Tag Archives: dating

Hubba bubba – chew on that!

gum

My new man chews gum. He does it, so he says, as the means to stay off cigarettes. Cute… but he quit five years ago!

It doesn’t bother me in the slightest, as he is polite and thoughtful, and rarely chews in my presence.

But, it got me wondering, what is the right etiquette for chewing gum?

I do it rarely. I find that my favourite gum loses it’s flavour within minutes. It also makes my lips dry… I don’t know why that is! But most of all, if I chew for too long, I burp (very un-etqt of me), and get a stomach ache with hunger pangs. If I chew too long, I end up with a headache too. Really, what’s the advantage for me?

I’ve never met anyone else with the same complaints.

I did try to use it as a breath freshener and way of keeping my teeth cleaner during the course of the day, just as the advertising said, but I’d be so hungry after 20 or 30 minutes that I’d end up eating something, and my teeth wouldn’t be clean anymore.

So, when is it ok to chew, and more importantly how?

Definitely, keep your mouth shut when you chew. I recall at 13 year’s old, I was on my way home from the local beach on the bus, and a bunch of girls walked past me, and one turned to me and said, “you chew like a cow”. I was mortified. Lucky it stayed with me, and I never chewed gum with my mouth opened again.

Blowing bubbles with bubble gum is for kids. So, if you’re older than 10, no more bubbles.

Make sure to get rid of your gum in the most discrete and hygienic way by wrapping in some kind of paper and putting in the rubbish ASAP. Do not swallow your gum. There are reports that children have had to have surgery to remove globs of collected gum in their bellies due to swallowing up to nine pieces of gum a day.

You should never chew gum when you’re going for job interview (even if you think the company is modern and chilled out), or when you’re eating (imagine all the mishaps that could happen?), and definitely when you’re about to get cosy with your partner (I can’t imagine how awful it would be to kiss someone with gum in his mouth).

If you’re going to chew, keep your mouth closed (as much as you can) and keep quiet.

A FEW FUN FACTS ABOUT GUM:

There are places where gum is banned. Singapore for one.. yes, a whole country. From 1992 till 2002. It was reinstated in 2002, but only with a prescription from a doctor. And only sugarless gum at that! You could get a hefty $6,000 fine if you’re caught without your prescription!

Some theme parks and other gardens around the world have banned it too, to keep the grounds clean. Gum is made of polymers, and bonds with other man-made materials.

Chewing gum burns about 11 calories per hour. But an hour of chewing would probably make your jaw sore! Just like a workout at the gym!

Chewing gum on an airplane will keep your ears from popping. Chewing gum makes your salivary glands produce 250% more saliva than normally, so you swallow more. This helps balance the pressure in your head.

Back in the 1920’s, prohibition increased gum sales because people needed to mask the alcohol on their breath. When prohibition was enacted, Adam’s Clove gum hit the market with the slogan: “It takes your breath away!”  – NICE ONE!

Well, I’m just thankful that chewing tobacco has lost it’s appeal… though, a few years ago I sat next to a man on a long-haul flight who kept smacking his lips, and after a while of chatting, he explained that he was chewing tobacco. I was gobsmacked. He didn’t try to excuse it, and declared it as bad a vice as smoking, but was hooked. He did tell me that there are now so many “flavours” of tobacco that you can actually have minty flavoured chew! The countless times he wiped his mouth with a tissue to rid it of the nicotine spit just made me want to wretch! But I just smiled and kept my mouth shut, just like a good etqt lady… but seriously….YUCH!!!!! I can’t even write the article on tobacco chewing etiquette. I’ll leave that to my American southern belle counterparts.

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Hey! Are you talking to me?

on the phone marilyn

So, earlier today, I was chatting on the phone with one of my dear friends Sarah H-W. Sarah and I were engrossed in interesting and poignant topics, the likes of which women get drawn to when they should be busy doing something else, but can’t resist stealing some time to get some “girlfriend chatter” into the day. This can be as simple as a ten minute catch up, to swap advice and stories and make practical plans for forthcoming events, or it can develop into an altogether lengthier conversation, that requires a cup of tea, planting yourself in your favourite chair, and solving all life’s mysteries…

Mid-way through our conversation together, Sarah and I found ourselves addressing a nasty habit that we would (naturally) never do to another. It starts off innocently enough, of course. You’re on the phone with a friend, or anyone for that matter, and you’re both entirely focused and engaged in conversation……or so you think. Then all of a sudden, you can hear through your earpiece the click clack of a keyboard being used. Sarah and I agree…. this is very very rude. How can it not be rude? It sends a clear message that the other person is multitasking, and not giving you the undivided attention expected when making phone calls.

