When my mom was young, a guy would call her up, he’d ask her out and out they would go. She’d wear a pretty dress. He’d pay. It was called — what was the term again? — oh yes. A “date.”

Maybe it was a sexist era. OK, it was a sexist era. But it had a certain simplicity to it. Today if a gal wants a date, she doesn’t just need the dress. She needs a website, a blog, a possible book deal and a dress. Also downloadable pictures of her (barely) in it.

At least, that’s the way Babe Scott is going about it. And she seems to be a harbinger of dating rituals to come.

Babe’s website, takemeoutforlunch. com, demands exactly that: She wants 100 guys to take her to 100 fancy restaurants and she’ll blog about them afterward, maybe squeeze ’em into a book. She may even find Mr. Right.

“My girlfriends said I was crazy — it could be dangerous!” laughed Babe as we sat down at Manhattan’s swank Gramercy Tavern to await her first date. (Yes, I tagged along. You got a problem with that?) “But,” continued Babe, “I said, ‘Girls, you’re crazy. You’re on Match.com. At least I know I get a lunch.”’

Babe’s strategy paid off moments later when her date arrived — blond- haired, blue-eyed and 6’3“. He could have been one of Princess Di’s sons (and his suit could have come from their tailor). Babe looked up and blushed.

”You look better than your photo!“ she exclaimed.

”And I almost don’t recognize you without the French maid’s outfit,“ he replied, referring to one of the saucy photos on her site. (See? A gal can’t just hang out a shingle.)

And then they were off.

Oh, it was a great date. Perfect, in fact. Turns out he’s half Australian and that’s where she’s from. New in town? So is he!

He likes horses, she likes horses; she’s pretty, he has dimples. They made each other laugh and admitted they were nervous and looked down when they mentioned previous relationships — very quickly — and she told him she’s impractical and he said he dances salsa, ”badly,“ and all this took place over succulent red snapper. The only problem?

It never would have happened without her outrageously self-promoting website.

Of course it’s lovely that the Internet opens wide the world of singles, but that’s a drawback, too. With so much competition, you gotta have a gimmick, preferably one that hints of sex and fame.

And if you don’t want to blog and flog and live your life like a reality TV show?

It could get lonely.

In my mom’s day, of course, things were simpler. You dated the guys in the neighborhood, period. There were fewer to choose from, but they were more available. No one was trolling for dates three time zones away, or hoping to hook up with someone wildly unattainable (except Betty Grable).

But now that everyone’s online, a gal’s gotta out-Betty Betty. Babe understood this and posed away. It worked. She and her date are going horseback riding this weekend.

I hope it’s as much fun as lunch. But I also hope that at some point we can take a step back to the days when people were content with a smaller pool of less glamorous possibilities.

Maybe that’s not quite as exciting, but I know it works.

Because here I am.