Wednesday, August 25, 2010

A Question for the Ages

Ramblings Post #130
There are many great questions in the world. Some are mysteries that will span the ages like how they really built the pyramids, or the the real purpose of Stonehenge, or why you never can quite get that last bit of milkshake. Some are simple questions that can be given direct answers like "So, Melyssa Ford, what is your phone number and are you free Friday?" Still there are more pressing questions, and ones I actually expect to get the answer to...

A lady friend of mine asked this question:

A straight female asks a straight male friend to hang out the following evening. They meet up to go to dinner, then they leave to go to their own homes, with no romance involved. Is that a date?

My opinion, as was the opinion of most of the people in our little circle, was no, it wasn't a date. We didn't go into specifics or the various permutations that could apply, but the general idea of two people who already know each other going out to eat didn't really qualify as meeting the fuzzy parameters of what we like to consider a "date". I think she was trying to clear something up. Now, I did qualify my answer by indicating a one time situation is one thing, a continuing affair needs to be discussed. Once it becomes regular, it helps if you're both on the same page.

My answer was based on the reality that Sporty and I went out a lot, and looking back I think that for a long time we were in different books, never mind not on the same page.

So, with the idea that my mind needs a break from this befuddlement that is work and the bafflement that is law school, what is exactly constitutes a date? I mean what are the parameters, not necessarily the activities, which can vary greatly. Can friends go on a date? Does a date have to involve romance? If you've gotten buck with them, are they still considered dates or something else? Let's just say, as a nice guy, I have vested interest in the answer.

One thing I can attest to is that both people have to agree that it is a date. I know it ruins some of the magic, but also eliminates surprise moments; like the one Shade and I had once where it turned out she was eating with a friend and I was on a date. Awkward. In my defense, it looked like a date: two people, food was served, I was paying, light conversation. But apparently I was incorrect. Which is odd, and odder still because I've been in similar situations with Shade that were actual dates, and similar situations with Schmoopy, Spanky and Spur which weren't.

So it's not the activity, it's the intent. Did both parties intend to go out on a date? And like most things, it's the intent that gets you.

There are, and always will be, women who use men as "entertainment centers": men who are great to foot the bill for a meal or a night in the club but that's it and in the reverse guys who don't call until 1am. I think here is where the breakdown occurs and where bad feelings originate. My initial answer included the qualifier for frequency, in that as a friend I'm happy to take a pal and eat a meal or two, catch up every once in a while. But a guy - and I'm referencing this to the guy since, well, I am one and he's usually the one with the misunderstanding - but a guy who takes the same person out for drinks and eats again and again and some more begins to develop concepts. Assumptions if you will. These concepts are not always shared by the other party.

His situation is less than optimal. I'm just sayin'

One night - some semi swank eatery in Atlanta...
His thoughts: Gee, we go out all the time, she really likes me. Maybe this going somewhere.
Her thoughts: He's so nice, its like going out with a girlfriend. He and Joe would make such a cute couple.

And when people have gotten buck a few times *cough*ladies *cough*, things can flow the other way as well.

One other night, someplace else dark and sweaty in Atlanta...
His thoughts: Man, after this I hope she don't catch no feelings.
Her thoughts: Do I suggest to him to move in now, or do I wait for him to ask me?

You see. Two people. Same place. Same conversation. And we have a miss....

Thinking about it, I'm suddenly even more baffled, as we all seem to know the game in college, but forgot it after graduation. Whole different post.

So a date is about what the parties think about the date. Circular logic I know but that appears to be the case. Now I've paid for a meal for a friend a thousand times and I'll probably pay for a thousand more. The answer here, if you weren't paying attention, is communication. Say something. Which is the key to most things.

Or you could end up sitting there drinking a fucking lemon drop watching her purse, the purse you gave her for her birthday, while she freak dances that guy she JUST met, you know... Dexter St. Jock, because, after're like one of the girls. Go ahead. Laugh.

Barkeep, um, separate checks. And no, I really don't want to hear how sensitive Joe is.

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