Dear Bitter Amanda,
I'm in need of some guidelines. How do I tell if I'm on a date or not? Is there a checklist you could provide me with? I'm trying to figure out if people just enjoy buying me beer lately or if there is something else going on here.
Not Opposed to Free Beer, Just Curious
Dear Jessica Fletcher,
"Is this a date?" is truly one of the most enigmatic issues plaguing the minds of single women. (At least, all the single women I know. FYI, this number is decreasing at an alarming pace.) If you find yourself in this situation, take our your mental magnifying glass and Sherlock pipe, because you are trying to solve a mystery. But what are the clues you're looking for? I'll try for a comprehensive list, ladies.
Bitter Amanda's Guide to "Is This a Date?"**
1. Did he pick you up? (N/A if your area favors public transportation)
2. Does he smell nice? (If he's a friend, does he smell BETTER than usual?)
3. Did he bring you a trinket of some sort? (flowers, etc.)
4. Does he open your car door for you or hold other doors?
5. Does he pay?
5a. If you offer to pay, does he still pay?
6. If you're somewhere with a bar, does he go to fetch your drinks?
7. Have there been any compliments?
8. Are you both engaged in the conversation?
9. If things seemed to go well, does he suggest seeing each other again?
9a. In conversation, does he ever drop comments about doing something in the future?
10. This one is tricky, since it's not specific. It's hugely important, though. Are you getting a general vibe of attentiveness from your companion?
If you said yes to most of these, it's probably a date. If you said no, then either he does not consider it a date, or you're having a really bad date.
Clear Signs You're NOT On a Date (Or Having a Really Really Bad Date and Should Sneak Out ASAP.)
1. He answers phone calls and texts that aren't important or time-sensitive. (See: "Hey man, what's up?")
2. He openly ogles or flirts with your waitress or other women nearby.
3. He talks about other women.
4. He is totally uninterested in you.
5. Your conversation is basically you asking him questions about himself because he isn't actively participating.
6. You'd very much like to drive a fork into your eye or fake a heart attack for an excuse to go home. This is also why it's wise, ladies, to have a friend ready to call you at a certain time, in case you need to fake an emergency. In the case of blind dates, have several appointed times. For internet dates who come without the personal endorsement of someone you trust, double security measures and have a couple calls, texts at regular intervals, and a friend on standby to come get you. However, you should have driven yourself if at all possible. Kids, this is how people end up on the news.
Things change slightly if you're with someone you are already friends with. In this case, you've got a good opportunity to compare his normal behavior to his behavior on your Is This a Date? outing. Lucky you, you can also compare and contrast his grooming and wardrobe for further hints. I have also left out anything about him getting fresh with you. These are not necessarily helpful. I've had great first dates where the gentleman did not attempt to kiss me, and I've kissed gentlemen whom I was not dating. It's something you should analyze on a case-by-case basis, keeping in mind you and the boy. I can't include it on my checklist, or I'd have to re-evaluate all my past dates. I don't have time for that. It is, mind you, a great Date Signal if there is physical contact, no matter how subtle it may be. (Consider that Bonus Item #11, courtesy of Mellow Matt, who was rather helpful in providing a male perspective.)
Hope this helps!
PS--If you're still confused, check his twitter when you get home. Clues!
**If your companion is a man.