And if there's anything he can do, I can do it better. Am I right, ladies, or am I right? Time for me to enter the world of dating, albeit a little bit late in RSVPing. Straight from the dating trenches, I bring you the secret, the Good, the Bad, the Ugly, the Ridiculously Attractive, and the Golden Rule:
The Secret: Your friend's friends are your secret, untapped resource. Ask around and see if anyone is hiding a great guy-- someone they used to date and have remained friends with with no residual desire, just a platonic friend, a brother or cousin or co-worker or classmate, etc. The good news is, your friend can vouch for their sanity, and knows what you're looking for, and can also play referee and deliver the rulings from the other side of the field; if they feel comfortable doing so, of course. (Guys, I hope you realize this goes for you, too-- your buddies could be sitting on some great girls to set you up with!)
The Golden Rule: 10 minutes of straight, uninterrupted talking is possibly one of the smartest moves you can make when you're getting to know someone. Plan the event surrounding those 10 minutes of bliss (or abject horror) accordingly. The object of this first date or meeting is to fill enough time doing something else so that you still don't know everything about each other, because hopefully, the suspense and good feelings created will lend themselves to a second meeting. Sporting events, where it's only considered decent to talk in between innings or quarters or commercial breaks, are a great choice if you're sports fans; catching a show or a concert is another venue that gives you time to re-group and be silent and think, rather than having to spend all the time together talking, which, let's face it, can be trying, or worse yet, means you run out of things to converse about. Though movies aren't generally considered the best since you're sitting silently side-by-side in the dark for 2 hours, it could maybe fly with the right person. Maybe.
The Good: "I offer my most sincere apologies but I have to run; I'll talk to you tomorrow, though."
The Bad: Just signing off or not responding to the last text or leaving. You'd be shocked and amazed how many guys do the "bye!" duck and run, or, don't even say that they're leaving. Common manners is saying goodbye; great manners are apologizing for an abrupt exit, and leaving a time-frame for the next time they'll be in touch. (Same goes for you, ladies-- let a guy know how much you've enjoyed talking with him, and let him know it's either ok for him to contact you again, or that you'll be in touch with him. Stop being so fucking aloof. Let him know he's done well and that you like him. For god's sake, flirt with it if you're into it. A little mystery never killed any romantic suspense, but being an Ice Queen sure as hell never started any grand passion.)
Women tread a fine line with dressing for dates. On one hand, I lived in Italy for 4 months and dropped some major cash on some pretty fashion-forward clothing. On the other hand, no woman should outshine her date-- the goal is to match each other in terms of dress. I'm not talking you two should be in matching tracksuits like how your mom used to buy you and your siblings all color-coordinated outfits for the holiday family photo, but rather, that the way that you dress will compliment the way that he dresses. (Because let's face it, women generally are more fashion-conscious then men. It's easier for us to think of all the outfit possibilities and align that with our plan.) However, this being said, it is always better for the woman to be a little more under-dressed than the man. This is because if a girl shows up dressed to the 9s, while a dude's in his flannel shirt and jeans, it's going to do 2 things: Make him feel self-conscious, and convince him that she's more invested than he is. When in doubt, GO CASUAL. Jeans, boots, and a shirt never went wrong. A skirt and a t-shirt is fine. Tailor your outfit to the location-- if it's a movie or a concert or bar, a dress will look out-of-place. If you're going out for dinner at a place where entrées are $20 and above, you might want to wear that dress there.
The Ridiculously Attractive: When a guy shows up with obvious effort put into his appearance. I dressed a little down; he showed up in a button-up cuffed at the wrists, trousers, and a fresh shave. His stock went through the roof.
The Ugly (Truth): I'm gonna say it-- I hate Facebook chat. I really, really hate Facebook chat. I usually sign in, scope out who's on, and then sign off real quick before any of the random people I went to high school with and haven't talked to in years decide it's time for a reunion! This being said, everyone and their mother is addicted to Facebook today, and it's generally a good place to get in touch with people, meeting, before, or in between or after dates. Today, I logged myself on and sat down, waiting through an excruciatingly weird conversation with one of my best friend's exes, just to ignore the person I actually wanted to talk to. Why? Because I'm a woman. We set up a scene so that we can wait around...and then ignore a guy until he starts talking to us, ESPECIALLY after a date or seeing him for one of the first times in person.
See, it's all about the chase. If you've just met up, or if you just went on the first date, contacting him first it going to cloud your waters. I mean, yes, we're big girls in the 21st century here, and if we like a guy, we know how to let him know. But it's also important to find out exactly how he feels about you. If it didn't go as well on his end as it did on yours, it'll show in how long it takes him to contact you. And if he's enthusiastic about you, you'll also know it by how little time it takes for him to say "hey" again. From there, you've got a pretty educated guess on how receptive he is to you, and if date 2 or meeting up again is an option.
Let's recap: I am perfectly comfortable asking a guy out (though I'd prefer he does, first). I'm fine with asking for digits-- asking for people's phone numbers should be routine by this point in your life. I even periodically open doors FOR MEN. But what am I, and nearly all other women-- and I'd be willing to bet large sums of money on this, if I had it-- still loathe to do? Be the one to make first contact. It's so fucked up, I know, but that's women for you. There. Consider yourself strapped. Go forth, and message her first.
Happy dating! And if you have any dating rules you live and die by-- send 'em in! Lord knows I need all the help I can get.