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1. I don’t mind if the actual date is just a coffee shop. But what I do mind is when you call me fifteen minutes before to find out where I want to meet. I like planning. It makes me feel like you care. And it makes me feel like you’re less likely to flake out and forget about our date. So let’s at least make a plan at what time we’re going to meet and at what coffee shop. And then, another day, when you’re not quite so overwhelmed by life, we can do something a little more demanding, like a picnic.

2. Splitting the bill sucks. What a buzzkill. I’m not saying the guy has to pay all the time, but nothing kills the mood than calculating who owes what and how much each person should put in for tip. I don’t want to have to do math on a date.

3. Let’s look nice. I’m going to put on a dress and nice shoes and at least some eyeliner. It would be nice if you combed your hair and left the flip-flops at home.

4. There are a couple things that make me melt. One is when my date offers to cook for me. I’d much rather have you make me something at home than have a fancy dinner out. You know why? Because it shows you planned. You had to buy groceries. You had to think about what groceries to buy. And then you had to spend time in your kitchen. For me! *Swoon.*

5. You know what else makes me melt? The follow-up text or email. You can send it the next day, but sometimes it is awesome just moments after the date finished. Tell me it was awesome, that you had a great time, that you can’t wait to see me again — and you know what? Even if it wasn’t awesome, I’m probably going to want to see you again. So I can get another follow-up text. And then you know what else? It might actually be awesome that next time.

6. Leave your phone in your pocket. Or wait until you’re in the restroom to check it. Because it’s lame to feel like I’m competing with a piece of technology for your attention. One time, I brought a date to a wedding, and while the groom’s mother was making a heartwarming toast, I looked over at my date to share the moment — and he was on his phone. If you’d rather be on your phone than making out with me, then don’t bother wasting my time. Unless, of course, you’re texting me that follow-up text.

7. Gifts! Everyone loves gifts. And I don’t mean expensive gifts or flowers. I mean random, thoughtful things you picked up because you saw them and thought of me. I don’t care if they cost $1.00. I just love that you were thinking of me–and that you made an effort. And I’ll totally do the same for you.

8. Ask me, before the date finishes, when you get to see me again. First of all, that phrasing is swoon-worthy alone. It makes me feel like hanging out with me is something you treasure, you covet — and what girl doesn’t want to feel that way? And then when you ask me that, straight-up, I don’t have to waste time wondering when we’re going to see each other again, or if we’re going to see each other again. Also…

9. Assume that my time is valuable. That I’m not sitting around waiting for you. Because I’m not. So if you want to see me, make plans with me in advance. If you want to see me over the weekend, you should ask before Wednesday, or Thursday at the latest. Texting me Saturday afternoon to see if I want to get together Saturday night isn’t going to work, unless it’s the rare exception, and my friend just got the flu and canceled on me — but you want to see me so bad that you’re not going to hope for the rare exception, right…?

10. Don’t play games. I don’t date people who are in junior high, and that’s partly because I don’t want to break the law, and partly because I don’t want to act like I’m in junior high. If you’re afraid of a girl telling you that she likes you and wants to make plans, or if you’re afraid to tell a girl that you like her and that you want to make plans with her, I’m sure I can find a nice junior high down the street. Maybe they’re having a pep rally you can crash. But if you’re not into being tween-ish, we’ll get along great.

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