Where things got more complicated however, was our discussion around what might be the appropriate way to deal with this situation. Should you call them on it immediately by saying “hello, I can hear you typing…”?! Or would this seem a strange admonishment to one who thinks it perfectly acceptable to type and speak at the same time. Are these sorts of people  a different species, or have they simply not yet read “etqt-modern etiquette” to realise that others might disagree with their behaviour?

It got us thinking, then: just what type of multi-tasking is acceptable?

We came up with a very short list: when kids are involved, it’s important to keep children’s safety as a top priority, but that does not include allowing your child to interrupt you during a phone conversation just to tell you they want you to make them a sandwich.

Perhaps also acceptable is to proffer a caveat before starting a conversation: as a chef, I’m often baking when my phone rings. I may be putting cakes in the oven, or watching chocolate temper… If I see that a friend is calling, then I’m happy to chat, but will preface the conversation that I might be a tad distracted due to the cooking.

But what about the phone call from the car phone? I still haven’t decided if it’s rude, or just practical, to take, or make, calls from my car phone. It does offer a bit of “quiet time” when my day can be so filled with other distractions at work or at home. But on the other hand, it also sends a message that because I couldn’t fit you into busy day, so I’m just cramming you in whilst I’ve got nothing better to do. Rarely do I have long phone calls with friends when I’m driving, but I am definitely a culprit in calling my parents to work out family logistics, and absolutely use car phone to make most of my life’s appointments, including hair salons and doctors visits.

So, how do these differ from the phone call when you absolutely know that the person is doing something completely distracting… Is the message they are sending you that they don’t care enough about you to show the right etiquette? Or are they just believing that the modern world is full of multi-taskers like them and that there is nothing impolite, inconsiderate or discourteous about such behaviour? Or maybe, they actually believe that you can’t actually hear them typing anyway?

As with so many etiquette conundrums, it seems, there is no absolute consensus of opinion around multitasking. However, after some research (and discounting the obvious solution – to buy a silent keyboard  which merely makes the culprit more clever but no less devoid of etiquette!) I discovered the following “Do’s and Don’ts” from Good Phone Etiquette in the Home Office

When the telephone is your business lifeline, good phone manners count.

By Laureen Miles Brunelli, About.com Guide

  • Don’t read texts, email or instant messages while talking on the phone. If necessary close these programs or turn off your monitor, so you aren’t tempted to read.
  • Don’t type while on the phone. Your caller may be able to hear you typing.
  • Don’t multitask excessively when talking on the phone. This would include surfing the web while talking. You may be able to do some simple tasks that don’t involve reading or writing, but it’s better not to.
  • Do try to keep the caller on the subject at hand. Your attention is more likely to wander when your caller goes off on a tangent. Tactfully guide the subject back and/orend the call professionally.
  • Don’t allow others to interrupt you while you are on the phone. Other members of the household should know your ground rules regarding interruptions. Put the caller on hold briefly (and only one time) until you can give him or her your full attention.
  • Do ask to speak to the caller at a later time, setting a time for when you or the caller will phone again.

Today’s article is co-written by Sarah H-W and Ursula Z.

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All’s fair in love… except when you’re fighting!

fight fair

 

My boyfriend and I had our first fight. It doesn’t really matter what it was about, though, my happy readers, you will support me when I say that I was right, and he was very, very wrong. But this doesn’t actually matter for the sake of this article… what’s important is fighting fair, and with, of course, the right etiquette.

Romantic arguments are different to regular arguments with friends, colleagues and/or family. Romantic arguments tend to be loaded with expectations, and more precisely, not meeting expectations of each other and what we want, and need, in the most significant person in our lives. The person we want to trust with our deepest and darkest secrets and fears, and know that they will not use this knowledge to hurt us… but along the way there can be arguments that are much less weighty, and yet, can trigger painful emotions to surface, and depending on how you deal with that pain, it can, and often does, cause you to overreact and possibly lead to the break down of the relationship.

When people fight fair, then they can take emotion out, and realise that the cause of the argument rarely is the core of the problem.

