The Etiquette of Dating

What has happened to manners?

It seems everyone is so busy these days that there is no time for niceties – returning emails, RSVPing to parties and even saying thank you have fallen by the wayside.

When it happens with friends, we can understand, kiss and make up.

In the dating jungle, however, bad manners are unforgivable.

I was out one night (eons ago) in a bar, having a table-dancing, heel-kicking great time with a bunch of girlfriends. Cue entry of cute blond. He buys me a drink, we chat for awhile and even sneak in a pash.

He secures my number and I prance away. I don’t hear from him that night, or the next. I don’t wait by the phone and I don’t wonder why he isn’t calling. I don’t really care.

Two weeks later, I have all but forgotten him.

Then, weeks after the fact, I receive a text message on a Sunday afternoon:

“Hey, it’s M. I met you the other week at that club. I just wanted to ask if you would feel like having some casual sex with me?”

I’m floored. This isn’t even a late-Saturday-night drunk booty call. This is just bad judgment. And downright rude.

I send a text back:

“What, you don’t even ask a girl out for a drink first?”

And a few minutes later:

“Oh. Sorry. Would you like to have a drink first?”

No, thank you, M. I wouldn’t.

More stories of bad manners emerged from my Tweet stream.

One girl found herself on a date with a guy who took his gum out of his mouth and stuck it under the table at the restaurant.

Another’s date turned up blind drunk, forgot his wallet, abused the wait staff and promptly threw up on the footpath in front of the restaurant on their way out the door – and then had the nerve to ask for a second date!

So who, or what, is responsible?

For a start, SMS.

Faceless technology has made it easy for people to say things they would have trouble saying one-on-one.

We aren’t born with manners. They must be learned and, unfortunately, it requires a modicum of effort to conduct yourself with proper etiquette.

But it’s worth it to learn them – especially in the dating world, where first impressions are king.

Here’s a few from Emma’s Manners 101 Textbook.

1. Call when you say you will call. Or at least have the courage to call and say you won’t be calling. Never SMS. It shows a lack of character.

2. Don’t get drunk on the first (or second, or third) date – no matter how nervous you are. You might think you’re being hilarious and articulate, but you’re really just being an idiot.

3. Even if you both do just want no-strings-attached sex, a little bit of respect goes a long way (and makes for way better sex!).