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Is this guy really confident, or a weirdo?
August 28, 2011 10:45 AM   Subscribe

I've been asked out by a complete stranger. I need some help deciding between being flattered and impressed by his confidence, or being suspicious and forgetting the whole thing.

During my commute Friday morning, I caught the eye of a fellow train passenger. I just thought it was one of those things, you notice someone and look a couple times. We both got off at the same stop, he out of the set of doors at the other end of the car. He ended up waiting for me a ways down the platform, and as I got close to him, he held out his hand, asked my name, introduced himself, and said he had noticed me and thought I was beautiful. We walked a ways, made a few sentences of small talk, and he said he would like to get together sometime and asked if we could exchange phone numbers or if he could give me his. I took his. He mentioned what part of town he was from (actually very close to where I live), and that if I wanted to, he'd like to see me again. He also said he'd gotten off at that stop just to be able to talk to me. I did see him turn around and get back on the next train right after we were done, so that was true.

He obviously didn't seem overtly weird or crazy, or else of course I wouldn't have given it a second thought, and wouldn't be asking for advice. : ) Apart from being a bit taken aback, I didn't get a 'creepy' vibe from him.

This has never happened to me before. Everyone else I've been out with I've met through work, or through mutual friends. They play it cool, find me on Facebook, we exchange a few emails, then they ask me out.

It is all very flattering, and I almost feel bad for being suspicious, but is there any advice about what it might mean that a guy is this forward? I wish there was a way to know if he is confident or a weirdo.

Would it be wiser/safer to forget about it, or would it be acceptable to say 'oh, what the heck?' and give it a try?
posted by kmnpdx to Human Relations (62 answers total) 16 users marked this as a favorite
 
Since you have his name (do you have the exact spelling ?) google the hell out of him.

If serious googling does not reveal any skeleton in his closet, why not go ahead.
posted by Baud at 10:50 AM on August 28, 2011 [9 favorites]


Meet him with some of your friends first.
posted by JohnnyGunn at 10:54 AM on August 28, 2011 [8 favorites]


I think it bodes well that he offered to give you his number. This is to make you feel comfortable and in control. After making contact he left instead of continuing to hang on -- also very considerate. I see little harm in meeting him for coffee in a public place.
posted by Houstonian at 10:55 AM on August 28, 2011 [39 favorites]


I agree that you should Google him, try to find him on Facebook. And take ownership of the situation. Don't be too pulled in by flattery. Feeling suspicious is perfectly called for, because that's your defense against a potential loony. If you do decide to get to know him better, let him know from the start what type of relationship you're looking for at this time so he doesn't get any false hopes or ideas. For example, I would advise you take it slow. Maybe even start by just emailing him or talking on the phone (if you email, use an email address created just for him).

If you decide to meet up, go to a public place, during the daytime (for example, a Saturday or Sunday). Don't go to his home or any isolated spots alone, especially not on the first date. Don't tell him where you live. Maybe even suggest that he join you with your friends the first couple of times.

The point is, slow things waaay down and let him know that you're not going to be a "quick fix", if you know what I mean. He's got to work to earn your trust over time. If he's worth something, he'll stick around.
posted by starpoint at 10:58 AM on August 28, 2011 [7 favorites]


Why not? Meet him in a public place for coffee, no commitment, and see where it goes. I'm sure you'll find out more about him that you can verify somehow (e.g., where he works, other google-able information). I don't see how this is any different than meeting someone in a bar, which people seem to do quite often without suspicion. If anything, this is probably better, due to the lack of dark lighting and alcohol involved.
posted by Fuego at 11:00 AM on August 28, 2011 [1 favorite]


If you're single and have some spare time to kill, why not go out with him? Make sure to meet in a nice public place, like a coffeeshop or popular bar. If you're really concerned about safety, ask one of your friends to text you halfway through the date. I know lotsa girls who do that.

Everyone you know was a stranger once...
posted by Afroblanco at 11:01 AM on August 28, 2011 [5 favorites]


starpoint's got it.

