In case you haven’t been following my mess of an Instagram feed, I recently spent 10 days in Japan, unveiling a world so far removed from the Western hemisphere that it would be take me days of waxing poetic lyrics to depict all my observations. As a key takeaway, however, comes an innate admiration for the impeccable etiquette of this country’s inhabitants, a phenomena reflected in each mutually respective interaction. While I was wary to investigate the dating scene, this particular dissonance with the Western world inadvertently triggered me to reflect on the etiquette of dating, a rapidly demising concept within itself. Additionally, I was traveling with two Latin-American boys who had zero romantic interest in me, and yet were brought up to treat women in a way that made me feel like (insert eye roll) a princess, at least as much of a princess as one can be in a never-ending chain of bullet trains and Capsule hotels. Combined with my Russian upbringing, which evokes a similar set of courtesy codes that I struggle to find elsewhere, I am left questioning whether a certain lack of chivalry is an issue particularly pertinent to the European and American cultures, perhaps a downside to the fight for gender equality?
In any case, I would like to do the world a small favor by offering Little Mr. Manners book for men that will allow them to re-discover a few basic ground rules of courtship, and for us women to justly barometer what we should actually expect.
Make a plan. Or at least a dinner reservation. Maybe even go the extra mile and pick her up on the way, 10 bucks in cab fare that will score you a Pot o’ Gold in bonus points. Maybe it’s a result of the whole Tinder-related “supply-tops-demand-hence-gratifies-low-initial-investment” scenario, but it is sadly common for women these days to utter phrases such as “I don’t remember the last time I had a proper dinner date”. Instead, everybody seems to be embracing some go-with-the-flow, hippedy-dippedy mentality that usually results in a bottle of wine on an empty stomach, followed with pub fries and a cheap makeout session. Go ahead, tell me I sound like a typical American with a “forced” set of “constraining” dating rules. Well, news flash for you: whatever your New Age ass chooses to call it, two people with romantic interest in each other spending time together is, in fact, a date. Potayo, potahto. So make your potahto a pit more memorable by making a reservation.
Give a compliment. This one hardly even requires any effort, and yet so few understand its underrated value. You see, most women spent time getting ready for dates. Even if the end result looks natural, even if we are coming straight from work, I can guarantee you that there was an extra half our of hair blow-drying, layering three BB creams for an au naturel look, and a bag of spare clothing trudged belligerently to work. These are all chores men are exempt from, and should hence appreciate with three simple words of acknowledgement: “You. Look. Nice.” Repeat after me, smile, make her day. The French have actually mastered this lazy Don Juan trick to perfection, as it allows them to do the one thing they do best – yabber away – while never really lifting a finger.
Be nice to service people. Because we are always judging the way you treat others. In fact, be aware that you are under lab rat level of scrutiny with every gesture you make towards the wait staff, the valet guy, the bathroom attendant, the stray puppy on the street… And don’t even get me started on the way you speak on the phone to your mother – just consider this the SAT test for your entrance to our vagina. The thing is, women sans daddy issues are generally prone to staying away from imbeciles who have no respect for others, so its best to perfect that game once and for all. Big Brother is watching, so be polite and leave a big tip.
Give up the good stuff. The window seat, the last piece of gum, the umbrella – if you were raised properly, you will have no qualms offering us first dibs at the good stuff without compromising any of your principles. There is a general misconception that selfless behavior somehow makes a man look weak and pathetic, but I will nip that in the bud by stating that it simply makes him look like a gentleman. (In case you don’t know what is, its is probably listed somewhere next to ‘manicorn’ as an endangered species.)
Do the heavy lifting. You see, males generally have a physical advantage over females, not to mention a lack of a pregnancy hazard that comes with lifting unreasonably heavy items. The other day, I watched as a young man in the Copenhagen airport allowed his wife board the plane while simultaneously maneuvering a baby and a huge diaper bag, while he trudged behind them with the look of a bored teenager in his Salinger stage. Another thing that kills me is that men in France never give up their seats for women. Generally, f you are in public transportation and you see a pregnant woman, or and older woman, or maybe just a woman in general, stand up and give up your seat. I don’t care if you were working all day and you’re exhausted, God gave you testicles so get up and air them out.
See? These rules are simple. No curtsying. No opening doors. No undercutting Emma Watson and her whole “men are sensitive too” #HeForShe spiel. In fact, I myself am more inclined towards a more artistic, delicate male, as opposed to big macho hulks or ruthless finance boys. And yet, one has nothing to do with the another, as proper manners can easily coexist with any artistic pursuit that you aim for in life. In fact, the combination of these things is what makes one that much more attractive. Voilà! Arigato, and happy courting!