Tell the truth, I've never met a 'boyfriend' in a bar or a club or a pub . . . my few romances have been with friends of friends. I've had three meaningful relationships. One I met through a friend and was strategically placed opposite him at the old Pig and Whistle during a birthday celebration. We just gelled and despite an ugly end was my first serious relationship.
The other, I met at a party, fancy dress of course, maybe the pink harem girl outfit made the ice easy to break (c'mon I was 21 and gorgeous in those days!) Sadly it was a four-year long- distance relationship doomed to failure.
The last, well I worked hard. We had met on a number of occasions but conversation was polite and friendly. The clincher was at a wedding where I was actually seated 'next' to him, the intention, that as a single on a table full of singles and odd bods, I might get on with the bloke opposite. I ended up talking to the man next to me, we danced, we kissed and I married him 15 months later! What attracted me . . . he talked, no he didn't just talk, he conversed, he listened, he laughed, . . he was honest . . he didn't show off . . .he was courteous, he poured my drinks, he smiled . . a lot . . we shared much in common and many differences and of course those lovely baby teeth and twinkly blue eyes. And frankly, he was a dead nice bloke, not a great looker but soft and sweet. I knew that night that something special had begun. But enough about me . . .
I empathise with young men when it comes to the awesome pluck it takes to actually ask someone out. It is 'he' that is generally expected to make the first move. When we have the 20 somethings around, I see the girlys, flirting and flinging, talking and posing, giggling and faux laughter at a touch or a tickle, a prod or a joke but men so often just 'don't get it' they're not great at reading the signs. For most, it's a tough call to actually make the move . . . for some it's easy, they have the bravado, confidence or gift of the gab, the one liners, the ability to flirt back and finally make their move but I suspect, for most, it's a case of eyeing the girl of their choice across the room, feeling flush and nervous, building scenarios, wanting to move but feeling leaden . . . fearing rejection . . or even fearing acceptance because that burdens them with the next level . . what do do now! He's like a wheel-chasing collie wondering what he'll do when he finally bites the tyre.
How do I know? Besides the amazing frankness of my own progeny? I can't tell you the number of times I've lain in bed and a little enclave of girls, boys or a meld of both have been chatting on the verandah outside my bedroom window oblivious to the fact that I'm lying there, awake and listening (not through some voyeuristic need but because I've left, I'm tired and the doof doof of the sub woofer won't allow me the refuge of sleep). They think they are alone, in a quiet place and their conversations betray their desires. (As do girls going to the bathroom thinking that their shrill analyses are heard only by the walls.)
She says "Why doesn't he talk to me . ." I hear boys saying "She's hot but she'd never go for me."
BoobyGirl at work confessed to me the other day that she has a number of male friends to whom girls are particularly vitriolic. (She and her com padre's are 21-23) Maybe they don't fit the dress code, the look, or perhaps they're just a little off kilter with the flirtation. They're nice guys but when they start to chat a girl up, receive some really horrible recriminations. I mean really catty rebuttals. I was surprised, seriously, at how cruel some young women can be . . . It's not hard to say . . "No thank you" or make something up "Sorry, my boyfriend will be picking me up soon." or "Thanks for your offer but, right now I'm happy as I am . . " Let 'em down gently chicky babes!
Hey, my advice - Is that the sort of girl you want to take out anyway? One who tells you to take a hike or is rude? (Spoken by a woman who once told a man that she was 'busy' that night even though he hadn't even stipulated which night he'd like to take her out.)
So, how does a boy ask a girl out without the terrible pain of rejection. Frankly. I don't think it's possible. I guess they just have to bite the bullet and strike up a conversation . .yeh . . . remember that? Actually talk to each other and suss each other out without the full-on flirt or insinuation that the night might end up in the sack? She may say no . . and if she does . . move along, move right along. It's just a word. Yep, it's a totally shitty word. A crushing word. A bloody annoying word. But it's just a word. Get up, dust yourself off and move right along! Take it from a long time wallflower . . .it's no worse than not being asked out or being used to make your girlfriend jealous . . oh yeah! That's happened!
So, what are the ground rules for asking someone out. I don't mean picking up for casual sex or a quick pub pash before you go your separate ways. I mean for someone who would like a girlfriend, wants a relationship and of course all the good bits (and the bad bits) that come with it. How do you steel yourself for the approach, the pickup and the follow through. It's sort of sad that it has to be so preconceived, contrived . . there's something to be said for wielding a club, grabbing her by the hair and retreating to your cave!
I haven't got an answer for you paduans . .you'll have to make your own way.
Now I'm not a schmulzy romantic but this . . . is a love song . . . but then occasionally, very occasionally . . . I'm a little old fashioned. And, at the end of the day, isn't this what we all want.