Though I do strive for variety in my posts, a trend has become blatantly apparent. One that threatens to morph me into a dreaded "advice columnist". The cruelly elusive hope of interacting with other humans (?) in a romantic context is of great appeal to some (okay, all) of you. So why not borrow from a "Kinks" album title and "give the people what they want"? At least for one more post.
So here goes. For now. I hope you find this helpful. And if not, keep your chins up and remember that self-pleasure has a lot of the same guilt without the expense, emotional investment or need for restraining order.
It’s no secret that the language of love isn't always the most, well, direct. Or socially acceptable, for that matter. That’s why so many single people spend hours analyzing emails from dates trying to figure out if “Please leave me alone” is a brush-off, or wondering whether that invitation of “I’ll make dinner for you” indicates a desire to share a whole lot more than a favorite keilbasa recipe. So how can you figure out the real message? Since I care so very damned much for every one of you, I shall decode eight common lines so you’ll spend less time scratching your head, armpits or nether regions and more time spreading the love.
Line: “I’d love to stay out, but I have to get up really early tomorrow.”
What it means: “The prospect of waking up early is infinitely more appealing than pissing away any more of my evening with you."
Of course, if it’s 2 a.m. or your date follows up with, “But let’s get together soon — how does February 29th sound?”, the fact that he or she wants to end the date is no big deal. Unless last year was leap year. Or if it's March. But if the night is young or your date mentions an aversion to staying out late in the middle of, say, greeting you at the start of the date, that’s not a good sign. Your date may sense there’s no connection and may be contemplating a fake seizure in order "pop the escape hatch". At least look at the upside: This person’s also freeing you from a situation that’s not going anywhere, so just enjoy your dinner, then pretend you're going to the restroom and skedaddle out back so it doesn't set you back monetarily.
Line: “I had such a good time with you.”
What it means: The use of past tense indicates that the good time was fleeting at best, and has since elapsed. Your date senses that your ability to entertain is not sustainable, and if he or she cuts it short now, there's the possibility of sex with the usual backup.
You may have to carefully consider if it's your lot in life to be the "warm up act". Every great baseball team has to have a good set-up man. A batter who sacrifices the runner over to 3rd base, or a pitcher who guides the game through the doldrums of the middle innings. Take solace in the fact that at least you're on the team.
Line: “I’m just not ready for a relationship.”
What it means: “I’m just not ready for a relationship. With you."
It’s hard when someone you like tells you he or she’s not in a place to seriously date anyone. But it also makes you hope that the problem is timing, not your lack of a "desirable" personality. If you can just be patient, you think, things could percolate, right? Wrong. Don’t be fooled — when this person does meet someone who has that spark, he or she will indeed be ready for a relationship. It doesn't matter if the "spark" is Ted Bundy or Courtney Love. As long as it's not you.
Line: “I’d love to meet up, but I’m just really busy with work right now.”
What it means: Since being "busy" at work is a voluntary condition, and is rare for most of us, this line is the equivalent of telling someone that you're "married to the sea". Even if you both live in Nebraska. Take the hint and move on. Or join the Navy and search for his or her ship at the rail every night.
Of course, this person could very well have a full schedule that week. But if he or she doesn’t offer any alternative dates to hang out, what you’re really being told is that this person would rather work than hang out with you.
Line: “So, gotten any other emails on Match.com lately?”
What it means: “Hopefully you have other potential victims that you can pursue.”
It's a subtle and convenient way of breaking things off while convincing your date that he or she may have "virtual" appeal to other strangers.
Line: “So, want to meet for coffee?”
What it means: “Want to meet for a coffee and then have dinner if we like each other?" Though it most likely means, "I want to be as alert and vigilant as possible, so if you try any shit, I'll be ready for it. Plus we'll be in a public place with scalding coffee within ready reach."
It’s always smart to schedule a short, easy-to-end date when you’re first meeting a new person. This is why I recommend meeting at a bus stop. If you don't make a connection by the time the bus arrives, get on. If he or she follows you, get off. Continue this process until it becomes obvious to your date that the date has concluded. And hopefully, it will. Eventually.
Line: “I’m meeting my friends for a drink — want to come?”
What it means: “I really like you and want to know if you get along with my pals. Plan on footing the entire bill if you REALLY want us to like you.”
It may sound like a casual invite, but what your date is saying is that he or she is totally comfortable being seen - after dark - with you as a couple, and is interested in how you’ll relate to his or her "orgy circle". Meeting the friends is an approval thing. Women want to see how he treats their friends, and men want to know if his friends like the girl. It may seem intimidating, but it should actually boost your ego: You’ve passed the first tests and are now on your way to becoming a full-time boyfriend or girlfriend—provided the buddies sign off. If you’re feeling just as positive about the relationship, say “Yes,” and start signing your way through the mountain of paperwork.
Line: “Why don’t you come over and I’ll cook for you?”
What it means: “You may get lucky ... and NOT get indigestion.”
Cooking for a person is a show of intimacy in a couple of ways. The person is really inviting you into his or her life. Don't get too excited though. It doesn't mean you get to STAY. Someone’s apartment is their whole world, so they’re obviously comfortable enough to make an effort to trap you into it. Then, of course, there’s the fact that you’ll conveniently be just a few steps from the couch — and the bedroom — and the dumpster - later that night. If it’s a first or early date, this might actually be a bit too personal, especially if you’re not sure how you feel about your future together. Unless you're the average guy. In which case "the future" is not a consideration at all. But if you’re pretty sure you’re ready to explore things further, congratulations, tonight could be the night. So be prepared. Have your flashlight, rappelling gear, and protective devices at the ready.
Southwestern advice columnist Puerileuwaite has written for his blog and "other" publications that so far refuse to acknowledge his contributions.