The Male Perspective

A while ago someone suggested I write a post about guys who ignore the “script” for dating, for example by accepting the drink offered by the parents. A nice idea, but I’d been unaware that this was taboo. Fact is, I’m not entirely sure what the guy’s side of dating looks like. I know they’re supposed to find, borrow, rent, or steal a car for the purpose (except when they don’t, and you have to meet them somewhere) and I know they’re supposed to find a nearby place to eat or sit, but they don’t always do this either, and I’ve had a terribly awkward date in the “lobby” of the Boro Park Plaza, which consists of two couches right next to the entrance where every Dovid, Yoiyle, Shprintza and Ayelet passes by and throws you a sweet “oh a dating couple” glance, and then stand at a surreptitious distance making bets over whether it’s your first date or third. Men have my sympathy for having to undergo parental grilling and for having the tough task of deciding if this girl thinks any civilized male opens car doors or  who is adamant about being capable of opening her own doors, thank you very much. I know it isn’t easy being green or a dating man (often enough they’re the same thing), but I don’t really know all that much about it.

So the “write a date from the male point of view” suggestion below the Shirt Color post made me wonder. C’mon guys. What’s it like to go on a date?

29 thoughts on “The Male Perspective

  1. I wouldn’t know, sorry. I’ve been on exactly one date, and at that date I was stood up, so I know exactly nothing. (not to mention I was 14 and the girls friend talked with for for the evening as consolation, but we won’t talk about that.)

  2. Of course, having been blown away by my wife’s supreme intelligence, startling beauty and sterling middos I no longer remember a single other date I went on 🙂

    Ok, maybe I’ll write something later…

  3. My dates weren’t so bad since I didn’t own a car and didn’t want to borrow one, so I always met the girl at the dating venue. I also never met a girl’s parents until my wife brought me home about a month before our engagement.

    Prep time for a date involved shaving and showering. Dates themselves were usually pretty cheap, especially in the beginning.

    All and all I actually enjoyed dating.

  4. I always enjoyed meeting the girls parents because I knew that I was the one with full freedom while everyone else was following the script. And it was such an amusing script. The most nervous person is always the girl – worried about what silly things her parents would say. Any question directed to me was always something they knew about already. But I especially liked the, “Oh, Chana’leh (or whatever her name is) will be down in a few minutes… Why don’t you have a seat.” When of course we all knew that Chana’leh has been ready for a couple of hours… Every once in a while there was a parent or grandparent that actually wanted to learn something about me and then we could actually have a real conversation – but that was rare…

    Anyway, I was usually good enough not to say anything too much against conventional wisdom (I can keep that up for about 10 minutes max) and then (with a sigh of relief from the girl) we were on our way…

  5. I always imagined that the girl’s parents had a button under the coffee or dining room table that activated a light upstairs which indicated that it was time for the girl to come down.

    I’ve noticed though, that as I’ve gotten older, parents no longer are willing to play the game. Instead it usually involves the parent opening the door with the girl a few steps back. About 30 seconds of chit-chat, and we’re out the door. Only thing better than that is if the girl would simply open the door herself. It’s not that hard, ladies!

  6. besides dybbuk, everytime I’ve heard something like that from a girl its been followed by “but not for me”

    for some reason I seem totaly romanticaly uninteresting to any and every girl there ever was.

    worst part of it is they will never tell me straight why, and I’ve all but given up on beimng intersted in anyone.

  7. um, dovid is a pretty good isreali name last I checked…

    Also very popular with the modern orthodox, and infact the not frum.

    Dovid is an everybody name.

