Wait...are we dating?

Recently I had a potentially awkward conversation with a friend of mine from church.

It went something like this:

Him: "How long did you say it's been since you last dated someone?"

Me: "Almost a year."

Him: "Hmm...well remember those times we hung out a few months ago?  I kind of considered those as dates."

Me: records screeching, slight panic, fumbling for words, and then...shrug. 

As you can see, at first I felt really bad about this.  Then I didn't.  And here's why:

  1. This friend of mine is now happily involved in a wonderful relationship with an absolutely adorable girl.
  2. Even if he weren't currently taken, I think this is a really important lesson for him (and pretty much all guys of my generation) to learn.

If a girl doesn't know you are dating...you are not dating.

Now I've been out of the dating scene for...ummm....pretty much my whole life (serial monogamist), so this is all a bit new and confusing for me - but I feel like what I lack in experience, I make up for in insight. Here are a few more nuggets of wisdom for all you young hipster males out there who just can't seem to figure it out:

If you only text and never talk on the phone (much less in person)...you are not dating.

If you "go dutch" on the bill...you are not dating.

Alternatively, if you take turns paying every other time, you either have been dating for way too long (seriously, where's the romance?), or...you are not dating.

If you play the "I don't know, what do you feel like doing" game every time you hang out instead of coming prepared with a plan...you are not dating.

If you meet her at your destination rather than picking her up...you are not dating.

If you don't open the door for her...you sure as heck are not dating me. (you can thank my daddy for this one)

If she is the one who always has to initiate your face to face contact time...you are not dating.

Similarly, if she suggests hanging out and you respond with something super noncommittal that in no way indicates you intend to make spending time with her a priority and you want her to do the same...you are not dating.

If you haven't taken the time to DTR...you are not dating.

I'm sure I could think of a million more stereotypical examples of confusing - but definitely non-dating - male/female interactions, but my point in all of this is to help you.  Help all of us really.  So get out your smartphone and start taking notes, because what I'm about to lay down is pretty revolutionary.
Look into my eyes.
If you like a girl and want to take her on a date (and you want her to know it is a date), follow these six simple steps:

  1. Call her on the phone (why is this such a lost art for people?)
  2. Ask her out.  Not sure what to say?  How about, "Hey, I'd like to take you on a date"?
  3. Have a plan in mind.  Girls like to know you put some thought into your time together.  It shows interest and creativity.
  4. Pick her up. Her place is out of the way? I don't care. It makes more sense to just meet there? Very few things make sense when you are dating.  This is one of them.  Now stop being lazy and drive out of your way to get her. 
  5. Open doors for her. All of them. 
  6. Pay.*

I get it - putting yourself out there is scary.  What if she rejects you?  WHAT IF?  It can't be more painful than the agony she goes through replaying every single interaction with you to her friends while they dissect tiny, irrelevant details in an attempt to try and figure out just what in the heck is going on between you two.  Trust me; this is exhausting.

Make your intentions clear, step it up, and be a little bit old school.  I guarantee even if she isn't into you, she will be impressed.

Ladies, did I miss anything?

*Feminists, calm down.  I fully believe gender is a social construct, and I'm all about women's rights.  I just also refuse to accept the theory that chivalry is dead.  PROVE ME RIGHT, guys.


Joelle said…
I don't think you can say you've been out of the dating scene for pretty much your whole life. Even if you only date one person for a long period of time, you are still dating.
nbrown said…
On the contrary Joelle, since I've pretty much only been in RELATIONSHIPS my whole life, I've had the aforementioned highly necessary "DTR" discussion, so in the past I've always known for certain that we ARE dating. Now, it's pretty much anyone's call depending on which microscopic detail you want to analyze.
Don't know what DTR is...perhaps it's because I AM the mom and therefore...old.

I would cut the guy some slack as far as having him pay for everything. Perhaps his budget (and hopefully he DOES have a plan to manage his money), does not allow dinner, movies, coffee as often as he would like to indulge in them himself...much less with a date. After he pays a couple of times, could you offer to treat the two of you, or fix the dinner and rent the movie? I have always felt it can be a real financial burden for a guy to enter into a dating relationship. Perhaps more of them would ask women out if they weren't students, didn't have student loans, had a job other than an entry level position...you fill in the rest. My thoughts, and I'm closer to remembering a chivalrous time that you are.

Love you!