Gawker's Better State of Living Conversation series is brought to you with the support of State FarmTM. Today, dating expert Chiara Atik is live in the comments to answer your questions about being the perfect date.
As any single person will tell you, the dating scene is a total gamble. There are a million and one questions to ask yourself along the way, a million and one social cues to navigate. Should you text or call? Their place or yours? Committed relationship or casual dating?
Courtship has never been easy, and sometimes it seems like modernity — with its lax gender rules and pesky freedom of choice — has made things more difficult. There used to be easy, unforgiving rules to follow (The man pays! No sex until marriage!). And unfortunately for hapless daters everywhere, the rules are more opaque.
But that's nothing you can't handle with the occasional aid from friends, dating writers, Google - and me! That's why I am here to offer a little sage advice, and to answer all your questions about what it takes to be a good date. Because as it turns out, the skills necessary to become good at dating are insanely useful for other, non-romantic aspects of life, as well.
It takes confidence to initiate a conversation with someone you're interested in. It takes an open mind to accept a date from someone you don't really know. It takes a healthy mix of etiquette and empathy to navigate a first date, along with excellent social and conversational skills to carry on an hour-long discussion about the latest episode of Louie. It takes tact to end things gracefully, and a strong dose of bravery to go in for a kiss.
So, yeah, if practice makes perfect, then going on dates can turn you into a brave, confident, open, empathetic, tactful person. And let's be honest, an hour of your time and a martini on a weekday isn't a terribly steep wager: best case scenario is you have a really great time. Worst case is you have a funny story to tell your friends.
But how exactly are you supposed to adopt some of these good dating habits? Well, I'm live in the Q&A section right now, ready to help answer your toughest romantic quandaries. Need a good date spot in the Lower East Side? Ask away! Need a nice way to gently shatter the heart of your on-again-off-again fling? Ask away! Need a nice romantic sonnet to really impress your OkCupid crush? You get the idea…
Illustration by Ramona Udvardi, Studio@Gawker