Attention boys, dudes, bros, guys, singles, boyfriends and, yes, even husbands: I want to discuss a topic that I pray you are already familiar with. That topic would be the art of being a gentlemen.
Specifically, being one on a night out on the town with your potential or current significant other. You see, I am a server and have recently had it up to you know where with the lack of chivalry I witness night after night.
This doesn't mean all of you, a lot of you are doing a really fantastic job. Some of you are doing so well that I just want to pull up a chair to your date, grab a fork and help you finish your bowl of spaghetti lady and the tramp style. We can find a way to make the noodle work three ways---promise!
But then I have to serve your fellow 'bro' over at table 42 who has already made his date switch from the sparkling water she ordered to plain tap because, well, it's unlimited refills.. duh! He has also ordered a salad for her (dressing on the side) before she has had a chance to look at the menu and has picked out the chicken plate for her entree because (he gladly informs me) she's watching her weight. By the time I drop off the bill, he is loudly talking on his bluetooth (about all the money he makes,of course) and picking his teeth with a shrimp fork as he shoves it to her side of the table. I don't know which one I want to punch more, him or HER.
I wish I could say that I was making this up but, truth is, I've seen it all. Once in awhile I will even get an extra special D-bag who is capable of single-handedly lowering the bar of standards for women everywhere. These are the nights where the bottle of wine I pick up on the way home is shared with no one but me, myself and I. Well deserved, might I add.
So here is my attempt to help you out. Here is a brief list of a few major No-No's that, if followed, just might make your server wish they were at the table with you instead.
1. DO YOUR HOMEWORK. Whether it is a first date or a 50th anniversary dinner, you should know a thing or two about what your partner likes. Food is a big deal these days and a dry piece of chicken can dry up a lot of other things too. (I mean things like conversation-- get your mind outta the gutter!) So get some recommendations. Ask the guys where there girlfriends/wives won't stop nagging them to go and pick one of those names out of a hat. Nagging ladies tend to be picky so they know good food.
If it's a first date, make a safe choice. Pick a nice place with good music and safe food. No vegetarian wants to go to a place with the word pig, rare, bacon or cow is in the title. (Although, if you'd like to win my heart that rule does not apply.) So pick a place with an equal ratio of veggies to protein. Just don't call the place and hassle the poor hostess about their gluten-free options, It's called a salad. Trust me, they have them.
If you have been with your significant other for more than six months and you are still taking them to the same place they have audibly let you know isn't there favorite, then your an A-hole. Unless it's a celebration for yourself, stop making her go there. I have heard of relationships ending over stale cheese pizza before. Don't be that couple.
Last but definitely not least: I don't care what kind of caveman, He-man or Tarzan diet you are on, if the lady orders fries then you better make that dinner your cheat meal. No man let's a woman carbo-load alone.
2. MAKE A RESERVATION. A reservation? YES. I can't tell you how many guys have walked in at 7 o'clock on a Saturday night and said,"Uh, table for two please." Which leaves me and the chick he is with looking at him like, "Um, no." You will look like you have it together way more than you do if you just take 5 minutes out of yesterday and call ahead.
3. STOP STARING AT THE BARTENDER'S TA-TAS. We've noticed her too, whether your lady wants to admit it or not, she's hot. That's why she's a bartender. It's her job to be hot. But you aren't here with your buddies, you are here with your date. So stop twirling the straw of the mudslide she talked you into (they're her favorite), tone down the googly eyes and refocus on your date. You can and should still be polite though. Don't overdue it and be a rude asshole towards her. It's not her fault you find her attractive. Even if the date isn't going that well, just pay attention out of respect. If your date is absolutely positively awful, then just remember that she will eventually have to go potty and then you can fill your mental camera up with all the spank-bank pics you'd like. You're gonna need them later.
If you are with your spouse then the no flirting rule should be a no-brainer... Unless you want her to eventually rip out your brain with her bare hands. Have you seen the show Snapped? Well, you should.
4. IMPRESS BY DOING LESS. That means less bragging and less controlling. One of my biggest pet peeves is when a man orders for the woman. Not all the time though. There is a proper way of doing this and there is a pompous way of doing this. If the date has never been to the restaurant before or it is her first time experiencing that type of cuisine, then it is actually nice for the guy to take the reins. He orders by politely saying, "We are just going to share a few things so I'm going to place the order for us." Keyword: us. He said it without making it all about him and he didn't single her out either. Proper.
Then there is the guy who waves the server over in a grand gesture (one of our favorite things a customer does, only thing worse is being whistled over like an untrained puppy) and informs you that he is ready.
"First, I wanna tell you that I know the owner." he says.
'Would you like a cookie? or is that a discount I'm smelling?' is what your server would like to say, but instead they simply reply,"Oh, how lovely."
He continues,"She'll have your most inexpensive red, a house salad and something with chicken it. You gals love you some chicken, dontcha?"
This is when your server has to clench their jaw, tilt their plastered smile and reply, "Oh yes, sir. We just love chicken." You can almost see their dignity dripping from their apron.
Do not EVER be this guy. He lets you know how much he makes a year (several times), he answers the questions he asked YOU, he answers his phone in the middle of dinner (and carries on a full conversation), he knows everyone and everyone should know him and this is according to, well, HIM. Servers wish terrible, terrible things upon this guy. Karma is bound to find him somewhere and I hope it's up the shittiest of shit creeks without a paddle. Or chicken.
5. FOOT THE BILL. In this day and age, this is a complicated subject. But let me take all of the complication out of it for you. IF YOU INVITE SOMEONE TO DINNER THEN YOU PAY FOR THE BILL. Whoomp there it is. It is as simple as that. And if you want to get petty and point fingers and say,"But she invited me!" As far as I'm concerned, you can take that little cheap finger of yours and point it right back at the boy in the room who doesn't deserve a strong, respectable woman and will most likely be dating fussy little girls his whole life. That would be you.
Nothing makes a lady feel more appreciated than a man who gladly pays for her meal because her company was more than worth it. If it's a celebration for you or if she'd like to do something nice for you, then let her be the independent woman you love her for and pick up the tab. Just don't make it a habit by trying to say you are celebrating something every weekend. Grow up and pay up.
I told you it was a brief list! ;) On a serious note, I am not trying to pick on men. (See the Ladies Edition right here!) I LOVE men. A respectful, hardworking man who knows how to treat a woman AND smells good is just about the greatest gift God can put on this earth.
So know your strengths before a date and utilize them.
Use your manners, pay attention when she speaks, tell her she looks stunning, pull out her chair--just be a gentleman! If a girl passes you by or says 'you're too nice' (a description I find incredibly frustrating) because you do these things, then it is because she is a girl and not a woman.
And believe me, you wanna hold the door open for a woman, not a girl. Not because she can't do it herself but because you want to let her know that she doesn't always have to.