Fellas, here you go:
1. Plan. Ask for her input on your ideas, but you should generally make the plans. Obviously this isn’t a hard and fast rule — if you’re meeting for lunch because you both work downtown, or if you’re working around some schedule conflicts, you’ll need to be more collaborative, but if it’s a dinner date and you’re picking her up, just make the plans. If she’s weird about it, chill. Remember last time I told the ladies to cut you some slack about potential mom/sister/ex-related baggage? Do the same with her. She might have experience with a tyrant or a sissy. Give her grace.
2. Be a gentleman — open doors, let her order first, chew with your mouth closed, pick up the tab, use your basic kindergarten manners, tip well, walk her to her car or her door. All that stuff is part of what makes a date different than “hanging out.”
3. Come prepared to ask questions about her — see #2 in the last installment. I think what frequently happens on dates is that women, who are often naturally better connectors, end up asking all the questions, and men end up giving all the responses. That’s not a good dynamic. See it as an opportunity to develop into a better conversationalist. You’re interested in her, right? Act interested! (This holds true pre-date as well. Your mantra should be I’m Interested: Act Interested.)
4. Just like I told the women that they’re not running an audition for their own Mr. Darcy, remember that you’re not running an audition for your own Megan Fox 2.0: Christian Edition. Put down the pen and back away from the checklist, fellas. She is a person, and your sister. She’s not a fantasy-fulfillment device, she’s not your mother/nursemaid/housekeeper, and her purpose in life doesn’t have one darn thing to do with your needs or desires — not on a first date, that’s for sure. Please treat her accordingly.
5. After the date, if you had a good time, don’t be That Guy and wait four days to call. Tell your bonehead roommates to shove it if they suggest anything like “making her wait.” Passive-aggressiveness is a great plan only if you want to die alone. Shoot her a text, let her know you had fun, and ask if you can call her again in the next couple of days. If she says yes, you’re golden; start planning date two. If it turns out she’s a psycho hose-beast, call her and thank her for her time, letting her know (briefly and simply, again) that you don’t see this going anywhere. Continue to be polite and kind to her when you run into her again. Again, I strongly recommend going on two or three dates before you pull that trigger, barring mega red flags.
Next up: a little troubleshooting.