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Ladies...rules of thumb?
Old 04-07-2011, 12:48 AM   #1
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Ladies...rules of thumb?

For those of you playing along at home, I was married for 15 years and have been single now for 5 years. On rare occasions, including the present moment, I consider myself to have achieved the position of being just barely capable of going on a date. This notion generally strikes fear into the core of my being since I only ever really dated one person -- my last first date was in 1986. I therefore find myself feeling very much toward dating like a person raised by wolves might feel towards polite society.

So, ladies, help an extraordinarily clueless guy out if you don't mind with some utterly basic rules of thumb on asking someone out. I understand each woman is different and has different opinions, but if you can steer me away from the most egregious errors...well, I would be really grateful.

Questions I have:

1. Is it best to suggest a specific activity? (I am guessing "would you like to go bowling?" is better than "ya wanna go out sometime?")
2. Is it best to suggest a specific date/time? (I am guessing "would you like to go bowling this Saturday?" is better than "ya wanna go bowling?")
3. How well should you know someone before asking them out? It seems one would want to at least exchange a few pleasantries first, but being pen pals for 5 years first is obviously too long, right? How much is appropriate at a minimum?
4. Is in person required, or is email OK? By phone? (Telegraph? Carrier pidgeon?)
5. Obviously women sometimes try to signal interest in various ways to guys they like to encourage said guys to ask them out. Any advice on what constitutes such signals? (I told you I was horrifically bad at this!)
6. What good ways are there to ensure that she has a gracious way to decline? Certainly women must be asked out often by guys that they're just not into, and it seems wise to give them an out in such cases.
7. What good ways are there to ensure she has ample warning? It seems that it would be kind to give a prospective date at least a "shot across the bow" in some fashion so, if she is not interested, she at least doesn't need to hem and haw for an reason to decline. (Perhaps women practice such things as teenagers, I have no idea.)
8. Any thing else I should know?

Thanks in advance for any and all input.

2Cor521
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Old 04-07-2011, 12:54 AM   #2
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1. Is it best to suggest a specific activity? (I am guessing "would you like to go bowling?" is better than...

..."would you like to see my ball?"



hijack over, good luck to you SecondCor... I don't envy your position; can't even imagine dating again...
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Old 04-07-2011, 03:29 AM   #3
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I think just being yourself is best - if you are interested in going out with someone, ask them. I believe a simple date is best for the first time - coffee out or a museum or something like that. The purpose is to get to know them better and see if you wish to further the relationship in that direction.

If you are into sports or singing or something like that, you can meet like-minded people and it makes it easier to start the conversation and/or spend some time with them as you already have a common interest. It also makes the 'date' not a bust because you do have the common interest - i.e. if it seems like this isn't someone you wish to spend more time with, then all isn't lost.

You are a bit older so hopefully the women are more mature and not too much of 'players.' There are still those out there if you want that....however, you will find out their motives soon enough. I assume that if you are here, you have some assets to protect - don't divulge anything, just do what you would normally do - if you are frugal, pick a frugal activity. You want to attract someone who has similar values.

However, for the first part....just ask :-)

Best of luck - it is scary, but when you are clear about what you want, it will come to you - don't over-compromise. I find you attract that which works for you if you focus on having fun and enjoying your life.
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Old 04-07-2011, 04:20 AM   #4
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Originally Posted by SecondCor521 View Post

So, ladies, help an extraordinarily clueless guy out if you don't mind with some utterly basic rules of thumb on asking someone out. I understand each woman is different and has different opinions, but if you can steer me away from the most egregious errors...well, I would be really grateful.
You are a marketing genius! I bet you no longer have a problem asking anyone out on a date, after reading this, women will be asking YOU out! Clever.

Say, can you come out to play?
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Old 04-07-2011, 06:30 AM   #5
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2Cor - sign up for an online dating service and get yourself some practice.
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Old 04-07-2011, 08:52 AM   #6
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My husband and I met on an online dating service, and we'll be married four years this October. We both met lots of people before meeting each other, which was somewhat tedious because we are both strongly introverted. But we are so grateful that we found each other so it was well worth the effort.

My suggestion is that for the first date you ask her out for coffee or a drink only. This sets a time limit that is more comfortable for people who don't know each other well.....and allows the date to seem less "formal" and less intimidating for both of you. Plus...if it doesn't feel right once you're there, it can end quickly and easily. If this goes well, meeting for dinner is a great next date.

I would also suggest that you meet her somewhere the first few times. This decreases the stress on the woman of needing to reveal where she lives to a possible axe murderer. Some guys think it's courtesy to insist on picking a woman up for a date. If the woman doesn't know you, she does not want to get into a car with you so don't even suggest it until you feel you are on some common ground. Then you can ask if she would like you to pick her up for a date.

