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Well, I'm not the world's greatest authority on the subject of dating, but then I'm not a world authority on a great many other things and it never stopped me from having some fine ideas on any given subject.

Here are some pointers about what not to do on a first date. Naturally from my angle of the game. If it works for you otherwise, please don't follow instructions. Use your own brain. It's there to be used.

So here we go -

1. Don't be late - It might appear fashionable in certain circles, but, on the other hand, some of us have this thing about punctuality and are nowhere to be found again after a two hours' wait.

2. Don't be too needy - Whingy wailers waiting to be picked up on the white war-horse are passe, girls. So don't yell for the Knight - unless really, truly in need. I mean if one is drowning and can't swim, there's no ruddy point in being a feminist, right? Scream your head off in that case and let's hope he remembers to jettison the heavy armor before the rescue attempt. If he doesn't, forgo the neediness and stay independent - because iron sinks quicker.

3. Don't be an ultra strong Amazon - In this day and age of equality, someone might take it in their head to have you rescue them instead.

4. Don't be a pushover - 'You order for me' sometimes gives some guys some strange ideas. It's good to be clear that it's only for one meal this one evening, not carte blanche for an entire life-time.

5. Don't ask too many personal questions - Or answer them too willingly yourself. Sure, maybe you don't think you need to hide anything, but, really, that nice, soothing, "So tell me about yourself" was merely a polite opening gambit, not a sugar-coated pill to unburden your life-long angst. Or inquire after his.

6. Don't count the chickens too soon - Or let him count them for you. Any discussion about a joint chicken farm should be postponed until you know each other fried, broiled, and poached - unless, of course, it's one of those love at first sight things, then you can postpone the rude awakening for later.

7. Don't be vague - If someone tells you outright that they're looking for a life partner to bear their name, their sons, and their joint family burden and you seem to fit the bill, be very, very clear - no, I don't fit that kind of a bill, buster, and I have no intention of paying it either.

8. Don't be shy - If someone is forward enough to ask you something like, "How are you going to produce babies if you never marry?" you should by no means be backward in bringing the chap up-to-date on relationships unencumbered by the wedding ring, not to mention additionally the many recent advances on the scientific frontier.

9. Don't mind the stunned silence that might follow - Some people just have a tough time with innovative technology. Smile brightly and change the subject to something more palatable. Like, did he see that old movie with Schwarzenegger and Emma Thompson?

10. Don't chase him if he leaves in a mad huff - Sometimes one should be grateful if someone leaves on their own steam. Order a large ice-cream.

11. Don't be small-minded if he returns and apologizes - Order another ice-cream.

12. Don't discuss past lovers lost - You won't impress anyone with the quantity, just make them wonder at your quality.

13. Don't talk until the cows come home - Especially if your pet subject is yourself - whatever your mother and the music industry says, to know you is not to love you from absolutely every view-point - some people can actually have a conflicting love interest - themselves.

14. Don't be an adoring audience to a self-admirer - Why be an uncritical mirror when you can be a critical human being? So leave off the 'Oh, wows' in such cases and bring on the 'Oh, reallys'. If the personal exploits get too wild, you can revert to being admiring - one must always admire a good story-teller - it's called being an art patron.

15. Don't leave the sense of humor home - When someone makes a cracking good joke, the proper response is whole-hearted laughter, not a prim rejoinder that it was way off-color.

16. Don't let the guy get away - If he makes you laugh the entire evening. To paraphrase Joanne Woodward, sexiness wears thin, beauty fades, but a man who makes you laugh every day - well, there aren't too many of such clowns around, and if you are lucky enough to stumble upon one, you should guard him like a piece of butter.

17. Don't forget though - Butter melts if you turn up the gas - so, remember, it was only a figure of speech, don't actually start on any sentry duty. Even if everything was fair in war and love, it's never a good idea to take prisoners. People, like birds, should be allowed to fly free.

18. So don't be dreadful - Don't call him ten times on the phone and don't affirm your affection seven times a day, starting tomorrow. That makes you annoying and him less loving.

19. Don't be dumb - Follow your intuition, not a self-help list. Everyone reads them and can tell if they're being ticked off against that mass produced fabrication. It can either be a hit - which says nothing positive about the guy's intellect - or a terrific howler - which separates the clowns from the chaff.

20. And now don't be afraid to be more completely yourself - I mean, if he's still around, he's definitely the sort that can take a joke, so what have you to lose anymore?