ASK LUCY: No one night stand please, let’s just talk?

Where does dating etiquette come in when it’s the second (or third) time we dip a toe into the dating scene? Our guest expert Lucy Cavendish answers your dating and relationship questions in our Ask Lucy series.


I know this is an unusual request but, as a man, I am not sure what the etiquette is on a date. I have been on a few dates now with really great women but none have worked out for me. A couple of them made it clear that they wanted to have sex (on the first date!) and I ran away. Others have gone better but I am never sure how soon to ring them or text them and what to do next. Help!

Steve, Basingstoke

“The sexes have become equal and, with that, a woman’s ability and confidence in asking for sex in a pretty upfront way”

Dear Steve,

Don’t take this personally but I know there will be a few sniggers about all this. A man who doesn’t want sex on the first date? What’s wrong with him? But, of course, you have hit on a very important point. The world has changed. It used be Me Tarzan, You Jane and then, as we all got a bit more sophisticated, it was the women who would demur for a while – men were predatory, not women. Now it seems to have changed, the sexes have become equal and, with that, a woman’s ability and confidence in asking for sex in a pretty upfront way. However, as much as this can be recognised as a sort of a step forwards, it is obviously not at all ideal if it is making a man feel uncomfortable and, in the same way as most women would feel uncomfortable and probably somewhat affronted if a man asked for sex that quickly, a man has every right to feel that way too. If it helps at all, you are not alone in this! I have many dating male friends who feel the same way.

“Not all women are like this!”

Of course what is interesting is that if you wish to woo a woman, establish some common ground, some sort of romantic overtones need to occur for you. You want to talk, wine, dine, have a walk, see how it feels, try it on for size and good for you. Rest assured, not all women are like this! I always think a text post-meeting to say ‘thanks, I really enjoyed that’ (if you did) is a good idea. I’d then follow it up with a call a couple of days later with a FIRM suggestion of a next meeting up (NOT a date). Make sure you suggest doing something that you want to do and make your boundaries clear – any woman worth your attention will be very happy with this!

Good luck!


1) Arrange something simple for the first date – a coffee or a quick drink will suffice

2) Make your boundaries very clear

3) Decide what you are looking for – friendship, love, a fling and let your prospective partner know this

4) If you enjoyed the first date – follow up with a quick text, nothing cheeky

5) believe in the fact that the right woman is out there for you, she really is!

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About Lucy Cavendish

Lucy Cavendish is a successful journalist and mother of four living in Oxfordshire. She writes for the Times, the Guardian, and the Daily Mail.