Have You Ever Wondered What Qualifies As A REAL Date?

Have you been on a real date before? You sure?


I like dates. That's why I try and write about them as much as possible (check out "15 Date Ideas Based On Your Love Language", "10 Romantic Dates You Can Go On (In Your Own Home)" and "When's The Last Time You And Your Man Had A 'Sex Date'?"). Here's the tripped out thing, though—when I talk to single women about dating and their expectations, it's kind of amazing—and by "amazing", I mean unfortunate—how few have a real standard to go on. What I mean by that is, how few seem to even get what qualifies as a real date (or they seem to manipulate the basis for dating which is another article altogether).

While I do think that there are different levels and even purposes to dating (for instance, even though I think married couples should date as well, their reason for doing so is a bit different than someone who is on their fourth or fifth date with someone new), a good date is something we all are deserving of. And if you're single and not in an exclusive long-term situation—which is who I am writing this particular piece for—you definitely should have some clear expectations of what a real date entails.

Yes, this is all my personal opinion and I'm certainly open to your own hot takes in the comment session. Still, I think that if you take even half of these into consideration the next time you decide to go out with someone, you'll be able to return home feeling confident that a date is exactly what you experienced. Ready to see what's on my list?

1. There’s a Plan in Place


If there is no other takeaway from this particular article, please keep this one in your psyche for the rest of your dating life. When two people are on a date, the date should come as the result of some sort of plan. Am I saying that there can't be spontaneous moments between two people that are wonderful, memorable and quality time-filled? Of course, there can be. Yet when someone wants to spend precious time with another individual, it's my personal opinion that some forethought should be put into that, especially during the beginning stages of a relationship.

Otherwise, it kinda comes off as, "I mean, I didn't really have anything better to do. Meet me at the [insert name here] restaurant real quick." We make plans for work. We make plans for the weekend. We make plans to hang with our homies. So, hell yeah, a date should also have a plan. Otherwise, it's more like a random get together or hangout. Which again, is cool. It's not a real date—in the traditional sense—qualifier, though.

2. You’re Not in Either Person's Home


I've had dates in my house. I've experienced dates at a man's place. You know what, though? Neither happened during the first several weeks of dating. And while some a couple of months might seem like for-e-ver to some of y'all, it really isn't if you're someone who is intentional about honoring your personal space and the kind of energy that comes into it. While I'm all about cooking a meal in my kitchen for that special boo thang, you don't get to "boo status" during the first three dates.

Besides, although I semi-loathe the Lifetime channel, I've seen enough of its movies to not want to end up in someone's closet for three weeks because I went to their house before I knew their character well enough to know what they're capable of. Another point? Many of my male friends have told me that a man who is quick to want to bring you home is someone who is less interested in what is happening from the neck up, if you know what I mean.

Bottom line, house space should be seen as a great privilege more than a mere convenience. Don't be so quick to let someone in yours until they have earned the "honor" of being able to do so.

3. Money Is Spent


I listen to a lot of podcasts, so I can't remember which one I heard a particular phrase on. All I know is, when I did, it tripped me right on out. Someone said that there's an epidemic of women who ONLY go on dates in order to get a free meal. They are not interested in the guy. They don't plan on seeing him more than once. Yet if they can get a man to take them to some place they've always wanted to go, they will "sacrifice" their time and go because it's not on their time. What these kinds of "dates" are called are "foodie calls". While that is hilarious to me, it also causes me to roll my eyes in disappointment because that's a form of using someone and if you don't want to be used, you shouldn't create your own karma in that way. So, when I say that money should be spent, I am not cosigning on using a man. Not at all.

This point pretty much connects to the last one that I just made. And really, when you stop to think about it, the point before that one too. Here's why—I'm not sure how much planning you can do, outside of your home, without spending a single dime. Even if the date is an outdoor picnic, you've probably got to pick up some ice for a cooler, some fresh flowers or something. My main point here is a date should be seen as an investment and oftentimes, when we think of investing, money is the first thing that comes to mind. The amount is irrelevant. How it was spent into creating a memorable date, though? That very much is a valid point.

