It’s a thoroughly modern world these days, Baltimore. The days of presenting debutantes, old-fashioned courtships and calling cards are by and large over, and they’re not coming back any time soon. Likewise the ideas about dating that a lot of us grew up with are also fallen by the wayside. Flowers and candy and dinner-and-a-movie can often seem as stale and corny as Chuck Woolery’s hairpiece.
The generation behind ours is also thoroughly mucking things up with their whole hangout-and-hookup dynamic, not to mention text and IM and “it’s complicated.” Even lately we’ve been out with grown women who were attractive and pleasant, yet claim to never have been taken on a proper date, which is astounding, confusing, and more than a little sad.
Brett McKay over at the Art of Manliness takes the old school approach to asking someone out, and even thinks it will make you a better man. We subscribe to most of what they say, even though their advice is from the 1950′s. But the McKays are from Oklahoma, where dating options are limited, and they were married very young, so we take their advice with a grain of salt, too.
The truth is that no matter how straightforward you might be you will, sooner or later, find yourself sitting across from someone not knowing whether what you’re doing is or is not a date.
You can always ask, of course. Asking is not the worst thing in the world, as a gentleman doesn’t assume anything one way or the other, but before you do you’ll need to have decided how you feel as well as how you might react to all possible answers. If your pseudo-date is going relatively well, asking what it is can be an awkward moment at best, and can grind it right to a halt at worst.
So when you find yourself next to a beautiful, charming, exciting, intelligent, urbane, and all-around wonderful woman- as the Chop does from time to time- we say it’s best to just shut up and enjoy it. Be glad that she’s there and glad that you’re alive. Be happy for the conversation, for the connection and the evening; the rest will work itself out.
Whether or not you’re on an actual date is unimportant. What really matters is that you make sure it goes well and that you both enjoy it. Do that, and you’ll know very soon whether or not it was a date, and you’ll be delighted when you find out that it was.