Proper Etiquette For 4 Dating Firsts

Manners matter. Important firsts in our life--first date, first-time sex, even breakup--require proper decorum, too.

YOU’RE ABOUT TO HAVE YOUR FIRST DATE WITH YOUR OFFICE CRUSH

Observing good manners doesn’t only impress your date, it also shows how much you respect him. “In the process of striving for balance in their relationships, many single people are discovering that good manners are one of the most effective ways to bridge the gap between too many restrictions and too few,” explains Peggy Post, author of Etiquette. While being armed with dating know-hows doesn’t guarantee you date number two, “it can make the process a lot more enjoyable.”

1. Be punctual.

Ditch the old habit of coming in 30 minutes later than the agreed time. It may be a date and not your annual board meeting, but “expecting a date to entertain himself while waiting for you is like saying that your time is more valuable than his,” says Post. If you’re going to be late by more than five minutes, call and give your date a reasonable excuse for your delay. “Don’t let this fundamental courtesy slide after  the relationship becomes steady.”

2. Make proper introductions.

“When someone is coming to your home, you have to introduce the person to others,” Post says.  “Even if you aren’t ready yet, meet your date at the door, make introductions, and help get some conversation started.” This will keep your date from feeling like a trespasser.

3. Keep the conversation light.

During the date, steer clear of controversial topics, like financial matters, your exes, and religion. “A first date is the last place to campaign, preach, or proselytize,” says Post.

4. Listen well.

We all know you’re a fab goddess, but you don’t have to hog the convo to drive home the point. “Good conversation is like a tennis volley: The only way to sustain it is for both people to return the ball,” says Post. “Focus on what the other person is saying—not what you plan to say next.”

5. Know your table manners.

This is basic, but remember that “whether it’s dinner at a restaurant or a quick bite at [a burger joint], good table manners will make a good impression.”[nextpage]

YOU’RE ABOUT TO HAVE SEX WITH YOUR NEW GUY FOR THE FIRST TIME

Even a hot sack session requires good manners. We know it sounds counterintuitive, as “there’s something very anti-manners about sex,” says Caroline Tiger, author of How To Behave: A Guide To Modern Manners For The Socially Challenged. “After all, sex is driven by urges and by chemistry, which have little to do with logic and common sense that drive mannerly behavior.” But, showing proper demeanor in the boudoir shows how much you respect each other. Here, we teach you sex etiquette—you know, stuff your Values teacher didn’t tell you.

1. Have the talk.

Once you and your new boy decide to take your relationship to the next level, it’s mandatory that you have the STD talk. “Discuss the last time each of you were tested for the full range of STDs. Like the exclusivity talk, the STD talk needs to take place when you’re fully clothed. This is a serious matter and should be treated as one,” says Tiger. It may seem iffy at first, discussing something so blatantly outrageous like hernia, but initiating this talk is short of saying: “I want us to be safe, so we can have sex all the time.”

2. Decide where to do the deed.

“When you have sex for the first time or with a new partner for the first time, the ideal location is somewhere where you can be comfortable and remain undisturbed,” says Andrew Stanaway, author of The Lovers’ Guide. “Try to find a place and a time when you will not be disturbed. Having to get dressed in a hurry as someone is at the door can put a real damper on the whole event.”

3. Ensure privacy.

Before you pursue that much-anticipated first-time sex in say, your boyfriend’s place, make sure you have the place to yourselves. For example: If he has roommates, he should politely ask them to leave the place for your special rendezvous.

4. Make sure the room is clean.

Wherever you’ll have sex, make sure it’s clean and spruced up. Says Tiger: “If the act is to occur in someone’s home, that person should take full responsibility for making her place sex-tastic.”

5. Steer clear of video equipment. 

No one wants a repeat of the Hayden Kho show, so “put away any video equipment you happen to have set up in your living room or bedroom—this could otherwise scare away your partner,” says Tiger.

6. Be both comfortable and clean.

The lovemaking rule of thumb: Personal hygiene comes first. “Many lovers are worried about how their partner will react to their body odors, so showering or bathing beforehand can increase your own confidence and shows how much you care about your partner,” explains Tiger. And, make sure your down-there is trimmed or well-shaven before the big day. You may also want to make it easy for your guy by “wearing clothes that can be easily undone. Fumbling at too many buttons can be embarrassing and makes anyone feel slightly inadequate.”[nextpage]

YOU’RE BREAKING UP WITH HIM

Whether this is your first breakup or your nth, you may be tempted to go psycho on him or break up with him over SMS. “Ending a relationship well may seem impossible, but it can be done if both people stay true to the principles of respect, consideration, and integrity. When one person ends the relationship, he or she is responsible for giving news in a manner that shows genuine concern for the other person,” says Post.

1. Meet personally.

He’s seen you naked, you’ve been together for five years—that’s why there’s no way you’ll break up with him through text or email. “If ending the relationship is your choice, face up to it,” says Post.

2. Get straight to the point.

“Don’t try to ease the blow by taking the person out for a nice time, then dropping the axe the last minute,” says Post. In short: Don’t be heartless.

3. See to the other person’s well-being

A breakup is a volatile sitch, yes, but there’s still no excuse for not watching for the other person’s welfare. After breaking the bad news,“be sure that he or she is reasonably in control before leaving,” says Post.

YOU’LL MEET HIS PARENTS FOR THE FIRST TIME

Before conjuring up Meet The Fockers or Monster-in-Law images in your mind, relax. Master these meet-the-parents moves to avoid super-diyahe mishaps.

1. Don’t be too hard-pressed to impress.

No need to lavish your boyfriend’s folks with expensive gifts or insist that you’ll shoulder the resto bill. Be open to having a good time and just be your normal fabulous self.

2. Let your boy answer for you.

If his parents have been asking you questions that make you uncomfy (“When are you getting married?”), turn to your guy and ask him, “What do you think, hon?”

3. Drink in moderation.

Learn to limit your alcohol intake. “To your boyfriend’s parents, you are the potential vehicle for grandchildren, and no one likes a drunken mommy,” says  Genevieve Field, author of Sex And Sensibility.

4. Treat them like friends.

“It’s possible to be unfailingly polite without being unbearably dull,” says Field. So, condition yourself into thinking that your boyfriend’s folks are human beings who just happen to play parental roles. This way, you’ll see them for who they are and find yourself enjoying their company.

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