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Are You Really On A Date?

How to tell if you are having a romantic rendezvous or just hanging out

Some women are very hard to read. I know: understatement of the century. But one of the more puzzling features of modern dating is figuring out if you are actually on a date—that is, a rendezvous meant to signal romantic interest, sexual curiosity, and a possible relationship.

Things can be even more confusing if the girl you want to see gives you every hint, indication, and sign that she is into you. She may have been forward in giving you her number; perhaps even suggested that the two of you get together. She may have flirted with you exclusively during the period of time the two of you first met. The departing hug or peck on the cheek may have gone beyond the casual and careless. She may have followed all this up with suggestive text messages (not necessarily sexual or explicit, but a bit more than friendly).

Yet, you can’t help feeling that something is not quite right. If your dating-world-bullshit antenna is anywhere as attuned as it ought to be, you should know that something is not as it should be.

Don’t make a mug of yourself. Know when you are not on an actual date. Here are the signs:

She dresses down—really down

One of the advantages of being clear and unambiguous about your intentions is that it gives the woman you’re after a chance to respond. If she knows or thinks you want something more than friendship, her first response to you will be the way she dresses when the two of you meet for a meal.

If she dresses down, to the point of frumpiness, that is a signal that you are not on a date. Big nerdy glasses, pulled up hair, worn down jeans, a baggy sweater with backpack and flat shoes constitute the clearest possible indication that she does not consider the two of you to be out on a date.

She is cavalier about ignoring you

Checking text messages at periodic intervals has become an acceptable custom. Both of you will do it when either one of you is in the restroom. But if she checks her phone and sends messages constantly during the meal, excusing herself politely before doing so, be assured that you are not on a date. A woman who is really into you will give you her full attention.

She has little or no alcohol

It may seem like a minor thing, but it is worth paying attention to. Dates are stressful. A woman who is on a date is worried about making a good impression. Alcohol helps take the edge off. If she orders drinks or agrees to share a bottle with you, it means she wants to loosen up enough to enjoy the date and be enjoyable on it.

She doesn’t order a proper meal

Food is also important. The myth that women eat light out of fear that the man they want to impress will think them piggish is nonsense. A woman who is really into a man understands the importance of being wined and dined, taken out and treated. It makes a man feel like a man when he can spend money on his lady.

Women know this; and the woman who accepts the outing she is on as a date will order a proper meal so as to signal this understanding to the man she’s with. A woman who does not believe she is on a date will order soup, salad, or a light snack.

She schedules you between events

Finally, a woman who is romantically interested will leave the entire evening free for the person they are going out with. If you feel you that you have been penciled in between more important activities, then you are probably not on a date. If the dinner date is arranged for early in the evening and first thing she tells you when the two of you sit down is that she must be somewhere later on, then you are not on a date.

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About Christopher Reid Chris was born in Washington, D.C. and lives in Britain. He works as a blogger, essayist, and novelist. His first book, Tea with Maureen, has just been published.

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