Maybe he's your crush at school, or she's the nice girl you are giving a fair chance. You're going out to dinner on Valentine's Day, and the nerves are starting to sink in.
Whether you're on your first night out, or your 20th date together, here are some Do's and Don'ts for girls and guys to heed when you're out for a meal.
DO remember to smile. Your smile is your best accessory. Smiling is important on a first date, or any date for that matter. If you're not smiling, how is he going to know you're enjoying yourself? However, bring a compact mirror to make sure you don't have salad in your teeth.
DO eat. Girls, if you ever have been afraid to look like a "pig" during a meal, stop it! Not eating looks even worse and makes it appear you're not having a good time, not comfortable around your date, or sick.
DO be interested in your date during dinner. Take time to ask questions and learn more about his likes, dislikes, hobbies and passions.
DON'T bring up his ex. Whether they are still friends or ready to strangle one another, avoid talking about his ex-girlfriends not only because it's tacky, but also because you may appear jealous. Don't bring up your exes, either.
DO treat yourself with respect. If he's asking things of you that you're not willing to do — kissing, drinking, drugs or sex — simply say no. If he doesn't respect your decisions and you're not comfortable furthering the relationship, don't go out with him again.
DON'T assume dinner is on him. If it's not clear he intends to pay, politely offer to pick up your share. But even if you like to feel independent, don't fight for the check when he says it's his treat.
DO be gracious. Most important of all the tips: Remember to thank your date for the evening and let him know that you appreciated spending time with him.
DO be polite. Things that should be second nature, like holding the door open and eating with a napkin in your lap, are often forgotten. It's quite simple: Polite and clean are good, rude and dirty are bad.
DON'T be too flirty. Unless your name is Channing Tatum or Marlon Brando, your chances of charming a woman are slim. This is because most guys mix up hitting on a girl and giving them compliments. "You look beautiful" will mean much more than, "Dang, look at that body."
DO be funny. Everyone likes to laugh. Small jokes and poking fun at yourself are good ice breakers. But don't try too hard. It's embarrassing for both of you when it doesn't work.
DO be talkative. Unless you're in a movie or other place that discourages talking, it's good to keep a conversation going. Talk to her like you would talk to friends, minus all the gross stuff.
DON'T force conversation. A conversation should never begin with silence and then someone saying "soooooo … ." A conversation is like a tree: It starts small and — with the right care from both parties — it will grow and branch out.
DON'T be cocky. This is commonly messed up. Saying you're good at something isn't cocky if it's true, and if the subject is something your date can see for herself. Also, don't monopolize the conversation with your hobbies or interests. Make sure you ask about her interests too; keep it 50/50.
DO be respectful. As an overprotective older brother, I don't want my sister going out with a boy who doesn't respect her and treat her with dignity. So for the love of all that is holy, if she doesn't want to kiss you good night, don't force her.
Lillian Skye Noble is a senior at St. Petersburg Collegiate/SPC and Louie Castillo is a senior at St. Petersburg Catholic. Both are on the staff of tb-two*, the Times' weekly for high schools.