Arguments, in themselves, are negative energy. That energy is triggered by many things, like fatigue, anxiety, being overwhelmed, dissatisfaction, loss, etc. The one thing they have in common, is that they are unhappy emotions, ie, not joyful. So, if your partner then behaves in a way that exacerbates your already weakened state, then it can only make things worse.

I’m sure you can think of many times your partner has said or done something that you thought was funny. But if you’re in a negative state, then you rarely find the humour in it.

So, how to fight fair in love? Well, the best thing to do is to try, yes, try, to present your argument as a discussion, not an assault. Present how the behaviour hurt you. It’s often that men, as is the case with my boyfriend, have no clue that they are being hurtful. I don’t really know how that happens, but I’ve heard it from so many of my girlfriends reporting that their partners are oblivious to their behaviour, that now I just consider it plausible.

Also, do try to take the emotion out of it. It’s difficult sometimes, yes, most of the time, but given that they are oblivious, then being rational and explaining the triggers and the effects tend to be enough. Going on and on about it normally makes them become cranky. So now they’re in the negative state.

It does seem that men only want to be told these things once… going over the same thing tends to make them deaf (another confirmation from my girlfriends), though, weirdly, it’s precisely because men continue to behave the same way that we actually do need to repeat ourselves… but therein lies the answer… they are deaf. Oh, dear.

Humour aside, Psych 101 clearly states that the only time to communicate so that you are really being heard is outside of an argument…. during quiet and relaxed moments.

So, etqt declares that the only real way to fight fair, is when you’re not fighting at all. So, what’s the point.

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“He loves me… He loves me not.”

he loves me he loves me not

I love flowers. And receiving them even more. They are a simple way of making the recipient feel special, whether for a special occasion or just because you can.

You will never offend anyone by sending flowers.

I recently celebrated a birthday. My daughter raced to the florist in the morning, and brought home a bunch of magnificent white lilies. I don’t care how many people say that they expect receiving them, it still makes you feel happy.

Today, Valentine’s Day, is collectively the one day where flowers outdo any other festive gift. It surpasses even the chocolate of Easter.

So, I thought it just apt to write about flowers, and what type of flower suits what type of occasion.

Roses, red roses in particular, are the flower of love. Though all roses denote love, the red rose symbolises romantic love.

Yellow roses are to be sent to friends or co-workers. Pink roses are more about a secret love. White roses are for an innocent love, for family or family occasions, or even for funerals.

I discovered that carnations are for young love, though I’d say that it’s far less common nowadays than in the eighties, when carnations were at the height of their popularity.

Daisies are for loyal love and ideal for Mother’s Day. And giving your daughter lilies seems to denote purity and sweetness. And chrysanthemums are for the bonding of friendship, though probably not ideal for romantic loves.

In the British Debrett’s Guide for the Modern Gentleman, 2009, reprinted 2012:

Flowers are the perfect impromptu present, but follow these basic guidelines to ensure that you get it right;

MIXED BOUQUETS can look cheap if they aren’t of a decent size and well-styled. Instead, buy just one type of bloom, or go for just one colour.

GREENERY is also important – it’s there to bulk up the bouquet and complement the flowers.

DON’T PANIC and just pick the first blooms you recognise. Consider her tastes and style. Classic or contemporary? Minimalist or vintage? Talk to the florist. Explain the style you’re after and the occasion.

BE PREPARED to spend – you can never economise on flowers.

BUY HER FLOWERS on her birthday, on Valentine’s Day on your anniversary and on no particular occasion.

USE THE CARD that accompanies the bouquet to its full potential. For example, include details of a surprise date: “See you in the bar of the ABC Hotel at 7pm”; tell her something you find hard to say: “Thank you for being there for me’; state the obvious: “I love you”/

NEVER ORDER cheap arrangements online; never buy bunches from the supermarket or the garage; never buy carnations or chrysanthemums (the kiss of death); never send flowers as an apology without some verbal backup.

If you want to offer flowers to the host of a dinner or party, it’s best to have the florist deliver them earlier in the day of the event, so that the host has time to arrange them, so as not to be distracted when her guests are arriving. As to the arrangement, it is ideal to ask the florist what is appropriate. They will arrange something either by colour and/or by what is available for that season. Of course your budget also is a big factor, but these days to send a lovely bouquet of flowers, you would be spending about $100 (Australia dollars, or USD). It’s very easy to spend more than this. You can check if the florist has pre-prepared arrangements, as they will tend to be a easier for the florist to pack, rather than arrange on site, and may have a reduced price by the end of the work day.

