So, you have just snagged yourself a first date with a beautiful, mysterious, curvaceous bundle of trouble. You hang up the telephone in a daze, after somehow arranging a Friday night rendezvous with this adorable creature who…
1. Inhabits your ‘daydreams’ at work, in which she sits on your desk and adjusts her stockings, and is always dropping her papers so you can see her lush backside.
2. Bats her long lashes at you alluringly while pouting and provocatively putting her finger in her mouth.
3. Inhabits your fantasy realm and wakes you up in the middle of the night in a hot sweat (I promised myself I wouldn’t ask) leaving you lying awake with wicked thoughts.
4. Makes you thoroughly nervous, although you’d sooner die than admit it.
What’s an intelligent, urbane man about town to do? You rush to the bathroom mirror to check that you haven’t turned into a latter day Cary Grant. No, it’s alright, it’s really you and she must like you somewhat. She’s going out with you on a Friday night, for heaven’s sake. Pull yourself together.
May I suggest a wardrobe inspection? As a Bright Thing (yes, she dances late into the night to old jazz records with sexy bass players, has a wide social circle and is constantly trotting around town), she will expect – nay, demand – that you make an effort. She is most certainly planning her outfit at this very moment, probably tottering around her apartment in her La Perla lingerie as we speak.
Ha! That caught your attention, didn’t it? I’m sure that you would like to discover what this fascinating creature wears underneath her clothes. Is that not the whole point of this rigmarole? Let’s be honest, gentlemen. But, this isn’t a laddette from around the way; this divine creature wafts Chanel No.5, wears antique fur, her Grandmother’s lace and vintage Italian labels you have never heard of, and carries a handbag that would reverse a small, third-world debt. You are aware of this fact because almost every woman you can think of despises her and gossips about her and her louche ways. Men, however, rush to open doors for her, buy her presents, send her books, arrange chic little lunches and dinners to hear her sparkly conversation and gape openly as she wiggles past.
She puzzles you: how does she wiggle like that without falling over? When she looks at you, what is she thinking? How is her skin so soft, you muse, glancing at your own, which doesn’t look like that at all. In addition, all you really want to do is play with her, all day and night in various states of undress, provocatively arranged on your bed. Her embonpoint is so pronounced as to make her look like Jessica Rabbit. To you she is Jessica Rabbit!
As you rush to your wardrobe, remember that casual, easy elegance is the best option here. Trainers are perfectly acceptable as long as they are not down at heel. A man can’t go wrong with a simple John Smedley knit, jeans or khakis and a gentlemanly, confident attitude. Another great option if you are going straight from work is to lose the tie and make sure that you are wearing a fresh white shirt. This, teamed with a dark suit can be most attractive. Leave the football kit and grubby rucksack in the office locker or at home where it belongs, please; it will cramp your style, not to mention your moves. How can you insinuate your arm around this delicious creature with such a thing dangling about?
I suggest that you wear your nicest boxer shorts and socks. You never know; presume nothing. You might hit a lucky streak and on Saturday morning find yourself perusing The Times or The Independent with Jessica Rabbit wrapped around you, planning an all-day love-in. Remember that she is an urbane girl too and will have a spare toothbrush, a clean towel and other manly accessories stashed away for your comfort, and, as much as you would like to think it, this isn’t the first time she has entertained in her boudoir.
Buy new pairs if your chosen undergarments look at all suspect. Would you be able to accept an alluring invitation for a nightcap, knowing that you will be covered with shame, should your trousers go astray, as you not so secretly hope? I thought not. Don’t be so nervous. She likes you very much. Or you would have been relegated to a lesser night, or even worse, screened mercilessly. She giggled at your jokes and spoke to you for 20 minutes, even though it took you an hour to get through, as her line is always busy and she put you on hold because Minty had le crisis and you are sure that men call her round the clock…
Yes, there are ‘others’ with the same idea as you, my dear, but you have Friday night. Breathe a tentative sigh of relief – you are just ahead – and organise your laundry. The date is still four days away but there is much to do. Where will you take her? Have you made a reservation? If you are not taking her to dinner, but drinks at first, research a few up and coming places, not too noisy, but intimate and cosy, The Dean St Townhouse is a perfect example of this sort of affair. Bars with sofas are excellent; imagine her snuggled up next to you on a squashy leather or velvet chair. Do not take her to a pub or anywhere they are showing the rugger match – there is no excuse for this. Unforgiveable.
