City Pulse

By Raine Marlowe Graves

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I was reading Ovid today. I realize this is not a sentence you hear everyday but Knowledge is power, and sharing it – mannerly!

Ovid was a ancient Roman poet/writer who gave us “The Art of Love”, a roman-era cosmo guide for the lovelorn. Love was quite different in those days! You would think it would be quite archaic to follow some of the advice (such as painting your face with lead – that would just get you…dead!). Surprisingly though, much of it still rings quite true. One quote in particular rings true.

“Your first preoccupation, my dears, should be your manners. When a woman’s manners are good, she never fails to attract. Manners indeed are more than half the battle”

Ovid is speaking my language! (well after it’s translated into English that is!) He waxes eloquent on the importance of manners in the world of relationships. Where could it be more important than in our most intimate of relationships?

So What ARE dating manners?

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As far as getting the date, the field’s wide open. There is nothing wrong with inviting someone out, male, female or otherwise as long as they are not married or in an obvious relationship. That’s not smart for either party. Of course you can be selective – employment, no criminal record, cleanliness, ability to put sentences together – probably factors you should confirm before taking the leap!

Once you are on the date:

1. Consideration: Consideration spans so many topics. Listening to your date would probably be high on the list. Glancing around the room to see if anyone better entered – not quite so acceptable. Checking your voicemail for the 20th time to see if last nights date called back – not too good. Actually taking the call – hello!

Some people might add personal preferences here – some people don’t like smokers, drinkers, meat eaters, republicans, atheists, etc. What to do – ask before you smoke. Enquire if they would like a drink. Praise the steak and ask their opinion. You can make your own choices from there. But never, ever, ever bring up politics or religion in the beginning stages. Even if you know them casually. These things are better off discussed when you know each other much better. Believe me!

2. Comfort: Don’t forget that the basis of good etiquette is making others comfortable in your presence. If you are nervous, they probably are too. Be yourself, talk about what’s interesting to you. You’re trying them out as well! Try not to put them on the spot. So, when do you want to get married? – not a terribly good first topic! You don’t need to over share either. They don’t need to know about your yeast infection or the state of your cat’s bowels.

Also, beware of gifts disguised as barter. Just because someone buys you dinner or sends you flowers – you don’t owe them anything, but your thanks!

An important dating note: In these modern times we must acknowledge that it’s dangerous out there. On many levels. Never be alone with someone who makes you uncomfortable. Use common sense when it comes to being intimate. Value your safety!

3. Followup: If you said you’d call, don’t play games and wait the sometimes recommended 3 days. If you promised them something (a contact, a reference, a book) send it to them. If you don’t like games, why play them?

The height of good manners? A thank you card. Written. Will set you apart and proclaim your good breeding!

If he doesn’t call, Give him a few days. If he calls after a week and doesn’t have a good excuse, cross him off!

4. Be good to yourself: This one is simple and to the point. Do not put up with someone who doesn’t follow the above! If he doesn’t keep his word, treats you badly or is obviously still on the lookout – dump him!

5. If it doesn’t work out: Be a paragon of propriety. Don’t scream, yell, stalk. Move on. There’s a great big world out there!

Having a manners moment? Don’t know a curtsy from a cocktail fork? Send me your burning behaviour dilemmas and BeautyNewsNYC.com will make sure you don’t wind up a propriety pariah! Email madamemanners@beautynewsnyc.com

Originally published August 2007
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