Fuel For First Date Sparks

Times have changed, and with them many of the accepted practices and “rules” that surround dating. Despite this, there will always be some guidelines which every man should bear in mind on the first date, the first encounter. Whether it’s a serious date with the woman you’ve been courting for weeks or a casual meet with the potentially attractive Tina from Tinder, here are a few points that should be considered:

1) A Gentleman Pays

Shifting gender roles, women becoming more independent personally and financially, have everyone questioning “is this still an expectation?” And the answer is yes. Sure, the woman sitting across from you may make more money than you do, this doesn’t matter. It’s not a question of money, it’s not a statement that you’re “the man” and therefore you should pay, it’s a matter of communicating to her that you want to pay, that you enjoy the pleasure of her company (even if you didn’t). Even if she asked you on this sweat-inducing, hand-wringing, risky excursion it is your job to be polite, to be a gentleman, and cover the check..

If there is a second date...split the bill if she insists. If there is a third date and she makes no motion to pay for anything, perhaps consider another woman.


If you find yourself alone at the table at any point during the evening, signal for the server and give them your card before the meal is through. This will avoid her awkwardly reaching for her purse, wondering if you’re going to pay, and will win you some points.

2) Be Conscious of Conversation

Steer the conversation in a direction where you both can contribute. This is not a job interview, you don’t want to spend the evening trying to stoke the fires of a boring topic. Having said that, both of you should feel comfortable with the topic of conversation, avoid the controversial.


  • The Ex
  • The Job
  • Problems at home
  • (The always dangerous) Politics & Religion


  • Passions
  • The dish you're sharing
  • Two Truths and A Lie
  • Your craziest story
  • Future plans and aspirations

And remember, being a good listener is not sitting quietly while she does all the talking. A gentleman finds a way to add to the conversation in the right ways.

3) Open Doors For Her

This point is both literal and figurative. The first date is the opportunity for the two of you to feel out how you interact, how you relate, to get a sense of the other person. At the risk of sounding non-romantic, it’s an assessment. Your previous relationship, where you were texting painstakingly written and proofread quips, is now put to the test. She is looking to see what kind of man you are. Here, the old adage, “actions speak louder than words”, rings true. The small gestures, opening the door, letting her have the last bite of a dish, offering your coat for the cold stroll back to her door, are a simple and sadly surprising way to get her attention. But remember, there is a difference between being a nice guy and a good guy. If the date goes well, and we hope that it does, it doesn’t mean you stop doing these things. The key is to not stop doing them once you’ve “won” a woman over.

Lastly, these gestures go both ways, women should make them too. Over the years that is what has truly changed; that chivalry not only applies when men interact with women but also vice versa. She should show you the same courtesy, the same care, which communicates a mutual interest.

There are many other tools of the trade used by other gentleman out there. If you have a “go-to” move that works well for you, share the wealth! Add it in the comment section below and help your fellow gentlemen!