I know, right? What the hell is Think doing? Probably not a lot of “Thinking”. 

dating adviceAlmost every other magazine has some sort of column where you apparently learn how to behave and as a result, get a good lay at the end of the day.

And despite what most of you readers will believe, that applies to women probably about as much as men.

But believe me, there are a lot of reasons why I’ve decided to write this, and one of them is probably the bigger paycheck promised me if I do a good job on this column.

The more important reason (and here is our true motivation for coming up with such a column) is to laugh at the stupid behaviour of Singaporeans and get some cheap entertainment out of it. Considering the magazine is free, that’s really cheap entertainment.

The more politically correct motivation (eh hmm, eh hmm) is because at Think, we are all for supporting government efforts, and in order to promote a baby boom, we’re going all out to help Singaporeans get a good shag after a decent date. Hopefully, that will eventually lead to marriage, more good shags and more kids.

At any rate, I’m probably the last person to provide any advice on etiquette. While I may not be the “Ah Beng” that has a long pinky nail and picks his nose with it regularly, then happily swiping it under the table in front of an audience, neither am I the perfect gentleman who will charm the feet off any girl I see, and leave at the doorstep even if they’re offering a nightcap in their undies. I’m just going to offer some useful insights that often turn a good date into a really bad one.

From my experience, it just takes one thing to screw up a good date. And it’s usually not a very big thing. (Pun intended here. If you didn’t catch it, it’s time to go back to school.)

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1. Before-a-date food.

So you’ve got a date for tonight after exhausting your Rolodex, and you’re pretty sure that the date is of the gender you’re keen on meeting (I’m just considering all the options here.) Even before you start to panic and dig out your entire wardrobe in search of something to wear that doesn’t make you look too desperate, consider the lunch you have had or are about to have. If you’re lactose-intolerant, please do not take any sort of dairy products.

It really is rather inconvenient to release any sort of flatulence in the middle of dinner, at a restaurant, not to mention embarrassing. Even more so if you’re a girl, in a nice dress, and it’s loud enough to attract the attention of nearby tables. It didn’t happen to my date, just the table next to me. And guess who was the lucky guy to be seated at the end nearer to her? I had a really difficult time controlling myself, believe me.

Still, this isn’t a column for women bashing. That could easily happen to someone else. I once went on a double date with a friend of mine whose idea of a good dinner dessert was durian cake. And while I am sure that many Singaporeans would not find the scent of durian offending, trust me, durian and beer does not go well with high chances of scoring with your date.

My advice: carry a breath spray when planning such manoeuvres, excuse yourself from the table without speaking or exhaling from your mouth in any way, and disinfect your mouth with several healthy sprays of minty flavour, while continuing to hope that you will not burp for the next few hours, at least until the night is ended by her closing the door in your face. There’s a good chance you’ll get a second date, and hopefully you won’t make the same mistake twice.

2. Guys, be firm.

No pun intended there. When asking a girl (or guy) out on a date, have something in mind. “I don’t know where we’ll be going, you got any ideas?” sounds like it deserves a reply of “I’m not sure if I’ll be going out with you after all.” (You might not believe it, but that has happened to girl friends of mine.) Nobody’s saying that you have to book a limo and have a chauffeur drive you to Morten’s for a fancy meal, and after that watch an opera.

This is not “Pretty Woman”.

But that doesn’t mean that you can go to some cheap fast-food joint, and still call it a date. I know some people will say that the place doesn’t matter, it’s the company that counts, but frankly, anybody that believes that kind of crap is just asking for it. A dinner and a movie is a perfectly reasonable date, and afterwards you can sit down at some cafe for coffee and chat the night away.

Not too simple or too complicated, casual enough that you can be comfortable and let loose, so you can put your brain to looking for a place to eat instead of wondering what tie goes with what shirt. And after you’ve flipped over to our wine and dine listings, you’d realise that you have plenty of time to decide what shoes go with the jeans you’ve picked.

Oh incidentally, horror movies are a cheap attempt to snuggle up to a girl, and most women know it. Try some heartbreaking show or romance story; you might have a better chance. And if you’re really gentlemanly enough, a comedy gives you plenty of chat for that coffee after the movie. Trust me, it works.

Most importantly, always offer to pay. If the girl insists on going dutch, that’s another matter, but don’t make the ultimate mistake of asking for the bill to be split separately. That’s not just your night blown to bits, it’s your reputation permanently smeared for life, and I’m not talking about the dirt-throwing campaigns Bush and Kerry carried on each other.

Women are far more potent in that area. The news will spread of the cheapskate who asked to split the bill, probably faster than if you took a loudhailer and announced it, and definitely further. In fact, if it’s a good date, insist on paying, and you can tell her she can always get the next bill. That’s a second date pending, and at least you can be assured of a clean rap sheet next time someone does a pre-dating background check on you.

Well, that’s all the useful information I have for you. And it’s very important for everyone in the dating world to realise one thing: it’s all about presenting an appropriate appearance to your date. You might want to wear a thong and let your belly out under cover of darkness, but it’s probably a good idea to wear your grandma panties and pull in your gut so you don’t look like you have a third breast. Or maybe a fourth.

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