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1. Safety First We all know about stranger danger, but women in L.A. also have to be on guard for a little thing I call “driver danger.” This is what happens when you’re unlucky enough to get in the car with someone who views stop signs as suggestions and thinks the speed limit is for losers. There are certain men in this town who are laboring under the delusion women are impressed by reckless disregard for the rules of the road. We are not. I don’t want to see how many cars you can cut off on the 405, I just want to get to dinner and back in one piece.

2. Eliminate the “Getting Dressed” Stress While it’s always incredibly romantic when a guy whisks you off for an evening of surprises, it’s always incredibly uncomfortable to be overdressed or underdressed for the occasion. Nothing makes me break out in hives faster than the phrase “you can wear whatever you want.” In Los Angeles, proper restaurant attire can range from stilettos and skinny jeans to boho chic complete with drawstring skirt.

If you drive yourself, the man in question HAS to tell you where you’re going – which gives you the chance to case the joint on Yelp and get a feel for the dress code. Plus, you don’t have to worry about him showing up at your house 10 minutes early, while you’re still wrapped in a towel and frantically searching for your favorite earrings.

3. Graceful Goodbye But here’s the single best reason for taking your own car: you get to end the night on your terms. If you realize early on that no sparks are going to fly, you aren’t forced to resort to Houdini-inspired escape moves or lame excuses (“I think I left my stove on…”) to cut the date short. And if things go well, you avoid that awkward moment when you have to decide whether or not to invite him up for a nightcap. Instead, you get to sweep out with confidence and self-assurance, leaving him wanting more.

Forget about fairy tale tradition. Chivalry doesn’t require your potential suitor to sweep you away on his white horse (or white Prius). A real gentleman will respect you and show you a good time, no matter who’s holding the keys.

Besides, even Cinderella brought her own pumpkin to the ball.

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