Hope this helps a little. Have some fun and good luck!
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Old 04-07-2011, 09:00 AM   #7
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1. Is it best to suggest a specific activity? (I am guessing "would you like to go bowling?" is better than "ya wanna go out sometime?")

Silver's suggestion of meeting for coffee or a drink is good. An "activity" date would be better after you've established some chemistry.

2. Is it best to suggest a specific date/time? (I am guessing "would you like to go bowling this Saturday?" is better than "ya wanna go bowling?")

Yes, but don't be too specific. If you'd like to suggest an activity, something like "Would you like to see that movie/museum exhibit with me? It'll be in town through the end of the month." This way, if Saturday is booked, but she wants to go, she could come back with another time.

3. How well should you know someone before asking them out? It seems one would want to at least exchange a few pleasantries first, but being pen pals for 5 years first is obviously too long, right? How much is appropriate at a minimum?

Depends. Sometimes people feel comfortable with each other right away, other times it takes longer. It also makes a difference how you two met. For example, if you've had mutual friends for a long time or attend the same church, it would take less time to develop a comfort level.

4. Is in person required, or is email OK? By phone? (Telegraph? Carrier pidgeon?)

In person would be best. Phone OK too. E-mail seems so impersonal to me.

5. Obviously women sometimes try to signal interest in various ways to guys they like to encourage said guys to ask them out. Any advice on what constitutes such signals? (I told you I was horrifically bad at this!)

Eye contact is a big sign.

6. What good ways are there to ensure that she has a gracious way to decline? Certainly women must be asked out often by guys that they're just not into, and it seems wise to give them an out in such cases.

Just ask and if she says no or appears uninterested, drop it and move on.

7. What good ways are there to ensure she has ample warning? It seems that it would be kind to give a prospective date at least a "shot across the bow" in some fashion so, if she is not interested, she at least doesn't need to hem and haw for an reason to decline. (Perhaps women practice such things as teenagers, I have no idea.)

Same as 6 above.

8. Any thing else I should know?

Before suggesting an activity, find out what she is interested in. It would be great if you found out you share an interest in something. It could be fine dining, sports, art, or many other things. Also, if you find out you have little in common, do you really want to go out on a date?
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Old 04-07-2011, 09:05 AM   #8
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Don't over think this. You're a nice guy and you met a nice lady. Talk to her talk about general stuff. Tell her some stuff about you and ask her some stuff about her. Listen to her, we ladies like you guys to listen and take an interest in what we are saying. If she keeps answering back and lingers take it to the next level and suggest meeting for coffee and ask for her number. Once you get the number keep trying to get to know her and letting her know you.

Deal Breaker alert:
Acting like you want to get her in the sack 15 minute after meeting her. Not. Smooth.

Relax, you're just talking and your just shooting for a phone number. Oh re. e-mail. to me personally it sucks for this kind of thing. You men possess one of the greatest instruments for seduction.....your voice. Use it.
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Old 04-07-2011, 09:31 AM   #9
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1. Is it best to suggest a specific activity? (I am guessing "would you like to go bowling?" is better than "ya wanna go out sometime?")
2. Is it best to suggest a specific date/time? (I am guessing "would you like to go bowling this Saturday?" is better than "ya wanna go bowling?")

Yes, be specific. If the event is a full day type thing (art show, concert), give the lady the choice of what time to meet. I would avoid a movie because there is no chance for conversation. A coffee shop with pastries and soup/sandwiches is perfect. Choose a nice one (no McDonalds or Dunkin).

3. How well should you know someone before asking them out? It seems one would want to at least exchange a few pleasantries first, but being pen pals for 5 years first is obviously too long, right? How much is appropriate at a minimum?

You can ask a lady out on a friendship basis first (non threatening) if this is appropriate for your current association. You didn't tell us how you met her so it is tough for me to answer this question.
I am an extrovert. I personally like a man who is direct and doesn't waste time.

4. Is in person required, or is email OK? By phone? (Telegraph? Carrier pidgeon?)

Always in person unless you are geographically separated or your schedules are insane. If you do have to resort to e-mail, use a good background skin (look for stationery for emails online) or put an image in the email that will put your personality across (funny, romantic, etc).

5. Obviously women sometimes try to signal interest in various ways to guys they like to encourage said guys to ask them out. Any advice on what constitutes such signals? (I told you I was horrifically bad at this!)

Look for the clues. It could be a blush, a smile, a wink, looking at your lips (she wants a kiss), a light touch on the hand (hold her hand gently and wait for the return squeeze). Every woman is different. When in doubt, just ask, i.e. May I hold your hand? May I hug you?

