Re the Wall-E post, where the robot recommended using your date’s first name a lot… Some people pointed out that that’s not “done” in orthodox circles.
Newsflash! You can’t take dating advice verbatim from a 28th-century robot! He’s not a rabbi. Or even Jewish. He’s just telling you what worked for him.
Studies show that if you use someone’s name when you address them, it endears you to them. Though generally we address people in this manner:”Hey, let’s go get ice cream,” actually, you will kindle even friendlier feelings toward yourself by saying: “Bad4, let’s go out for ice cream, my treat.”
Now, it is generally considered a faux pas to use your date’s name on a date. This is because, I guess, you’re not supposed to be on first name basis yet. I would think that by the fifth date or so (in the S7D sequence) this would no longer apply, and you ought to be able to act like you actually know each other (which one hopes you do). However, extra care must be taken when dealing with callow bais yaakov maidels, as their tolerance level for such borderline flirtation is particularly low.
Which brings us along to flirtation and the personal compliment. I know this one made the rounds of the blogosphere a while back. One particular comment caught my attention. It was to the tune that it’s perfectly normal for a man to compliment a woman on her appearance in the outside world; it’s only these insulated religious girls who think it’s not.
Now, as far as I can tell, that is just not so. After two and a half years working in non-Jewish institutions, I can attest that I have only received personal compliments from one man. And once, shortly after, he complimented his male friend: “You smell nice today.” His friend promptly informed him that this was socially inappropriate, and he could keep his observations to himself in the future. Since then he’s kept his compliments to himself.
(Yes, hair gel has a pleasant scent to it and this is intentional. We’ve come a long way from whale blubber in the hair, for good reason. But somehow, the idea of being sniffed is a tad disconcerting. Quite frankly, if the sniffer can smell something distinct, than either the sniffer is too close or the sniffee is too smelly.)
Girls, on the other hand, can’t seem to stop complimenting each other. “You look nice today.” “You look good in that color.” “Those earrings bring out your eyes.” “Nice skirt!” And so on. But they never compliment the guys beyond “What’s the occasion?” when one tucks in his shirt or “Who are you?” when a slovenly fellow shaves and shows up in a suit.
Thus I conclude that, at least among the multi-cultural nerds of the world, cross-gender complimenting is a no-no. And since nerds have many of the same reservations, hangups, and habits as religious folk, I extrapolate that it is not wise to shoot off the compliments to those you don’t know well in the religious world.
Now, before anyone starts screaming: obviously, this is the kind of thing you have to play by ear. Your date’s background, age, and tolerance level should all be taken into account. (If she’s ignored a lot of other dumb things you’ve said, chances are she’ll let an unwelcome compliment slide.)
Think about it this way: of course a girl wants to hear that she looks nice. She put time and thought into her presentation and would like to know that it made some kind of impression. However, she’s also afraid of being goggled at by one of those shallow, animalistic male creatures. You know who you are.
So – just a suggestion here: maybe closing her front door, giving her the elevator eyes, and expressing a liking for what you see isn’t the cleverest approach.
Here’s another way: don’t start by commenting on her appearance. Compliment her on something she does – being a caring teacher, an artistic designer, a brave world traveler, a learned scholar, a kind Samaritan, a thoughtful dater…
Whatever. Just demonstrate that you notice something about her besides her looks. Ta da! You are no longer a slavering Neanderthal dressed up in a suit for the evening. You see beyond the surface! You recognize her as a person! You have depth! You may cautiously proceed with the “you look nice” line.
Does this all seem very unreasonable to you? Maybe it is. But if you want to marry a woman you might as well get used to dealing with them.