  8. Well, my most recent post is about a date gone awry…

    However, a basic rundown:
    Get a car by any means necessary. Having your own car doesn’t mean you’re out of the woods; for at least a first date, the car has to be presentable (i.e. clean inside and out, odorless [or at least pleasant smelling], nothing too extreme in size, because if it’s too tall, she can’t get in without a struggle or lifting her legs too high, causing above the knee exposure ;o, and if the car’s too small, with a tight interior, it can be unconfortable…). A small sedan is best; I have a Jeep.
    Once the car issue is addressed, one has to determine where to go on the date. Depending on where she is from, you have to determine which are the best places, in terms of distance, ambiance, etc. Most guys tend to go to lounges or hotel lobbies, as this is conducive for conversation. If you pick a lounge, you have to find out whether it’s a “hot spot”, so to speak (meaning is it a veritable watering hole for other couples). Distance wise, I prefer a minimum of a twenty minute drive. This serves two purposes: 1) it’s a time killer, and 2) the conversation is of a different element than the discomfort of a face to face coversation with a stranger.
    The actual preparation can take anywhere from twenty five minutes to an hour; sometimes, if the boy needs a haircur, it can take longer. It really depends on the individual. Some need to have a perfect shave, with the sideburns “just so”, while other just do their best. Shoe shining is optional, though most boys believe that the girl won’t notice, because “everything looks the same to them”. Same belief goes for the suit; I have friends who have worn the same suit on each consecutive date with one girl, only changing their ties. Shower time depends on preference, obviously, and that can take the brunt of the time preparing.
    Obviously, depending on the relative geographical distance between where the boy is and where the girl lives – and if the boy has never been there and needs directions – this preparation has to be done in advance with enough leeway for travel.
    Throughout this time (the prepping) the boy considers conversation topics and questions to ask the girl. Yes, contrary to popular belief, we can multitask; it’s just harder, and is severely limited. I prefer to know as little about the girl as reasonably possible; this lends itself to the conversing…

    When the time arrives, it’s best to be on time, but not exactly on time – a minute late is still punctual, and doesn’t give off an impression of over eagerness.

    The dance begins. Most times the two men (father and prospect) shake hands, then move to either the dining room or the living room. Pleasantries are exchanged, but not more than that. If the dating progresses, the time spent with the parents can either lengthen or shorten; as of writing this, there’s no set formula, it’s discretional.
    A lot of guys walk through doorways first, and don’t open the car door for the girl, or, they open the car door but walk away. I was brought up by old fashioned folks, so I usually offer her entrance first, but if she refuses or hesitates, I don’t push it, and enter first. I also hold the car door open but I make as if I’m glancing down the block as she climbs into the Jeep, thereby negating the problem of “leggage”.
    Conversation can really be a hit or miss, and sometimes as delicate as a minefield. I’ve heard (and made) some real faux pas’ before; if it happens, try and change the subject.
    Three main topics for a first date:
    1) Family
    2) School (this includes the sub-topic of work)
    3) Seminary/Israel

    The boy is meant (and usually ends up doing it anyway) to keep driving the conversation. If she didn’t go to Israel for seminary that can seriously hinder the conversing aspect, which why it’s always best to keep some extra topics at hand. Gay marriage and Metzitza B’Peh are not included.

    I have to run now, but this is the basic gist of the boys’ perspective, as experienced and shared by others. There are many different subtleties and nuances, such as what to do with a hat (I wear it in the house for formalities’ sake, then chuck it in the back), how to sit, how to glance at your watch without being either obvious about it or giving off a wrong vibe, and how to keep breath minty fresh (the Listerine strips work well, but they’re to in your face literally, and give terrible dry mouth)…

  9. When the time arrives, it’s best to be on time, but not exactly on time – a minute late is still punctual, and doesn’t give off an impression of over eagerness.

    Me thinks that this would be a version of the “don’t call for three days.” secular nonsense.

    I’m not totaly sure but methinks that most girls would be going bananas if the boy were a minute late… (heaven knows the threeday rule drives them insane)

    although if i were a girl I’d have killed him. Being exactly punctual shows respect. Both for their personal space as well as for their person and the value of their time.

  10. Oh please..most of the time the girl isn’t ready anyway. It’s fine to be late, but if you’re more than 5 mins you have to call. There’s nothing more awkward than waiting with the girl’s parents for 20 mins while she checks her makeup again.

  11. I wish that someone had told a few of my dates the “appropriate topics” list (including what *not* to talk about on a first date, thankyouverymuch). <_<

  12. nu, more boys? speak up?

    thanks jewmaican. btw, i notice the shoes. and the suit – they don’t look the same to every girl.
    and i think most guys i’ve dated didn’t know these ‘rules’ too well or were a bit unconventional.

  13. The car is not an issue for me as I have my own and it is always clean and neat. The question of where to go is definitely an issue: on the one hand I would rather go to “fun” places because it is more relaxed and virtually eliminates the “silence”, but on the other hand, lounges are more conducive for productive conversation (perhaps a separate post about “where to go”, Bad4?). Preparations such as showering, shaving, etc. just follow the Shabbos protocol.