Online sites for flowers are also becoming very popular and easy to use, and terrific for ordering flowers as gifts for long-distance or international deliveries.

Or going to the local flower markets is always fun, and something of a novelty if you get up early to see the action.

I once picked lavender in a field and was heady from the scents and had to mind all the bees swarming around the pollen. It was lovely to make my own lavender pouches for my dresser drawers.

If my partner came over with a bunch of flowers he picked himself, either from the flower market, or even just as he was walking home by the side of the road, I would be tickled pink… or red. But really, any colour would be wonderful.

Happy Valentine’s Day from the romantics at ETQT.

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First date faux-pas

first date faux pas

I love first dates. So much can happen on a first date. Yes, it can be a short-lived experience, and all you’ve lost is time. But, generally, it’s where everything is new, and anything is possible.

Dating as a single mum has been a roller coaster of a ride. Sometimes it awakens the senses. Sometimes it’s even comedic. And yes, it can also be heart wrenchingly tragic. First dates are necessary, and often feel like hard work, sometimes they’re awkward, and sometimes, if you’re in sync with your date, it is a wonderfully warm experience that you want to revisit over, and over.

Surely, I thought to myself, there must be helpful guide on how to navigate a first date. Though it’s a shame to create a template that is devoid of personal idiosyncrasies and quirks, so  that it’s better to find out what you should NOT do on a first date, and let the rest be guided by your own individual personality. Yes, the etiquette of first dates.

The absolute biggest no-no is when a person talks badly of past relationships.

I researched my favourite etiquette resources, and they state that it’s still inappropriate to discuss religion, politics and money. I agree that discussing money with a near stranger is not a good idea, but today, when religion and politics are at the forefront of our lives, it seems rather impossible. It’s also possibly a good idea to broach those topics early, in case you have opposing ideas on them. It’s either going to produce a healthy discussion, or give you the exit you should take if you can’t stand his or her ideals or beliefs.

As to discussing sex, I have rarely experienced a first date when a man has offered this up for conversation. I’m sure that he thinks about it, and can be quite flirtatious, but it’s definitely up to the woman to initiate the topic. If a woman wants to get physical, she will let you know, just like our minx on our cover photo. If she prefers to establish a romantic relationship before getting physical, she will also guide that. It is acceptable to try to kiss a woman, and some women love that attention, but if she turns away, or indicates that she isn’t ready, then respect her wishes.

There are a few things that men should do. They will not appear old-fashioned if they open car doors for a woman, nor will it seem odd to help a woman with her coat. And even if those seem too much to do for your date, then at the very least you should open the door to the restaurant for your date. Typically the door opens out, and she should pass first, but if the door opens inwards, then you should walk through and hold the door open for her.

There is a very old world rule that says that men should always enter a restaurant before his date. This is to ward off all other gentlemen’s eyes to your date. Today, most women will walk directly behind the maitre-d or host, followed by her partner.

Table manners are also extremely important, and licking your knife, or your plate are forbidden. Tucking your napkin into your collar is only accepted when eating lobster or ribs, and the establishment normally supplies these.

Menu suggestions are great, but taking over and ordering on behalf of your date is not appropriate.

Answering your phone or texting is unacceptable. If you’re in a situation that requires you to keep your phone at the ready for work or if you have kids waiting at home, then let your date know.

And, as a general rule, if you invited your date, then you should pay for the meal. But I will write in depth on this important topic in an upcoming article. Too many have asked me what is the right etiquette with paying for dates.

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Keeping your own secret garden

secret garden

In France young ladies are taught by their mothers and grandmothers about decorum. We learn about seduction by watching other women behave. We watch how they tilt their head a certain way, how they sit with their legs crossed at an angle, and how poised they are, when engaging in the art of flirtation. This may seem old world, but if you observe the interaction between men and women in France, or most European countries, you will notice the seduction plays out before your eyes.

One thing that does not happen, and will never happen, is to share everything with your mate. Even if a woman is with her partner for life, she will keep some secrets, le jardin secret (fr), from her mate. These things will include things like farting, shaving, plucking hairs from unfortunate places. These secrets do not limit themselves to physical things either. They can include past secrets, yes, the obvious past lovers, where such history could directly interfere with the success of your current relationship. It can also be some things about herself that she shares with no-one at all, a book of poems that she needs to keep private, a talent that she doesn’t want to share.