There's no reason not to go ahead and meet the guy as long as you're safe about it.
posted by TooFewShoes at 11:02 AM on August 28, 2011


but is there any advice about what it might mean that a guy is this forward?

Not sure I understand the question. How is it "forward" to approach someone you like? What would the option be, not doing anything or passing a note?
posted by Foci for Analysis at 11:03 AM on August 28, 2011 [1 favorite]


And of course you should check out his background as much as you can.
posted by Foci for Analysis at 11:05 AM on August 28, 2011


A public space during the day. Agree to meet for only coffee and only for an hour. Give him a call on a google voice number you can throw away after if need be.

Honestly, I don't see why this is any more risky than meeting someone anywhere else. It is certainly much less risky than "hey, why don't you come over to my apartment at 1AM for sex" which happens thousands of times every day.
posted by munchingzombie at 11:05 AM on August 28, 2011


Be flattered. This is great. Go out with him!

(This happened to me a few times in my early 20s...how I wish I'd gone out with those guys, instead of the vetted losers that were hanging around in my social circles! Also, that I didn't call probably discouraged them from trying something like that ever again, which is really unfortunate I think.)
posted by iamkimiam at 11:06 AM on August 28, 2011 [10 favorites]


It seems like you are interested in meeting him again (or why post this AskMe?), and based on your description it doesn't seem like he's a weirdo. Meet him for coffee in a public place and see if he actually has a personality.
posted by KokuRyu at 11:08 AM on August 28, 2011


and that if I wanted to, he'd like to see me again.

This is someone who, despite his confidence, is willing to acknowledge that you might not be interested him or comfortable with a complete stranger.

Its a good sign. Meet for coffee mid-day on the weekend.
posted by Ironmouth at 11:13 AM on August 28, 2011 [11 favorites]


Given how you've described it, I'm definitely in the "oh, what the heck, give it a try!" camp. I agree that a daytime coffee date in public is the right way to go.
posted by scody at 11:20 AM on August 28, 2011


This happened to my sister once. She was in NYC, at Grand Central Station I think, and this fellow hands her a card as she was stepping onto an escalator going down. Turns out, he'd spotted her shopping, thought she was lovely, and quickly ducked into a store and purchased the card to ask her out on a date. She fretted over it for a while; wasn't sure whether it was flattering or creepy, but finally decided to call the guy and meet up with him for coffee.

They've been married for about eight years. Be safe, but if this guy has a chance with you, take it.
posted by mthomps00 at 11:20 AM on August 28, 2011 [16 favorites]


This is how this used to work, you know. Before everything was done online. If you didn't meet someone through friends/family/work, you met because one stranger was courageous enough to speak to another.

He doesn't sound creepy to me. He didn't crowd you or pressure you or say rude things to you. He didn't seem creepy by your own definition, which is the important thing. If you liked him, then why not? Definitely go slow, start with email, meet in public places, etc.

As for what it means that a guy was "this forward"? I think it means there's hope for civilization! At least for those of us who don't run our entire lives through Facebook.
posted by DestinationUnknown at 11:24 AM on August 28, 2011 [31 favorites]


I had this happen to me once...he was nice guy who was in town temporarily for a military assignment...I invited him to a BBQ with my friends (so it would be safe and they could tell me if they got a creepy vibe) ...9/11 happened the next day so I never saw him again because he was a little busy, but my friends liked him and maybe if the country hadn't been attacked I would have seen him again..so yeah explain that you'd like him to come to something with your friends first
posted by bananafish at 11:33 AM on August 28, 2011 [3 favorites]


I would totally go on this date! Meet for coffee with all due precautions as you would for an online date or whatever, but go!

