Dating is what two people do in order to make it socially acceptable to have sex. Sure, there's also romantic fulfillment and marriage, but but that's just an excuse to make sex a tax write-off. And now, the obligatory Cracked Topics flowchart.
As asking someone out is a highly conditional process, depending on location (general area e.g. video store), location (geographically speaking e.g. New York City versus, say, Antarctica), your personal relationship with this person (friend/friend, store clerk/customer, prison guard/that slot in cell 5, etc.), and all kinds of other shit, a certain level of improv is usually required, but can be eased with the careful application of some general rules.
1. Humor is an effective ice breaker, and pick-up lines may be fun to read, but the second you ask the girl at Dairy Queen how she can work with frozen deserts when she's so hot, you lose. Game over, no continues, put your quarters back in your pocket because you don't get another turn.
2. Timing is crucial. While social etiquette demands you wait a while after his/hers break-up/divorce, theirs a fine line between "not ready to date just yet" and "my god, I'm lonely", one that you want no truck with. Wait to long, and odds are, that line'll get a lot thinner when someone waaaay better looking than you starts poking around for truffles.
A perfectly serviceable metaphor for your dating competition.
3. On the other side of the coin, it's probably best not to hit on someone at their spouse's funeral. That should go without saying. It really should.
4. As the creators of South Park once said via a talking sexual organ, "be confident". If a plumber came to your house with a broken plunger, dropping his tools are over your floor, mumbling when you ask him what the problem is and avoiding eye contact, would you let him in your kitchen? Of course not. No one needs a nervous plumber. You want a plumber who'll kick your door in, stride over to your toilet on a golden winged stallion, and fix your toilet with a mystical, prophesized silver plunger he pulled from the stomach of a dragon made entirely of Chuck Norrises, all while wearing the pelt of a pure white lion and Eye of the Tiger plays in the background. That's the kind of person who gets dates.
Don't pretend like you wouldn't.
5. When asking someone out. it's probably best not to go on long rants about plumbers.
6. Don't be too direct. Walking up to someone you barely know and demanding coffee is just rude. Strike up a conversation, some casual flirting, maybe mention your volunteer work with blind orphans, and then propose the idea of coffee or dinner and a movie. Maybe a mini-golf. Keep it simple.
7. If asking someone out is a game of Super Mario Bros. (which, admittedly, it isn't), your goal should be the flagpole at the end of the level, and by that I mean a phone number. Don't try to set out a specific date in person, just get a confirmation on a date and a phone number to make specific plans. By setting out a commitment to call, and then calling, you send a subtle hint that you are reliable and true to your word. Also, it means that when you set the date over the phone, you can talk in your underwear, which some people find to be conducive to a scheduling atmosphere.
Go to the local video store/Netflix, and fill your arms/queues with romantic comedies. Watch them all, one after another, stopping only to go to the bathroom. 2 Weeks Notice, Just Friends, How to Lose a Guy in Ten Days, The Sweetest Thing, even Date Movie if you can stand it. You see how those people interact with one another? Don't do any of that on the first date, and you should be fine. Remember, nice restaurant, decent movie. We're talking 5-star, 80% positive reviews on Rotten Tomatoes. Not Taco Bell and Aliens in the Attic. And absolutely nothing with Hugh Grant, Sandra Bullock, or John Krasinski.
So, you got past the first date, and the person still wants to be around you. Well, then you've entered the oddest, poorly-lit alley of the dark, crime-ridden metropolis that is the modern romantic relationship: the "talk". You get to think about the relationship and where you want it to go. In fact, it's time to sit down, have a deep rummage through your soul, and decide if this person is, in fact, your boy/girlfriend. This is a major, life-altering decision that you, and only you, can make, and must be based on the contents of your heart and deepest desires and eventual goals. I recommend a Magic 8 Ball.
"Signs point to playing the field a little longer."
Again, a set of general, arbitrary rules is really the only way to go.
1. You might think that buying your significant other gifts for Christmas, Valentine's day, your anniversary, and his/her birthday would be enough. You would be wrong. See, your significant other may say he/she doesn't want a present. This is a trap. Buy gifts. Lots of them. Be like Santa, only fatter. And lazier. And with a worse wardrobe.
2. Upon meeting your significant other's family, you may be inclined to call your in-laws evil, twisted demons from the darkest pits of the most unspeakable circle of the least laughable religion's hell. This is, of course, ridiculous. Demons are far more forgiving.
3. Never, ever mention how hot you think the blond chick from High School Musical is. Down that road be dragons. Foul, jealous dragons.
4. What to do when you forget your significant other's birthday: leave the country, get major plastic surgery, and pray.
5. Enjoy each other's company. No matter how annoying the other person may seem from time to time, no matter how aggravated you may get, just remember, when times are tough and the future seems dark, it wasn't long ago that you were masturbating to sleazy Internet porn in your parents' attic. Do you really want to go back to those times? Which, by the way, brings us to...
If you're seriously looking to Cracked for advice on sex, odds are it won't be an issue. But, in case you're one of those girls who genuinely enjoys guys who write scathing Harry Potter analyses and lists of the worst Grammy Snubs, or if you're a guy who somehow found one of those girls, here you go, you lucky bastard.
1. Don't get too kinky too fast. Human sexuality should be explored, but it's highly unlikely your partner will entertain your bondage/role-playing/Olsen twins/donkey fantasies on the first go.
2. Candle wax is always a bad idea.
3. Lock your doors. I don't have a joke for this. Just please, lock your doors. Lock 'em, bolt 'em, set your alarm system, call in police observation, whatever you have to do to prevent your mother walking in the room when you and your partner are playing Nude Twister. While watching King Kong. While your friend films the whole thing. With his webcam.
4. If you're able to convince your partner to allow you to bring in one of more extra partners, you should be writing this Topic.
5. Use protection. Don't skimp on this. Wear a condom, take the pill, keep a stock of Morning After pills in your underwear drawer. Just make sure you don't pee in the gene pool.
6. Having sex is a little like improv comedy: you are not as good as you think you are. Read books, watch movies, see expert, anything that helps you be the lover your partner deserves. Personally, we here at Cracked ask like to take our advice from true experts, great and powerful masters of the romantic arts. So, anytime you find yourself not knowing your next move in bed, ask yourself one question: What Would Neil Flynn do?
Teach us, great master.