Some of these can be embarassing, or humiliating, or if divulged could affect the outcome in the new relationship.

One of the most wondrous experiences a couple can share is to know without a doubt that the bond of the affection is solid, and yet that they each have secrets that neither need to know, as it won’t affect their love and it actually makes you feel strong.

Mystery is powerfully attractive. Sometimes knowing someone too well also breeds over-confidence and, sadly, complacency in your relationship.
It’s a fine line to have the confidence of a solid romantic relationship, without knowing absolutely everything about them.

Leave some mystery.

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Be mine!

kiss

It’s been quite a while since I have actively engaged in romantic behaviour for Valentine’s day. During my teenage years, when I fancied the popular, handsome boy, who I never actually had the courage to talk to, I thought it would be fitting to send him a Valentine’s message. I was more mortified of being caught out than actually using my creative juices to declare my affections and doodle a romantic image of my heart entwined with his.

Now, with Valentine’s looming, I started wondering what is the correct behaviour for our modern romantic day? Is it as simple as buying a Hallmark card, and waiting to have the reciprocal card back, along with a restaurant date, a box of chocolates or a bunch of roses?

I have always thought that a relationship with two individuals is in itself individual and unique. So there really shouldn’t be a set formula that garners romance with food, flowers and a pre-fabricated card.

Etiquette does dictate that sentiment and timing play a big part of Valentine’s Day. If you’re in a new relationship, it’s the perfect time to share with your partner how much you care – which sometimes is awkward in the early days. When you have been seeing each other for several months, it’s a way to highlight how much you cherish them. And during long term relationships, when life, children, work and all the other time consuming distractions can make less time for your relationship, it’s clearly a time to bond.

For me, i think it is least about the giving of physical things like flowers or chocolates, or going out on a date… as all these things I hope to perform regularly with him, it’s more about sharing with him why the uniqueness of your relationship also has affection, warmth and caring. It’s a time when you can think of things that make him feel valued and loved. Like surprising him with tickets to his favourite football game, when he knows that it’s not really your thing. Or organising a masseuse to your home to treat your lovely girlfriend or wife because you know how much she loves them.

I believe that the possessions we give are always less precious than the experiences we share.

But then again, the feeling you get when sending a token of affection to the unknowing man, never to be revealed. That still makes me feel like the giddy teenager.

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and God created woman (part 2)

bardot

Yesterday, as I walked in the city after an early theatre performance, I was commenting to my male friend how people were dressed. It was a warm Saturday night and people were very casually dressed. Yes, we live in a city by the sea, and the culture is a relaxed beach-type culture. More importantly I noticed how skimpy were women’s clothes. It seems that women are displaying all their wares for males, and women, to see. There’s nothing new here, it’s natural to try to attract the opposite sex with visual cues. But have we gone overboard? What is the right dress etiquette to stay attractive without being vulgar?

My friend admitted that women who show too much have no appeal to him. Men are still after the challenge, and a woman who bares too much also leaves nothing to the imagination, nothing for the chase.

There is etiquette on the lengths of skirts, but I do think that it’s really determined by the tightness of the clothing. And, sadly and unjustly, by the shape of a woman’s body. A dress that is worn too tight and short on a portly frame is going to more unsightly than a hugging dress on a very skinny girl. This does not mean that women with curves are unattractive at all. We all just need to learn what is attractive for our body shapes.

Cleavage also is predetermined by the shape of the body. Voluptuous women with ample breasts can sometimes have a sex appeal that a skimpily clad busty woman can not muster.

So, there are a few basic rules of attire etiquette. Most importantly, if you’re going to show off your legs with a short skirt or shorts, then cover your breasts. It’s one or the other… not both. In any case, rare is the woman who has fantastic legs and cleavage, so stick to your most favoured feature, and highlight it.

Unbeknownst to most people, your posture is most likely to by your best asset. Think of people who slouch. They send a message of weakness or sadness. Whereas a person who stands tall, with their shoulders back gives off an air of confidence and strength.

Smile. Yes, I can’t tell you the number of times a man has approached me and told me that he was drawn to my smile. Joy is very seductive.

Clothes that are clean and well pressed are much more attractive than crumpled dirty clothes. And least of all smelly ones.

Wear clothes appropriate to the season. It is ridiculous to see women in skimpy clothes in winter months, and just silly seeing women in thick winter wear during hot summer nights. It doesn’t matter that the clothes figure as the latest craze in the northern hemisphere.

