My friends will tell you that I'm a stickler for etiquette and respect. It might seem old-fashioned to some, but I just think that there's something to be said for observing a defined guideline for how to behave in a given situation. If you think about it - many awkward, angry, and sad moments could be avoided if people would just mind their manners.
First dates are a prime example. Most of the time, you don't know each other very well - if at all. Even if you've been talking for a while, it's a first date - so it's probably the first time you're meeting in person. That also means it's your one-and-only chance to make that first impression.
If you don't know the person well, it's hard to predict how he will react to certain behavior (running late, texting while at the table, offering to pay). If you know the proper etiquette (don't be late, don't talk on the phone, let him take the lead on the check) at least you have a place to start.
Some things are less obvious. I mean, anyone can put their phone away on date number one. The real truth comes out on date number twelve, when both of you have your phones sitting right on the table. But there are little subtleties in people's behavior that can be really telling about exactly who they are.
Like, showing up for a Friday night date wearing dirty sneakers. (Why do men do this?!) Our date is not at the gym, or a walk in the park. We met at a restaurant. For drinks. Wear shoes. Don't own any? Do us all a favor and stop dating.
Or how about having something to talk about? We're both on this date (which, by the way, you asked for) - why am I doing all the work? If you don't want to be here, that's fine with me. I've got stuff to do.
Want to split the check? Okay with me (Disclaimer: It's not okay with all women, so tread carefully here). But by split, I mean we each pay half. I don't mean for you to sit there and review the check with the waitress, itemizing which items you want her to tally up and take out of your $20. Mortifying.
Unless you know the person you're with, and/or the waitress is related to you, you really shouldn't refer to her as "hon." See - some women (ahem) consider that to be very condescending and disrespectful. Now, I expect you to treat me well, because you're on your best behavior. That's fine - but just know I'm paying a lot of attention to how you treat others, as well. It tells me a lot about what you really think is acceptable treatment of the women in your life.
So, thanks - hon - for the heads up. At least now I don't need to waste anymore time on dates with you.