Wombats by nature are placid creatures, but I’m pretty steamed today. Over the new year weekend, I provided dinner for two women. One, the current passion interest, the other a friend who might be a future interest. New Year’s Eve I shopped and cooked at home for the PI. After arriving late, she downs an hour’s worth of cocktails and gives me an hour-long monologue. I then serve the four-course dinner, with wines, over two hours. Every request met, not a finger she lifted. At midnight we had dessert and celebratory drinks. Sounds OK doesn’t it? Well I figured it was acceptable, but when she left the next day not a word of thanks, not a reference to the effort, not a compliment for the thoughtfulness. In short, passion interest’s a pig.

Future interest was divorced earlier in the year after sixteen years of marriage. She’s forty, and lost the handbook decades ago. This was our first one-on-one outing so I applied Wombat Rules of Dating.

Number One: I pay. Encouraging her to talk I listened to hair-raising tales of the last years of her marriage. Caribbean affairs with local post-pubescents, dirty dancing in St Lucian Hotels and dalliances with lesbianism had my head spinning. But what really bugs me is the churlishness of not saying the magic words, ‘thanks for dinner’.

Future interest becomes never interest.

Ladies, we can take the moods, we can get through the tears. We can pay for the nights out and want to pay for the lingerie. But get with the program, get smart, and get some manners.

Rule One

Midwest’s impressive sampling of first-time dates highlight Seattle-Man’s many retardations. From the middle-aged still at home to the over-sensitive verging on gay; from the wealthy desperate divorced to the forward furtive creeps, you all have at least this in common.

Gentlemen, I present you with:

Rule One. You Pay.

Germaine Greer was always an overbearing beast and Naomi Wolf sold out to the rich guy, so let’s get this straight: the women’s movement is over. It serves no further purpose in your thinking, at least for our goals here. Splitting the bill is for friends, not prospective (or brand spanking new) lovers. Let’s return to what we know works, not what a handful of over-educated tenured-types told us for a decade or so.

For our aims, guys need to demonstrate the ability to look after the woman. Of course in prior parts of our development this might have included dragging a bloodied buffalo home. These days our speared quadrupeds are green and beautifully illustrated with dead Presidents. So consider a visit to an ATM a modest form of hunting, and then for the time you’re with the woman use only the fruits of your hunting, and none of hers.

First-date disaster (courtesy painful Midwest experience of course) is to arrive in *bucks for a first date chai-mocca-caff, buy your own drink, and not offer to buy one for the girl. Gross error.

Guys, by breasting the bar, dealing with the barista and doing this single-digit-dollar favor, your chances of seeing her again increase many times. Not doing it means you’ll need to be B.Pitt of Hollywood CA. We don’t need to out-think this, friends, just buy her the froth, and you might just get yours.


Ah, Seattle, the Emerald City, pride of the Pacific Northwest, home to liberals of every hue and sexual oddity. But not, as it has taken me three years to discover, a dating playground if you happen to be straight, single, Republican and not a Mr Softee millionaire. What to do? Live well of course, but take time to revisit dating fundamentals. If I’m looking for a cute, conservative, cash-smart woman between thirty and fifty, what is it that she is looking for? What avoidable mistakes and muddles do guys get themselves into between, say, dates zero and fifteen? And is it possible to formulate dating and communication rules to live by for both sexes? Just when can I move in for a kiss with better than coin-flip odds of ending up at that piece of skin between the ear and the cheek, otherwise known as the daters’ graveyard?