It's "I love you" day!
Every February the 14th, throughout the globe, couples profess their love to each other.
In the era of technology, where texts and videos are replacing handwritten cards and when equality of the sexes should be the norm, this is the one day of the year where men are expected to polish their swords and wear their capes to seduce their lady.
Whether you are the James Bond or Sir Lancelot type, here is a refresher on modern D.A.T.I.N.G. manners.
Don't be late.
Punctuality will always be in style. It is a basic notion of respect. And there is no such thing as fashionably late, especially on a date for Valentine's Day.
If you're running behind, call--don't text. When you apologize, your date will hear the sincerity in your voice and together you can figure out the new meeting time.
Ask before being gallant.
Most women appreciate gallantry, but there could be some exceptions. When in doubt, preface your courteous gesture with: "May I...?"
• Yes, ladies first is the societal norm for a date.
• After opening the door to the car, before closing it, make sure to look for a hanging skirt, belt, or purse strap on the edge of the car.
• At a door crossing, wait for the people exiting to come out first. You will then let your date go through.
• Help to remove or put on a coat is always appreciated. Especially when bundled up for Canadian winters.
• If walking on the sidewalk, stand street side by your date to protect her from slush splashing cars.
• Offer your arm for slippery side streets.
• Going downstairs? Precede your date, to protect her in case of a fall. Going upstairs? Step behind her to catch her if she slips.
• Pull your date's chair and gently slide her into her seat. Ladies, take control of your chair. Do not trust him ;-). You are the driver of the chair. He is simply assisting you.
• Give your date the best view of the restaurant or of the outside scenery.
Table manners are not just for the Ritz and they do count.
You could be wearing Armani and smelling of Gucci with a freshly shaved lumberjack beard, but the "Wow, you look great!" could quickly be replaced with "Geez, where did he learn to eat?".
Need a Dining Etiquette 101 lesson? Read this previous blog post.
Inviting means paying; whether you are a man or a woman.
This is also true for business meals and activities. Unless you decided to split the bill, be prepared to pick up your part of the tab. If you are not sure and your date doesn't offer to pay, be proactive and say 'let's "go Dutch".
Should you wish to have dinner with someone and don't want to pay for them, be upfront about your payment intentions and replace "invite" for "join" when asking: "Would you like to join me for dinner?".
No texting, tweeting, tagging or telephoning during your date.
Want to make sure that your date will only have eyes for you? Say, "I am really looking forward to our evening together. Just give me a moment please, I'll put my cell on polite (silent) mode to make sure that we are not interrupted." This will act as a subtle hint for your date to copy you. If you are a lifeline to someone, advise your date at the onset.
Good or bad say: "Thank you."
Thank your date for their time and make sure that she is home safe.
End on a polite and positive note. Don't set false expectations.
Lastly, Valentine's Day being on a Saturday this year, workplaces will be less interrupted by deliveries of chocolate and e-Valentines. But, if you plan on sending at the office make sure that it will not be frowned upon at the other end or embarrassing for your sweetheart. Remember that employers have a right to monitor your company inbox and phone.
Not sure about celebrating Valentine at the office? Treat it like any other day, until you leave the office.
You have a sticky situation at work or at home? This is your forum. Write to Julie and she will reply promptly. Want more solutions to sticky situations? Go to Facebook, Twitter or order your autographed copy of Etiquette: Confidence & Credibility. Planning a conference? Julie happily travels coast to coast and beyond, to present customized activities. With Julie's help gone will be awkwardness, embarrassment and faux-pas.
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