Good manners are sexy! There's nothing like a hot date to motivate us to gussy up our manners, and Valentine's Day is the New Year's Eve of dating occasions. Put aside hokey notions of stuffed animals, heart-shaped boxes of chocolate and menus of aphrodisiacs -- while they are sweet, they feel a bit too contrived. Subtly is sexier, anyways.
Valentine's Day is a packed night to go out to dinner, so reservations might be a very good idea. If you are going somewhere that doesn't take reservations, or you are just meeting up someplace casual or for a drink, get there early. That way, you can beat your date there and nab great seats. Alternatively, you might be stuck wasting a half hour of your time together jammed in a foyer, waiting for seats to free up.
You want your date's full attention (and they want yours) so keep phones away. If it is out of site, you will be less tempted to check it. Bad table manners are a massive turn off, so be mindful of keeping your napkin on your lap, not inhaling your meal or talking with your mouth full. And the kinder you treat the wait staff, the more you'll charm your date.
If you are checking out a new place, you might want to give some thought to how you'll get there and where you'll park, to avoid being late.
Even the best of dates can awkward when the bill hits the table. Avoid a drawn-out exchange of "I'll get it," "No, I insist, I'll get it." If someone really wants to treat you, let them and graciously thank them. If the night is going well and you want to reciprocate, you could offer to carry on someplace else for dessert, coffee or a drink as your treat, or offer to pick up the bill for your next date.
At the risk of sounding bold, your date will likely scope how much gratuity you've left on the bill. We've all done it. Fifteen per cent is standard for good service and more is always appreciated by those serving you.
Follow Karen Cleveland on Twitter: www.twitter.com/schoolfinishing