6. What good ways are there to ensure that she has a gracious way to decline? Certainly women must be asked out often by guys that they're just not into, and it seems wise to give them an out in such cases.

Watch her expression closely without staring. If the eyes dart sideways or the eyebrows furrow, or the lips tighten together, or the arms cross defensively, it is a NO. If her face lights up with a real smile, BINGO!

7. What good ways are there to ensure she has ample warning? It seems that it would be kind to give a prospective date at least a "shot across the bow" in some fashion so, if she is not interested, she at least doesn't need to hem and haw for an reason to decline. (Perhaps women practice such things as teenagers, I have no idea.)

Any woman worth your while will be honest.

8. Any thing else I should know?

Bring a single stem flower, not necessarily a rose, as a present on the first date. Even a wild one picked from the side of the road will be appreciated. No big bouquets, no corsages, just a single stem.

I want to second another poster's suggestion to offer the choice for her to drive herself to meet you in a PUBLIC place. She will let you know if she wants you to pick her up to ride together.
Driving myself to a first date has always been a very firm rule of mine for safety reasons. We live in a crazy world.

Good luck!
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Old 04-07-2011, 09:47 AM   #10
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Oh, wow, good questions...and some good answers, too.

I think you just be yourself and it is okay to be a bit awkward and nervous.
I know I'd find that to be more charming than someone so sure of themselves that they aren't at least a bit nervous.

What about if you asked friends to set you up with someone in a group setting--I like the idea of saying, hey, let's all get together for drinks Saturday night and we'll bring "Mary" along so y'all can see if you hit it off. That way there isn't the pressure of a solo date right off the bat. This is assuming you have friends who know single ladies--but now would be a good time to network network network!

But what the heck do I know--my last date was in 1989! I'm just going from the setups I've seen with my single girl friends.
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Old 04-07-2011, 10:09 AM   #11
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Crud...I had a reply all typed up and then lost it.

Quick replies:

1. Absolutely understood about inviting her to meet me somewhere...will do.
2. Budapest is a bit far from Boise, but thank you for the sweet offer :-)
3. Not into the "15 minute" thing. I'm a man, but I'm trying very hard to be a old-fashioned decent guy.

I left out some info that in retrospect would have been useful. She's a friend of a friend who friended me on FB out of the blue. I sent her a FB message, she replied with what seemed like definitely more than a passing courtesy. She also referenced a few things about herself and used the word "like" in reference to stuff on my FB page a few times. She lives 30 miles away. Other than that we don't really know each other, so it seems a tad stalkerish to ask for her phone number or show up at her house or workplace just to ask her out. BWDIK?

Finally, not sure if I'm overall interested in "seeking a life partner" kind of dates or "lets just go have some good clean fun" kind of dates or somewhere in between, both generally and with this specific person. I think about that a lot, and haven't come to any good conclusions.

2Cor521
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Old 04-07-2011, 10:25 AM   #12
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I'll let the women on here do all the heavy lifting, all I have to add is this:

Listen and pay attention to her. Most women think guys are self-centered and blab about themselves too much. Maintain eye contact to show you are engaged. Let her do most of the talking if possible. If she asks you something about you, give her a good answer but don't pontificate forever. Try to get the conversation back to her ASAP.

Most women are beguiling, magnificent, wonderful, mystical beings.................
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Old 04-07-2011, 10:25 AM   #13
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But what the heck do I know--my last date was in 1989! I'm just going from the setups I've seen with my single girl friends.
Mmmm, hmmmm...my last date was in 1976.

Ahhhh...be polite 2Cor521, flash that winning smile and ask a woman out to dinner. Relax...be yourself.
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Old 04-07-2011, 10:51 AM   #14
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I left out some info that in retrospect would have been useful. She's a friend of a friend who friended me on FB out of the blue. I sent her a FB message, she replied with what seemed like definitely more than a passing courtesy. She also referenced a few things about herself and used the word "like" in reference to stuff on my FB page a few times. She lives 30 miles away. Other than that we don't really know each other, so it seems a tad stalkerish to ask for her phone number or show up at her house or workplace just to ask her out. BWDIK?

Finally, not sure if I'm overall interested in "seeking a life partner" kind of dates or "lets just go have some good clean fun" kind of dates or somewhere in between, both generally and with this specific person. I think about that a lot, and haven't come to any good conclusions.

2Cor521
In that case I would say it would be fine to suggest via email meeting somewhere in between (closer to her ) for a drink , coffee some place where you can talk . As for what you are looking for in a relationship you really do not need to know if she is great things will naturally progress . If she's great but no chemistry friends are always good especially women friends who know other women . Just enjoy the ride .
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Old 04-07-2011, 10:57 AM   #15
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I'm interested in shooting guns, and a fellow I know and like knows this; so, he called and asked me if I would like to accompany him to his gun club to check it out and maybe then get a bite to eat. It was pleasant and allowed us to talk to each other in the car and at dinner, which was nothing more than a burger for me but just fine. Casual and no pressure for either one of us.
Unfortunately, I found out he wants women who "need" him, so if I were broke and living with a relative with no car I would be "in" I guess. He likes women who want to be homemaker-types. Not for me but I still like him alot for a friendship for sure.

