Great dates.

What’s a sign a date is going great? For me it means I don’t look at my phone once. It means laughing, lots and lots of laughing. Joking with the waiters. Wine glasses. Sharing dessert. Staying much longer than you had planned –  he picked you up at 9 for dinner and at 1am you’re still there, with the waiters now folding their arms staring at you because you’re the only customers left and they want to go home. They give you not-so-subtle hints, by constantly removing more and more items from your table. And even though you’ve worked as a waitress and know how annoying it is when you’re dying to leave and that couple in the corner just lingers on and on talking non-stop, despite all that, you barely notice their hints. A great date is above all, great conversation.

Have you ever had one of those day-time coffee or lunch dates (which is usually what I propose when I don’t really want it to be a date) but that turn out to be so much fun that you decide to go for a walk after, and then coffee in a different place, and then maybe even catch an afternoon movie? The non-date that turns into a date.

Last Saturday I had a lovely non-date with a good friend. Yes, I think you can have lovely kinda romantic ‘dates’ with a friend. We met for ‘coffee’ in the city center. He and I always joke that ‘having a coffee’ is like a concept, it often doesn’t mean coffee (can be a tea, a beer, a juice) but you always refer to it as coffee. In that spirit, we decided when we got there that today ice-cream would be our coffee. Ice-cream in the winter is fun. So I have banana and coffee-flavored ice-cream (does that make it coffee?) and he has a hot chocolate. We talk and talk and talk and laugh so loud  that the other tables turn to stare. They’re just jealous because they’re sitting there in total silence with nothing to say to each other. Is that inevitable when you’ve been with someone a long time? I like to hope not (to be discussed in another post).

Anyway, so after our ice-cream, I’m saying bye and tell him I need to exchange a dress at Zara for a friend. He says yalla, I’ll go with you. I’m meant to just get the money back for my friend, but while we’re there, I ‘bump into’ some pretty shiny shoes. So my male friend and I spend an hour trying on shoes, me doing the trying, and him carrying the boxes and asking for different sizes, and generally feeling out of place but having fun. After the shoes, I say I have to go to the supermarket to buy groceries for a dinner I’m having that night for my Spanish class. Again he says yalla, I’ll go with you. I’m super happy for the company, and he pushes the cart and I walk in front picking out things. The man at the cheese counter thinks we’re a married couple as does the man at the bakery stand. We get into the act and pretend to be complaining about each other. Having a blast even at a supermarket is a sign of a great date.

Another thing is the balance of power. Do you want a guy to decide most things on the date, or do you want to be in control? I think I’m very complicated on this issue. I like a guy to pick the place and make a reservation, because in the rest of my life I’m always organizing things, and checking up on details etc. So it annoys me if I have to plan the specifics of a date. But it’s cute when a guy asks something simple beforehand like: “do you like Indian?” That amount of thinking I can do. On the other hand, I tend to love to mastermind the ordering once we’re there. I love to try different things and I love to share food. I’ll usually leave the wine choice up to him, although inside I’ll be boiling to have a look and a say. It (perhaps wrongly) bothers me if a guy orders very expensive wine on a first date. And I never know what to say about it. I think it’s because if it doesn’t work out I feel guilty about him having spent a fortune on wine. Is that weird?

Ok so those are some of my thoughts on what makes a great date. I wish I knew whether anyone has gotten annoyed when I’ve wanted to decide what to order for both of us, whether it pressured someone to have to make the date plans. I wonder what men look for as signs a date is going ok. So… I’d love to hear from you reading this (male or female): what makes a great date?