The act of a man properly asking a woman on a dinner date is six feet under. Or at least a recent slew of interactions with males in LA made me believe this to be true. Gone are the days of introductory phone calls that lead to the most boldly exhilarating seven words ever uttered, “Can I take you out to dinner?” And with the failure to execute a proper proposal, all subsequent chivalrous acts flounder with it—the offer to pick the lady up, the act of opening her passenger door first, the refusal to let the lady pay. I am in full support of LA’s dining scene evolving toward a more casual landscape. Coming from someone whose favorite meal in the city costs $9 and is served in a biodegradable cardboard bowl, if I never cross my legs under a freshly pressed white tablecloth again, I won’t cry about it. The manner in which you ask a lady to dine with you, however, should never be that casual. Fine dining may be slipping towards extinction. Manners should not.
If you aren’t fluent in LA male speak (the language through which men in their 20s and 30s choose to communicate), let me introduce you to a term: “Hang out.” Whereas before a man would politely ask, “Can I take you out to dinner?” now he says, “Let’s hang out soon” or “When are we going to hang out?” The problem I have with this is that the first 15 or so times I went to go “hang out” with a guy I thought he simply wanted a companion. I showed up ready to knock back beers and discuss fantasy football. He, instead, wanted to get flirtatious and tried to kiss me at the end of the night. So I stopped agreeing to nights of “hanging out.”
Asking a woman to “hang out” is hedging risk, after all. The man doesn’t have to put himself in a position of vulnerability by expressing his romantic interest, in order to gauge your interest. But here’s my question: Wouldn’t you rather find out before we meet up whether I’m interested in breaking bread with you or not? If I go into the “hang out” thinking you just want to chill and talk Curiosty rover, you’re going to be a hell of a lot more embarrassed when I duck out as you try to kiss me.
Very recently I was contacted by a guy I met at a party who texted me two words: the name of the restaurant. I’m guessing that was his way of asking me out, but sending me the name of a restaurant is not an invitation. I didn’t respond. He texted it again with a question mark. Still not an invitation.
So I stopped responding to men that can’t extend a proper invitation because frankly, if you don’t think I’m worth the risk, I don’t think you’re worth my time. Besides, I dig a man with courage. And if you don’t have the courtesy to properly ask me on a date, chances are you’re not the guy for me anyway.
Finally this past week I was properly invited on a date. He even opened the passenger door and refused to let me pay. The restaurant? Sans white tablecloth. But the manners? They were there.