Posts Tagged ‘tips


dating tips for straight girls

Reader S. G. writes:

You’ve done dating tips for straight guys. What about your own kind?

Dear S.G.:


Ahhh dating... is it ever like this for anyone? Really? Image: Francesco Marino /

You’re right, I have failed at giving female-gender-specific dating advice, haven’t I?

Well, here are a few tips for straight ladies that I culled through very scientific means, i.e. IMing a few of my guy friends:

Don’t be a flake. If a guy is courageous enough to make a plan with you, don’t flake out on him unless you really, really can’t make it. Constant rescheduling sucks, too. The best way to avoid being a flake? Say no if you don’t want to go out with him. Don’t lead him on. Be honest with yourself and with him.

Be ready on time. Some girls might tell you that keeping a guy waiting adds to the mystique, but I think that all depends on the guy, and I think he’d probably have to be really quirky to enjoy waiting for you while you put on your lipstick. Punctuality is just a common courtesy. If you’re not going to be ready on time, at least be awesome and give him a beer and the remote while he waits. If you’re going to pick him up or you’re meeting him somewhere, you should definitely be on time. If you are absolutely incapable of being on time in this case, text or call so he knows you’re not standing him up.

Don’t order the most expensive thing on the menu. Unless you’re going dutch, that is. In which case, order two.

Offer to pay, but don’t fight over it. This is especially important on the first date. As I’ve mentioned before, a lot of guys apparently think that if the girl pays, she’s declaring this as a friends-only night out. Anyway, after a few dates, you’ll sort out a system between the two of you, but remember that it’s okay to let him pay. The feminist police won’t come to get you. (I always make sure that I’m capable of paying, just in case, but if I like a guy, I’ll let him pay. Once in a while.) If he does pay, acknowledge it and say thank you.

Hold your own purse. If you go to the bathroom, get on the mechanical bull, go to try on lingerie, or whatever, take your purse with you or put it on your chair. Be a lady. It might be sweet of him to offer to hold it, but don’t force it on him like he’s a hat rack.

Don’t be overly friendly or intimate. Again, especially true on a first date, but restrain yourself from offering TMI, eating the food off his plate, or crying in front of him. Save that for when he’s already sold on seeing you again.

Trust him. Don’t have your friends come to the bar with you or check in on you or any of that. It’s just creepy. If he’s not trustworthy, don’t date him. Dig?

Know what you want. I’m not just talking about dinner. If you don’t want to have sex on the first date, know that. If you do want to have sex on the first date, know that. (Here’s some good news, btw — apparently a simple hook-up can actually lead to love if that’s what both parties are looking for, so that whole “no sex on the first date” thing is not a rule you have to follow to be the marrying type.) I am very pro not leading a guy on, and not changing your mind just because he wants you to. You’ll feel better about yourself if you stick to your guns, whatever those guns are.

Don’t be afraid to be a little aggressive. If you see a guy you like, give him your number or start up a conversation. They don’t always have to make the first move, and in fact, in our day and age, many of them won’t. I am a bit old fashioned to some extent in this regard, because in my own experience, if he doesn’t do a lot of the chasing, it tends not to last. But that doesn’t mean I always hold back and wait for him to make every single move. Also, different girls and guys get different results. And who says it has to last?

Speaking of not lasting…

Buy yourself the flowers. What I mean is, be self-sufficient. My shrink always told me not to give someone a second chance if the first few dates weren’t fantastic. If it’s not going to work out, break it off and get yourself the flowers you want, or the sex you want, or whatever else it is that makes him not exactly right. Trust me, it’s probably not going to get better. You can “work on things” when you’re married, but if you’re just dating, there is nothing tying you to him. Know your dealbreakers and break it off if he exhibits them. I know it’s hard — we girls are such suckers for being “liked”. Just remember, you deserve better. Probably.



Reader C.N. asks:

I am a fantastic tipper at restaurants and strip clubs, etc. I get tipping in the food industry. It makes sense to me. But what about in other areas? Bell boys? Car washers? When is it appropriate?

Dear C.N.:

Tipping is such a strange custom in America. You would think in the land where we pretend there are no class divides and everyone is “equal”, giving service professionals money for how well they performed their job would be a thing of the past. In most countries, gratuity is included in the bill, and you can give more if the service was exemplary. Not so in our dear America. Maybe we’ve made it so confusing because we want to make life even harder for foreign visitors trying to get a drink at a bar.