Report back, we totally wanna know :)
posted by DarlingBri at 11:42 AM on August 28, 2011 [2 favorites]


Absolutely meet up with him, you could be missing out on something great-these days it does need to be safety first though! As others have said, in a public place and probably to start with during the daytime somewhere you are familiar with. I would also avoid letting him know where you live the first time you meet up with him. Perhaps say you need to be somewhere afterwards so you've got a set time you need to leave-have a friend meet you or agree with a friend that you'll call them at that time when you're home safe. If you really want some peace of mind, maybe get a couple of friends to 'coincidentally' be sitting at another table in the same place.
posted by Mnky197 at 11:50 AM on August 28, 2011


I had this happen to me once. He didn't turn out to be a serial killer or anything but it was probably the worst date I ever had because I had no idea what his personality would be like or if we had any common interests-even on blind or internet arranged dates you usually have some idea. I think you should still go - just be aware of the higher than average potential the date sucking and have an escape plan.
posted by Jess the Mess at 11:51 AM on August 28, 2011


Why not? Go get a latte.

He didn't seem like a creeper and you didn't feel sketched out, so I really think you're overthinking this based on only previously being asked out by friends, friends of friends, and coworkers. Nothing here means that he's a weirdo, but obviously you should get together in public.
posted by J. Wilson at 11:52 AM on August 28, 2011 [1 favorite]


I'd say take the shot in a public place.

Slight safety note when you call him (in the US) dialing *67 will block your number from appearing in caller id on a call by call basis.
posted by bitdamaged at 11:59 AM on August 28, 2011 [1 favorite]


I have been hit on by a ton of weirdos on transit. The weirdos generally have ways of outing themselves as weirdos pretty early on (what's your ethnicity? what are you reading don't you hate black people, too? (seriously got that one once) you have an ass like woman...etc). Creepy, catcally, weird racial or political stuff, overly personal questions, etc. Based on your story, your guy does not sound like a weirdo.

Call him back, meet him during the daytime in a public place, make sure a friend knows you're going on the date so you can do a check-in call, and see how it goes.
posted by phunniemee at 12:00 PM on August 28, 2011


Feeling suspicious is perfectly called for, because that's your defense against a potential loony.

I'll be perfectly honest. People are NOT good at recognizing loonies. Not when they meet them for the first time, and not when they hae been living with them for 50 years.

I have done this with women in various cities. Only TWICE have women said "Sure, lets go out, but with my friends". Here is what I've gotten from that:

1. Thats great that you brought your friends along for the date. But to be honest, they were a liability because I saw how they acted/talked and I didn't want anything to do with the girl who hung out with people like that.

2. The girl had a REALLY hard time trying to connect with someone who was outside her circle. She brought along 4 friends (at which point, I promised myself I would never hang out with strangers again), and all they talked about was their exes. ALL of them. It was rather obvious they were trying to protect their circle or keep a new person out of it.

Also, for ALL the times I have done this, I never ended up raping or attacking the woman. I don't know why people are scared for safety when they are near a stranger in public.

Get out of your circle and meet some new people.
posted by hal_c_on at 12:04 PM on August 28, 2011 [5 favorites]


Arrange to meet for coffee, and arrange for your friends to go for coffee at the same place and time, on another table. You have some immediate backup if things go wrong, but some space if things go well.
posted by Solomon at 12:08 PM on August 28, 2011 [1 favorite]


You have some immediate backup if things go wrong, but some space if things go well.

Wait...what could potentially happen that your friends sitting 2 tables away would do something but others around the place would not?
posted by hal_c_on at 12:18 PM on August 28, 2011 [3 favorites]


Adding my vote to the "go for it" camp, along with the plea that you report back in and let us know how it goes!
posted by argonauta at 12:19 PM on August 28, 2011 [1 favorite]


This is like something out of a RomCom. It takes a lot of guts for someone to approach a total stranger, so he either really like you, or has no fear of rejection :)

I add my vote to "what the hell, go for it." But do keep your safety in mind. Don't go overboard -- just tell a friend where you're going and when, and have an agreed time for you to check in by.

Having friends at a nearby table could help in the sense that they would be able to tell if you were acting strangely, and more likely to act, whereas strangers wouldn't necessarily notice if something was amiss. (Like, if he says he's got a gun under the table and he'll shoot you if you scream.) So it's pretty unlikely that that's going to happen, but a little overpreparedness never hurts. However, if you hit it off with him, it might be uncomfortable having friends eavesdropping nearby -- especially if he meets them later and they seem familiar...

