Tips on what to do, and where to go on a Date
When you're at home, it's easy to treat your girlfriend like she's the only woman in the room—chances are, she is. But when you're out on the town, there's a lot competing for your attention: your best friend, your BlackBerry, the bar¬tender, the amazing set of boobs that just walked in the door. The world is watching, and make no mistake about it, so is your girlfriend - she's a Patel!.
Actions speak louder than words, and to your girlfriend, your actions in public are deafening. Whether you're at the coffee shop, the birthday party, or the DMV, your girlfriend will want you to be the same attentive BF who was sliding off her thong last night. It's consistency she's looking for, and courtesy. These are the things that count with your girlfriend. Break out your shining armor, and she'll be so turned on, she'll peel it off with a can opener. Reveal your wandering-eyed inner cad, and she'll be looking for her next date harder than you are.
Sound tricky? It doesn't have to be. Don't think of this as another behavioral minefield to navigate. Think of it as a way to score huge points while expending a minimum of effort. Let's face it. The bar is set pretty low. A tiny gesture made in public—holding a door, standing when she returns to the table—will resonate powerfully. Treat her well in a roomful of people, and watch her eyes come up triple jackpot.Umm yeah that Patel is with Me
We've all seen that guy who dates a girl again and again but never quite seems like he's with her. He keeps his distance, rarely touches her (until they get home), and never, but never, refers to himself as her boyfriend. This is a mis¬guided attempt to play both sides of the fence. Like a real-tor leaving a FOR SALE sign on a house that's not on the market, it's tacky, it's dishonest, and it serves no purpose. Women aren't stupid. We know he's with her, so we see a guy who likes to keep his options open. The irony, of course, is that when we see a guy dote on his date, lavishing her with care and attention, we think, "The minute she blows it, I am all over that."
We have a friend who always walked three paces ahead of his girlfriend, as if he were royalty and she was bringing up the rear. Finally, she got upset and pointed it out to him, but he didn't see why it was such a big deal. To him it was an old habit, one he was completely unaware of. But this habit spoke volumes to his GE She felt his speed-walking was like a sign around his neck that read I'M NOT REALLY WITH HER. She, like many women, was extremely sensitive to those acts that spoke to her value. It's one of those neu-rotic traits that you will have to contend with, despite the fact that it may have been in place long before you came into the picture.
Almost anything you do or say can be seen as a statement that expresses our relative value in the world and, more importantly, in your heart. We're not proud of this, but we know we're not alone in it. Don't forget: You have your own currency issues to deal with, and sometimes, when it comes to the self-esteem market, we give you a very favorable exchange rate.
On the Town
What He Sees/ What She Sees The Office Christmas Party
HE SEES: A roomful of pals, free booze, and an opportunity to party with the boss.
SHE SEES: A roomful of people she doesn't know and a BF who can't wait to make his mark with Maker's Mark, while she's subjected to Ed from Accounting's thrilling monologue about his days as a Trekkie. Again.
A Dinner Date
HE SEES: His girlfriend arriving at the dinner party. He's glad to see her, but can't go over and give her a kiss, because he doesn't want to be rude to his friend, who's in the middle of a story.
SHE SEES: A BF who can't spare a moment from his conversa¬tion to welcome her. Guess she should have stayed home.
A Romantic Evening
HE SEES: A guy who takes her out for an expensive dinner the same night as the big fight on HBO. What sacrifice, what consideration, what a lover. (So what if he checks the score once in a while?)
SHE SEES: A lonely girl forced to spend a disastrous evening with a crabby, distracted boyfriend who keeps checking his BlackBerry while rushing through dinner.
The good news is, it doesn't take much to make your girl¬friend feel cared for. Our friend Sarah, at lunch with her BF, Reed, became worried that the slow service would make her late getting back to the office. Reed heard her concern and politely told the waiter that they were on a tight schedule. He handled it without her having to ask and impressed her with his consideration and his take-charge manner. These little considerations build up like frequent-flyer miles: When you accumulate enough, you can trade them in for a first-class ticket—into her pants. May sound simple, but that's how it works. When we feel loved, appreciated, and taken care of, we want you. Bad.
Most of the time, your girlfriend will be more comfortable with public displays of affection—PDAs—than you are. Our pal Daniel once pleaded, "Why do I have to hold your hand and sit glued to you in the back of this spacious cab? Can't I just adore you with my eyes?" The answer, sadly, is no. Your girlfriend's thirst for affection, public or private, can be almost unquenchable. Sure, you'll put your arm around her in the movies, hold hands here and there, and even kiss on the street once in a while, but in general, a big gulp for you is barely a sip to her.
What's the problem with this Patel?
Why is she intent on sharing your relationship with the world? Hard to say. Sometimes she'll do it out of love, sometimes out of insecurity, and sometimes because she likes showing off: "Look at the hot guy I'm with, and look how into me he is." If that's the case, it means your girlfriend thinks you're worth showing off, so consider your¬self lucky. If it makes you uncomfortable, gently provide guidelines that will recognize her needs while expressing yours. Explain that snuggling in the checkout line at 7-Eleven makes you queasy, that your soft side is reserved for more private places such as the couch or the bedroom or the kitchen floor. The fact is, this is one of those areas where you will both have to live outside your comfort zone. You'll have to get mushy sometimes when you're not feeling it, and she'll have to live with wanting a little more than she'll get.
What to Do When
You're Out on the Town
A CHEAT SHEET SUITABLE FOR FOLDING UP AND PUTTING IN YOUR WALLET
- When you walk into a restaurant or a party and your girlfriend is already there, don't mingle. Even if you saw her an hour ago, make a bee-line for her and plant a big smooch on her. It screams, "That's right, folks, I'm the lucky sucker she's leaving with," which becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy.
- Include her in your conversations and stories, even if she's heard them before. This means eye contact or saying something like "Kirsten always thinks I'm making this part up, but it's true!"
- On the flip side, listen attentively when she tells a story or a joke, even if you've heard it a hundred times. This means no looking around or spacing out. Back her up as she's speaking; put your arm around her or offer up a "This is great" or "You'll love this" to the group. Your job is not to love the joke—your job is to be supportive.
• Make sure you introduce your girlfriend. Sounds obvi¬ous, but you'd be surprised. And by the way, she'll love it when you introduce her to your friends and they say something like "At last. I'd heard so many fabulous things about you, I was beginning to think that Bill dreamed you up." So tell them stuff that will make them say that, and then reap the funky dividend.
- Your girlfriend knows that no matter how much you love her, there are always going to be other babes to check out. Fine. We look, too. You're free to admire the eye candy when she's not around, but when you're together, just hold your head still and don't do it. Even if Eva Longoria walks by in a string bikini, don't ogle her in front of your girlfriend. Trust us, it ain't worth it.
- And while we're on the topic of scoping, don't drown in the pool like your man Narcissus. Nothing's a bigger turnoff than a guy who checks himself out in every reflective surface he passes—store windows, the rearview, spoons, you name it. No girl wants to sleep with a guy who thinks he's hotter than she is.
- Standing up when your girlfriend comes back to the table and opening the door for her may sound old-fashioned, but most girls love it. Same goes for the car door.