Whatever the reason, we’ve held on to the tradition of tipping being up to the consumer, rather than mandatory.

Most Americans, like you, understand that you’re supposed to tip 15% at restaurants, 20% if they were awesome (or you’re awesome and have worked in food service before), and 25% if you’re really really drunk and happy. Apparently, people paying via credit card are better tippers than those who have cash (which figures — you only ever have a limited amount of cash, but credit cards go on forever). And personally, I judge people by how well they tip (especially dates).

But then there’s the question of what to do when you come across someone who’s providing a service but isn’t your waitress. If you’re not provided a receipt with a line to fill in the tip, what are you supposed to do?

I can give you a few tips (harhar) on what to do in certain situations, but the golden rule is that tipping, especially in America, is never mandatory. It’s completely up to you. If you don’t happen to have any singles on your person, you don’t have to tip. You might feel horribly bad about it (and you probably should), but it’s okay. Just remember that in general, this is how these people are making a living.

But here’s a list of what’s sort of expected, from what I can tell:

Bartenders: Usually $1 per drink, or 15-20% of the total bill if you’re someplace way fancy where drinks cost $12, like in Manhattan.

Who tips 20 Euro?

Here's a tip: avoid the clap. Image: Michal Marcol /

Bellhops, Baggage Handlers for Rental Car Shuttles, Curb-side Check-in at the airport, etc: $1 per bag.

Taxi Cab Drivers: 10-15% on top of fare (they usually have a fancy button they press to charge you extra for handling bags, btw).

Bathroom attendants: This one is definitely completely optional unless you’re somewhere extremely fancy. $1-2 for every trip in, unless they don’t have a tip jar, in which case, it’s awkward to hand someone a dollar bill in the bathroom.

Doormen/Concierge: No need to tip for holding open the door, unless you’re feeling extremely magnanimous; if they get you a cab, you can give ’em a buck or two.

Car wash: This is another instance where it’s hard to tip unless they have a tip jar handy. I always try to give at least $1 per car, preferably $2-3. Remember they split the tips amongst the shift workers.

Car mechanic: Don’t tip for an oil change. That’s silly.

Pizza delivery guy: 10-15% of the bill for the pizza, or $5 for kicks.

Casino table dealer: You don’t have to tip, but if you’re up, throwing the dealer a $1-chip from time to time can be considered lucky.

Caddie/cart guy while golfing: Depends on the green fee and whether or not the course has a dress code. It’s somewhat complicated, and I’m not a golfer, so I’m just going to direct you to’s article on tipping at golf courses.

Haircuts and spa treatments: 15-20% of total bill, depending on how good you want your hair to look next time. I always throw down an extra bit at Christmas, ’cause your hair stylist/waxer/nail tech is like your bff.

Hotel cleaning staff: No tip expected, but you can leave them a little envelope if you feel particularly nice. It’s quite likely they’ll have no idea what to do with it, or they won’t be allowed to accept it anyway.

Post Office Mail Delivery Person: It’s not uncommon to give the Postman (or Woman) a small tip or gift during the holidays, but otherwise, they won’t know what to do with it, and are you going to chase them down the street to give them $1 for delivering your mail?

Buffet or cafeteria-style restaurants: Usually these places will have a tip jar at the cash register, but you should probably leave 10-15% tip on the table for the bus boys.

Valet parking: Give ’em at least $1 for not scratching your car or taking it on a Ferris Bueller-style joy ride. More if you’re at a fancy hotel. Otherwise, they may not get your car too readily next time.

Grocery baggers: Even if they bag your groceries and carry them out to the car, they’re usually not allowed to accept a tip. You can try, though. (My mom was once asked if she’d like to join a Star Trek Role Playing Game by the grocery bagger. They’re friendly folk.)

Concessions worker at movie theater: Again, they’re probably not allowed to accept a tip. Unless there’s a tip jar out in front of the register, don’t bother.

Baristas: Again with the tip jar. If there is one, at least throw your spare change in. If you’re a regular, try to tip well at least once a week — throw in a buck or two. Even Starbucks employees like tips. They probably have to split the money with everyone else on the shift, too.  If there’s not a jar, they work at a crappy coffee shop.

Tattoo artist or piercer: At least 15% is a good rule here. Like your hairdresser, things can get pretty intimate with a tattoo artist. Tip 20% or more if you got a custom job; 25% or more if you got an amazing cut on their hourly rate; 30% or more if you wanna’ get in their pants, etc.