4. Chivalry’s Displayed


If ever there was a subject that causes me to chuckle at how double standards tend to play out between men and women, it's chivalry. The reason why I say that is because, some of the main women who say that "chivalry is dead" are also the ones who claim that they want patriarchy, in all of its forms, to go away. Umm, you do know that chivalry is birthed out of patriarchy, right?

Although patriarchy has been taken to disturbing extremes, at the end of the day, it's about male leadership/authority and if you want a man to ask you out, open doors, pay for meals…someday proposethat's him leading. I hope it goes without saying that pretty much anything that's taken to the extreme is going to prove to be problematic AF. Still, to say that you hate "all things patriarchy", you're basically saying that you want chivalry to go out of the door along with it. Perhaps as collateral damage yet out nonetheless. Just something to think about.

As a complementarian myself (a belief that men and women have equal value with different purposes that complement one another), I am all about some good ole' chivalry. When a man is naturally a gentleman, it reveals a lot about how he's been raised, how he thinks a woman should be treated and how he will provide for and protect her should things go to another level in the future. And since, to me, dates are a lot like a job interview—not in the sense of interrogating people (please don't do that) but in the sense of really seeing if you're a good fit—chivalry should show up. If it's a real date, that is.

5. Meaningful Conversation Is Had


Technically, dinner and a movie are a date. It's not my favorite thing on the planet because it's super predictable and something that I like to see show up on a date is creativity. Another reason why it's not my favorite thing—especially during the first 3-5 dates—is oftentimes restaurants are loud (either because of the other people or the music) and you definitely can't bond in a movie theater over all of the noise on the screen.

So, unless the date is gonna consist of eating outside on a porch or taking a long walk after a film, encourage your dates to be elsewhere—at least for a little while. The main reason why is because, more than anything, what should be transpiring on a date, is open and honest communication. You need to be able to look at each other, make eye contact and feel comfortable asking and answering questions. A date that's designed to cultivate good communication is definitely something that qualifies as a real date in my book.

6. Distractions Are Removed


I don't know why in the world folks would go on a date and keep their phone on (unless you have kids or are on-call) or they would go on a date that has televisions everywhere or music that is booming. OK, so what about a concert? Is that a real date? It is. Especially if someone takes you to hear a favorite artist or something. Again, because of things that we've already discussed, it shouldn't be the "end all" of that date, though. Either some quiet time needs to happen prior to walking in or after walking out. Bottom line with this point is a real date is when both people are all about the other person. The focus is on them and solely them. If one or both of you are all over the place when it comes to where you're placing your attention, what are you on the date for in the first place?

7. Sex Isn’t Involved


I know. Some folks have sex on first dates. Noted. Remember, this article isn't about sex; it's about what constitutes as a real date and I can't tell you how many people I've talked to, over the course of my lifetime, who aren't sure if they've ever been on an actual date because so many of their experiences have consisted of some variation of "Netflix and Chill". Ugh. That's why Jeremih's "Birthday Sex" kinda irks me. Floating on your waterbed is my birthday present? No sir. Don't even try it (LOL).

Sex is great. Full stop. Still, when you're in the beginning stages of a relationship, to call that a "date" is kind of a lazy approach. And don't even get me started on how it can muddle your thinking because far too many of us have fallen victim to confusing good sex with a great relationship (check out "Don't Mistake A Great Sex Partner For A Great Life Partner").

If anything, sex should culminate a date not be something that constitutes being one—and even then, not all of the time. Shoot, even when you go on sex dates, there should be some effort put into it (a hotel room, rose petals on the bed and floor, etc.). Anyway, if this has you totally thrown because you can't remember the last time you were swept off of your feet without there being a bed beneath you, I'm glad you're reading this. Require some non-sex dates. You're worth it.

8. You Feel Special


To be special is to be set apart. Synonyms for this word include exceptional, different, rare, unique and exclusive. Keeping this in mind, when you're done going on a date with someone and one of your friends hits you up and ask how it went, if something along the lines of these words doesn't come out of your mouth, I don't think it should count as a real date.

