The Nondating Life

Saturday, May 14, 2005

Part Eighteen: The Nondate

(Previous post)

A friend says to me the other day, "Oh, R. might have an issue for the Nondating Life."

"What's that?" I say.

"He's going to hang out with a guy, but he doesn't know if it's a date or not."

"Ohhhhhhhh," I say. "That."

It's a classic situation. There's this guy or this girl. He's cute. She's hot. You sort of dig him or her. And, lately, you find yourself in date-like situations. And you find yourself hoping they're date situations. But you just can't tell.

Of course, this sort of thing doesn't happen with the skank you met in the bar last week or the tool who's chased you down on You KNOW those are dates because you wouldn't be dealing with that person for any reason other than to get married, laid or, at the very least, emotionally traumatized (again).

No, this typically happens with people you meet through work or through other social circles. I've had this happen to me with fellow bloggers. The aforementioned R. met his guy in their gay hockey league. (No, I'm not making that up. See.)

The problem here is that you've already established a relationship of sorts. You're colleagues or acquaintances or whatnot. And, conceivably, going out for drinks or to dinner with the other person could just be things that, you know, friends do. Even if you're madly attracted to the person. Even if you typically don't do this sort of thing with other colleagues and acquaintances. Even if you think the other person might be flirting back with you.

A line is being crossed here, but you just don't know which. Are you crossing into friendship? Are you crossing into a relationship? Are you crossing into a drunken night of tawdry sex that is going to leave the two of you incapable of making eye contact for the next few weeks?

Of course, the sensible thing to do would be to ask. But we've established long ago that romance and common sense are, like, the two biggest bitches in high school and, oh my god, like they'd both totally DIE before being caught in the same room together.

And why don't you ask? Why don't you just open up your mouth or type up an email and use the gift of language and ask, "So, is this a date or what?"

Because you'd feel silly. Because you'd be risking rejection. Because you might make a fool of yourself.

So, instead of making a fool of yourself, you go on a series of these nondates and with each passing one get progressively crazier, act increasingly weirder--you fret, you hope, you worry, you moon, you envy and, yes, you even pine--until finally you just snap and say "HOLY SHIT I CAN'T TAKE THIS ANYMORE. YOU'RE DRIVING ME CRAZY AND I THINK I LOVE YOU."

And when that happens? Well, there's a very, very slim chance that the other person will say, "Oh my god. Me too!" But the smart money goes on the other response: He or she shouts "Hey, look over there! It's Steve Perry from Journey!" and then, the minute you turn your head, runs away, never to be seen from again.

But, hey, at least you didn't make a fool of yourself by just asking the person if you were dating.

Let's be honest here. Can we be honest? Good, I thought so. Let's be honest. If you have to ask "Is this a date?" If there's a question about it, then it's most likely NOT a date.

Yes, there are exceptions. In the case of R., as a matter of fact, this was the FIRST time they were hanging out. So the question is valid. It COULD just be hanging out. Or it COULD be the prelude to some hot man sex. But by the end of that first time (or the second one if both parties are on the shy side), R. should know.

If you find yourself on the third or fourth hang-out, nondate or whatever, chances are you are dating this person only in your own mind. If the other person were as into you as you are into him or her, you'd already be holding hands on the subway, playing tonsil hockey in the park and generally making a nuisance of yourself in public.

But, hey, I'm not in the business of crushing ALL hope here. There is the slight chance that the other person is going through the exact same thought processes that you are, and you're both paralyzed by fear of rejection (that fear will never, ever go away), fear of screwing up a friendship (I'd call that the most moronic reason ever for not entering a relationship, but it's not a reason, it's a damn lie a person tells you to "let you down easy"), fear of commitment (the old standby) and/or fear of waking up ten years from now in a loveless marriage (because really, if two people like you get married, what are the chances of it working?).

So hang out with them again. Flirt, banter, whatever it is you two do when you're together. And, at the end of the evening, make your move.

Now, at the beginning of this post, I said you could just up and ask the person. Sure, you could do that. Like I said, it's the sensible thing to do. But since we're being honest, I'll admit that if you ask and the person says no, it doesn't actually FEEL any less humiliating or heartbreaking. And, really, if you're going to go through both humiliation and heartbreak, you might as well go down in flames, no?

So when the time comes to say good night, lean in real close, look into his or her eyes and GO FOR THE CROTCH! That's right, just grab it. And when the mouth flies open in shock, get your tongue in there while the getting is good.

Your "friend" might reject you, sure. But you just totally got to third base.

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  • I was totally hoping for actual practical advice I could use, but your end graph won't work in this particular case...but another great post, regardless. All too relatable, unfortunately.