Oh yeah, and definitely Google the hell out of him.
posted by DoubleLune at 12:28 PM on August 28, 2011


Having friends at a nearby table could help in the sense that they would be able to tell if you were acting strangely

I'd definitely be acting strangely if I had to go on a date while my friends sat spying on me from two tables away! Safety is important, but I don't see this as any different from an internet date, a guy you meet at a party or bar, a friend-of-friend you don't personally know, etc. Of course if you bring back-up to every date, then sure...
posted by DestinationUnknown at 12:37 PM on August 28, 2011 [2 favorites]


This is how it was done in the days before the Internet. We called it "dating". It worked - as evidenced by the fact that all you young people (who are all over my lawn! Get off!) managed to get yourselves born. Give it a shot, he sounds pretty decent so far.
posted by MexicanYenta at 12:38 PM on August 28, 2011 [7 favorites]


(Like, if he says he's got a gun under the table and he'll shoot you if you scream.)

This poor girl is never going to meet anyone new ever again.


Sorry I'm a writer and I have an overactive imagination
In all reality, this guy is probably totally cool and has a decent level of self-confidence.
posted by DoubleLune at 12:41 PM on August 28, 2011


Because of his courage I'd say it's more likely you've met someone who would be an asset in a dangerous situation than someone who is dangerous. However, you can't be sure so just don't go somewhere private until you know him better.
posted by michaelh at 12:57 PM on August 28, 2011


My 19-year-old son: Guys are always telling me they can't meet girls. WTF? There are girls *everywhere*, man!
Me: So you hit on girls, everywhere? Girls who are minding their own business? Girls who are just trying to do their jobs?
My son: Well... yeah. I'm not a jerk about it, so the girl is a little bit flattered and I've livened up somebody's day, and maybe I get a date. I always ask them to friend me on Facebook, so they can see who I am, and ask them to a party, something fun with other people, so they know I'm not some creeper.

I think this is good. If you have a way, like Facebook, to find out who this guy is, and he seems nice and normal, why not?
posted by pH Indicating Socks at 1:06 PM on August 28, 2011


Meet him! In public! But meet him!
posted by smorange at 1:06 PM on August 28, 2011 [1 favorite]


Meet him in public, at either starbucks or anywhere with lots of people. I would advise against going with friends if possible as it is really difficult for a male to try to impress you and others who he doesnt know as well. You can have friends close by if need be or have them pick you up from the date.
posted by The1andonly at 1:12 PM on August 28, 2011


Yeah, I think this sounds totally fine unless there's something you're not telling us. I would tell a friend where you'll be and give them the name of who you're with, but you should do that on any kind of date in my opinion, just to be safe.

Like phunniemee said, I've been hit on a lot by weirdos and this doesn't seem to match those incidents. I did have one normal seeming guy who asked me out on the subway similar to the way you describe, and I gave him my number and he just never called. But that can happen anywhere, too.
posted by sweetkid at 1:17 PM on August 28, 2011


Do it! Meet for coffee, and if you can, meet for coffee at a place not near your house or work. Extra safe, in case, but I don't think you have to worry too much. I have colleagues who meet students at coffeehouses out of the way from their residences for the same reasons. So it is not a big deal.
posted by oflinkey at 1:21 PM on August 28, 2011


Dude, wouldn't this make a great story to tell your kids? (No pressure, of course!) Have fun and do report back!
posted by estlin at 1:32 PM on August 28, 2011


Thinking he has no fear of rejection is almost certainly incorrect; think rather that he's got the jam to say to himself "Hey, she's darling, I've *got* to say hi to her, screw fear." and walk on over to you and say hello.

Faint heart ne'er won fair damsel.

I've been in his shoes, it was difficult as hell but I taught myself to do it. (Life is short. Probably you have nice legs.) If this is the case with this guy I like him for it and I like your situation -- you really caught his eye, he really wants to get to know you, enough to face himself down.

It could be that he is just utterly confident which I also like but like less, as it doesn't say as much to me about him really wanting *you* as opposed to just seeing a pretty flower and reaching to pick it as he's done before, ho hum, no big deal, yawn yawn.

