a lifetime. When you figure out which it is, you’ll know exactly what to do.” ~ Michelle Ventor
Let’s face it: sometimes people serve a purpose in our lives or we serve a purpose in theirs. Or they may come into our lives during a certain period, and when that time has passed there is really nothing left to say or do but go your separate ways. Then there are those with whom you feel a special connection, a sense of familiarity and an inner “knowing” that surpasses the actual time frame in which you have been dating. As the saying goes. “When you figure out which it is, you’ll know exactly what to do.”
Step 10: Keeping the girl.
Every woman is different—the things that have worked for you in the past may not have the same result this time around. Get to know her. I mean, really get to know her. Find out all the things that make her light up. Go out of your way to do those things, even if it’s one small thing every day. Tell her the things that light you up so that she can do those things for you (being a gentleman can help you get the girl, but to keep her, the relationship has to go both ways).
Once you think you’ve learned everything there is to know about each other, remember that people are complex works of art who are constantly evolving, growing and transforming.
The changes may be subtle, but if you are alive then you are evolving. So is she. When we remain open to that possibility, then being in relationship with the same person over time means committing every day you are together, letting go of the past and being in a mutual process of self-inquiry, expression, exploration and discovery while supporting one another in that process.
Good luck and Godspeed, gentlemen of the world!
Author: Rebecca F. Rogers
Editor: Ashleigh Hitchcock