What happened to the days of being direct when you want to ask someone out? If there’s a song that says ‘voulez-vous coucher avec moi?, it goes to show how direct you can get. These days, guys seem to have become so predisposed to women swooning over their minimal efforts to woo us, that I can’t even tell when they’re actually asking anymore.
Take a few examples:
#1: A guy whom you already know mentions going somewhere together. And by ‘mentions’, I mean a slew of things which include a text message, a Facebook message or wall post, a phone call, email, and/or in person request. (As an aside, most of these are pushing it as far as winning over someone’s approval for a first date. I can say I’ve been the recipient to all of these forms, and would prefer the handwritten ‘check yes, no, or maybe’ to several of them.) In whichever of these forms, he doesn’t mention whether or not others are coming, and he certainly doesn’t use the word ‘date’ or ‘take you out’. Is he asking you out?
#2: Guy whom you barely know offers up the idea of going to grab a drink or play a game of pool on a specific day. Again, no mention of the ‘D’ word. Is this a date?
I tend to err on the side of rarely thinking anyone is asking me out. Not until they become blatant about it (which at times has resulted in uncomfortable situations). But, this naivite’ has historically had a variety of results: 1. I lead the guy on because I think his advances are purely friendly and not until we’re alone, at a dinner table, and he pays, do I realize what I’ve just done. 2. I blow him off altogether because I think it’s a casual encounter and my schedule doesn’t permit. 3. I give everyone the benefit-of-the-doubt that they don’t like me and live in la-la land. And/or 4. I begin to feel burned by the previous results, thus assuming any straight male’s invites are clearly a date request and weed through the ramifications of that.
Where this gets even trickier is when there is any sort of professional tie-in (a la’ the ‘networking’ coffee or after work drinks). Just stir this ingredient into the already murky waters and I think you’ll agree (if you’ve not experienced this for yourself), how confusing this gets.
Don’t get me wrong. It’s nice to be asked out. And, I understand, in part, why guys are likely nervous to be direct and just come out with it to say, “will you go out with me?”. But, that empathy only gets you so far. If you want to ‘go out’ versus ‘hang out’, say so. Otherwise I’m left to my own devices to sort it out. Don’t make it like a dating scavenger hunt whereby I’m forced to put together the clues to figure out the final destination. Let’s leave the shenanigans out of it until after date one, at the very least.
And for any haters who may think I’m being sexist that this is a one-way street, it’s not. I’ve certainly done my share of asking in the past, both to receive rejection as well as approval.
All this to say, I want us to go back to the days of dating etiquette. Step one: identify dating target. Step 2: Ask him/her out using the words, “can I take you on a date?” or other such configuration. Step 3: Breathe. He/she says no? Move on. He/she says yes? Now the anxiety starts all over again.
PS I’m still (as always) looking for guest posts. I hear lots of groans about ‘not being a good writer’, ‘having nothing about which to write’, and ‘being scared to use my name’. To answer those objections: I’m not a good writer, but you’re reading this. I don’t say anything more interesting or different than you could. Just look to your daily existence and pick a topic. And, you’re welcome to be anonymous. No more excuses. I look forward to my inbox flooding with your posts.