|I love this hat. Too small for Ascot, but delightful all the same.|
My three date rule, which I seem to recall telling the bride in a snazzy dress shop no more than two years ago, is "Every good Catholic guy deserves three dates."
Good Catholic Guys are not usually at their best on first dates. They are nervous and awkward and blurt out the most bizarre inanities, and really the whole point to first dates is getting them over with. Never judge a Good Catholic Guy on his first date savoir-faire. He's unlikely to have any. Unless he does or reveals something really morally appalling--which disqualifies him as "good"-- tell him you had a lovely time and accept a second date, if he asks.
Having got a second date, the Good Catholic Guy will be a bit more confident and relaxed and less prone to setting the tablecloth on fire. You are now much more likely to see what his friends and family like about him. Also--crucially--you yourself will be a bit more used to being alone in a crowd with the chap and less likely to feel that if you let down your guard for a second, an armed gang will bundle you both into a van and race you towards the altar, trapping you in a loveless marriage with a drooling secret sex fiend. Once again, unless he does or reveals something really morally appalling--disqualifying him from the title of "Good Catholic Guy"--tell him you had a lovely time and accept a third date, if he asks.
By the third date, you will have had time to grow affection for this awkward, imperfect, deodorant-wearing, Mass-attending individual--or not. If not, nobody can say you didn't give a Good Catholic Guy a chance. However, if time has worked an affection-growing magic, you will be very grateful that you took my Catholic Three Date Rule advice, and so will he.
Getting married properly in this crazy modern world is so difficult that just asking a nice girl on a proper date is an act of tremendous courage, as is crushing irrational fears long enough to accept the date with him. Awkward Catholic men say "Would you like to go for a coffee?" and wound-up Catholic women hear "Let's get married." This is why, along with such great advice as "Every Good Catholic Guy Deserves Three Dates", I like to repeat "It's Just a Coffee."
Occasionally women tell me they are married now and have children because they took my advice. This makes me very happy, especially as I have no real children of my own. At Monday's wedding , Polish Pretend Son argued that he was much better than any real child could ever possibly be, but despite his manifold perfections I was not entirely convinced. At the time Polish Pretend Daughter (no relation) was dancing with her husband, whom she married without any advice from me. She is very beautiful, which I think frightened a lot of men, so I suspect one of the principal reasons Franco-Polish Pretend Son-in-Law was successful in his suit was that he had the guts to ask her out on a proper date.
The best part of this wedding, by the way, was when Benedict Ambrose turned up for the dinner in correct Highland evening dress. He felt so well on Easter Sunday, that he proposed going to the Easter Monday wedding ceremony in the morning, the champagne reception afterwards, etc., but I put my foot down and forbid him to budge from home until a cab whisked him to the reception venue for 5 PM. He looked a bit wan, and a bit grey, and he has what may be a permanent lump on his head, but the thing about love is that he is MY wan, grey chap with a possibly permanent lump on his head. When I first saw him in person over eight years ago, I thought "Right! No attraction! We're just going to be friends." Ha! Now I'm a willing slave to the bearded weirdie.