It has almost gotten so off track that we don't seem to know what a "real" date even looks like anymore — even if we did want to plan one. For that reason, here are some pieces of the puzzle that have to be present in order to call it a date. Otherwise you're just hanging out.
1. You actually identify it as a date.
This is so basic I don't even want to say it but in today’s day and age, I have to. Meeting up for a drink is not a date. Grabbing coffee is not a date. A last-minute text inviting her to join you out with your group of friends is not a date. Using the actual word and properly inviting a woman on a date is the first step to actually making it one.
2. The man picks the woman up.
I will never understand the 'Want to meet me there?’ mindset. If I am going to have enough interest in a woman to invite her on a date, you better damn well believe I am going to drive to her place to pick her up. If you're going to dinner and she is 'out of the way,' either find somewhere within reasonable driving distance of her place or be prepared to do the driving necessary to go to her place, the restaurant, back to her place, and then home again.
*Note: Some women may not feel comfortable with you picking them up for the first date if you have not developed enough trust with her yet. The important part of this is that you at least offer.
3. There is an actual structure to the evening.
You certainly don't need to spend hundreds of dollars, nor do you need to have multiple events planned through the night. The idea here is to actually put some thought into the experience the two of you are going to share. If you're going to dinner, for example, don't just show up at a restaurant and hope to get a table. Find out what type of food she likes, make a reservation, ask for a nice table and do it right.
Regardless of what your plan is, there should, in fact, be a plan.
4. You actually put effort into how you look.
Taking the time to pull yourself together and put real effort into your appearance shows both respect for yourself and the person you're out with. Saying 'this is who I am, take it or leave it' is a great way to never get a second date.
Not to mention, we should want to look good for this person whether it is our first date or 100th date. The second we stop trying for them is the second things start to go south. If you start off that way, it's safe to say you are doomed from the start.
5. The guy picks up the tab.
When friends go out, they split the bill. When you are on a date, the man picks up the tab. All of it. There are plenty of ways a woman can reciprocate if she'd like: She can take care of parking, pick up a round of drinks, get the snacks at the show you got tickets for, whatever it may be — but when the tab comes for dinner, don't let her anywhere near it [and do not accept her offer to split it]. If you think paying for the date is about the money, think again.
6. Your phones stay in your pockets.
If the person you're out with doesn't keep your attention enough to make you forget all about your Facebook notifications for a couple of hours, then you're out with the wrong person.
7. There is some sort of chivalry involved.
Whether it be opening doors, pulling out chairs or any other small acts of kindness that signify romantic interest in a woman, these are small actions that show her you're actually interested in her enough to put in extra effort for her.
8. You make sure she gets home safe.
No, she probably doesn't need you to escort her home. Yes, she has lived this long just fine without you by her side. But neither of those things mean that you should just part ways as the night winds down. You picked her up (RIGHT?) and should subsequently make sure she gets home safe as well.
*One last thing I personally think should happen on a date — but is often contested — is a kiss. If a man intends on pursuing a woman romantically, he needs to make it clear to her so that she doesn't get the wrong idea and think he's uninterested. He should, of course, always be respectful and confident that she's interested in return before making the move. But if the signs are there, make the move.
I also don't think you have to wait until the end of the night for a kiss. If things are going great, attraction is there, and the opportunity presents itself — go for it.
So gentlemen: It's time we show the women of the world that we still have it in us to build real, meaningful relationships
. That we're willing to put in the effort to do more than just 'hang out.' Put the video games down, man up, suit up, and wine and dine a beautiful woman.