If a woman asks a man out on a date, she is not obligated to buy dinner. I just wanted to clear that up.
Life is all too brief a cosmic commercial break to spend it sending telepathic messages to crushes old and new. In medieval times, sure. ‘Twas the men who came calling. But those were the days when women were dragon bait. We live in modern times, so hurry up and ask that special man/bartender/skeeball competitor out. And, again, don’t worry about the bill. I’ve actually been asked this question. The dude will take care of it because that’s what dudes do. There are some things the male of the species will always be in charge of, like bear defense. You know what else? Buying dinner on the first date. (Dear Testicles: She’s going to spend time and money getting her hot on anyway.)
There’s a reason places like TGIFried Shrimp and The Pasta Garden exist – because they’re inexpensive starter restaurants where two people can test each other out before graduating to a nicer dining establishment, like Trendy Thai Yuppie Trap. Even during these lean times, it doesn’t really cost a lot to take a woman out. Now everyone knows where we stand.
Women can ask men out. In exchange, men will not judge a woman who asks us out. I think most men will agree with me: A desperate woman is a woman crouched on our fire escape and licking our bedroom window, not a woman trying to make plans (or wearing a short skirt). Besides, as men, we should take some responsibility for our gender. Men have become coy. Aloof. Precious, even. There was a time when men didn’t roll their eyes as much as they do now. Even modern seduction techniques encourage something called “negging,” which are backhanded compliments meant to intrigue a woman. It’s supposed to substitute for confidence, but the “negs” always come off like a swishy drag queen’s snarky quips. They work to a degree, partially because they capitalize on a certifiable fad: Women are chasing men more.
One unintended consequence of the slow, generations-long march in the general direction of gender equality is a sort of “Freaky Friday” gender identity effect. Some traditional gender roles have been flipped. Women are becoming aggressive, high-strung workaholics. And not two weekends ago I went clothes shopping with a male friend of mine. This is something I had never really done before. He found me a blazer that looks faboo, and we discussed whether I could pull off the purple button-down with the gray sweater. THEN WE GOT DRUNK ON BEER AND TALKED ABOUT BOOBS. These reversals should encourage understanding between donks and kazoos. Asking out the right person can be as anxiety-inducing as being asked out by the wrong person.
Whether anyone likes it or not, women are active participants in the dating world. Don’t pine, or swoon, or bury your face in a kerchief. This isn’t a Bridget Austen TV movie.
If there’s a former co-worker who makes thighs misty or a friend of a friend you’re stalking on Facebook, ask him out. This isn’t a rule. It’s just a very stern suggestion. When it comes to courtship, I am generally anti-rules. Love is a joyful riot. A cotton-candy tornado. A stampede of cart-wheeling bunny rabbits squealing “YAY!” You can’t control, tame, or corral it. You surrender to the anarchy of attraction and accept that the storm and stress, the risk and reward, is life’s greatest grave repellent. If you like, like, like a bro, take a chance, and wipe your sweaty palms on your pants.
Oh, yeah, and here’s how you do it. Act really casual. Super chill. A polar bear on Paxil. It can happen in person or over instant message. But here’s the general script:
YOU: What are you doing this weekend?
YOU: Let’s go to Meat Hut, then grab some drinks at Non-Creepy Dive Bar.
The end. Pretend you’re asking your brother or a close, personal male friend out. Be “whatever,” but not too “whatever.” Confirm that he has no plans. Then don’t “ask” him if he “wants to go.” Speak in declarative sentences. This will all but guarantee he’ll have to say “yes.” Will this work? It does on women.
Now make sure you look gorgeous. And don’t worry: He’ll get the check. If he doesn’t, he’s a donkey pizzle.