Reading the Signs

I’m shit at dating, but sometimes I can convince someone to get dinner with me. Then what? Let me set the scene for you:

INT. CENTRO BUS — EVENING

HER, an attractive twenty-something, who loves country music, rides the BUS beside CLUELESS IDIOT, nervous.

HER

This is my stop. Thanks for taking me out tonight.

CLUELESS IDIOT

I can walk you back if you like.

HER

Are you kidding? It’s all the way up all those stairs; it’d be silly to make you walk up and down like that.

CLUELESS IDIOT

All right, well I had a lot of fun. Want to do this again sometime?

HER

(Smiling)
Oh absolutely we will. I promise.

Exeunt.

There is probably some obvious sign there, which I’m just too thick to see. Still hoping for a follow up date though, assuming it even was a date. As I write this I realize that it probably was one, but that the semantics shouldn’t matter. All the same, I get to thinking: are there any dead giveaways that you are on a date, not just out as friends?

I’m sure in some corner of the Internet, someone has the answer, and I’m determined to find it. Turns out there are plenty of people blogging about the subject – mostly women writing for other women, like the confusion is somehow my fault. The general consensus is if you offer to pay for dinner, and you smell nice, you’re on a date. It’s all very scientific.

I decide that this is important enough to bother my friends with. Their responses vary. Some say one-on-one time with Her is automatically a date. Others say it’s only a date if I kiss Her.

Instead of clearing things up, I find I may have committed a major breach of protocol by not going for the goodnight kiss. Never the less, one friend actually has detailed instructions for people like me:

  1. Establish eye contact
  2. Move closer
  3. Tilt head and close eyes
  4. Stop and await response

I’m told the last step is the most important: you can’t have a good kiss without reciprocity.

“If you’re gonna make a move, you go 90% and make her go the other 10 if you’re gonna kiss her,” my helpful friend explains, “then you know she’s into you.” This is the best advice I’ve been given on the subject.

Another buddy tells me to track down the lobster from the little mermaid – the one that sings Lalalala, go on and kiss the girl – maybe it can give me the encouragement I needed. We’re in BJ’s when he tells me this, so naturally we stop by the live seafood tank to see if they sell crustaceans that could pose as my wingman. It seemed like a more plausible idea while I was drunk.

It isn’t until I remember that lobsters don’t really talk that it hits me: here I am, thinking about whether I should’ve kissed Her, while I’m not even entirely sure if it was a date. But instead of shrugging it off like a normal human being, I’m sobering up in a chain retailer trying to pick out an anthropomorphic sea creature who can do the legwork for me. Not only am I definitely overthinking it, but also I’m probably the reason that women write these, “Am I on a date?” articles. My God, I am the problem.

A.H.W.

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