Friday, August 03, 2007

On Being the Man with the Plan

Wow. I almost didn't post the last post, because it was so long. I'll try and keep this one shorter. Oh who am I kidding. We both know I will ramble on in this one, too. Here goes. Step-by-step.

Let's assume you've got Crush Girl on the phone, and things are going well. Pats on the back for you, Stud Machine. You've mastered the hard part: The Approach. And you got the digits. Now that you're talking to her, what exactly, do you plan on saying? You've caught the bunny, but what do you do next?

1. First of all, at this point, she knows you're interested. She's also expecting you to ask her out. That is why you got her digits, right?? So go on. It's showtime. Nothing ventured, nothing gained. If she gave you her number, you've got about a 95% chance that she also wants you to ask her out. But what if you can't ask her out because you're broke right now/really busy/terrified of her/going out of town for a month/etc.? No problem. Just make sure you either make a date with her by the end of the 2nd conversation (you are allowed one wuss-out phone call) OR, if you truly honestly are very busy, make a date in advance. Something along the lines of: "Man, Susie, you are great. Hey listen. I have to go to Burma for about 8 weeks to inoculate orphans for malaria, but when I get back, I'd love to take you out to dinner. How does that sound?"

My point is, if you can't make a date right away, whether because you're a busy guy or just a regular old wuss (don't worry, some girls are flattered that we can reduce you to a Puddle of Liquid Wimp) -- all is not lost. Just make sure you reassure her that you are indeed interested in taking her out romantically, and not just calling her up randomly.

PLEASE, if you are the guy who tends to be the Puddle of Liquid Wimp, do not waste our time by calling us up just to chat, and then finally getting around to asking us out during Phone Call #12. We are busy, too! Cut to the chase already! The phone is not some kind of free, screening tool you get to use before you are forced to spend money on us. You cannot use ten calls as a substitute for a first date. Doing so will make you seem like not only a total wuss, but also a total cheapskate. Do your screening before you get our number. If you have the number, it's time to seal the deal. To quote Monty Python: Get on with it!!!

2. Let's assume you are not a Puddle of Liquid Wimp, and you have mustered up the courage to ask her out. Wait, wait, wait! Stop that train. Do you have a plan? Because you should. This is the next big important lesson, so write this down: ALWAYS BE THE MAN WITH THE PLAN. This is especially true in the beginning. Having a defined plan for what you want to show her/share with her makes the girl feel you
A) care enough to put some thought into this & you are looking forward to it
B) have neat things to show her, and up until she met you, she's been missing out
C) have confidence that it will be great, and all she has to do is show up and look good
And trust me, all three of these impression are very, very good.

To be The Man with the Plan, you need at least an initial location: restaurant, movie theater, park, store, etc. You can improvise from there, that's fine. Just don't be the guy who says, "I dunno. What do you want to do?" Ugh. I hate hearing that. And I know of other girls who do, too. Newsflash, men: If we thought we were getting everything we want out of life already, we wouldn't have accepted a date with you. Your goal should be to show us what we have been missing out on by dating all those other guys and not you. You know what's great to hear? When a guy starts a sentence with, "Hmmm. Have you ever....?" -- YAY! This is a sign of a guy who has fun, unique ideas!!! This is your chance to show off to her! See if she knows about that cool place you like to hang out. Or if she is willing to try Ethiopian cuisine. Or go kayaking. Just throw out a few ideas and see what she goes for. You can pick something you're experienced in, if it will give you some confidence during the date. That's fine. Plus, if it's a hobby of yours, it can give you nice opportunities for physical contact. Example: If she's never golfed, take her to the driving range. Oh, gosh, she needs some help holding the club. Cue the um, tutoring session......

Other fun ideas include: coffeeshops, bookstores, going to a cooking class, a picnic in a park, going to a comedy show (there is more opportunity for talking than at a movie), checking out a new bar in town, going to an art gallery, taking a salsa lesson, playing pool/darts, the zoo, a sporting event, a round of tennis or putt-putt golfing (I have found that a little healthy competition can really make sparks fly...).

Don't rule out something neither one of you have tried. It could be really fun. You can do the whole dinner-and-a-movie thing later on. Right now, you want to impress the bejeezus out of her. So having a kick-ass plan is crucial. Have three or more ideas lined up to toss her way.

