Now ladies you’re going to have to bear with me on this, being of the gene pool that is male I cannot speak with authority on what goes through your minds when preparing for a night out with one of us (male).
I assume you have answered the conundrum of what clothing would be considered too risque for a date with a potential partner.
Do you go for the flowing flowery dress earth mother type? Or just throw caution to the wind and go for the heels, short skirt and low-cut top and hope that you haven’t picked a loser of a datee who will be desperately trying (and failing) to look you in the eye when speaking to you and not let his gaze fall downward. Obviously, it depends on where you are heading. A night at a restaurant followed by late drinks at a wine bar would require the mandatory black number or, the attire for the daytime shoot should consist of Wellington boots, wax jacket and ear defenders which isn’t exactly going to guarantee the option of a second date if you turn up to the first dressed like someone who should live on a ward.
Now, for us men, it’s easy. Short of attending the opera we can wear smart jeans, white shirt and blazer, all complemented by a pair of brogues and a not too threatening smile and, of course, the ability to keep eye contact at all times. Even if a Unicorn should suddenly appear and jump down the front of the lady’s dress, do not, I repeat, do not, lose eye contact (unless you are really sure they aren’t looking).
So our attire is easy and tried and tested by many but I have always thought that first impressions count so, what car should be used to collect your dining partner? I am very lucky in the sense that I have almost any car at my disposal, whether it is something I have within the collection for sale or, I can call up one of my associates, request a favour and take my pick from an Alfa to a Zonda.
The trouble is with this much choice it could be easy to make a fatal error and turn up in something that makes you look like Liberace on one of his particularly extravagant days or, you can come across as somebody who gives acting smooth lessons to Leslie Philips.
Starting with the obvious choice and the long time favourite of Playboys for years, the Ferrari. Now this can go both ways, either she’ll be impressed by your appreciation of how the general public views Ferraris, no matter what they may say people do love to see one out and about and aspire to own one day or, she could think you’re trying too hard or you’ve rented it for the evening and your only Ferrari possessions are a 1/8th scale model and a bright red fleece jacket that you like to wear whilst driving your mothers Allegro. So, that’s the Italian Stallion fallen by the wayside. The other supercar from that region is the Lamborghini. Whilst without doubt one of the most dramatic cars on the road and the latest models are exceptionally useable day-to-day, it could create images of a fake-tanned, moustached fellow pulling up outside a neon-lit nightclub la Miami Vice meets Crossroads. So leave the Lambo at home.
A more Teutonic take on supercars can be found from Porsche. As I have said in previous articles, they have tried and succeeded in losing the flash-pratt image of old and have created a low-key example in the 911. Easy for the lady to enter and exit even with the minutest of dresses, quiet and comfortable. A definite contender. Or, what about a Jaguar? Again, very pleasing to the eye and the smoothest of rides but you can bet that at some point her father has owned one which can start off the train of thought that you could be replicating her parent’s life of afternoon tea and croquet. So, another to leave at home. Forget all the Japanese rocket-powered sleds like the Skylines. If she wanted to date a teenager she would and the sound of dump valves and wastegates hissing and banging on every gearchange is annoying when you hear one drive past, never mind trying to have a polite conversation whilst in one of the damned things.
BMW and Mercedes I will categorise together for the obvious reasons that they are very similar in image and design. This is a risky one, as you could appear to be trying to be too sensible which could lead to being boring and, again, you’re back to afternoon tea and croquet. Or, maybe you appreciate good workmanship and have no time for annoying faults that could plague the lesser marques and you are happy to pay for the privilege. But, be aware that these two marques are very model sensitive. Turn up in a basic 3 Series; you are trying too hard and have paid a lot of money for a poverty spec car, but arrive in an all singing, all dancing SL with the ever-so-romantic panoramic roof you are a true connoisseur.
I have left the best car for the occasion till last. A name that just rolls off the tongue and shows that you have real class and appreciate such things as handmade suits, fine wines and the extra special sound and design you get from products such as Bang &Olufsen. Aston Martin. Arrive in aDB7 orDB9 and you are onto a winning start before the entrées have even been chosen. Pure design class and, even now, the latest models look like they were drawn with one curved swoop of a pencil on a drawing board and not with a CAD machine. Exquisite interior with fine detailing, fast but smooth, smooth but sporty, sporty but classy, classy but not flash. The winning choice perhaps. Don’t get me wrong, on the right day the other cars will come up trumps. The BMW and Mercedes should be left until you need to put the kids in the back. The Lamborghini and Ferrari will get you the attention you need to actually meet people but are the boob tube of the first date chariot world. So, leave those at home until she is confident you are not a trainee pimp or drug baron and the Porsche is a close second behind the Aston. But, who would she prefer to be wooed by? James Bond or James Dean.
Me? I play it safe and take a cab.