Am I missing anything?


more dating tips for straight boys

Reader V. J. asks:

I am so tired of dating right now. It’s like guys have no idea what they’re doing. Can you do me a solid and make a list for guys of what we ladies would like in a dating relationship? Ugh!

Dear V.J.:

You ask so much of me!

But here are a few things the modern boy should know about asking the modern girl out:

heart heart heart

Image: Francesco Marino /

Make a plan. Don’t just be all, “We should go out some time.” Have a time, and a place, where we should go out. It’s not hard. For the Burqueños among us, the Alibi has a great calendar of events. And I know most cities in the world have a free paper or online listing. Find something to do and make the date! Even just “dinner at 7pm at Scalo” will be enough to let us know you’ve thought this through a little bit. If you really wanna’ snag the lady, make it some place and some thing interesting.

Call a day or two in advance to plan things. Some of us have schedules, you know. We may not be willing to drop everything just to go out on your whim. You have a much better chance of getting us to go out with you if it doesn’t seem like we’re a last ditch effort because your other date canceled. It doesn’t matter if you make the schedule via email, text, or phone call, just get it done.

Flowers. Yes, that’s right. FLOWERS. They’re an old school touch, and not all girls swoon for ’em. But they tell us, “I was thinking of you.” Don’t bring ’em on the first date, especially if it’s a dinner-and-a-movie type affair, because no girl wants to carry around a bunch of flowers. (Okay, maybe some girls do… but only the weird ones. I once got roses for Valentine’s Day right before a class in my undergrad years, and one of the girls in the class shook her head and said, “C’mon, Kat, nobody likes the girl with the flowers.”) Send ’em to her house. Or bring ’em when you pick her up for date #2 so she can put them in water before you head out for the evening.  You can pick up a nice, interesting bouquet for under $10 at the grocery store. They’re sweet. And they’re not intrusive. And one size fits all! You can get creative if flowers are a little too “generic” for you, too. It’s the gesture that counts. It’s just supposed to be something small and lovely that they can enjoy when you’re gone.

Tell her how fantastic she looks. Or smells. If you like her, let her know. She’s probably done little touches to her hair or make up or something to make the evening special. Is she wearing a really nice dress? Are her earrings awesome? Even if she hasn’t gone out of her way, you’re not going on a date with her because she’s awful. Find one thing you like about her and tell her, without her having to ask for it or compliment you first.

Offer to pay for dinner (or the movie, or whatever). I know, I know, I’m a feminist and this isn’t a particularly feminist idea. But once again, like flowers, offering to pay for dinner is an old school, charming thing to do. We do make 80 cents to every dollar you make in a comparable profession, and most of the time, our professions don’t compare. Not a very modern sentiment, but at least offering to fit the bill won’t make most women head to the hills. We may insist on paying for ourselves, but you can still offer. (BTW, ladies — I’ve heard a rumor that not letting a guy pay for dinner means you’re definitely “just friends”. Make sure you keep that in mind and use it to your advantage, one way or another.)

Be somewhat aggressive. I’m not advocating slapping her ass on her way to the bathroom, but put forth a little effort. Know what you want and be willing to ask for it. Make the first move if you want to make it. We may be a bit more empathic than you, but we’re not mind readers. Show a little bravery and most of the time, it’ll be rewarded. In spite of the whole women’s lib movement, we aren’t always ready to do all the work ourselves.

Don’t bring up commitment on the first date. Even if you think we’re “the one”, it’s not appropriate. Nothing says “desperate and lonely” like a guy who wants to know “where this is going” after the first bite of sushi. Keep a lid on it until at least a month has gone by. That should be at least four dates, FYI.

Follow up. If you had a good time, send us a text message to let us know and ask if we can see each other again. That old “wait three days” rule is total bunk. You can wait three days to make a new plan, but letting us know you enjoyed yourself should happen pretty quickly after the event has gone down. If you didn’t have a good time, no need to follow up.

Take rejection well. If we say “no” to something for whatever reason, deal with it. Whether it’s “no, I don’t want to kiss you” or “no, I can’t go out tonight because I have plans”, you should be able to suck it up and handle it. Don’t get mad, or tell us that it isn’t fair, or whatever. A no doesn’t mean “it’s over”, and it doesn’t mean “I hate you and you’re worthless”. So don’t take it like that. Roll with the punches and you may recover.

Ladies, am I missing anything?

post everyone else likes best

topics i’ve written about

Enter your email address to subscribe to this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.

Join 195 other followers