Let's take things in reverse order …
Let's imagine you've found an interesting potential partner (more of that later), and you're thinking, what shall we do together? Well the first place I wouldn't go is a cinema. The reasons are numerous but taking a new friend or lover to the cinema isn't a good idea. You're sitting side by side facing forward (well we hope you're facing forward and not on your knees already …), but the other key thing is … you have to be quiet. That's not good in the early stages of a relationship. Cinema dates can come later and can work in some ways.
So cinema is a no-no. Anywhere where you aren't in eye contact with each other is a problem. Perhaps an exception would be taking a pedalo out on the local lake, but that could be advanced for date one … The exception I would make though is a dinner date. Sitting on opposite sides of a table isn't always a good idea. Yes you can look at him / her etc., but I would propose to you that you should both sit on the same side of the table but angle your chairs slightly to face each other at an angle. Ignore the staff if they give you a quizzical look. This gives you an ideal reason to be relaxed in your seating position, you can still look at each other and you can still converse but there are some big advantages. If you're a people-watcher (like I am) then you can whisper things to each other about your fellow diners and it will be less likely they will hear you … And that can be great fun. Is he wearing that shirt and tie combination for a dare? … Does she know her wrinkles are showing? Opportunities galore for some little asides. The other key thing is that if you like the person you're with, then it is far easier to reach out and touch them.
Body language experts will tell you that a gentle touch on the forearm is a sign of affection, like twiddling with your hair (on your head … pleeease lol). That is far easier to do in a mixed relationship environment, especially with kids around who don't miss a thing, when you're sitting next to each other. Oh and you don't risk dipping your cuff in the soup. Tipping wine over your new friend isn't a good ice breaker.
Of course if you are touching a knee under the table, just check out the length of the tablecloth first and watch your sightlines … It may not be visible nearby but from a distance you may get some very dirty looks.
Other things to check … don't wear your overpowering cologne or scent. It's not good. You may love it, and in some cases need it to mask the oppositions odorous emanations, but stay clean and neutral. Fashion tips abound and I'm not getting involved, but it would be prudent to dress to match the location. It's good thing to mention when arranging said liaison … what are you wearing etc.
Always try to book ahead and make sure the venue is known to you. Are you the only gays in the establishment (not that this matters), but it has been known to cause problems. Or are you looking for an overtly gay-friendly location?
As for conversational advice, well it should come naturally. I just love the double entendre, and the sarcastic people watching. Some don't like it so gauge the reactions and steer clear if you are out to impress. But then again, is that a good idea? You need to be natural if you like someone so it's their opinion that matters, not the couple on the next table. Oh yes, and this is the key reason for checking out the venue first: what is their table layout? Make sure you've booked a privacy screen if it is available, and complain if it's in use. Perhaps they have a quiet alcove or some other arrangement. So many of the burger bar type places have tables that might as well be joined like in a dorm. Barely room to squeeze between them without getting that soup or chowder on your bum. Don't be afraid to refuse the table if you turn up on spec '. Owners and waiters will put you where they want you to be. Often in the window so you advertise their place for them. Of course the wandering hand in the window is another matter.
Anyway, back to the matter in hand. If you intend to give your new friend a little something then do ask things like: do you get hay fever? Been there, done that, heard the sneezing lol.
First things last … where to find this perfect partner? Head off to Gay MAN US for the best place to find a your date. And if you're reading this outside of the continental US (and welcome if you are …) then have a look at FlirtinForGays which is an international site.
Until the next time boys and girls, happy dating …
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Simon J. Clark