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First date etiquette: How to handle public transportation

Jessica Downey

Coffee addict. The serial single girl. Jessica will give you the what’s what on single life and dating in Chicago.

Adams Wabash CTA station, Chicago, Illinois.jpg

© Jeremy Atherton, 2006

One reader "Bald Chi Guy" (whose name I believe may actually be Dennis) mentioned the other day that he would like to know the etiquette for ending a date when you are using public transportation. Ah yes, yet another thing first daters have to be confused about.

It is my personal belief that it's generally a good idea to walk a woman home after a date. Not only is it the nice and gentlemanly thing to do, but it also sets up a pretty spectacular opportunity for a kiss. Which, I mean, that is generally the preferred ending if the date is going well. However, living in the city, this is not always possible.

Scenario #1

You live in Hyde Park, your date lives in Lakeview and you meet somewhere in the South Loop for dinner.

This probably doesn't provide the best situation to take the woman home. By the time you get her home you are looking at an hour bus/train ride (with the possibility of multiple buses and/or trains) or a $40 cab ride so you can get back to your place. Neither of which really make sense to me.

So how do you handle this?

If she opts to take the bus or train home, walk her to her stop and wait with her. This, to me, is kind of the equivalent of walking her home and it is a nice gesture that goes a long way. Plus, it might also give you an opportunity to snag a kiss. If she's taking a cab, it's pretty similar. Help her get a cab and make sure she safely gets in it. I am also a big fan of texting her when you get home to make sure she made it home (or ask her to text you). Once again, just a little something extra that can go a long way.

Scenario #2

You live in Lakeview, she lives in Lincoln Park and you meet somewhere in River North for dinner.

This is where it gets tricky and honestly there are so many variables within this scenario that the answer is really not that cut and dry. However, I can give you a few tips that can help you to figure out what works best for your date.

If it's possible for you both to take the same bus or train that is always a good option. Though that's also where it gets especially tricky because it's hard to gage if you should get off at her stop and actually walk her home or just end it before she gets off. I say, if you live within close proximity of each other then it's generally good form to get off at her stop and walk her home. You do have to be careful here though because you don't want to make it seem like you assume you are going home with her. So it's a good idea to casually mention it at some point on the ride home.

I have to say that in this case, I wouldn't personally be offended if a guy didn't get off at my stop to walk me home. Though there are women out there that think it's tacky when a guy doesn't. Another good point that I feel I should make here is that if you opt to not get off at her stop you might miss out on a really great opportunity, a.k.a the kiss goodnight. While I guess maybe a swift kiss is possible, the CTA doesn't really provide the best atmosphere for that sort of thing. So just be aware that you might not be able to "seal the deal" properly and you might decrease your chances of a second date.

With that said, there are a couple of solutions that will help avoid this whole awkward situation altogether.

If it's a fairly inexpensive ride to her place skip the bus or train and take a cab together. You can both get out at her place, say your goodbyes and then you can head home. This way you still rock that whole gentleman thing and you can end the date how you want to.

Another great idea is to plan the date somewhere that is close to her place. Obviously this depends on what's around her, but I mean there are lots of great little first date spots all over the city so it's likely there is at least one. Then after the date is over you can walk her home and you completely avoided all the fuss.





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Bald Chi Guy said:


Thanks so much for posting this, Jessica. A lot of it confirms what my common sense kind of told me, but it's nice to hear a woman's perspective on it.

Jessica Downey said:


You are welcome, I am glad it helps! Thanks for giving me an idea on something to blog about. Feel free to ask me questions anytime.

Erin Keane said:


Ahhh the joys of Urban living. Great Post and great advice.

Jessica Downey said:


Thanks Erin!! :)

Daniel Scogin said:


Great advice! Happy dating to all the city dwellers, I think Jessica just made it a little easier!!!

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