Things which would be bad ideas include:
shopping (are you gay?),
painting pottery (again, are you gay?),
anything where the two of you are totally alone (public places make her feel safe, and private places -- like your apartment -- make her feel like you are only interested in one thing),
meeting any member of your family (too much pressure),
meeting your friends (unless she already knows them -- again, too much pressure),
taking her to a work function (um, you don't know her well, so is that a risk you want to take?), taking her to Olive Garden (or any major chain restaurant, unless you live in Podunk and you have no other choice),
camping (we want to feel pretty on our first date, not grungy)
taking her to any sort of convention/fan club event (unless you've had a Kung Fu moment, where you've discovered she's into the same unusual hobby you're into)
planning something where she won't have time to get pretty for the date because she has to come straight from work (this might add to her stress, something you don't want to cause)
the gym (this is something you do once you're bf/gf.)
a trip to anywhere out of town (too soon! Easy, tiger!)
asking her to lunch (unless you are honestly THAT busy, we will just think you have a wife/girlfriend! Pony up for an evening date, even if it's just drinks! Friends go to lunch. Boyfriends and girlfriends go to dinner. Nuff said.)
car show/electronics shopping (unless she's as into it as you are)
an engagement party/wedding (you might freak her out!)
anything with babies (again, freak out is possible! -- Yes, women can freak out about that stuff, too. Men are not alone in this.)

Also, nothing involving politics or religion. That's a date #2-3 topic.

3. Um, actually, let me just go ahead and talk about the dinner-and-a-movie thing right now. It is the CRAPPIEST first date EVER. Why? First of all, she's done it a zillion times. It's hard to get excited about that. (Trust me, you want her to be excited, and preferably, gushing to her girlfriends about how you have a supercool date idea.) Second of all, there is no talking for half of the date. By the end of it, you scarcely know each other any better than you did when the date started. I mean, let's face it. That first meal together is usually awkward small talk. The third reason is that it's TOTALLY BORING. *yawn!* These guys are a dime a dozen. Anyone can come up with dinner-and-a-movie. Save that for later on, when a movie comes out that you both REALLY want to see. By then, you'll be comfy enough with each other to get some mid-movie smooching in, too. See? I have your best interests at heart, guys.

4. Alright, let's say you would love to make a super-impressive plan, but you are broke. Or you work weird hours. Or you currently don't have a car. Whatever. That's fine. You are just going to have to work around it and get creative. This is a good time to call in some backup: Run your ideas by friends, gal pals, married guys or even your sister/Mom. They can help you sort out the details. Girls are especially helpful in these sorts of situations. Never forget that everyone -- even Crush Girl -- is pulling for you, man. And guys who can make it happen, despite the odds? Hot. Way hot. The more effort you put into pulling off a great date, the more memorable it will be for her. Exhibit A. Oh, and you don't need to brag about all of your effort. She'll pick up on it, trust me. And spending large amounts of money isn't necessary for a good first date to happen. Unless you're dating a gold digger. In which case, why are you reading this?

5. Are you wondering why you have to do all the work? Ok, that's a legitimate question. Let me put it to you this way. Do you want her to feel special? Important? Relaxed? Then you need to do the planning for about 2 dates. After that, you can start getting input from her. The only thing she should have to do to get ready for date #1 is to look good and show up with a smile on her face. Everything else is your job. Telling her that not only does she have to shower, shave, dry her hair, do her hair, put on her makeup, find an outfit, call 3 girlfriends for 2nd opinions on the outfit, change outfits 4 more times, pluck her eyebrows, talk to her mother -- who has called to lecture her about proper date behavior as though she's never been on a date in her life, change her lipstick, re-curl that lock of hair, spray perfume, select matching earrings, look in the mirror to see how her butt looks in that outfit as opposed to outfit #4, change purses and clean the front hallway/room of her house before you ring the doorbell.......but she ALSO has to pick the restaurant and date activity?! Whew! I'm tired and stressed out, just from re-reading that! Do you want your date to be tired AND stressed? I didn't think so. Trust me, and just plan it, ok? She will be grateful you did.

