7 New Ways To Be A Gentleman

Want to show a lady you’re a cut above the average guy? These suave moves for today’s dating scene will definitely impress.

By Phineas Mollod and Jason Tesauro

hink pulling out chairs — or, better yet, laying cloaks over puddles to prevent needless muddying of a lady’s footwear — is the way to woo women? Alas, gentlemen, that’s old-school chivalry. Such classic gestures are nice, but charm and etiquette in the modern age need an update, and this is where some lesser gents fall short, losing valuable chances to impress that special someone. To update your panache, below are seven tips for the modern gent’s arsenal.

Be a man with a plan
“So, what do you want to do?” Seemingly considerate to someone else’s desires, it’s really just a lame line identifying you as a lazy suitor. Thus, during the all-important date-planning call, smartly assertive chaps offer a well-thought-out, multiple choice of
The “three-day rule” is out of vogue. If you enjoyed the date, call her the next day.
outings (“Tapas and tunes, teriyaki at the dog track, or pomme frites and a foreign flick?”). And in the event of a booked bistro, weather outbreaks, or a date that’s going so swimmingly you’d like to continue the fun at a follow-up venue, the forward-thinking man scopes out a few more bars or cafés in the neighborhood. That way you can suavely say, “Hey, I know this great place around the corner where we can go for some killer carrot cake. What do you think?”

Give her a joy ride
Some occasions find the gent acting as chauffeur, and in these instances, car-side manners are a must. They begin, of course, with the gracious opening of her passenger door before your own. Then, consider your sedan’s interior a mobile living room, requiring you to drive safely while playing host. To set the mood, put away your so-titled Kick-Ass Road Tunes mix. We’re not advocating lily-limp Kenny G light jazz, just tone it down a notch until her tastes are determined. And while showing off your indie band cool, mind the climate control. Is she panting for fresh air? Similarly, wow your date with handsome features and toned biceps, not your drag-racing ability. “Drive real fast, speed turns me on,” works in Will Smith lyrics, but your date should be embracing your hand, not gripping the chicken bar with white knuckles at every hair-raising turn.

Nix the interruptions
We’re sure you’ve heard this before but it bears repeating: Few things are a bigger turn-off than the lout who’s thumbs-deep in his cell-phone texting away with friends while pretending to be “interested” or answering calls mid-date like an annoying social butterfly with the raised index finger (“One sec… I gotta take this”). The simple rule is no cell-phone activity or “Crackberry” checking on a date. A quick call might be had during a bathroom break, but no more. If you’re expecting an important call or email, inform your escort early on, and rudeness will be averted.

Try a new form of flattery
It’s well known that warm words of praise defrost the iciest of personalities. But the type of compliment you concoct can make a big difference. While nice to hear, predictable compliments (“Your hair looks nice”) lead nowhere (“Thanks. I just went to the salon”).
Once her comfort is assured, you can steal away now and again.
Instead, try something less superficial, like a perceptive bon mot about her wicked sense of humor, distinctive voice, or contagious laugh. This proves to her you’re interested in more than just her arm-candy potential and paints you as a deep, intriguing sort she’ll definitely want to get to know better.

Use physical contact to show you care
Of course, getting too touchy-feely with a date will only convince her you’re a cad. But the right amount of bodily contact can show the opposite—that you’re a lionhearted fellow who’s interested in her not just as a friend, but as a love interest as well. So when a rendezvous has produced some sparks, go ahead and take her hand. A tenderly treated lady revels in the public view that she’s out on a date and can say in so many words, “Yeah, he’s with me.”

Master group dynamics
A rollicking party breaks the same-old, same-old night-on-the-town ritual and exposes your budding romance to the glamour (or specter) of your friends and you to her mingling skills. However, manners are more than stowing her coat and showing the way to the loo. For the first half hour or so, keep by your date’s side and make sure she’s comfortable, rather than leaving her to fend for herself while you catch up with old buds. Once her comfort is assured, you can steal away now and again, though not for too long, and only after leaving her among an engaging circle of friends. Lastly, until exclusivity is established, steer clear of awkward introductions like “This is my girlfriend” or the slightly denigrating, “Meet my friend Sophia.” Instead, just put your arm around her and say “This is Gaby.” People will easily take the hint, and you’re spared the awkwardness of trying to classify the relationship as something more or less than it actually is.

Call her the day afterwards
The “three-day rule” or other such nonsensical delaying tactics are out of vogue. Grade F dates or lukewarm experiences might warrant polite goodbyes, but a gent makes positive intentions known at the close of the date (or even sooner), and the next day, follows up with some telephonic feedback (“Last night’s pad thai was killer… and so are your eyes. When I can feast on both again?”). Let the so-called players leave a gal in the lurch, while you swoop in and proceed to the glories of dates #2, #3, and beyond.

Phineas Mollod traded his J.D. for the editorial life and is often found riding the congested E train with his wife and daughter in New York. Jason Tesauro pushes pen and ink by day and leads the lifestyle seminar series by night, ne'er far from his sweetheart and a Brady Bunch houseful 'o tots in Virginia. Together they are the authors of The Modern Gentleman: A Guide to Essential Manners, Savvy and Vice and The Modern Lover: A Playbook for Suitors, Spouses, and Ringless Carousers.
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