Dear Jack, about the other question… I’d already addressed the issue. And very judiciously too! Go to jacknjillive.com. It’s a treasure trove of information. The site already boasts 6000+ registered users. Visit it. You can read ALL the jacknjil letters there, at your own pace. I think there are about 130 letters now. Were the JacknJil letters a book you’ll have over 500 pages of text! You’ve got a lot to read!
But on to your main question. You want to take the lady out to dinner, don’t know what to do…It’s your first dinner date. There are several points to note when taking a lady out for dinner. I will touch on a few. I’ll advise you pick her at home. I think it will make her feel special. More so because everyone will be gawking. If circumstances don’t permit however agree on meeting at the restaurant. You must arrive earlier. She’ll expect you to surprise her with a good choice of restaurant. It’s inelegant to ask her where she wants to eat.
Knowing you’re not the going out type I’ll advise you ask around for which restaurants are best. Pick two or three and go visit. Check them out before your date. Just to be sure. You can’t look stupid! You’re trying to make an impression mind you. You want to come across as confident and cultured. You want to ascertain the ambiance, the quality of patronage, service standard, the food and the price. An afficionado or a friend can of course give you all that information, but nothing beats first hand research.
You check the price range to avoid embarrassment. Just ask to see the menu- you have a dinner date to plan. The price is listed on the menu. We can’t afford to wash plates after dinner now, can we! Browsing the menu allows you to familiarise yourself with the options available. Will advice a set meal, not buffet. Plan for a three course meal- first, second and third course. (There are 14 course meals). The first course can be hors d’oeuvres. Can also be soup or salad. (Hors d’oeuvre is pronounced haw-dorv). Hors d’oeuvres literally means “outside of the work”. It’s French. Basically an appetiser- small servings.
In calculating your budget, note that drinks in restaurants are pricier than basic retail value. Water can go for double the price and the humble Coke can go for triple. Depends. To estimate how much the meal for two will cost, factor in not just the list price but also VAT, service charge and tip. VAT (value added tax) is usually 5% of cost. Can be higher. Service charge 5%-15%. And the tip is about 10%. On the whole I’d say budget 30% extra. Then hold some. What if she orders a drink beyond your arithmetic computation? Then there’s what I call confidence provision. Hold some more extra to boost your self-confidence. The more money you hold, or have on your card the bigger your confidence. Then you can safely enjoy your date. Borrowing money from her to meet the shortfall in payment for dinner on a first date may cost you the relationship.
Determine the genre of meal- Continental and Asian are popular. Asian includes Indian. It’s good to know how to pronounce the menu. If that proves daunting there’s a trick you can use: ask the maitre d’ (head waiter) or the attending waiter for advice; or ask what the day’s special offering is. Of course you’ve got to couch such a request in a manner that does not betray the aroma of your cultural challenge. But you can also pre check online dictionaries for pronunciation of food vocab. Some have embedded audio. If your date is culturally exposed the more reason to acquaint yourself with those pronunciations. Or you can point to your choice on the menu, or mention the number- the waiter will oblige you the pronunciation.
What to wear? Depends. Jeans may be too casual though. And in some context tie may be too formal. Be measured. On arrival at the restaurant wait to be seated. You’ll probably hear, “Table for two?” You’ll then be ushered to your table. Let the lady sit first. The waiter will pull out a chair for her. Then he’ll come with the drinks menu. Some men like to take charge and order drinks for the lady. I’ll advice if it’s not a special let her decide on her drink. As for the multiple cutleries set on the table the simple rule is that you proceed from the outside to the inside. Sometimes the first course cutlery is placed in front of the soup bowl, not by the side with the other cutlery. There’s usually a glass for water and another for wine. If you’re not taking wine that cup will be removed. The waiter will ask.
Most restaurants have a separate drinks menu. Separate from the meal menu. Please don’t order wine if you can’t handle it. Don’t experiment on your first date. Wine can be heady. Looses the tongue. Solomon says the only thing headier than wine is love. Now you understand why young men in love talk expansively. There’s nothing unworldly about being teetotalist, abstaining from alcohol. Don’t go for false confidence on a date.
Oh, I forgot to talk about perfumery. Let it be a cologne. Cologne is light. Avoid the pungency of a Bintu el Sudan! You’re going to give her light kisses on her cheeks; you don’t want her fainting from the strength of your perfume. Apply lightly to the nook where your jaw meets ear lobe. Also lightly on the wrists. These are pulse points. The warmth of the blood passing through the pulse points heats up the scent and makes it last longer.
At table make sure it’s a conversation. You’re not a radio. Converse. Find out what you have in common. She’s interested in knowing whether you’ll allow her express herself. It’s a give and take. You know it’s a good date if at the obvious end you’re both reluctant to leave…if it seems the night should just go on…Einstein was once asked to explain relativity: “Put your hand on a hot stove for a minute, and it seems like an hour…Sit with a pretty girl for an hour, and it seems like a minute. That’s relativity.” You want relativity on a date…to make an hour with you seem like a minute. The physics is important not just the chemistry.
If the Physics and Chemistry work in tandem you stand a good chance of getting a second date. Now, if you picked her up, drop her off. If you didn’t, drop her off still. That’s gentlemanly. Unless she drove herself. If she drove herself or you can’t for some reason drop her off, you want to call and make sure she got home safe. Thank her for a wonderful evening. Then call the next day, first thing in the morning. Means you thought about her through the night…and looking forward to seeing her again, soonest.
Love is old fashioned. Have fun!
© Leke Alder 2014