If you’re going to wear men’s clothing (for effect), then make sure that you mix it well with a feminine piece. Great accessories, or fantastic high heel shoes. Or inject colour and contrast.

If you wear white, it invites trouble. You’re either going to display cellulite (easily masked if you had chosen black) or display more than you intended when lighting hits it at the right angle (recall Lady Diana’s early photo shoot in long white flowing skirt).

Oh, and my pet peeve. Never, ever, (ever… though a past write-up offers one recent occurrence for this etqt author), take off your shoes when going out at night and wander with them in your hands. If you can’t bear to walk, then take a pause and recover a while. Walking in high heels, like any skill, must be learnt. Practice wearing them at home for lengthier periods each time. Choose the right shoe for the event you will attend. Extremely high heels at a dinner party is fine when you’ll find yourself seated for most of the evening. Not so fine if you’re going to be dancing or standing all night. Cocktails are tricky. It’s always more appealing to see legs lengthened by heels, but sometimes it’s a painful price to pay. Once, again, practice it over several days, weeks if possible.

As to alcohol and it’s effects on appearance and attractiveness, I recall driving passed a pub with my pre-teen daughter a year ago, and thanks to the perfect timing, a very drunk, scarcely dressed, woman with smudged make up (I think you get the picture),  meandered in front of my car, with sandals in her hands. I pointed out to my daughter that this woman was “cheap” (yes, I was being extremely harsh and judgmental, but please bear with me as I extoll the virtues of this tale), and sadly that this girl would only attract one of two men; a cheap man (slovenly and without virtue) or a fine man who was seeking a temporary fix (ie not a good man either). The moral to this tale is that you get what you put out. This applies to men too. Women are least attracted to drunks, bullies and overtly loud, obnoxious men. It served as a great learning device for this mum. Now, my daughter makes a point of showing me “cheap” girls all the time. Goodness, have a created a monster?

On a more contemporary note about attire for modern woman; if you’re confident that you know what message you’re sending with your appearance, and do not shy away from comments that could be made, then wear what you like. Good etiquette, above all, is about being confident without offending those around you. And fashion is all about expressing yourself on the outside.

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The tall, and fat, lies of online dating

tall date

I don’t lie. Well, I don’t think I lie. I think I’m the type of person who would rather hear the truth, even if it’s bad, and then try to work through the pain and get on to finding the good things in my life. Don’t get me wrong, that doesn’t mean that I don’t make mistakes or change my mind, or have whimsy. It’s just that I want to solve things fast.

This tends to be paradoxical to lots of the behaviour I’ve encountered during online dating. Some of it’s comical, some of it’s just plain ridiculous, but sometimes it’s so wrought with half truths that it’s nearly impossible to find a real person at the other end.

Online dating has been a huge learning curve for me, it really is like one of those things that you don’t have to do, but see others enjoying success through, so join the hopeful set, something akin to the jetset, all glamour and success, hiding all the hard work it took to get there.

These past three years I’ve actively managed my romantic life, and left chance and opportunity to a past life, I’ve discovered that there is, or at the least should be, very clear etiquette for online dating. Just as dating, new relationships, going on dates all have weird and wonderful rules of etiquette, there too are rules for successfully navigating through online dating.

Do not lie. Not telling whole truths is not the same as lying, but obvious lies about your age or height, or yes, your weight, are untruths that will come crashing down very quickly. I met a man who lied about his weight. The evening we met I couldn’t spot him at the bar, and called to find out if he was late, and he said that he was just walking through the door. I saw a man who was at least 20kgs heavier than his profile picture. I was more upset about the lie than the actual size of him. It made me think that he’s either deluded and still thinks himself thinner, or he’s not confident enough to be happy in his own skin.

The lies come in all shapes and sizes. I’ve heard of women who reinvent themselves. The haggard 55 year old woman who portrayed herself as a nubile career woman in her 30’s. She would meet up with her dates in skimpy skirts and high heel stiletto’s and work the sex kitten on her mate, so as to try to capture him through his libido. I do wonder how much success she has? Or even what she thinks success is.

It does make me wonder what we’re all looking for in relationships. But that has nothing to do with etiquette.

Like all romantic relationships, especially relationships that begin with people who don’t know each other well, it takes time to relate things to each other. Some things, most things, are easy to share, like all the practical things, where you work, and what you’ve done during the day. It’s the scary things that are difficult to share, and that takes time.

