Manners, Men and Dating: Etiquette on a Date

There was a time when manners were clear. A man knew exactly how to behave with a woman; when to stand for her, when to doff his hat, when to pay for a meal. However, that time was also one when women were treated with real inequality and a lack of respect.

Nowadays, all that is a largely memory, but the legacy, with the rise of #MeToo, has made some men feel unsure about etiquette around meeting and dating the opposite sex. 

Let’s try to unpick the issues.

  1. Men and women are equal. Sadly, Neanderthal attitudes still exist in every aspect of society which undermine this. However, (and I need hardly tell anyone this) men are not superior to women.
  2. Many men still like to open doors for women, pay for meals, stand when a woman comes into a room and so on. They should be doing these things as common courtesies, not condescension. Women who object to such courtesies (and they are few) should do so politely, rather than angrily claiming that such actions are those of a male chauvinist.
  3. #MeToo is about the sexual exploitation and assault of women. It really has nothing to do with normal and respectful dating and in that context men need not fear #MeToo. 

So, it’s all about behaving with respect to your date and those around you. Bearing these points in mind, here are a few thoughts:

Who does the asking out?

Either the man or the woman; it’s as simple as that.

Who pays for the date?

Like any aspect of a date, this is a subject for agreement between you — there are no rules. I suggest that the person who did the asking out should offer to pay for the drinks/meal/tickets. The other person can offer to pay their share and a decision reached after a quick discussion. The person paid for can always offer to pay next time, but essentially all concerned are sensible adults and it’s a question of playing it by ear and reaching an agreement.

Should you open doors for a woman?

I always do and have never been challenged. I have a deep respect for women and do it for that reason. Indeed I have respect for my male friends and will hold doors for them too. If, as I suggested earlier, the woman would rather you didn’t, she can say so politely and it should be left at that. However, I’ve never known that to happen.

Listen and talk with her, not at her

If you ever attend business meetings, or listen to conversations between men and women anywhere, you’ll notice that men often interrupt women when they’re talking. It’s easy to do because women have softer voices and tend to back down when interrupted. Think about it and listen — you will doubtless learn something. Good listening is the basis of good conversation.

It’s not about rules….

… it’s about respect for each other and doing things by agreement. Enjoy your date!

David Evans — Writer and Founder of Grey Fox Blog

David Evans (63) founded Grey Fox Blog in late 2011. As a man with little interest (then) in  fashion, he decided, for no particular reason, to set out on a search for style. The blog developed into a celebration of the best of menswear, cars, watches, food and drink. He also writes about the challenges and privileges of age and has addressed the subject of dating on many occasions on his blog.

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