Ah, Valentine’s Day: a time of red and pink hearts, candy and chocolate (no objections there) and...possibly your very first date, a nerve-wracking time for all involved.
Maybe you’re about to go on your first date. Maybe you are the parent of someone who is about to go on a first date. In either case, we are sure that you are contemplating many things right now. Are you about to meet someone’s parents for the first time? Are you the parent, about to be met? What joy, anticipation and panic is in store for you!
Don’t worry. We’re here to help!
Before the date
• Plan ahead. Don’t wait until the last minute to ask someone out on a date. Once you’ve got the OK, make dinner reservations in advance.
• Be clean. This goes for your car, your clothes, and your body.
• Have money. If you ask someone on a date, be prepared to pay for it.
• Be on time. Don’t make your date wait, and stick to the schedule for dinner reservations. If you are a young person, remember to abide by any curfews set in place—especially if you want to curry favor with the parents, which brings us to…
Meeting the parents
• Don’t worry if this feels old-fashioned. When your date or your date’s parents enter the room, stand up.
• Whether you are standing or sitting, keep good posture — don’t slouch over.
• Make eye contact and smile when you shake hands.
• Make sure your cell phone is silenced and kept out of sight.
• If you’re dining at a formal restaurant, tell the maitre d’ your name and the time of your reservation. If the maitre d’ leads the way to the table, the lady should follow first, then her date — and don’t forget to thank the person seating you.
• Remember your basic table manners — chew with your mouth closed (and swallow before you speak), keep your elbows off the table, eat bite-sized pieces.
Door, Chair, Coat
If all else fails, think of three things: the door, the chair, the coat — as in holding car and building doors open, offering seats at the table, and helping your date in and out of her coat. You might have guessed that this advice generally pertains to the young man. This might sound old-fashioned to you. In our opinion, doing these things does not at all suggest that your date is helpless. It is not a commentary on larger male and female roles in society. However, it is a nonverbal way of telling your date that you like her and enjoy doing things that are helpful for her. It is a way to be kind.
And isn’t kindness a big part of the holiday? Happy Valentine’s Day!