Monday, June 18, 2012

Indirect Flirtations

Okay, so this may surprise no one, but I have no idea how to date.

So, let's acknowledge, from the start, that there's this boy. I like him. A lot. Like, a lot. And I really want to date him. I have no idea if it would actually work out, but I really want the opportunity to try, because I think a relationship with him has potential. He's gorgeous, tall, and a literary nerd just like me. He's witty in the same sarcastic way I am, and we make each other laugh. Am I interested? Just a bit, yeah.

The problem is what I do about it now. In a normal situation, I would attack on multiple fronts, approaching both directly and indirectly. The direct approach is clear enough, and is the one manner that has existed (I think) forever in the history of romantic relationships. This includes any communication/contact that is intentional and straightforward - phone calls, emails, texting, IMing, etc. If you see each other somewhere, like an event you're both attending, or at work (if you work together), the direct approach means actually having a face-to-face conversation. It's certainly a good way to go about starting a relationship, since once you're IN a relationship, most, if not all, of your contact should be direct with each other.

The indirect approach is something that, in most of its incarnations, has only existed for the past 10-15 years or so. Given that 15 years ago I was at prime starting-to-date age (15 years old), it makes sense that pretty much all of my dating life has included both the direct and indirect approaches. The indirect approach is a subtle, almost passive-aggressive way to reach out to the object of your affections, and it mainly revolves around social media. Putting a status message on Facebook, putting an away message on AIM, posting to Twitter, uploading photos of yourself looking as amazing as possible - all of these things are ways to remind your crush of your existence and grab his attention without having to admit that you are actively TRYING to remind him of your existence and grab his attention. It's a way to keep him thinking about you without calling attention to the fact that you want him to think about you.

Here are some examples of how I might have been doing this over the last couple weeks:

Status: "Finally finished all my grading! Now I am free to actually enjoy my summer. Who wants to hang out?"

Status: "Had a great birthday dinner last night! Thanks, friends - I felt so loved!"
Attached picture:

Status: "Enjoying my summer reading so far. Yes, I am a literary nerd. Any book recommendations for me?"

Status: "Disneyland is so fun - definitely the best place to celebrate a birthday. :)"
Attached picture: 

So you see how it works, yes? Seems clever, yes? Seems like a great way to work your way into someone's heart, yeah? But there's a problem:


This guy? He's living in the past. He does (I think) have a cell phone, but it's an old one - no smart phones here. He has email, but he uses a client that I swear no reasonable person has used since the 1990's. He does not have Facebook. Or Twitter. Or any kind of messaging system.

There is one other way to play the "indirect" game, and that is making your presence physically known. Show up places where you'll run into him and make sure you look FABULOUS. When I've had crushes on guys at work, this is a great tactic, because I see them pretty much every day - all I have to do is place myself in viewing range. When I've had crushes on people in the dance community, I make sure to doll myself up and attend plenty of dance events where we'll happen to pass by on the dance floor. Crushing on a guy at church? Look as fine as possible every Sunday. But there's a problem with this too:


This guy? I have no reason to see him unless we actively arrange to see each other. Not anymore. This strategy worked for a while, but a couple weeks ago was the last excuse I was going to have to just "bump into" him. I made great use of it, and we got a coffee date out of it, but now we're in another lull, and I'm stumped as to how to get out of it. Short of asking him outright, "Why did you stop replying to emails?" I have no way to regain his attention. And I have no idea what to do about it.

As it turns out, I don't know how to go about relationships without access to both direct AND indirect contact. With direct contact alone I feel desperate and demanding; I can't get his attention without grabbing it with both hands, and that feels like, well, it lacks a little in the subtlety department.

Sigh. No clue what to do. Help?


fjd said...

Could you ask him if he wants to go to an interesting place appealing to your shared nerd interests? (In elder days of wonder now lost to man, such a request made from one person to a second person, usually using a mutually understood system of precisely shaped acoustic signals, was called "asking someone out". Those quaint ancients!) Examples: a Shakespeare festival (I'm just supposing); a cool used bookstore, a dance event (though I suspect that is not a shared interest); a play; a musical; a concert; a museum (art, tech); a walk in the Presidio and across the GG Bridge; a tour of campus and its best sites such as Hoover Tower and Cantor; a book reading and signing.

Mrs. Chili said...

Go direct! I mean, don't run over the poor boy with a truck, but take the initiative and ask for a coffee date (something that can be short, just in case, but that can extend out to dinner, just in case).

You can totally do this.

Profesora de espaƱol said...

You're going to have to go direct. Guys are terrible at picking up on subtlety (especially guys who aren't tuned into social media).

Still Jill B said...

Yep, direct. It seems risky and scary, but otherwise you definitely risk missing out. And it may be super-great. But only if you try it. You said it yourself - you won't see him or talk to him unless you're direct. (and he may have stopped emailing because there are a bajillion legitimate reasons he doesn't have access or chooses not to access).

Clair said...

Be direct. Too much can get lost/misinterpreted in the indirect approach. And being direct leaves both of you with a clear understanding of what you want. GOOD LUCK!

Anonymous said...

I'm so glad you're back! I love the redesign too! Also--YES. DIRECT. Boys are, well, dense. The status reports and photos you post will NEVER EVER EVER make a boy think they are directed at him ever. You have to ask him out, because sitting around and waiting while you craft delicately worded status updates will not work on Dense Boys. : ) --Terry

BetteJo said...

Don't know why it's worked out that way but I've almost always been the "asker". Just do it!