Dress for the occasion.
Easy on the cologne.
Be on time.
Go to the door.
Do not bring flowers -- it's outdated.
Now that is just ridiculous. Not the first four, the last one. It's outdated for a man to bring a woman flowers on a first date? Even a single daisy?
According to this Esquire article it is.
But what do I know?
Now that Blue Kid has his own car and a new girlfriend who has him reading books, it occurred to me the other day that he could and should take her out on a real date. You know. Because I am very helpful, most of the time, telling him all the things he could and should do.
"Why don't you call Ms. Great Influence and nicely ask her out on a date? A real date. Like a dinner and a movie-type date."
"Mom. Nobody calls anymore."
"Asking someone out on a date by texting doesn't sound very romantic."
"Mom. Nobody dates anymore. We just hang out."
"Well, how sad is that? Dad and I still go on dates."
I guess we are. The Skimmer was out of town last week and called me Friday, and with his voice asked me to go out to dinner with him that night. I said yes with my voice! It was a date.
Friday night was probably our 600th date. I don't remember much about our first date. I don't remember if he walked at my pace, or played talk radio in the car or if he offered me his arm while we were walking. All I remember is that he paid for dinner with his American Express card. That year I had postage stamps and laundry detergent on my Christmas list. American Express? It's been a joke for 20 years how impressed I was that he didn't leave home without it.
He didn't bring me a daisy Friday night, but he did drop me off at the door of the restaurant because it was pouring the rain. After he parked, pretty far from where I was standing, all dry and warm, he ran through the parking lot of puddles and arrived only partially soaking wet. I opened the door for him. Because that's the kind of girl I am.
A girl who can open her own doors, pay for her own dinner, even buy herself some flowers just because. I'm a lot like my mother that way. Bring home the bacon and fry it up in a pan-types. But also the types to love thoughtful gestures.
My mother worked for years just up the street from my stepfather's office. During the winter months, he would leave work early, drive to where her car was parked, clean the snow off her car and start it up so that it was warm for her by the time she got off work. The other women in her office were in awe of my stepfather. Their husbands? Not so much.
Sometimes when The Skimmer and I are out to dinner, he'll order for me. The List says that's a no-no. But, he's never presented a coupon to the waiter while saying, "And the lady will have something of equal or lesser value."
But, I think it would be funny if he did.
Friday night I was feeling liberated and ordered my own Portobello Marsala Saute. And I shared some of it with The Skimmer. It was my idea to share and he went along with it. Good thing, too. At least according to The List.
After dinner I got a text message from Blue Kid.
Him: Where are you?
Me: Still at dinner what r u doing?
Him: Hanging out with Ms. Great Influence
The Skimmer paid the bill and we walked to the door. It was still pouring the rain.
Another no-no on The List: The Drive: While amusing, avoid that bit where you go and then stop and pretend to drive away without her.
The Skimmer's done that 88 times between dates two and 599. You'd think it would get old, but it never has. Friday night, he offered to go get the car.
"Nah, let's make a run for it!"
And while tradition dictates that the man should walk on the outside of the woman to avoid puddle splashes and runaway carriages, we ran side by side through the parking lot of puddles, yelling and laughing.
The Skimmer needs to have a Father-Son heart-to-heart. BK doesn't know what he and Ms. Great Influence are missing.