Having trouble landing yourself a date? William Sweeting, an etiquette consultant and events manager for royals and dignitaries, shares the good old-fashioned way to woo a woman, plus we suggest a few ideas of our own…
Chatting her up
The old-fashioned way: “A gentleman should always approach a lady first as it would be unseemly if it were the other way around,” says Sweeting, who counts ITV’s Ladette To Lady among his TV appearances. “To gain the lady’s attention he should send over a glass of champagne to her table with a note. He should then try to gain eye contact and smile, assessing when or if an approach may be appropriate.”
Once you’ve exchanged pleasantries, it’s time to “enquire if she might like to meet again”. If she gives you her number, call the next day to say how lovely it was to meet her and that you would be “most interested” in meeting her again.
Modern-day gent: William Sweeting
The modern way: You’ve spotted a fox on a dating website, so you give her a cyber-wink, but wait for her to make the move, or you message her with something witty like, “Hi”. If you’ve spotted her in a public place, you ignore her, or shout “Oi oi!” if you’ve had a few bevvies, then sit back and wait for her to come to you. If you do manage to get her number, you wait a week before texting her: “How’s it going?”
The TNT way: Drop her a message if you are online dating. Take time to actually read her profile and refer to it in your message, drawing on what you’ve got in common or by making a suggestion of a place you think she might like to visit. A sign of a sense of humour is always a bonus.
In the real world, give her a big grin and, if she responds with a smile, go up to her and introduce yourself. Simple as that. Get her number and call her within two days to arrange your first date.
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The first date
The old-fashioned-way: Sweeting advises: “A gentleman should offer to collect the lady for the first date and he should come bearing flowers, which is always a most acceptable gift. The first date ought to be the theatre followed by dinner.
“During the date, a gentleman should always allow the lady precedence; he should always pull out her chair and stand when she does. In topics of conversation one always recommends showing interest in the lady’s hobbies, her work and her family. One should not talk too much about oneself.”
After dinner, “the gentleman should ensure that the lady gets safely to her mode of transport”. Kissing on a first date is a no-no, with Sweeting advising you wait three dates to make the move for your first kiss.
The modern way: You arrange to meet her in your local and rock up 15 minutes late. You buy the first round, down your pint and wait for her to buy the next, and after talking about yourself for a couple of hours you stick your tongue down her throat.
The TNT way: Arrange to meet her at the closest Tube station and walk her to a cool bar or pub that you love and think she will too. Buy most of – but not necessarily all – the drinks and ask her a lot of questions about herself, as well as being open about yourself when she asks. You can have a smooch on the first date, but make sure she’s willing! If you’d like to see her again, say that at the end of the date and follow up the next day.
Photos: Thinkstock; J. Harry Edminston Photography