How to be a good formal date

Formal season (or “szn,” as the cool kids call it) is in full swing, and for eligible bachelorettes, it can be tough to find a good date to your sorority’s Four Loko-fueled soiree. Going stag ain’t bad, but a Kentucky gentleman can make the night infinitely better.

I am, as my mother describes me, a handsome young man, so I have been to a few formals, proms, cotillions and date parties in my day. I’ve witnessed firsthand the atrocities the Brads of the world have committed. From going home with another girl to blacking out at the pregame, I’ve witnessed all the trials and egregious errors of other men’s behavior.

Also, I asked twitter.

So boys, listen up. If you get asked to formal, here are the top things you need to know in order to make the night unforgettable.


1. Dance like people are watching.

You aren’t Chris Brown and Rose Ball isn’t the “Take You Down” music video. It’s important to get footloose with your date, but don’t post up while your date touches her elbows to her knees. Try new things and release your inhibitions in the Carroll Knicely Conference Center. On the other hand, if you and your date want to bump and grind, have fun with it. Just be ready to talk to standards thereafter.

2. Coordinate colors.

Your date most likely spent a lot of time and money on her outfit. The least you could do is shoot her a text asking what color it is. A black or gray suit with a tie that matches her dress makes all your photos click. Even if you fake being excited about dressing up, it makes your date happy. Once you get to the event, show your date off to everyone. Make it known that she’s the best dressed one there.

3. Chivalry isn’t dead.

Get a little old fashioned for your date. Offer to pay for dinner, open doors, open cans/bottles/bags, give your jacket to her if it’s cold, etc. She might not take you up on your offer, but just try to be polite.

4. Be Chatty Chad, not Negative Nathan.

If you don’t know anybody, do some homework. Peruse Instagram to get acquainted with the other people in your group. Be able to dance around and talk to other people. Make an effort to get to know the other sisters and their dates. Hell, the other guys are in the same boat you are. If Saturdays are for the boys, then this can be your night too.

This next one is the kicker — the one that seems to give people the most grief.


5. Be respectful.

As vague of an instruction as that is, it’s the easiest, because all you have to do is treat her like a person. First of all, lower your sex-pectations. At the end of the night, if you two are vibing, then go home and have consensual fun! If you’ve followed the previous four tips, chances are your night is going really well. Do not unravel the whole evening because you think your date owes you something. When you part ways at the end of the night, look your date in the eyes and make her believe you genuinely enjoyed yourself. Whether you did or didn’t is up to you. Say thank you and good night.

This list is the key to raising your stock as a date. If you follow these steps carefully, you will transcend the boundaries of being simple a “date” to reach sorority formal nirvana. All of these tips are relative to your situation. Use your best judgment and adapt accordingly. Dance your little heart out in your coordinating outfits, open the door for your date and your new best friends, but most of all just be respectful. Really, it’s not that hard.