    By Anonymous Esther, at 2:02 AM  

  • Holy....! You just wrote the last 3 weeks of my life! And that lead up to the most awkward, awful phone conversation I've ever had in my life. Where were you before that phone call?

    By Blogger Delia, at 2:46 AM  

  • Having been on the other end of this situation, i.e. being surprised into finding out the guy considered it a date when I didn't- here's the hint if you're a girl and the other's a guy. If he pays, HE THINKS YOU'RE ON A DATE.

    By Anonymous Jennifer, at 3:32 AM  

  • my god, what horrible, horrible advice. ya know, this could be why you're presently single.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 5:55 AM  

  • Anonymous,
    As stated elsewhere on this blog, you're not supposed to actually TAKE any of this as advice.

    By Blogger Ken Wheaton, at 2:01 PM  

  • Being a typical subtle,non-assuming, passive-aggressive, (read nice) male, I've been in this situation a few times. The one time I did broach the subject, "Not that I'm complaining, but where is this going?" we ended up dating. The other times that I did not, we stayed friends.
    Bottom line, if the status quo is not what you want, do something about it. Otherwise, expect that you'll be hearing about his or her new great girl or boy in the immediate future.

    By Blogger Gatsby, at 3:58 PM  

  • Nah, I'd definitely have stopped myself.

    By Blogger Delia, at 6:59 PM  

  • here's a somewhat tamer (and legal)suggestion than the genital grab - when you hug/kiss/handshake goodbye, just hold the contact a noticably little bit longer. if the other person's interested, he/she'll reciprocate. if not, you'll both be able to shrug it off.

    By Anonymous haz, at 7:27 PM  

  • Hey, stopping by through Lola's site. I certainly hope you will update us about R.'s situation when you talk to him again. I just cant wait to hear if there is going to be "hot man sex"

    By Anonymous alfredsmom, at 11:47 AM  

  • I feel as though this was spectacular advice. I think I'll try the crotch grab tonight.

    By Blogger Belldoorlover, at 3:30 PM  

  • ha! this is fantastic, yet again. I will remember to 'go for the crotch' the next time I'm in this situation. But I hope never to be in this situation ever again.

    By Blogger citygurl, at 7:41 PM  

  • Hi, my first time here and also found you through Lola's site. So, about your post---been there, done that. Sadly, it didn't end very well. But I do support the direct questioning of whether the "hanging out" is a date or not. It would avoid any unjustified expectations and possible resentment on the questioning "victim"'s part. Honesty is the best policy, I always say.

    By Anonymous Min, at 7:57 PM  

  • You could always do my favorite thing...AVOID AVOID AVOID. When things start to feel uncomfortable (that loving feeling) give up, cut your losses and look for the next spry young guy passing by and avoid that other guy like the friggin plague.

    But then again, that's my little problem of a lack of commitment. However, when I leave the situation, I feel better. So, I guess my avoidance of the person works well for me. So, I have issues, doesn't everybody?

    By Blogger astrocoz, at 7:12 PM  

  • this recently happened to me, and it was one of the 1% where we were both feeling it...although the male in question hadn't initiated anything because he was ambivalent and scared, so that's what ended up happening anyway, after trashing the friendship and trying the dating thing for a while.
    However (and I mean this sincerely), I have absolutely no regrets. Would never have known otherwise...

    By Blogger Zenchick, at 11:18 PM  

  • LOL!!
    ok, well written mister, got me cacklin. I'll say it again (I think I said it before or I thought it or dreamt it or Something..) but you've got somethin here... These should be in a mag of sorts as a weekly series..:)
    -the Darl

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 4:30 PM  

  • No, wait, this kind of situation only happens to me. Not to other people. Great post. Had one of these situations a while back. Me digging her. Her not interested/scared of commitment/not telling me she's seeing someone else. Friendship ruined. Not on speaking terms. Social circle gone. She got to keep the mutual friends.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 12:09 PM  

  • I've totally gotten three marriage proposals after going for the crotch. Men like the ladies who go for what they want. :P

    By Anonymous over educatednympho, at 1:46 PM  

  • Be direct and let people know what you want

    By Anonymous Jonathan Lyles, at 9:05 AM  

  • I'd disagree with Jennifer. I am not sure that if the guy pays, then he necessarily thinks it is a date. Guys?

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 4:34 PM  

  • From one scorpio to another - bravo! I discovered your blog a few days ago and I confess I am hooked. Your writing is hilarious, candid, and addictive. It is now possible to find humor in what once was the sad state of my 'nondating' life.

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