Dating Games: Mind your manners

The lack of courtesy I've experienced on dates is nothing less than appalling.

By TAMAR CASPI
March 26, 2009 16:35
4 minute read.
Dating Games: Mind your manners

dating 88 248. (photo credit: Courtesy)

 
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I refuse to believe chivalry is dead. It's not that I can't open my own door or drive myself to the restaurant or pay for my own meal, but when a man does it for me, it makes me feel special. Many Jewish men say they want an independent woman and will even go out of their way to allow a woman to assert her independence. But when one of those independent women, such as myself, reaches for the door or the check, men get offended and act like we're infringing upon their manhood. Jewish women are generalized as being strong and aggressive, and while I tend to agree that many of us are, I think when it comes to dating it's important to let a man be a man. The question is: can you have it both ways? I know I'm capable of changing a light bulb, killing a spider, carrying my luggage and taking out the trash, but it simply feels nice when a man does it for me. And I think most men like to feel needed, as if they're saving a damsel in distress. My best friend's husband, Steve, has set the bar pretty high. He has opened the car door for her everyday since they met seven years ago. He's even walked me to my car after every single visit, night or day - and I visit quite often. Do I think it's necessarily natural? No, I honestly don't. But that's the best part about it. He's making a conscious effort to treat her, and me, like a lady. Just don't make it too forced or too obvious. Not too long ago I met a guy who said my name too often. When I answered the phone I heard "Hi Tamar!" When he left me a voicemail it was "Hi Tamar!" Each and every text message read "Hi Tamar!" It was too over the top. It was obviously a technique he had learned to make a person feel special, but it had the opposite effect and came off as insincere. In fact, it was so off-putting I can't even remember his name. The lack of courtesy I've experienced on dates is nothing less than appalling. A few years ago I was having brunch with my then-boyfriend Jason, and the waitress got my order wrong. I signaled her over and Jason got all huffy because he wanted to be the hero and fix the problem. But when the bill arrived and I offered to split it, he accepted! Another guy I went out with lacked basic table manners. Ben didn't put his napkin on his lap, chewed with his mouth open, talked with his mouth full and held his fork like a pendulum over his plate while sitting with his elbows on the table. Ick. These are actually the same bad manners I've noticed in a lot of Israelis, men and women (including my dad!) Your napkin is supposed to be placed in your lap to save your clothes from being ruined in case you spill. And no matter what my question is, I will happily wait for you to finish chewing before answering. Recently, I met Adam at a happy hour networking event. He didn't hesitate to snack on appetizers and drink cocktails, but when we went on a date a week later, he said he was doing a "detox" and would eat only boiled chicken, steamed veggies and brown rice. That's not necessarily an indication of a man being less than chivalrous, but I could have waited to go out with him until was eating normally again. Another guy, Dan, extended the "ladies first" etiquette to me, but apparently the same didn't apply to my female friends. One night, a bunch of us went out and Dan opened the door for me - but let it swing shut on my girlfriends. When we were getting our wristbands for the club, Dan stuck his hand out in front of theirs and as we were walking through the club Dan cut them off to walk behind me. He "respected" me by disrespecting my friends. Men are infamous for their inability to make decisions. I've been asked out on more dates than I can count where the man will wait until I'm in the car before asking me where we should go. Here's some advice: make a reservation at a decent restaurant and leave a respectable tip. I don't care how much the bill was, but I do care how you treat the server. A few other suggestions: brush your teeth, pick me up in a clean car, be on time and under no circumstances answer your cell phone or check your text messages while on a date. I'm not asking much and I'm not saying you shouldn't be yourself… just be on your very best behavior. If the date goes well and we start seeing each other more often, you'll have ample opportunity to slip up.

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