See? Easy and casual. Allows you to talk. And, in this case, save the relationship as friends at least.

I love Freebird's suggestion of coffee/tea and sandwich/dessert at a small cafe type place that is on the quiet side. Course, I've always lived in major cities that have some sort of small European coffee house to do this in, but even in my mom's area of 400K people there were more than a few of these, too. Perfect place for a first "date" to really get to know each other: no distracting noises, no pressure to hurry up and eat and move on, just calm and quiet surroundings to talk in = perfect.

The point is to get to know each other and see if it is worth your time proceeding.
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Old 04-07-2011, 11:10 AM   #16
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...I left out some info that in retrospect would have been useful. She's a friend of a friend who friended me on FB out of the blue. I sent her a FB message, she replied with what seemed like definitely more than a passing courtesy. She also referenced a few things about herself and used the word "like" in reference to stuff on my FB page a few times. She lives 30 miles away. Other than that we don't really know each other, so it seems a tad stalkerish to ask for her phone number or show up at her house or workplace just to ask her out. BWDIK?

Finally, not sure if I'm overall interested in "seeking a life partner" kind of dates or "lets just go have some good clean fun" kind of dates or somewhere in between, both generally and with this specific person. I think about that a lot, and haven't come to any good conclusions.

2Cor521
Ok, so you two have done the equivalent of "passing notes" to each other. giggle...just kidding...

I am reading that she made the first move on FB, so go with the flow.

Take a close look at what she indicated as interests (music, gardening, artwork, science, theatre, beer and pool or darts, ethnic foods, etc), and just plain ask her if there are any upcoming public events she would like to go to.
Tell her you would like to meet her in person, carefully suggesting a group meet (more than you 2) would be acceptable. She will bring a friend if she wants to. Ditto for you, but give her the choice first.
No strings attached and you can gauge her interest level (friends or more) in you without the mutual nervousness of a 1-on-1.

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Old 04-07-2011, 12:04 PM   #17
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I went through this about 13 years ago, and you have my sympathies! Dating for the first time in years is hard, but once you start doing it then it will get easier.

Since I am pretty rusty by now, the only advice that I can give is this: remember that these first dates are just casual, and that you might want to date around for a while before getting back into a committed relationship. There is no rush. This is your chance to see who is out there and to enjoy dating itself.

Best of luck, and I hope you find "Ms Right".
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Old 04-07-2011, 12:37 PM   #18
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It sounds like she's made the first move, as is gracefully giving you the space to decide whether you want to follow up on it. Given that your interactions so far have been on FB, I think it's appropriate to have a few emails worth of conversation before asking her out. As someone who has been on several dates in the last few years, "would you like to get coffee sometime?" is the most universal, flexible, and non-threatening thing to offer. Keep things informal - flowers and such should be reserved for a more serious date, like dinner somewhere nice. That would be a third date kind of thing, unless you really hit it off on the first one.

You don't need to know at this point what kind of relationship you're interested in. In fact, having someone who knows exactly what they're looking for is kind of intimidating. I'd rather just explore mutually interesting conversation with someone than be judged against some unknown standard.
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Old 04-07-2011, 12:51 PM   #19
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I have no suggestions, as I am struggling with the same thing.
Good luck tho!
If you volunteer or attend any regular events/clubs look around for potential dates. You will know they share some of the same interests as you.

I always think of posting a request to set up an ER forum online dating section. Finding someone that knows what LBYM means, and doesn't have 10 maxed out CCs appears to be tough.
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Old 04-07-2011, 01:52 PM   #20
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I haven't been "on a date" - meaning, an evening out with someone I hadn't already been to whatever base was age-appropriate with - more than once in my life, aged 14 or so. All(*) of the people who ever merited the title of "my girlfriend", for however fleeting a period, I got together with on the basis of "so obvious even a man couldn't miss it" attraction; in most cases, after some period of moderate proximity in a work or other social setting, but occasionally after a minimal period of close proximity in a context where alcohol may have been involved.

So if I ever had to start "dating" again, I would have no more clue than I ever did. I am the world's worst striker upper of "casual" conversations. On the other hand, there are at least two women at my work that I probably shouldn't let myself get stuck in the elevator with, or go on a business trip.



(*) "All" is a single-digit number. I'm not trying to claim superstud status or anything.
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