Lately, I feel like a common topic of conversation amongst my girlfriends and I revolves around men who don’t know the meaning of dating, more specifically, what is classified as a first date.

Call me old fashioned, but what ever happened to a first date involving actually leaving your house to spend time with someone you’re potentially interested in? Typically going somewhere that involves food and conversation?

What a first date does not involve is me going to your house, under any circumstances. I’m definitely not going to your house for carry-out and an OnDemand movie, sorry but that’s lame. I never even had any dates like that in college, why would I do that now. Really, how can a grown man, think that’s acceptable? After you’ve gotten to know someone and trust them enough to be alone with them then that’s fine but again, I’m talking about a first date.

A first date is not meeting for drinks or coffee. I refer to those as “meet-ups” because you’re simply meeting someone for a brief period of time, it’s not a date. Sorry, but how much can you really learn about someone while spending 10 minutes drinking a tall mocha latte at a busy Starbucks. First of all, coffee shops are typically filled with an influx of people coming in and out, it would be hard to concentrate on getting to know someone new. Meeting at a bar is also loud and not at all an ideal place to hold a conversation with someone you’re really trying to get to know.

I don’t know if these men think all a woman is looking for is a free meal (ok maybe a few are), which is why they’d suggest you coming over their place versus on going on an actual date. A first date doesn’t have to be to a five-star restaurant, it can be a dive that’s cheap with good food, who cares, it’s the thought that matters most. I think having a traditional date of going to dinner or even having a picnic allows you to be able to tell a lot about a person.

For instance, their restaurant choice shows their creativity. Did he do his research and make reservations at some place he’d thought you’d like based on previous conversations or did he suggest a chain like Ruby Tuesday’s or Outback and you just show up (By the way, I hate chain restaurants). When you get to the restaurant does he open the door for you? When you get to the table does he offer/gesture to pull out your chair. That show me right away if he’s a gentleman or not. When you’re sitting there, is the conversation flowing freely or is it full of awkward pauses? How does he interact with the waiter? Is he polite or does he put on airs and treat the server like they are beneath him? I’m very observant and usually a pretty good judge of character. After a first date, I can tell if there’s potential or not.

Sitting on someone’s couch is not a first date. If a woman is willing to accept that, then that’s what kind of standard the man is going to hold her to. I’m not sure where or when the concept of dinner and a movie at his place became an acceptable idea for a first date, but whenever I hear a man suggest that I know instantly he’s not the one for me and a first date is not in our future.