How to ask men for dates

Kevin Cowherd

November 25, 1992|By Kevin Cowherd

I still remember with astonishing clarity the first time I asked a girl for a date.

This was during my sophomore year in high school, in the midst of an undistinguished academic career that seemed certain to lead to some sort of low-paying job at a fiber mill.

Despite my stunningly bland looks and a tendency to spray saliva when the conversation became animated, I somehow decided Debbie Meacham was dying to go out with me.

After all, I was on the basketball team. And Debbie was a senior member of the cheerleading squad.

True, she had no known history of associating with low-lifes, but that was a detail I preferred to overlook.

Anyway, when I approached her in school with some vague plan about the two of us getting together after Friday's basketball game, she seemed properly horrified.

"Um, I don't think so," she said.

I said: "If this is a bad time . . ."

"No, this is a good time," she said.

"Then maybe you'd consider . . ."

"I don't think so," she said, veering suddenly into a classroom.

Well. As I reeled down the hallway, all the usual thoughts went racing through my head: What kind of strychnine to slip into her food, what to do with the body, whether to bury it in a shallow grave or simply toss it in the underbrush and wait for it to discovered by some passer-by walking his dog, etc.

By the next day, I had bounced back emotionally and decided that poor Debbie was hopelessly confused.

Unfortunately, in the years that followed, I was to run into a succession of hopelessly confused girls (and, later, women) who felt that going out with me would be something less than a thrilling experience.

So I know all about rejection, is what I'm saying. I know all about the pain and humiliation that comes with asking someone out, only to have her RIP YOUR HEART OUT, THROW IT DOWN ON THE LINOLEUM AND STOMP ON IT WITH JACKBOOTS! Figuratively speaking, of course.

All this comes to mind because of a recent survey in which 75 percent of the women questioned said they wouldn't mind asking a man out on a date.

When I read this -- it was very late at night and everyone else in the house was asleep -- I had to stuff my fist in my mouth to keep from laughing out loud.

However, if you women are serious about asking men out on dates, let me give you a few tips:

* If we say we don't want to go out with you, it doesn't mean we don't like you. It just means we . . . well, we might be busy or something.

* For instance, we could be doing our hair that night. Or tying some fishing lures in the basement.

* Don't be a pest if we say no. Don't say: "Well, how about next weekend? Or the weekend after that?" We're trying to be gentle.

* Now let's say we agree to go out with you. It wouldn't kill you to hold the door, you know.

* Don't try anything funny on the first date, if you catch my drift. It makes us feel cheap. If you're moved to express affection, a soft punch to the shoulder will do.

* Not to beat this to death, but a firm handshake at the end of the evening is just fine with us, too.

* Just once could we do something besides dinner and a movie? Hey, it's the '90s! Show a little imagination, for God's sake!

* However, if we do go out to eat, don't be afraid to reach for the check. We won't chop your arm off with a hatchet, is what I'm saying.

* Do we always have to talk about you? your career, your hobbies, your dreams? Could we possibly talk about our interests? Like whether Marino can take the Dolphins to the Super Bowl?

* Speaking of movies, is there any chance of taking in a movie we might want to see? One that doesn't involve "relationships" or Meryl Streep weeping softly into a hankie or grainy close-ups of Kevin Costner's buns?

Would it kill you to take us to a Steven Seagal flick? Hey, if you don't like the part where he reaches into the bad guy's stomach and pulls out his pancreas, that would be a swell time to go for popcorn.

* This one's really important. When the evening comes to an end, don't say you're going to call if you're not going to call.

We don't want to sit by the phone all week, drumming our fingers on the coffee table and thinking: "She said she was gonna call . . . "

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