    The next hard part is getting out of the car and walking up to a complete stranger’s house as if I’m some kind of a burglar. I mean, what am I doing here? Once the door is opened, I realize that there’s nothing to worry about because the man facing me, not to mention the rebitzin, seems more nervous than me. After the customary pleasantries, I say “that’s fine, thanks; I’ll just leave my coat on”, and take a seat. At this time the tension is palpable, so in order to diffuse it I accept the hosts’ offers for refreshments, make a bracha and heartily munch and sip. The reaction is, as usual, exothermic, with sighs of relief resounding throughout, and expressions on their faces reading: “Wow, this guy really has some guts … I’ve never seen anything quite like this.” Conversation is small, and once the princess in all her glory strolls down–never failing to appear as if she had just a moment ago finished a few very important touch-ups–things proceed briskly towards the door. At this point there is a dilemma, which all present are aware of: Do I go first, or does she? Once that is solved and we’re out the door, I usually make some comment about how easy or hard it was to find parking, out of nothing else to say at first. I never open the car door for the girl. I think it is a ridiculous highly scripted act.

    The hardest part for me by far, on the first date at least, is making conversation with a total stranger, not just a simple conversation that you make with a person you’ve never met before, or even an interview. Rather, it is conversation for the sake of conversation, and 2-3 hours at that. In any case, this is an issue for the girl as well.

    Bad4, I’m looking forward to a survey on our worst dating experiences. I have a really good one.

  14. Yoni – It’s impossible to be “exactly” on time; while it may be on time on YOUR clock, no one is synchronized perfectly, so you may end up arriving early at the door, which is a big no-no. A minute is safe enough. I don’t see how being on time shows respect for personal space, by the way. Not leaning in and close talking would show a respect for personal space…same goes for keeping your hands to yourself.
    I’m not sure what the “three day rule” is, but “methinks” it sounds ridiculous…

    Bad4 – I alternate between my suits, but if the particular shidduch extends far enough, recycling is inevitable. That’s when the different ties come into play. Good for you for noticing, though.
    While I’m aware of the rules, I don’t necessarily adhere to them; it’s a discretional thing…

  15. The worst part about dating, was the akwardness. The pressure to keep conversation going with a total stranger. Thank G-d my wife and I were naive enough to get married when we did. If we’d have thought deeply enough we’d never have gotten hitched. After 18 years we’ve grown to be the perfect match, even if over time there were difficulties which we had to overcome.
    Seems to me every heimishe marriage in the end boils down to the fact that even without all the pickiness the people are young enough that when coupled with the perserverance that ANY marriage requires they’ll grow together and become soulmates. It is very rare if not impossible that so young a couple can be soulmates from the outset. In short, I believe way too often the shidduchim are overthought. 99% of what goes into the determination after the third or fourth date will really be looked upon as narishkeiten after a few years anyway. The reason most couples eventually will say: “Oh, I can’t believe I thought, or acted, or felt this way when we were dating”, is because they morphed as a process of being married to the person they were married to.

  16. jewmaican- I ALWAYS notice the shoes so keep them shiny :)…And the suit too.

    Also whats wrong with the gay marriage convo? This was actually a first date topic a guy I recently went out chose…lol definitely not something i wanted to get into on a first date…i tend to be a little opinionated.

    Yoni- dont give up- its tough on all of us 🙂

  17. Also whats wrong with the gay marriage convo? This was actually a first date topic a guy I recently went out chose…lol definitely not something i wanted to get into on a first date…i tend to be a little opinionated.

    and why can’t an oppinionated girl be attractive? How could you be totaly interesting to talk to if you didn’t have an oppinion? and if it offends him its probably going to be better to drive him away sooner than later 🙂 (I mean, if you enjoy getting in to debates and all, plus it gives you an early oppertunity to see if he “fights fair” (which I wish I always did).)

  18. I didn’t say that there was anyhting wrong, per se. It’s just a really complicated, deep (possibly), potentially hot topic, whereas most like to keep the first date simple and light.

    I used to shine ’em…’til I bought patent leather;)

  19. I’ll throw my 2 cents in…

    The worse part of the date is AFTER the date: Did she like me?

    More importantly, how long will it take until she frickin calls back?!?!?

    Ya know what….This calls for a blog post! (And I’m off)

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