My dear son, Mom and I are praying you find a mate who’s beautiful on the inside and out, loves God and wants to serve him alongside you for life. So we’ve come up with some dating rules. We pray for this. Like on our knees. Hands raised. Hallelujer.
You and I have talked a lot about relationships, purity and sex (I know that talk was a little awkward, forgive me for the drawings already), but I wanted to pass along some of the more specific dating deets (do the cool kids still say that? Anywhoo.)
What I’m trying to say is I want to be your Hitch. OK, I’m starting the make this weird. Let me get to the point.
Here are 15 dating rules that, if followed, will set you up for success and guide you away from some of the worst awkwardness known to mankind. So, please read these instructions carefully.
1. Smell Good
Let me lay this out, clearly. Take a shower. Use deodorant. Use cologne. Also, that Axe body spray does not count. I’ve been meaning to tell you, but that stuff smells like the tears of orphans, burnt hair and regret. Please stop using it forever. This is one of those obvious dating rules.
2. Get a Plan
Before you start your first date, make sure and PLAN. IT. OUT. Your preparation and organization will show her you cared enough to put some thought into the evening. This is good. It’s a way of respecting her.
3. Ask Great Questions
You invited her on this awkward field trip and it’s your responsibility to make things un-awkward. Get to know her. Don’t ask dumb questions like What’s up? Or Do you like soup? Ask her about the things she loves, things she hates, places she wants to visit, what makes her laugh, what moves her, etc.
4. Plan an Experience
Avoid romantic clichés and plan a fun experience. Think Laser Tag, Putt-Putt, or a sporting event. DO NOT go to a fancy French restaurant on your first date—unless you’re held hostage by fancy-pants kidnappers. Also, do a little research on cost and appropriateness. I took a very innocent Christian girl on a date to an R-rated comedy club once, on accident. It did not go well.
5. Be Confident and Kind
She wants to feel safe with you. Be strong. Be competent, but also be kind. Don’t look to her to figure things out—take the initiative.
6. Treat Her As Someone Else’s Future Wife
This sounds weird, I know. Why would you date someone else’s future wife? But it’s likely you will date a number of girls along the journey to marriage and you need to treat each one with respect and integrity, because one day they will marry. God honors this. Trust me.
7. Stay Close
Don’t plan a date that includes a long drive. Stay close to home for the first date. This makes a boring date bearable and it cuts out a ton of awkward driving time. There’s nothing worse than driving three hours with someone you don’t know well. Instead of 3-4 questions you need like a thousand. You practically have to be Barbara Walters on a date like this. And you, my son, are no Barbara Walters.
8. Crowds Are Your Friend
Being alone on a first date for too long is not a good idea—for many reasons. It’s always safer and easier in crowds. Don’t plan a date with a ton of time away from people. Bonus: If the date goes badly you can always people watch!
9. Add Surprise
Think of a fun twist to add to the date. I bought scratch-off lottery tickets for one of the first dates with your mom and I broke them out right after dinner. Your mom won $20 that night. It was like magic. Seriously, that probably sealed the deal. What I’m saying is, you’re here today because of a $1 scratch-off lottery ticket. Deep stuff. I’m not saying you should gamble, far from it, however, if you win anything over $100 we split it 50-50.
10. Be Ready to Pay
I know we live in an ever-changing world of political correctness and some people might argue that it’s not the guy’s responsibility to pay, but you should. Be ready for it. Also, you should do the math beforehand so you have enough. On one of our first dates your mom had to cover me for some Chimichangas and I still live with that story today.
11. DO NOT Get Physical
The theme song for the night should not come from Olivia Newton-John. If anything it should come from these guys. Seriously, though, she should feel safe and secure both in her environment and with you. Don’t give her any signs of physical advance. If she gives you those signs, run. You have my permission to pull the eject button. I will pick you up anywhere. This is one of the most important dating rules.
12. Clean the Car
This one is simple. Do everything in your power to get the funk out. Vacuum, wipe down the windows, get an air freshener—and make sure your dirty soccer socks have been unearthed from the backseat.
13. Don’t Be a Complete Goofball
Being funny is good, but don’t turn the whole night into a joke fest. Think less Jim Carrey and more Carry Grant (super cool actor from a looong time ago, Google him). Actually, scratch that. He was married five times. Just play it cool and be yourself.
Meet her parents if you can. Speak up. Look them in the eye. Give her dad a firm handshake and let him know his daughter is in good hands. Also, get her home at least ten minutes before her curfew.
15. Make the “Goodnight” Short and Sweet
Avoid side-hugs, handshakes and please, for the love of everything good, do not give her a high-five. Just tell her you had a great time and you hope you can do it again (if that’s the case) and say goodnight. Boom. You’re done. That was easy.
Also, I have a promise to make. If you break these dating rules I will greet your next date in my underwear. No list can save you from that fate.