Not one of us has gone unscathed from and by the custom of dating. It does not matter what culture, gender or age, dating has had
an impact upon us in some form of other. We see examples of it on the television, read about it in magazines
and learn about it the classroom, locker room and on the street. Sociologists study it as do psychologists,
behaviorists, educators and biologists.
The subject is pervasive. Dating with all its foibles is regular fodder for movies
and television series. Books extol the art of dating and/or finding your "soul mate". The ideology of romantic
love, "true love" and the "ideal mate" are expounded page after page or in scene after scene. According to this
approach, the first
date is the start of this journey. In many movies and pulp fiction, the first date is where the hero and
heroine start-off on their journey into the ultimate adventure of eternal happiness.
This quest for eternal happiness is not a modern dilemma. It dates back centuries.
It is part of many different philosophical approaches to life. Dating, however, is a new phenomenon. It is only
around a century old. It is an evolutionary process affected by technological and sociological changes. Dating has
to do with relationships and experimentation. It concerns the search for economic, societal and emotional security.
It is about compromise and expansion. It is also, believe it or not, fun.
Dating is amusing and daunting. It is scary and exciting. It can be an adventure
or a calamity. In fact, sometimes, it can be a bit of both. In the search for the ideal date, you are bound to make
a few mistakes. Relax. Everybody does. It is rare to find exactly who you want to be with on your first outing.
Think of it as a learning experience, a great adventure, time well spent. Certainly, it is more interesting than
watching the news, although it can sometimes feel you may soon be on it as you are quickly becoming part of a train
Dating is a simple sounding word. It consists of two syllables d?t and ?ng. The
origins of the word lie in the Latin language - data/dare to give. The basis of the current usage, however, began
in the United States. It is now universal in it application as an informal term describing making an appointment or
assignation with a member of the opposite sex. Dating is the action of going out with another person, either as a
romantic or social partner. A date is now an appointment or engagement with the specific idea of going out
socially. A date is also the word you apply to the person who is accompanying you on this specific
This concept of "dating" someone is new in terms of historical developments. While
it does have predecessors in the form of courtship and courting, dates and dating are products of the early 20th
century. It is an evolutionary if not revolutionary step in the establishing of relationships between the sexes set
into motion by the fallout from and advancements made in World War I.
Basic Concepts: Etiquette and Self
Etiquette is an old-fashioned word. Many people reject if for being this. Yet, there is much to
be said for etiquette as it pertains to manners. If your first date is to be successful, manners and dating
need to go hand-in-hand. This does not mean knowing when or if to open a door. It also does not imply you have
to know which fork is what or how to give the right toast. What you need to be aware of are certain aspects of
choosing and arranging your first date. This can be difficult because dating etiquette often involves unsaid
rules. They vary from situation to situation.
For instance, theoretically, it is fine to ask out the best friend of your former
girlfriend. This would seem to present no problem if your ex has moved on or the split was amicable. Do not do it.
It will cause nothing but grief. Wait until at least your ex has settled down with one partner or moved on to have
dated one, two, or even three. It depends upon several factors. These include the situation between you and your
ex, her relationship to her "best friend" and whether you want to remain in one piece.
This is not the only instance when dating etiquette can confuse even the experts.
It is also a reason why no specific dating book or expert can tell you everything you need to know to obtain the
first date. There are other factors. These include the individual personalities involved.
Dating is about knowing yourself and others. You have to be aware of who you are
and how you present yourself to the world around you. For some people, self-analysis is not an easy task. They
delude themselves. They have no idea how they appear to other people. Worst still, they have no idea who they
really are. Successful dating demands you know who you are and how others see you.
With first dates, self-knowledge and awareness of others is particularly
important. If you are asking out someone, you already know from work or social functions, they already have an idea
of whom you are - or at least who you come across as being. If you approach them in an atypical manner, they may
reject you for a number of reasons. First, this does not match with what they already know about you. Second, they
reject you as not being their type on previous knowledge of your behavior. If you adopt what appears to them to be
an atypical approach, they may reject you as a phony. This is why you need to know both who you are and how others
If you are aware of your persona to the outside world, it will help you formulate
an approach that will let you get a first date. It will also make you aware whether the person you plan to ask out
on a first date will be receptive. Without this knowledge, you are setting yourself up for possible rejection. It
may seem like a good idea to ask out that tall, leggy blond from accounting or that dark-haired tennis pro, but she
may not even consider you in her league. Choose wisely. Remember, this First Date is just that - a first date, not
a lifelong commitment.
Your first date may seem like Mount Everest. Sometimes, climbing that mountain may
be preferable to the way the date turns out. Yet, if you understand the basics, you will soon adapt and advance
onto the next level. With any luck, and lots of practice, your first dates will extend into longer affairs. The
following pages will help you negotiate through and even avoid many of the landmines that are an integral part of
On the next page
we will discuss the History of