“But I did not ask you about this, you trollops,” you say. Scroll down to the bottom of the post, note the tag “advice you did not ask us for," and just go with it.
Good Ideas/Bad Ideas for Dating D
Making an effort is required. And by “making an effort”, I mean that one must take the trouble to make plans in advance, and not just assuming that a last-minute text message is going to cause me to drop whatever plans I already have and make myself available to you. Spontaneity is cute within reason, but if you are unable to formulate a plan that includes a date, time, and location, I am going to be unable to go out with you. I joke about my color-coded calendar, but really: I have an absurdly anal-retentive color-coded calendar, and it fills up with Stuff.
Making an effort also includes things like wearing clean clothes, turning off the volume on your phone unless you have some legitimately pressing situation requiring your availability (Is your best friend due to birth a child soon? That counts. Are you waiting to see if your friends are doing anything fun tonight? That does not count; please go fuck yourself), and making me brunch. I am a total sucker for brunch.
I cannot believe that I’ve just had to clarify that one should wear clean clothes and not continually check one’s phone on a date. Fucking basic, right? You would hope so, but apparently you would be mistaken.
Flowers are also a Really Good Idea. Not stuffy Floral Arrangements, though, because those are formal and kind of weird me out: the last time I got Romantical Flowers the card said “happy one-month anniversary”, which caused me to freak out and drive to another state that night to escape the suffocating awkwardness. But: a peony in a jelly jar? I am guaranteed to adore it.
Apparently if you make me brunch and hand me a peony, I will go into a swoon.
I send pretty clear signals, really: if I make out with you at the bar/ on the street/ while hailing a cab, I like you. If I do not, well, you're going home alone.
Good Ideas/Bad Ideas for Dating A Lady
I favor tulips and calla lilies over peonies, but, like D says, simpler is better. The making an effort bit is, for me, a moot point: if I've agreed to go out with you or have asked you out, I'll already have noted that you are, in fact, making an effort.
Spontaneity is always charming, but only in a "Ooh, you didn't have to bring me coffee on your break!" kind of way. I like plans: they are something to anticipate and show that the other person is looking forward to the next time they see you as much as you are. If you call me up (NB: I hate the phone) after a week of silence and want me to do something three hours later, I will say No, on principle.
Be an adventurous eater and drinker. Make eye contact. Keep up with my horrible attempts at banter. Have rolled-up shirt-sleeves. It's okay to be a little possessive, too, if that's your thing. If you know any old school chivalry (which side of the sidewalk to occupy, whether you should let a lady walk ahead or behind you, standing when she leaves the table, etc.), that's pretty awesome. (Caveat: don't suddenly try to start putting these things in action if you haven't been doing it forever. I wish I were kidding, but I've been knocked aside and jostled by people trying to get me on the right side of the sidewalk. Not cool. Don't call attention to your manners, ever.) If you know how to partner dance and lead well, that's even better.
If you help me on with my coat, I'll go home with you immediately: you'll have just earned the James Brown Seal of Approval.