Ask Mr. Manners

Checkmate, Ms. Austen

To quote Jane Austen from her Pride and Prejudice days, “It is a truth universally acknowledged, that a single man in possession of a good fortune must be in want of a wife.” Now to make this applicable, “It is a truth universally acknowledged that a single [gay] man in possession of a good [career] must be in want of a [husband].”

I make no claims to being a dating guru, I’m Mr. Manners, however in my time living in Salt Lake City I’ve been privy to experiencing my fair share of “unfortunate” dates. Bad dates vary from intolerable to insufferable, mostly rendering us the hopeless victims of incompatibility, but after being asked how much it would cost to sleep with me (don’t worry, I smiled, winked and told him he couldn’t afford it), perhaps it’s time for a dating manners “refresher.”

Dating is an audition. You are both reading lines cold, looking for the spark of chemistry that leads to a continuing role. Put aside the posturing and the scoring pad; dates are meant to be fun encounters on the town (the town being translated as a public place). No more preparation is necessary than the personal-growth homework you’ve already put into making yourself attractive and interesting. Isn’t that how you got the date anyway?

Something I feel strongly about is that a first date begins by arriving separately and ends by leaving separately — exceptions being allotted for events which require formal attire, making it acceptable for both parties to arrive together. No matter how the dates goes, having a private method of escape (and meeting in a public place) either gives you a chance to wish for more or hit the gas and leave it all behind. What happens between the entrance and exit is all up to the involved parties. But if you follow my advice and have your own getaway, I can guarantee things will go much smoother.

A final reminder — there is a fine line between seduction and flirtation. Flirtation is a distinct act of charisma, a give-and-take less like chess and more akin to backgammon. Seduction is flirtation with a specific “thrust” to further action.  The best techniques cannot be listed because they are employed impromptu as a natural extension of whit and charm. But I have found that solid eye contact, flashing a smile, the occasional wink and remembering your date’s first name are a good start. Indeed, skill is involved, but the thrill of chance is always at play.

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