"A first date shouldn't be one of those instances where your life feels like it is being sucked out the front of your shoes. Sure it's a little tense at first, what with your whole life seemingly at stake, but it's just a date. Two people, sacred shitless, eating something messy like spaghetti in a public place -- with other people watching. Other people that instinctively know it's your first date because you're eating too much garlic bread. And the waiter -- he smiles a lot for somebody on minimum wage. Don't forget the valet. He parked two vehicles. One with a dog and another one that smelled funny and had a cat inside. And you're sitting face to face. Distance. No chance for accidental body contact. It's just a date! Besides, I read somewhere that you can't get dumped on a first date. Abandoned in a parking lot, but not dumped."
3rd Date Protocols:
"Good thing she never found the toilet seat up. Co-mingling toilets only happens after seven, maybe eight dates. For now, it was off-limits. I was in toilet etiquette training anyway. Little Post-Its that read, "Flush -- Lid!" plastered on the mirror along with horse snot from you know who. Funny, but she could probably accept a horse in the bathroom, but not the lid thing. Or was I projecting? You know, I'll do this because she'll be anticipating the opposite in hopes of me noticing her anticipation and thereby adjusting my behavior because I noticed her discomfort in what I was thinking about doing, but didn't. There. Makes perfect sense."
You Must Know the Hierarchy:
[The story's heroine was horsey, subsequently, certain rules exist.] "This allows a man the most ingracious of faux pas (that's plural in case you were wondering), if it involves a horse. Somehow, in the broken logic of Jesse's (the heroine's) mind, her mother could be offended as long as the offense first travleled through Jesse's horse. I could not offend either one directly without the horse, and further, I could not offend the horse unless it had first offended Jesse, but not her mother. Fathers were out of the loop completely and I was never able to clarify third-party offenses aimed at groups in general or somebody else's horse. However, I could be offended equally by all, including Jesse's horse, and retalliation was considered the worst sort of response, bringing me full circle as far as offenses went. It was a little like doing the seating arrangements at the UN. "Hey Kofi, let's put Syria next to Israel -- see if they swap recipes or something." Hell, the rules were so complicated I had to write them on my arm."