You don't want to be with someone who's yawning, you want to be with someone with a heart that's pounding hard yet still walked up and looked you dead in the eye. Or at least that's what I'd want for you.

Either go on your own or blow it off totally -- this whole thing with friends, it makes it impossible for everybody, a horror show for him. It totally sucks. It's not fair; he's not just trying to have fun with a darling woman on a Saturday afternoon, he's now on stage, or, rather, on trial. Do him a favor and don't call him.

Last. Be open to him. And don't think this has got to be perfect; unless he's totally beyond the pale, give this a shot. He's better in some ways than the clown who safely dates you six months after contacting you on some horses-ass web page through your cousin Myrtle, who smells funny anyhow, what's she know? I'm not saying to run into anything -- walk slow, drink water, etc and etc. Just be open to having some fun, is all, and smile if you do, maybe reach out and touch his arm, and know he's going to be thinking of you all night.
posted by dancestoblue at 1:32 PM on August 28, 2011 [10 favorites]


The short answer: this seems fine. Grab coffee sometime. This isn't that different than a few exchanges over an online dating site or having chatted someone up at a bar and made plans for later. That said, I disagree with two of the things people have said here:

This is how this used to work, you know. Before everything was done online. If you didn't meet someone through friends/family/work, you met because one stranger was courageous enough to speak to another.

No, that's not how it worked. How it used to work is that everyone had highly-overlapping social circles, and you would meet people that way. Even a "stranger" was actually someone who people in your social circle had at least a passing acquaintance with through friends of friends.

I don't know why people are scared for safety when they are near a stranger in public.

Because, generally, it's only the dangerous who are willing to push past social norms to get what they want, and someone who does something like this to you has probably done it to lots of other people.

The reason there's sort of an unspoken rule not to chat up strangers at random to make social connections is because in a city, if everyone did that, we'd never have any time to ourselves. We respect each other's personal space and privacy, and people who don't do that are immediately held in suspect.

There weren't any red flags raised by this guy, from what you describe, but there's a reason this is out-of-the-ordinary. And it's not just fear for one's safety people are worried about, it's that these sorts of situations bring to mind this guy.
posted by deanc at 1:35 PM on August 28, 2011


This poor girl is never going to meet anyone new ever again.

Haha. Well, DoubleLune, it's actually the guys who come on to me the 'usual' way that have been putting me off from meeting new people. ;) Which is why this is kind of exciting.


This is how it was done in the days before the Internet. We called it "dating".

Day-teeng? :) Seriously though, that's probably why I'm a little thrown off by this. I have done most of my dating in the facebook era, so someone going about it the old-fashioned way is different, but if I think about it, very intriguing.

I certainly agree with everyone's idea to meet for a short, daytime visit, no need to bring friends. I'd just be sure to make it short and sweet. After reading all this, I'm thinking I will probably get in touch with him.

I am really appreciating all the helpful and fun answers. (I've been reading AskMeFi for a while but this is my first post.) Thank you!
posted by kmnpdx at 1:43 PM on August 28, 2011


No, that's not how it worked. How it used to work is that everyone had highly-overlapping social circles, and you would meet people that way. Even a "stranger" was actually someone who people in your social circle had at least a passing acquaintance with through friends of friends.

Probably in small towns, where everyone and their family had lived for generations, yes. But in large cities in the days when my parents were young and dating, and they and their friends had mostly moved (alone) to those cities from other countries or states, this is exactly how it worked. My mom always tells me the story of her Indian friend in New York, who married a charming English guy who'd complimented her shoes on the subway. She told my mom to always wear pretty shoes on the subway for just that purpose.
posted by DestinationUnknown at 1:45 PM on August 28, 2011 [2 favorites]


Awww. This is charming and makes me think of one of those "missed connections" on Craigslist that are so much fun to read, except that in this case the connection was made. One thing, though: while everyone's advice to google him intensively is right on the mark, keep in mind that he can very well do the same for you. If you haven't given him your last name yet, hold off, and try not to give out too much information until you know he's trustworthy. Keep your personal ID information (driver's license, credit card, etc.) with you at all times. He might not be a creepy stalker, but he could still be a charming con man. Chances are that he is not, but it's not a bad idea to be a little paranoid at first.