Certain chic gastropubs are acceptable, but check out the ambience first. Have a back-up dinner reservation ready, should things go well. Then you can make a quick phone call and ‘magic up’ a fabulous table on the spur of the moment. If it’s one of those pretentious foodie institutions, for heaven’s sake, make friends with the maître d’ well in advance so you don’t get a table by the kitchen door. If he’s straight ask him which football team he supports and transfer your allegiance, even if you grit your teeth and froth at the mouth as you pretend to support Plymouth Argyle. If he’s gay, compliment his tie or his tan. If she’s a girl, use the charm you pulled out of the hat to take this Goddess out. Ensure that you confirm your booking on the morning of the date, as London and New York are notorious for last-minute muddles and you want to look like a man quietly in the know, not a man who knows nothing.
With these small but very important details in place, you can be at ease throughout the date. It isn’t that it matters where you go really, but this girl loves to feel as though you have made an effort; she will have made an effort, I promise you. Haven’t you waited for this date for two months? Doesn’t she deserve it? Recall the days of gentlemanly courtship and treat her like the lady that she obviously is, with courtesy and admiration. Genuine admiration will never lead you astray. She already knows she’s pretty and clever and she knows perfectly well the effect she’s creating for your trousers when she bends over slightly to pick up her martini glass and eat her olive from that cocktail stick, before glossing her lips whilst gazing up at you with the eyes of a doe. She wants you to get a glimpse of her delightful cleavage and is aware that the little fringe of her mane is brushing her long eyelashes in the most enthralling fashion. Do not be fooled by her innocent exterior; she is not innocent, she is a fox, and unless you hold your own, she will devour you like a black widow spider. This is why she makes you nervous. This pussycat is hiding her well polished, intellectual pink claws under that soft, slightly dizzy exterior.
The night before, ring her to check on the arrangements and where to meet her (near to, but not outside the bar or restaurant, so that you have a few moments to walk and get the “how was work?” conversation out of the way, but not too far as she will be wearing heels. Consider her feet). Be decisive but not bossy. Tell her casually that you are looking forward to seeing her. There is no need for flowery sentiment. Almost drop it out. This is a nice touch. For goodness sake, ring the girl, don’t text her; it’s lazy. Moreover, you should be pleased if she then decides to tell you about her awful or fabulous day. This is an opportunity to be genuinely interested in her affairs. If you like her as much as I think you do, this will be no hardship. Listen and take note of these things if you wish to know her better.
Now, we come to the great day. You may not have slept well, but a splash of icy water on those puffy eyes should do the trick. Ensure that you are impeccably groomed and well barbered; this is the most important thing of all. Your nails should be clipped short and scrupulously clean. Spare deodorant and cologne can be kept in your gym kit at work, so you can freshen up before you meet her. Too much cologne is a crime, discretion is key: mist and walk. Chew gum just before she arrives so that you are minty fresh and dispose of it before you speak to her. Your only accessory should be your wallet, your charm and a big smile. Of course, it is up to you to be prepared as a sophisticated man, should your wildest dream scenario be fulfilled tonight. I do not need to elaborate.
When you see her coming in the distance (she will be late, around 15 minutes or so) stand up straight and turn your mobile onto silent, or switch it off, put it in your pocket and leave it there. Do not answer your phone and gas on it while out with her. She will raise her eyebrow alarmingly and this is never a good sign. Emergencies are accepted of course. By this I do not mean the test score or the results of the FA Cup, these are not emergencies. Neither is your well-oiled best pal ringing to see how it’s all going. Have no illusions, her best friend will be attempting to do the same. Your mother stuck in a well would be classed as an emergency.
When you greet her, do not berate her lateness; instead kiss her on both cheeks, even if you have kissed her previously. This is a first date; presume nothing, except the hopeful private stash in your wallet. Tell her that she looks gorgeous and mean it. Lead the way and engage in light conversation until you reach the bar or restaurant, walk at her pace, which might be painfully slow, but do not charge ahead. Being attentive and walking thoughtfully with your hands in your pockets, while listening to her chatter and wisely nodding, will mark you as an understanding fellow. Even if you haven’t a clue about Ben, Anthony, Lee, Minty or her troubles (mostly imagined) at work.
Now, tell me, you must be quite a guy to have landed a date with this bombshell on a Friday night, how did you do it?