Again, it can't be emphasized enough that this isn't about how much money was spent. It's about you walking away and thinking, "Man, this guy really put some time, effort and energy into making sure that I believed him when he said that he wanted to spend some quality time with me." When it's a real date, it's special—exceptional, different, rare, unique and exclusive—because you are all of those things. And a special date is the only date you should be going on. Straight up.

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ACLU By ACLUSponsored

Over the past four years, we grew accustomed to a regular barrage of blatant, segregationist-style racism from the White House. Donald Trump tweeted that “the Squad," four Democratic Congresswomen who are Black, Latinx, and South Asian, should “go back" to the “corrupt" countries they came from; that same year, he called Elizabeth Warren “Pocahontas," mocking her belief that she might be descended from Native American ancestors.

But as outrageous as the racist comments Trump regularly spewed were, the racially unjust governmental actions his administration took and, in the case of COVID-19, didn't take, impacted millions more — especially Black and Brown people.

To begin to heal and move toward real racial justice, we must address not only the harms of the past four years, but also the harms tracing back to this country's origins. Racism has played an active role in the creation of our systems of education, health care, ownership, and employment, and virtually every other facet of life since this nation's founding.

Our history has shown us that it's not enough to take racist policies off the books if we are going to achieve true justice. Those past policies have structured our society and created deeply-rooted patterns and practices that can only be disrupted and reformed with new policies of similar strength and efficacy. In short, a systemic problem requires a systemic solution. To combat systemic racism, we must pursue systemic equality.

What is Systemic Racism?

A system is a collection of elements that are organized for a common purpose. Racism in America is a system that combines economic, political, and social components. That system specifically disempowers and disenfranchises Black people, while maintaining and expanding implicit and explicit advantages for white people, leading to better opportunities in jobs, education, and housing, and discrimination in the criminal legal system. For example, the country's voting systems empower white voters at the expense of voters of color, resulting in an unequal system of governance in which those communities have little voice and representation, even in policies that directly impact them.

Systemic Equality is a Systemic Solution

In the years ahead, the ACLU will pursue administrative and legislative campaigns targeting the Biden-Harris administration and Congress. We will leverage legal advocacy to dismantle systemic barriers, and will work with our affiliates to change policies nearer to the communities most harmed by these legacies. The goal is to build a nation where every person can achieve their highest potential, unhampered by structural and institutional racism.

To begin, in 2021, we believe the Biden administration and Congress should take the following crucial steps to advance systemic equality:

Voting Rights

The administration must issue an executive order creating a Justice Department lead staff position on voting rights violations in every U.S. Attorney office. We are seeing a flood of unlawful restrictions on voting across the country, and at every level of state and local government. This nationwide problem requires nationwide investigatory and enforcement resources. Even if it requires new training and approval protocols, a new voting rights enforcement program with the participation of all 93 U.S. Attorney offices is the best way to help ensure nationwide enforcement of voting rights laws.

These assistant U.S. attorneys should begin by ensuring that every American in the custody of the Bureau of Prisons who is eligible to vote can vote, and monitor the Census and redistricting process to fight the dilution of voting power in communities of color.

We are also calling on Congress to pass the John Lewis Voting Rights Advancement Act to finally create a fair and equal national voting system, the cause for which John Lewis devoted his life.

Student Debt

Black borrowers pay more than other students for the same degrees, and graduate with an average of $7,400 more in debt than their white peers. In the years following graduation, the debt gap more than triples. Nearly half of Black borrowers will default within 12 years. In other words, for Black Americans, the American dream costs more. Last week, Majority Leader Chuck Schumer and Sen. Elizabeth Warren, along with House Reps. Ayanna Pressley, Maxine Waters, and others, called on President Biden to cancel up to $50,000 in federal student loan debt per borrower.

We couldn't agree more. By forgiving $50,000 of student debt, President Biden can unleash pent up economic potential in Black communities, while relieving them of a burden that forestalls so many hopes and dreams. Black women in particular will benefit from this executive action, as they are proportionately the most indebted group of all Americans.

