The Rules for Same-Sex (Man-to-Man) Dating

When Boy Meets Boy

By the middle of the 1980s, a little over a decade after the 1969 Stonewall Riots, same-sex relationships had left the confining environments of the closet and the underground club and had made their way onto backstreets and alleyways across the Western World. And with that coming-out emerged a set of social rules for same-sex dating aimed at maintaining dignity and decorum in an activity that—had it been left to the devices of couples comprised of double doses of testosterone, machismo, and ego—would have been transformed into veritable business transactions rather than genteel interaction. (After all, dating is supposed to be fun, romantic, or, preferably, both—not an exercise in dinner table accounting.)

So, when a young man takes a romantic interest in another young man and invites him out on a date, the same general rule applies:  inviter pays for invitee, including the tip. End of story. And if one date turns into multiple dates, tabs should not be kept as to whose “turn” it is to invite whom next. If that is the case, just go dutch from “jump street,” become business associates instead of lovers, and forget about dating!   Again, dating is supposed to be fun, romantic, or, preferably, both.

 

And there are other rules for man-to-man dating:

-When a man approaches a stranger at a bar in order to engage conversation and a pleasant conversation ensues, it is incumbent upon the man who made the approach to offer a drink; however, when both men have been previously introduced or are friends, the man who was first situated at the bar should offer the drink, the rationale being that he is the “host” of sorts, welcoming his friend to the bar.

-A gentleman seated in a restaurant waiting for his gentleman-date to arrive should rise in order to greet his date as he approaches the table.

-When both men enter a restaurant together where there is a maître d’ stationed at the entrance, the maître d’ will lead the way to the couple’s designated table, followed by the invitee, and then the inviter. Upon arriving at the table, a properly trained maître d’ will pull out a chair for each gentleman and may even assist each gentleman in positioning his chair once seated.  When entering a restaurant where there is no maître d’ or waiter to show patrons to their seats, the inviter-gentleman should lead the way to the table of choice, followed by the invitee-gentleman. Upon arriving at the table, the inviter should pull out a chair for the invitee, but he should not assist the invitee in positioning his chair once seated (as he would be obliged to when accompanying a lady). Once the invitee-gentleman is properly situated, the inviter should then pull his own chair and seat himself. When exiting the restaurant, the invitee should proceed first, followed by the inviter, the rationale being that there are no more preliminary courtesies (such identifying suitable tables and the pulling out of chairs) that the inviter must extend to the invitee.

-When ordering from the menu, each man is expected to indicate his own choices to the waiter or waitress.

-After sitting, if one man must take leave of the table for any reason, the remaining gentleman should not stand upon his friend’s departure from the table or upon his return. (Of course, when a gentleman is dating a lady, he must stand upon her departure from and return to the table.)

– While walking together on public streets, the inviter-gentleman should walk on the curbside, for he is in effect the host of the evening, and had the date taken place in his home, he would have been obligated to attend to the needs of his guest.

-The inviter should open doors for the invitee as well as permit him to enter and exit revolving doors and elevators first. If both men are sharing a car, the driver, regardless of his inviter or invitee status, should open the door to the vehicle for the passenger-date, closing it after the date is safely inside the body of the vehicle. Immediately after sitting, the passenger-date, before securing his seatbelt, should reach across the car and open the door of the driver.

-And the end of each date—no matter how long the relationship has endured or how frequent the dates—the invitee should thank the inviter for the outing, following up the next day with a handwritten thank-you note, a special electronic message, or telephone call.

When gentlemen date each other, each man must be especially mindful to be gentle and attentive to the other.

 

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