How to have fun while dating

Dating need not lead to the altar or even the bedroom. Here's how to enjoy the ride

Paying the bill on your first date, opening doors, dropping her home after, has been written about countless number of times. But that isn't all that makes you a gentleman.

While our primitive instincts dictate that a fruit must be plucked when it's ripe, men aren't wired that way when it comes to finding a partner. Life coach Malti Bhojwani believes that Indian men just don't grasp the concept of dating. For them, it is either about marriage or immediate consummation. She tells you why dating, without taking the woman to bed, is not just healthy, it can also be a lot of fun.

The pursuit of pursuit
Studies have shown that one of the biggest differences between how men and women are wired is that, men have a sexual pursuit area that is 2.5 times larger than the one in the female brain. This basically means that we are the donkey longing after that carrot, and once we get 'it', well we don't want to go any further. Malti Bhojwani says, "Consider this friend whom you have known for the longest time and you really like her. When you finally weigh the pros and cons, would you want to sleep with her on the first date?"

Then why date at all?
Malti feels we are lucky to grow up in an age where dating is acceptable. "Imagine growing up in a time where all you knew was the name of your partner before getting married," she says. We should take advantage of this privilege and get to know our potential partner before ending up in bed. Most single people, whether they admit or not, are looking for a life partner through dating. If you keep the dates 'clean' you have a better chance of getting to know the other person. If you see some sparks flying, take the plunge. And if you don't, just remain friends.

Love and lust
One of the biggest problems of sleeping with a person too soon is that you can't differentiate between love and lust. Malti feels that most women are not honest about what they really want from a date. "Many women want more from a relationship, but go to bed on the first date because they feel the man will fall in love with them," she explains. This is one of the reasons why relationships don't last too long. The man doesn't know from which end of his body he is thinking, and things go downhill a few months later.

Ego boost
As primitive as it sounds, men like taking care of their women. It comes naturally to us. Taking a date seriously doesn't just help your chances of building a decent relationship, it also makes you feel better. Malti says, "Being a gentleman isn't just for the women. It makes a man feel like he is in charge. A gentle but sure ego boost."

So how does this work?
Remember dating in college? You would never think of sleeping with your date immediately. You need to 'base out' your sexuality initially - first base, second base, and so on. Malti feels men need to go back to that. Kiss on the first date and a few dates later you could get more intimate. Exploring your partner emotionally, and physically, is the way a gentleman does it.

Easy does it
Casual dating is a whole different ballgame. If all you are looking for is a good time, then that changes the dating equation. You need to let your date know from the get go. It doesn't mean that you ask her out saying that all you want to do is have sex. Take her out, have a nice dinner, but don't sleep with her unless you've made your stand clear. Malti says, "Don't say that you are falling for her just to get her into bed. Tell her that you are not looking for a relationship or commitment. If things get ugly later, which happens a lot, you at least know that you have told her from the outset."

Basically, if you are looking for a lifelong partner, keep the mating on hold. Concentrate on the dating.


17 Ways to say 'I love you'

Express yourself in a creative fashion.
We tell you how to make your partner feel special
1. Puzzle him/her
Leave clues around the house for him to find. Once he has all the pieces together let him/her piece it together to read - I Love You.

2. Create a photo album with witty one liners
It will put a smile on your face and remind you of all the special moments and memories you have spent together.

3 Let your partner get starry eyed
Use the scraps from Glow-in-the-Dark sticker pages and cut out the words "I LOVE YOU". Stick them over your partner's side of the bed. Every night, when the lights go out your sentiment glows on the ceiling!

4. Serenade your partner
Pick a song that is special to both of you and exercise those vocal chords. You are sure to win brownie point for the gesture, just make sure you practice before you take the stage.

5. Love coupons
Hand over a jar of coupons your partner can redeem through the year. They are sure to appreciate the gesture.

6. Candlelight dinner and dessert
Whether it's the meal on the plate or a kiss on the lips, make sure your partner knows that you are the hottest one on the menu.

7. Cook dinner together
Instead of going to a fancy restaurant for an expensive meal, cook a simple but delicious dinner at home, and enjoy each other's company.

8. Sign up for a ballroom dance class
Try Latin ballroom dancing, brush up your moves and have a blast together on the dance floor.

9. Say it with toast
Prepare a special breakfast for your love one and surprise them with it. If you have an espresso machine try making a heart with froth on the coffee and toast with jam that reads I love you.

10. Deliver lunch
Have a surprise hot lunch delivered to their office, even better if you can deliver it yourself.

11. Say it with a heart-shaped sandwich
Carve a heart-shaped bread and fill it with your partner's favourite fillings. They are sure to appreciate the treat and the gesture.

12. Take off on a trip together
Celebrate being together with a trip to your favourite holiday destinations.

13. Milkyway
Hide a bunch of silly prizes and a card in your lover's favorite cereal.

14. Cut an album
In your own voice, record poetry or a song on a CD for your partner to listen to on the way to work or while he or she is out of town.

15. Say it on the mirror, mirror on the wall
Use that old tube of lipstick to write a good morning greeting on the mirror.

16. The tasting game
Take strawberries, chillies, chocolate, mix different flavours and blindfold your partner. If they guess the right one reward them with a kiss.

17. Go the tech way
Change the screen saver on the computer to a scrolling message. For added effect, use a wingding or character font that can't be read without decoding.
(Compiled by Melissa D'costa)