Gentlemen: When you're on a date, you want your woman's attention on you. Alas, an etiquette error or dating faux pas can quickly distract her from your charming smile or riveting story. While dating etiquette can vary slightly based on factors such as cultural backgrounds and social standards in your specific city, several general tips work across North America and can help you navigate the complexities of your first — or fifth — date.
Doors, Walking Patterns and Other Missteps
If your date plan involves walking to the restaurant from the cab, a stroll through the park after coffee, or anything else involving your feet, make sure you're walking correctly. "Let her lead or always stay by her side,” says Jacqueline Whitmore, founder of The Protocol School of Palm Beach. Whatever you do, don't walk in front of your partner, and always position yourself so you're the one walking closest to the road if you're on a sidewalk or path. Once you get to any doors, the old standard holds true -- open the door for your date and let her go first unless it's a revolving door, in which case you should lead the way.
Pay First on the First Date
Always pick up the tab at the restaurant and during any other paid activities on your first date. After the first date, things can get trickier. A recent relationship study presented by the American Sociological Association surveyed almost 18,000 men and women and found that four out of 10 men and women started sharing their dating expenses within the first month of going out together, which jumped to 74 percent of men and 83 percent of women by the six-month dating anniversary month.
Women notice your wardrobe, especially your shoes. Wear dress shoes or loafers for evening dates and sneakers or driving shoes for afternoon dates. For the rest of your wardrobe, dress appropriately for where you're going. If it's a traditional dinner date, ditch the suit for a dinner jacket sans tie, which is safe for most occasions and shows her you care about your appearance.
Don't Overdo the Drinks
Cocktails or wine are a common element in many aspects of the modern dating scene, but tread carefully in this area. Never drink more than your date drinks. Not only can indulging cloud your judgment, but a drunk dating partner annoys most women. In a dating study conducted via the Web portal for "The Today Show" in conjunction with Match.com, 70 percent of women said that a dating partner who drank more than they did was a big turn-off.