NOT being The Man with the Plan sends out the following message: "Yeah, I'm interested enough to ask you out, but not interested enough to really think about how it will go. So if it gets messed up, eh. No biggie. I didn't really care to begin with." OR "OMG, I am paralyzed by fear at the thought of possibly messing this up and then you will hate me. I will feel better if you just run the show, because I need to spend the date in the bathroom, calling my mother."

UGH! The first one makes you sound like a cocky asshole who doesn't view Crush Girl as special (very insulting!) and the second one makes us want to beat you up, just because we can! How do you expect us to believe in you if you don't believe in yourself? Is this really what you are going for???

The attitude we want to hear is this: "I have really been looking forward to this for a while. You are amazing and I'm really hoping to make a great impression. So just sit back, relax, and let me show you a great time."

Ahhh. Music to my ears.

6. So, at this point, you've got a cool plan/restaurant/activity in mind. Great! And you've mustered up the courage to ask her out. Super! And she said yes! That's wonderful! Just set a day and time, get directions to her place (unless she wants to meet you there) and call her the day before to confirm all the details. (You can call the "day of" to confirm details, but why leave Crush Girl hanging like that? Best to call the day before.)

WHEW. Ok, the most difficult parts are over. Now, you just have to impress her ON the supercool date.....


coffeesnob said...

you know what happened to emma woodhouse (she fancied herself a match-maker)?

Phantom Hater said...

Good post. More and more, I've realized the first date can completely set the tone for the rest of the relationship, if it develops. My main tip for a first date:

Don't spend too much, because she will assume you can easily spend a lot of money every time you go out, and it looks like you're trying too hard.

I agree that movie dates=worst dates ever.

I've had successful lunch dates, especially when both people have busy schedules. It's a great opportunity to just have a flowing conversation, without a lot of the pressure of an evening date. If you can't easily talk to a person without the aid of alcohol or cover of darkness, why bother? I would still pick a sort of cozy, romantic place so you don't kill the chemistry vibe right off the bat, and follow-up with a great second date if things go well.

I hope this post series continues. I can't wait to read your advice on maintaining a successful relationship. :)

Anonymous said...

ok, this post and your last one rock. will you please come to NYC and hand out flyers with these posts on them to ALL guys in the city??

RWA said...

Thanks for the list of ideas that might imply the guy was gay.

I am going to print that out and keep it for future reference.

Stuck said...

"The phone is not some kind of free, screening tool you get to use before you are forced to spend money on us."

There is a problem that I've noticed in Columbia with "professional daters." These are women who have no intention of getting to know the man, or forming a relationship. What they're after is a free meal and a good time.

And what the hell is wrong with Olive Garden? So what if it's a chain restaurant? So is Outback, and if you take Outback off my list of places to eat, then you're getting dumped. :p

Phantom Hater said...

"And what the hell is wrong with Olive Garden? So what if it's a chain restaurant? So is Outback, and if you take Outback off my list of places to eat, then you're getting dumped. :p "

I once took a girl to Olive Garden just to dump her. I wanted to make it easier on her, so I figured taking her out to dinner would be a good idea. She ended up ordering a bottle of wine and giving me a spiel about how she thought we should take the relationship to the next level. I had to let her down and give her the "It's not you, it's me" speech. Needless to say, I felt like crap. Never break up in public, and never do it at the OG.

~stuck-Just because it is a chain doesn't necessarily mean it's bad, but it means she won't see it as "memorable", which is the key to a very successful first date. You can eat at Outback anytime.

Stuck said...

PH - Funny enough, I've also had a girl tell me we should take the relationship to the next level when I was just about to let her go. My response was something like, "I was thinking the same thing. But, for me, the next level is the break-up. I'm sorry."

Virginia Belle said...

coffeesnob -- yeah, she got married. i'm not matching anyone up, though. are you saying i should start matchmaking people, since that's the only way i will get married? you're probably right....*sigh*

PH-- yes, i agree on the first date giving you an impression of the whole relationship. looking back, it has definitely been a predictive are absolutely right on not overspending! in fact, i will extrapolate on this in the next post. and yes, breaking up in public is AWFUL. not just for the peeps in the ending relationship, either. it makes the strangers/friends near you very uncomfortable. and yes, PH, you are dead on with the chain thing -- i LOVE outback, but wait and go there after the relationship has been established.

stuckey-- OH! that's terrible! you heartbreaker, you!