Your question brought back a pleasant memory of a similar experience I had in grad school. I was in my early thirties and leaving campus after teaching a writing class, dressed to the nines in a wool coatdress and heels on an early spring day, and was approached by a guy who seemed at least a few years younger than me, very shy and studious-looking, who told me he thought I was very beautiful and would I like to get a cup of coffee? I was a bit taken aback and explained that I was married, but thanked him and told him I was extremely flattered by his interest. Rather abashed, he said merely, "Well, it's true," and walked away. It was nice to know, after ten years of marriage, that I'd still got it.
posted by tully_monster at 2:17 PM on August 28, 2011


As long as you proceed with caution (meet somewhere public first, don't give him too much information about yourself until you feel more comfortable), go ahead.

And hal_c_on: I suggest perusing the "Hi, Whatcha Reading" thread again.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 2:23 PM on August 28, 2011 [1 favorite]


Well, things worked out for this couple. Who knows where a date with this man might lead?
posted by essexjan at 2:25 PM on August 28, 2011


hal_c_on said: "Wait...what could potentially happen that your friends sitting 2 tables away would do something but others around the place would not"

Walk the OP home, maybe. It's not so much what happens where there are lots of other people, but what happens if the date goes sour and the OP has to leave on their own for some reason.
posted by Solomon at 2:42 PM on August 28, 2011


Has a guy ever come up to you at a bar? Or a club? Those are all things that (as far as I've been told) seem to happen a lot. (Not that I'm saying I pick up girls at a bar or club.) I don't see how the subway is any different. What if it were at a meetup group? Or a singles mixer/speed dating event?

No matter how you slice any of those things, it's random strangers meeting each other, feeling mutually attracted to one another and potentially seeing if they like each other more over time.

Or do you worry and fret that every person you meet (professionally, platonically and romantically) is crazy and out to get you?
posted by Brian Puccio at 3:15 PM on August 28, 2011


Or do you worry and fret that every person you meet (professionally, platonically and romantically) is crazy and out to get you?

You, sir, do not sound like someone who has had random men on the street whisper "I want to taste your pussy" at you. Life is different when you are a lady-type, as as been discussed at length here on mefi before.

OP, it is totally normal and OK to be cautious, and I definitely understand your motivations for asking the question. You've gotten some good answers, and it sounds like you have a sensible plan if/when you meet up with the guy. I hope everything goes well!
posted by phunniemee at 3:31 PM on August 28, 2011 [4 favorites]


Everyone else seems to have the question of what you should do covered: this isn't riskier than any OkCupid-mediated date, so go for it!

But to answer your question about what the guy's super-confident behavior could mean: It sounds to me like he might have pick-up training.

I got asked out in public by a stranger just like this once. It turned out he was a pick-up artist who worked as a dating coach. I ended up dating him for a year and learned a lot about pick-up. A lot of people have a lot of hate for the PUA types, and I totally get that; there are some really poisonous dudes in the pick-up community, and their outrageously arrogant sexism has a certain appeal to the more spineless elements of the group and also attracts the most attention from outsiders. If you'd just been picked up by one of those losers, you'd know it.

However, I think the majority of the guys who take some classes or workshops in pick-up are actually pretty normal. They skew a bit geeky, slight below-average in attractiveness, and often have low self-confidence or weak social skills. They're the types of guys who sit down and look at their life and say "Huh, mostly things are going pretty well for me, but I never have any luck with women. How can I fix this problem?" Taking pick-up lessons, then, is a proactive way of working on a weakness they've identified in themselves. That's a good sign! Also, the majority of the guys I met who were taking pick-up classes truly just wanted to find a girlfriend -- the "pick-up" part doesn't necessarily mean that they're looking to take a different woman home from the bar every night. In particular, there's a distinction between "day game" and "night game", and the guys who are looking for something serious are much more likely to be playing a day game like you (maybe) encountered, while the douchebag types are more into the night game.