One of my family members is gravely ill at the moment, and each day, each week is a blessing to have. But for the first few months I didn’t share with my new partner about the gravity of the situation, as I wasn’t sure he could take the enormity of the loss I would have if I had to deal with the loss.

I did meet one man last year who was so accommodating, and always said yes to whatever I suggested, and then would let me down by not showing up, or canceling at the last hour. I found out that he was such a lonely person, with such low self esteem that he would rather have an appointment with anyone then to stay at home on his own. He was also never satisfied with the girls he met, so just kept lots of dates running concurrently. Not my idea of honesty. But it worked for him… not me.

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Dating (and) your mobile phone

couple-texting

So, there are two parts to this story, one about a relationship that only exists thanks to your mobile phone, and the one that shouldn’t even figure on a date.

I know that all you single guys and girls, and those who have been single in the past 15 years (does that mean 90% of the population?), can attest to waiting for the text message or response from an interesting other. Yes, you know the way it goes;

You 7pm: “Thanks for a terrific time last night”

Him 10am: “Yes, it was fun”

You 10:45am: “We should do it again some time?”

Him (2 days later) 3pm: “Love to”

This is a brush off. You may interpret it as anything other than a brush off… but nonetheless, it is. He is potentially going to contact you at a later date for a hook up (if hook up means sex). But he is not interested in you for a romantic loving relationship. If he was, he would do any, or all, of the following things:

1) use the phone as it was originally invented by Alexander Graham Bell to talk with you;

2) call you to see if you had a good time together;

3) make an appointment to see you again;

4) want you to feel special.

My fella and I went on our first date, and though we went to a very special restaurant by the harbour overlooking the magnificent views of Sydney, and had a very relaxed meal getting to know each other by chatting about our respective lives, there really was one slightest moment when I felt the hook of affection grab me. As we walked out the restaurant, he paused, and asked me, “Have you had a nice time tonight?” It was the simplest question, and yet it struck me that he showed concern that I had enjoyed his company. It was the smallest sign of vulnerability that he shared, and I reflected that if he hadn’t shown it, I would have found him rather indifferent and detached.

Don’t get me wrong, I am glad that he has a healthy ego and displays confidence. But the detachment that single men, and women, display when dating makes me wonder why they date at all? When did romance become so wrought with bravado and wariness that displaying warmth and desire gets confused with dependency and neediness?

I digress… the point here being, showing someone that you enjoyed their company should not be done by text, it should be done face to face, or at the very least by phone. And by the same token, asking someone if you can see each other again should not be by text. Your relationship is not with your phone. It is with a real person. It is a little nuanced, but text messages in early stages of relationships, especially in dating, should only have practical content, not be emotionally loaded. A text to confirm a time or place is acceptable. A text to state that you’re running five minutes late is also acceptable. But a text asking “Are we ok?” is far too loaded. Not only will the recipient feel cornered, but you will also feel weakened by the cry out.

Know this, people will always behave the only way they can. That means, if a person doesn’t fancy another, he can’t force himself to care. If he doesn’t care, then he will do things that display that lack of affection, ie, he will not call.

The shoe fits for both sexes. It’s not unusual for me to cease communicating with a man if I don’t feel a warm connection. It’s not that I’m particularly heartless when I’m disinterested, it’s just that I don’t want to encourage them or send the wrong message. Yes, if I cared, I’d communicate. I don’t mean that I’d send messages all day, every day, but the messages would leave no doubt that the person mattered. Yes, I’d pick up the phone and make a call.

Onto the more practical part of this article, when is it acceptable to use your mobile phone on a date?

The short answer is, as you already know, it’s unacceptable to use your phone on a date.

If, for example, you have children, or are “on call” due to your profession, then it’s polite to let your date know, and then ask him/her if they won’t mind if your phone is accessible. I’ve yet to meet a person who would deny such a request.

You should always leave your phone screen visible, as you don’t want your date to think that you’re hiding the identity of your caller. And should you be expecting such a call, then leave your phone in your bag, and make the ring tone just loud enough to hear it. Yes, be polite. Your date will appreciate your mobile phone etiquette.

Should your phone ring, then it is polite to leave the table and take your call in the restaurant lobby or in a more discreet place. Our old world had powder rooms in the toilets, and it might be time to reinstate them to give us a venue to rush off our text messages and upload and download.

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