Matilda Jane said...

I can't find anything in this one to disagree with.... I guess I'll just take a nap.

Lol I remember when I set you up with that guy once, and he took you to Olive Garden. After y'all date, I lectured him and was like "what is wrong with you?! Olive Garden is where you take your grandma!"

Virginia Belle said...

um, ok, it's monday. i think that's why i missed the other comments. whoops. sorry. dur.

PH -- um, i will never write those posts. i have no clue how to maintain a healthy relationship. i only know the best way to get them started. i go on lots of first's the 2nd and 3rd, et al. which allude me......

one girl -- i'm glad you like them. i have to say, though, i am not totally sure if i'm speaking for all single girls everywhere....just a lot of them. MJ doesn't agree w/all of my dating philosophies. that's why i keep her around. she'll tell me when i'm being a clueless moron. :)

more evidence that EVERY WOMAN IS DIFFERENT.

rwa-- no problem. i like to think of these posts as educational. :)

stuckey -- well, i sure would like to learn something from these "professional dater" girls. i couldn't land a date to save my life. maybe they know something i don't? because girls like me sit at home alone. eating ice cream. watching Oprah. ok, i'm exaggerating....

those girls are what i call "gold diggers". i would like to know why they keep getting asked out when i am home alone. it kind of pisses me off, actually. maybe i should start being a gold digger....

PH explains why Outback and OG are unimpressive first date locations. do you want to be unimpressive, Stuckey??? i didn't think so. you, my friend, need to cook for her at home. THAT would make an impression on her. you could make....oh, i fried steak???

Virginia Belle said...

MJ -- yes, are you seeing how much "don't be that guy" material i'm getting from that date??? it is a textbook example of what NOT to do.

ugh. do you still talk to him?

good to know i FINALLY have your approval in SOMETHING dating-related.

Virginia Belle said...

holy shit. did i just say "extrapolate"?

go me!

Virginia Belle said...

crap. i meant to say "explicate". extrapolate doesn't even make sense in that context.


being blonde is hard.

Phantom Hater said...

He's a--heart-breaker!
Dream maker!
Love taker!
Don't mess around with Stuck-ey!

Cooking dinner for a girl is great, of course, but not first date material. What you do is drop a hint during the first date that you cook a mean so-and-so, so you are setting up a possible future date.

I say, find some little-known spot, a cute little bistro or something that she might have heard of but never tried because her last bf only wanted to go to the Olive Garden. Mid-priced, nothing too cheap or expensive.

OOoohh, explicate! I love it when you talk dirty, VB. ;)

kimmykins13 said...

VB,I think you must have known my CN and he got all these tips from you before he met me. Oh, by the way - it's still going really well!

coffeesnob said...

re: "being blonde is hard". shouldn't that be on a t-shirt?

M said... my experience most relationships don't even develop from dates. they develop from friendships or maybe a bad date followed by a good date followed by a friendship that falls into a relationship...

IMO finding a relationship is not a linear path of date 1, date 2, date 3...

IMO being single is most definitely a linear path: night alone #1 then night alone #2...10 years later you lose track of how many nights it has been!

so, anyway...good posts! just hang in there with the guys and don't worry about when/if they ask you out!

lenfercestlesautres said...

Thanks, m, that's exactly what I was thinking. I hate thinking in "dates". I've never actually gone on a date.

Virginia Belle said...

PH-- you are full of good dating ideas. i'm impressed. you have a good grasp on how to impress women. that must be why your EGF keeps reappearing.

kimmykins -- that is SUPER! glad to hear it!!!

coffeesnob -- yes, it should be. and i should be wearing it.

m & len-- i think there are two kinds of daters in this world. those who have the formal dating process, and those who just sort of fall into them via friendships that develop into more. i'm not one of those people. i'm not saying one way is right/wrong. just that we are different. sometimes i wish i was the other type of dater. it sounds easier.

Phantom Hater said...

"you have a good grasp on how to impress women. that must be why your EGF keeps reappearing."

I had to laugh out loud at this comment. I think she comes back for the 9 cemmies. No really, I'm just absolutely amazing. ;)

Virginia Belle said...

PH -- *rolls eyes*