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Your best-kept dating secrets are not so secret after all. According to Ellen McLaughlin's recent sociological study in the New York Post, the waitstaff and bartenders and managers at any number of New York City restaurants and bars (and then some) are on to your techniques. This is not bad, necessarily, unless you are. And even then, they're not talking, except to the New York Post, and probably to each other. 

Per McLaughlin and the restaurant folks she spoke to, there are some very clear tactics being showcased by dating patrons. For example, "one serial dater who brings a different girl in every week and treats us as if we don’t know what he’s up to,” says Antonio Rappazzo, general manager of Flatiron's Almond. This gentleman "always arrives before his dates to check in with us, and is very aggressive about getting the best table in the house, a cozy corner banquette." Every time, he is meeting someone. Every time, they know this. They also know how it's going, usually. (Tip: Being a regular apparently helps with service and seating options, as another patron who likes Almond attests. Though, if the date you bring once becomes a regular, too, your secret could be out.)

At a downtown establishment, Madam Geneva, the bar manager has noticed a serial dater who inevitably orders the same thing, the place's "specialty jam cocktail," writes McLaughlin. He is always with someone new, "never the same girl twice," and recently "brought in a girl whose roommate he had brought here not long before, and even ordered the same jam drinks with both of them." (That dog! Though how the bar manager knew the women were roommates is a far more mysterious matter than his consistent drink order.)

So, how else are daters being utterly obvious?

  • "If a guy orders a second drink before we’ve even offered them one, you know the date is going well from his point of view. If the girl doesn’t say yes immediately, she’s clearly not feeling the same," says Laura Lashley of Madame Geneva.
  • If the guy asks his date to split the check, he isn't interested, says Rappazzo. 
  • If the staff thinks you're getting along, you probably are. One couple who seemed smitten while sitting next to each other at a couples-only wine dinner split up with their partners before returning to the place and eventually got married, naming their daughter after the sommelier. That's love!
  • If your card is declined and someone else comes over and settles your bill for you, you might leave with that person, as a bartender at Hotel Chantelle witnessed. 
  • If a couple has an extremely successful date at a hotel, they might end up getting a room. Hotel staff know all about your little dating secrets, too.

There are, of course, exceptions to every rule, and really, who cares what anyone else thinks about your dating techniques? Except for your date, presuming you want another one. Our suggestions: Tip well, don't call anyone "potential talent," don't date roommates, order something new once in a while, and keep French fry thefts to a minimum. And have fun.

Image via Shutterstock by Ari N.

This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.

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