In a post #MeToo world, it can sometimes be hard to know what’s okay and what’s not okay.
But there are a few tried-and-true rules on what’s never okay–or at least, never a good idea.
For more on what to avoid, read below…
- No more than two drinks. I don’t mean to be a buzzkill, but after two drinks, your judgment becomes questionable. Keep your wits about you by cutting yourself off.
- No visiting apartments before the third date. Without this strict external boundary, expectations get confused and decision-making becomes muddied. Make sure that you’re focused on getting to know your date in a completely neutral setting for at LEAST two dates before you take things back to the apartment.
- No trash-talking your ex. And proceed with caution if your date does, too. While this doesn’t necessarily fall under the same category as being sexually aggressive, it’s still a MAJOR no-no on a date. I get it–everyone has a certain amount of baggage they carry with them from relationship to relationship. But negative talk about your ex is a big fat red flag–a sign that you’re still hung up on him or her, and are not open to connecting with someone new. Do whatever work on yourself you need to do to keep this negativity from creeping in.
Finally, if you need a cheat sheet, here are a few positive cues to look for on your next date (and a few negative ones to watch out for).
Red Light Dating Behaviors
Proceed with extreme caution if your date is. . .
Exhibiting closed-off body language. Are her arms crossed in front of her? Is she keeping her distance–not matching your body cues, not leaning in to meet you, etc.? She’s signaling that something is off. Pay attention.
Angry/volatile. This should go without saying. But don’t take your date’s mood as a “challenge”; just cut your losses, be as gracious as you can be, and move along.
Drunk. You can’t truly connect with someone who isn’t on your level sobriety-wise. Make sure you both are impairment-free, able to make decisions with consent and enthusiasm.
Immediately sexually aggressive. There’s no way this person wants a real relationship or commitment. Keep looking for the person who is.
Green Light Dating Behaviors
Consider it a very good sign if your date is. . .
- Smiling/laughing (obviously!)
- Playing with her hair (the oldest flirting move in the book)
- Tilting her head/exposing her neck (a sign that she’s comfortable with you and open to being vulnerable)
- Making physical contact (touching your arm, shoulder, etc.)
And last but not least…
Telling you she wants to be physical! There’s no shame in spelling it out.
IMPORTANT NOTE: These rules apply across the board–whether your date is wearing a skimpy red dress or a nun habit. (Not sure why she would be wearing a nun habit, but go with me here.)
The point is: Clothing is not an invitation. You don’t make get to make choices for a woman about her sexual availability based on what she wears.
The choice to be physical must be mutual and enthusiastic, and come from a place of communication.
To sum up: Men of character should know not to be disrespectful, reckless or sexually aggressive on dates (or anywhere, really).
But they shouldn’t be scared, either. Women still want men to be men. Gentlemen, but men. Men who take nothing for granted, always putting the comfort and pleasure of their partner above all.
As always, let respect and a healthy dose of empathy be your guide. If you follow only one “rule,” let it be that one.
Well, maybe this one, too: Remember, dating should be fun. For everyone involved.
So relax, keep the drinks to a minimum, ask lots of questions, and have a blast on your journey to love.