There exists a loose form guide for dating that goes something like this:
Drink, weeknight, central location, not too posh, not to casual, around about 6pm. No cocktails, no food.
You can feign dinner plans if things don’t go well. Or make them, if they do. Plus, a drink isn’t too involved – there’s scant opportunity to haggle over bills, and the conversation can be light, get-to-know-you banter rather than heavier I’ve-got-to-sit-through-three-courses-of-this-chat.
Drink, Friday night, somewhere sexy, beyond the after-work swill at around 7pm. Cocktails permissible. Tapas advisable.
Presuming you stuck to the no-food component of date number one, and limited the drinking to standard two hours/two rounds formula, it’s probably likely you only just got to know each other and a little more contact time is required. Tapas over a couple of cocktails can easily stretch into dessert, and quite possibly the sweet goods sampled aren’t wholly digestible either (not that we’re into sex on the second date, right?)
Date Three (also known as the Big One, The Point of No Return, the Make or Break Moment).
Dinner, Saturday night, somewhere where the service is good, the acoustics sympathetic to conversation, the prices commensurate to the quality of food, and close enough to reliable transport that you really can make good on that whole “come up for a night-cap?” dream-scenario.
Because at this point, you should know whether you’re in or you’re out. You should know whether you want to spend more than just the next few hours with this person seated across from you, mulling over the menu and laughing at your jokes. You should be able to look at their face, into their eyes, and think “yes”, or “no”, or – at the very least – “yes, ok, let’s give it a go, and I do mean more than just sex tonight”.
But it is exactly for that reason that I would like to propose a change to the standard procedure.
Because I’m not so sure so many of us are a) able to say they make it to date three with that much clarity of mind, and b) able to make it to date three with that much clarity of mind because of the drinking that tends to puncture every other juncture.
To remedy, allow me to propose a date substitution to the sequence.
Insert breakfast at number three – possibly even number two – and you vastly improve your chances of achieving the desired outcome by crunch-time.
Because breakfast is booze free. Breakfast is in the morning, when you’re fresh, and unclouded by hassles of working days. Ideally, you’re not hungover, but there’s some merit to the ‘me-at-my-worst’ logic. Breakfast is also a meal Australia does really, really well. Consequentially, Australians have become really, really good at drinking coffee and talking about stuff – a cultural habit not coincidentally linked to some of the greatest social moments of all time. And considering as your would-be relationship will one day come to be defined by how well you communicate, it makes sense to figure that out early on.
Plus – and here’s the good bit. Breakfast occurs at the start of the day. If it goes well, you’ve got hours of flirtatious sext-messaging ahead of you, not to mention the opportunity to move on to date number four (The Hallowed Affirmation) some night soon. And if it goes badly, well, it’s just breakfast. The new day is only just beginning...
What do you think? Do you follow the form guide? Is it working? Would you do dating over breakfast, or are early mornings best saved for later in the courtship (or best served the morning after?)...