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The Etiquette of First Dates

In the not so distant past, first dates were a true milestone in a person’s life. After all, there were so many restrictions in social norms that you only got to have one or two of them before you settled down for life.

Nowadays, we all get multiple attempts to meet the “right person” and dating apps are on everyone’s phone so you’d think we are expert first daters. Yet, considering how many people complain of bad dates and loneliness, it seems that, although everyone can do a first date, it’s really difficult to master the art of moving forward to the second one with no loss of enthusiasm on either side.

And this is where this dating etiquette blog comes in. Let us remind you why being a gentleman pays off in every area of your life, including romance.

A gentleman’s rules for a successful first date

1. Set the tone
When you ask someone out, it’s polite to offer them a chance to say where they’d like to go but don’t turn this into an endless negotiation. If they’re happy to let you decide, pick the time and place and inform your date so they can dress accordingly.

2. Start as you mean to continue
This rule applies to everything, from picking a venue you can actually afford to being courteous but not pompous. What we are basically trying to say here is that pretending to be someone you are not doesn’t make you attractive. It makes you manipulative and creepy.

3. Plan your escape route
Mid-week drinks are an excellent choice for a first date. If you are having a good time, you can continue with dinner or suggest meeting over the weekend and, if you’re looking for a way out, you can cut the night short.

4. But what to wear?
Your choice of attire should strike the right balance between style and comfort, much like our Aristocracy London 3 piece suits. First dates are stressful enough as they are without adding a whole new level of crazy with a new grooming routine or shoes that haven’t been broken in.

5. Listen
“Interesting and interested” is what we’re going for. This is your chance to talk about what’s important to you but, equally, ask questions and listen to what your date says. And put your phone away unless your wife is in labour in which case you shouldn’t be on a date, should you?

6. Compliment her
Everyone likes a compliment but don’t overdo it, we can all tell when words of admiration come from the heart. So, if you find something on her particularly attractive or if you are fascinated by her work, just say it.

7. The x factor
Apparently the golden rule is that you never talk about money or exes on the first date. And that worked fine back when people removed themselves from the dating circuit as soon as they became an item with someone. But now it’s just impossible to guess so it’s only fair to ask. No need to discuss gory details but something like “when did you last relationship end?” is fine. Saves you from the nasty surprise of finding someone else’s t-shirts in their wardrobe on date 5.

8. No oversharing
There is no need to lay all your cards on the table, especially if you are not entirely sure you want to see that person again. But if there are solid deal-breakers for you, be frank and hope for the best. E.g. a first date is a good time to mention that you have children or that you are in the middle of an acrimonious divorce.

9. Your treat
As you may have read in our blog on how to settle a restaurant bill, you should really insist on picking up the tab for the first date. If she offers to split the bill, and you want to see her again, suggest that she pays next time. See what I did there? You are already talking date 2!

10. No sex
At least not on the first date, especially if this is a person you genuinely like. A kiss may be ok but leave it there. As Mae West, undoubtedly a wise woman, once said “anything worth doing is worth doing slowly”.

11. Follow up
Women actually notice how long it took you to get in touch. Anything over 48 hours and she has probably already told her friends you are not interested. And they had a long chat about it and now you are doomed.

In case you think this dating etiquette is all too much, fear not. Every man over the age of 20 knows that first dates aren’t that important. They may be stressful, especially if you really fancy the person who’s sitting across the table, and slightly awkward but they are not important. After all, as you gain some dating experience, you realise that what you see on that first date can be nerves or someone’s well-rehearsed act. It is only after date two that things start to become clear. But that’s for one of our future blogs!

If you’ve met someone that you look forward to taking out on a first date, don’t forget to browse our collection of limited edition, timeless 3 piece suits which combine luxury and comfort! Wearing them will give you that extra bit of confidence to make a lasting impression and personalized embroidery in the inside pocket, with your monogram of choice, will secure she doesn’t forget your name straight away.