Of course, pick-up classes basically teach specific skills that can be used to imitate guys who are truly self-confident, so it's possible that you've actually been picked up by a truly self-confident guy. But you seem so boggled by that idea that I thought I'd suggest another perfectly plausible explanation for this guy's behavior. Now that I know what to look for, I recognize that I get hit on by a pick-up-trained guy maybe once every two or three months. So it's not really all that rare!
posted by ootandaboot at 3:32 PM on August 28, 2011 [4 favorites]


I guess I will be a minority naysayer and deem this one not worth your time. I'm all for people meeting cute, but in this case, the guy didn't even make any conversation with you at all, so you have no clue if there's anything there. Quite likely he hits on any girl he thinks is mildly cute and doesn't have much more to offer than that. But hey, there is really no downside to meeting up with him once, so go for it.
posted by yarly at 3:55 PM on August 28, 2011 [3 favorites]


I personally am not in the "love at first sight" camp at all so I think it's weird to determine that someone is worth dating solely by their appearance. That's the only thing that really makes me wonder about this.

But as long as you take a couple of precautions (for example, probably best to avoid drinking alcohol (or at least, sticking to only 1-2 drinks) on the first date, I think it should be fine.

As always with AskMe's like this one, an update would be welcome.
posted by Deathalicious at 6:12 PM on August 28, 2011


You know those "missed connections" sections in the back of the dating ads in newspapers - you know, before Craig's List? Yeah - he totally avoided have to take one of those out. Bully for him and for you. Take advantage of it. Bring a cell phone and have a wing man/woman nearby who you can text to come rescue you if need be by being the surprise friend who shows up. (I mention this because when I met Mrs. Plinth, I fucked up and didn't ask her out or give her my number but instead had to rely on the hostess of the event. Phew.
posted by plinth at 7:27 PM on August 28, 2011


Be thankful he didn't ask you out like this.
posted by Wet Spot at 8:06 PM on August 28, 2011 [1 favorite]


Has a guy ever come up to you at a bar? Or a club? Those are all things that (as far as I've been told) seem to happen a lot. (Not that I'm saying I pick up girls at a bar or club.) I don't see how the subway is any different. What if it were at a meetup group? Or a singles mixer/speed dating event?

The difference is: bars, clubs, meetups, and singles events are all places where it's common and very socially acceptable for a man to walk up to a total stranger and ask her out. This is not commonly done on the subway; the subway is a transportation venue, not a social venue. That's why the OP is suspicious of the man's intentions.
posted by whitelily at 9:00 PM on August 28, 2011 [1 favorite]


As per most in thread: give it a shot, somewhere public or with friends. Friends can be a great litmus test for bringing out other personality traits in someone fairly early.

I did this - in a shopping centre carpark. I'm not that confident, or crazy, I just decided to give it a shot because I'd been single a while and the girl was absolutely radiant / gorgeous.

Things are going well, and none of it was really a reflection / determinant for how it's gone so far. I'd definitely do it again if I was in the same situation, or if the situation was reversed.

None of this however determines if he's going to turn out ok or not though =P
posted by bbtomo at 10:06 PM on August 28, 2011


I picked up a girl in the subway once. We dated for four years.
posted by Ironmouth at 11:53 PM on August 28, 2011 [1 favorite]


Go for it :) Life's short and as long as you meet in public, you have a contingency plan (friends nearby, escape plan, etc), you'll be OK. I echo some others here who suggested a throwaway phone number, just in case.

I hope the get-together goes well; keep us posted! ;)
posted by dubious_dude at 12:32 AM on August 29, 2011


I picked up a girl in the subway once. We dated for four years.
posted by Ironmouth at 11:53 PM on August 28 [1 favorite +] [!]


Yeah, but I bet you had a bit of conversation before you asked her out -- like more of a mutual thing than a one-sided pickup, like this story?