Postal Banking

In both low and high income majority-Black communities, traditional bank branches are 50 percent more likely to close than in white communities. The result is that nearly 50 percent of Black Americans are unbanked or underbanked, and many pay more than $2,000 in fees associated with subprime financial institutions. Over their lifetime, those fees can add up to as much as two years of annual income for the average Black family.

The U.S. Postal Service can and should meet this crisis by providing competitive, low-cost financial services to help advance economic equality. We call on President Biden to appoint new members to the Postal Board of Governors so that the Post Office can do the work of providing essential services to every American.

Fair Housing

Across the country, millions of people are living in communities of concentrated poverty, including 26 percent of all Black children. The Biden administration should again implement the 2015 Affirmatively Furthering Fair Housing rule, which required localities that receive federal funds for housing to investigate and address barriers to fair housing and patterns or practices that promote bias. In 1980, the average Black person lived in a neighborhood that was 62 percent Black and 31 percent white. By 2010, the average Black person's neighborhood was 48 percent Black and 34 percent white. Reinstating the Obama-era Fair Housing Rule will combat this ongoing segregation and set us on a path to true integration.

Congress should also pass the American Housing and Economic Mobility Act, or a similar measure, to finally redress the legacy of redlining and break down the walls of segregation once and for all.

Broadband Access

To realize broadband's potential to benefit our democracy and connect us to one another, all people in the United States must have equal access and broadband must be made affordable for the most vulnerable. Yet today, 15 percent of American households with school-age children do not have subscriptions to any form of broadband, including one-quarter of Black households (an additional 23 percent of African Americans are “smartphone-only" internet users, meaning they lack traditional home broadband service but do own a smartphone, which is insufficient to attend class, do homework, or apply for a job). The Biden administration, Federal Communications Commission, and Congress must develop and implement plans to increase funding for broadband to expand universal access.

Enhanced, Refundable Child Tax Credits

The United States faces a crisis of child poverty. Seventeen percent of all American children are impoverished — a rate higher than not just peer nations like Canada and the U.K., but Mexico and Russia as well. Currently, more than 50 percent of Black and Latinx children in the U.S. do not qualify for the full benefit, compared to 23 percent of white children, and nearly one in five Black children do not receive any credit at all.

To combat this crisis, President Biden and Congress should enhance the child tax credit and make it fully refundable. If we enhance the child tax credit, we can cut child poverty by 40 percent and instantly lift over 50 percent of Black children out of poverty.


We cannot repair harms that we have not fully diagnosed. We must commit to a thorough examination of the impact of the legacy of chattel slavery on racial inequality today. In 2021, Congress must pass H.R. 40, which would establish a commission to study reparations and make recommendations for Black Americans.

The Long View

For the past century, the ACLU has fought for racial justice in legislatures and in courts, including through several landmark Supreme Court cases. While the court has not always ruled in favor of racial justice, incremental wins throughout history have helped to chip away at different forms of racism such as school segregation ( Brown v. Board), racial bias in the criminal legal system (Powell v. Alabama, i.e. the Scottsboro Boys), and marriage inequality (Loving v. Virginia). While these landmark victories initiated necessary reforms, they were only a starting point.

Systemic racism continues to pervade the lives of Black people through voter suppression, lack of financial services, housing discrimination, and other areas. More than anything, doing this work has taught the ACLU that we must fight on every front in order to overcome our country's legacies of racism. That is what our Systemic Equality agenda is all about.

In the weeks ahead, we will both expand on our views of why these campaigns are crucial to systemic equality and signal the path this country must take. We will also dive into our work to build organizing, advocacy, and legal power in the South — a region with a unique history of racial oppression and violence alongside a rich history of antiracist organizing and advocacy. We are committed to four principles throughout this campaign: reconciliation, access, prosperity, and empowerment. We hope that our actions can meet our ambition to, as Dr. King said, lead this nation to live out the true meaning of its creed.

What you can do:
Take the pledge: Systemic Equality Agenda
Sign up

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