Just as a data point, the one male friend I have who routinely approaches and indiscriminately asks women out in public places based only on their appearance is pretty weird -- in fact, he can be a borderline stalker in some situations. Not that he's not a good guy; it's just that his filter is pretty much limited to CUTE GIRL MUST GET NUMBER, and he is quite, erm, intense about pursuing his interests once they show the least bit of reciprocation. Who knows, maybe the OP's feller is not like this. But she should realize there's a big chance he's an indiscriminate picker-upper, and should be cautious about how she interacts with him until she gets a sense of what he's about.
posted by yarly at 7:05 AM on August 29, 2011 [1 favorite]


Just jumping in to concur with everyone else here! Go have coffee with the guy (in a public place, but not with your friends).

I'd tell you to be careful, but it already looks like you're doing that. Obviously, you'll want to be careful about what you reveal about yourself, although this is generally a good rule to follow in any case.

In my experience, most of the sketchy/creepy relationships that I know of spawned through mutual friendships, which causes people to let down their guard and also makes them feel guilty about rejecting or breaking up with the other person. Weirdly enough, you may be better off (carefully) dating a complete stranger.

Also, keeping your "universes" separate is a pretty nice insurance policy, in the event that your relationship goes sour. (I'm pretty sure there was an episode of Seinfeld about this?)
posted by schmod at 8:15 AM on August 29, 2011


The last time I was in NYC, late, late at night, I got picked up by a cute guy with a British accent in the subway whose Japanese t-shirt I was trying to read from afar. We didn't talk long, but he didn't set off any creep alarms, so, because I was on vacation, and thus feeling more bold than normal, I gave him my number when he asked.

He called the next day, we visited for a while and I confirmed that if indeed he was a creep, he did a very good impression of a sweet, earnest person who was having a hard time meeting nice people after having recently moved to NYC from London. We went out for a great dinner, talked about Britpop until the wee hours, even though he had to work the next day, and we still keep in touch. It was super fun.

If you trust your creep-meter and it's not going off and it's still quiet after you talk to him again, I would go for it, even if it's a different date-sourcing method for you.
posted by *s at 10:21 AM on August 29, 2011


This happened to me too, years ago. The guy followed me off a bus - he'd seen me reading a thick book and assumed it was a bible. He was massively disappointed that it wasn't a bible (it was the collected works of Saki), but I went out with him anyway because I thought he was cute.

Fast forward a couple months - we're kinda sorta dating, but he's still annoyed that I'm not a Christian, and I'm irritated that he doesn't believe in evolution. (Or read Saki...) We had nothing in common. And even making out didn't go anywhere, since pre-marital sex was out for him. Turned out to be a big snooze. And actually he was creepy - but not dangerous.

I was reading a novel called Satan once on a bus, and boy did I get interrupted. People assumed the book was non-fiction. One gent started lecturing me about Zoroastrianism, and a couple kids thought I really was Buffy the Vampire Slayer. Note to self: book covers on the bus next time!
posted by cartoonella at 10:34 AM on August 29, 2011 [1 favorite]


I'm normally totally against guys picking gals up on public transportation, having had it done super-skeevily to me in the past. But I also recognize that sometimes there's an instant attraction that is so compelling that you just can't ignore it, and so there's a protocol for it; don't do it on the train, leave immediately afterwards, give her information instead of asking her to give it to you, and leave the ball in her court.

He did everything right, here. That puts about a hundred points in the non-creepy court, and one in the really-super-extra-crispy-bucket-of-creepy court. If you're so inclined, I'd call him and do the weekend midday coffee thing, and arrange a couple of checkpoints -- you have to text a friend by X time or she'll call you, or have friends at the same restaurant but on the other side of the room, or whatever. If he does find out about your failsafe, he won't mind if he's a decent guy.

Also, consider avoiding leaving the length of it open-ended. Tell him you have someplace you need to be in the near future, like if you meet him for coffee at two, you have to go get your hair cut at 3:30 or whatever. This gives you a firm out if things go weird or even just kind of softly disappointing during the date.

But really, go for it. Sometimes that kind of instant attraction is the clue to something deeper.
posted by KathrynT at 11:44 AM on August 29, 2011 [1 favorite]


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