No Casanova am I
April 28, 2009 7:12 AM   Subscribe

What is the appropriate flirty answer to "Do you believe in fate?"

Many moons ago, I was on a date (first or second, depending on counting schemata) and, as we stood on a hill watching the lights of the city, the young lady in question asked me "Do you believe in fate?"

I blanked, then said something so literal and inconsequential that my memory has mercifully erased it and, a little later, we wandered back down the path.

A date or two later I kissed her already, we spent a month or two as a not-quite couple and then parted amicably, so no worries there. However, I still can't for the life of me think what I should have said. It couldn't have been too forward, as I hadn't yet had any clear signs that a smooch was wanted, but on the other hand I feel this was an unambiguous invitation to say something leading or otherwise seductive. (I know I should have asked her when we were together, but we've since lost touch.)

So... what would have been a perfect response? Short, long, funny, romantic, sexy, show me how it's done!
posted by Busy Old Fool to Human Relations (54 answers total) 7 users marked this as a favorite
 
Smile and say "no, just luck"
posted by fearnothing at 7:13 AM on April 28, 2009 [13 favorites]


"I met you, didn't I?"
posted by idb at 7:18 AM on April 28, 2009 [3 favorites]


"You'll have to wait and see, I guess."
posted by rev- at 7:19 AM on April 28, 2009


No, but it was meant to be that way.
posted by FauxScot at 7:20 AM on April 28, 2009 [4 favorites]


There is special providence in
the fall of a sparrow. If it be now, 'tis not to come; if it be not to
come, it will be now; if it be not now, yet it will come—the
readiness is all.

This only works for girls who dig on the Bard, and will mark you forever as a geek. You will have to decide where the eyebrows should waggle.
posted by LucretiusJones at 7:22 AM on April 28, 2009 [1 favorite]


"I believe in Darwin and survival of the sexiest"
posted by KokuRyu at 7:25 AM on April 28, 2009 [20 favorites]


(Cheese alert)...

"Not until now."
posted by BadMiker at 7:27 AM on April 28, 2009


So... what would have been a perfect response?

Define perfect response and then realize it varies from person to person.

Then realize that by not having the perfect responses are best when you're being you. If a lover tells you that something you did or said was the perfect response and you don't remember doing it or saying it, that's a good sign, because it means you're naturally meshing as opposed to trying to come up with some line.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 7:33 AM on April 28, 2009 [1 favorite]


"We're here, aren't we?"
posted by fire&wings at 7:34 AM on April 28, 2009


"No. You're pretty."

This only works on people who don't believe in fate.
posted by teraspawn at 7:37 AM on April 28, 2009 [3 favorites]


Enigmatic smile, followed by kiss.
posted by desuetude at 7:38 AM on April 28, 2009 [1 favorite]


"Isn't it lovely to think so?"
posted by arco at 7:40 AM on April 28, 2009 [4 favorites]


When it comes to you and me, yes.
posted by Ironmouth at 7:42 AM on April 28, 2009


"Do you believe in fate?"

Yes. I'm fated to live a full, healthy, and wonderful life.

-or-

No, I choose my own beliefs.
posted by chrisinseoul at 7:43 AM on April 28, 2009


Brandon is right, but far too innocent about the "naturalness" of moments like these. It's useful to think about this kind of thing ahead of time, because sadly whether we like it or not the truth is No, fate doesnt exist, and you can break a situation one way or the other with the right word at the right time. You can hope to get lucky, or you can condition your own responses and get better at thinking on your feet.

That said, I would have simply gone with:

"Maybe."

Followed by a kiss.
posted by Potomac Avenue at 7:47 AM on April 28, 2009 [2 favorites]


"I believe in me having sex with you right now."
posted by xmutex at 7:49 AM on April 28, 2009 [3 favorites]


"Of course, though I have to admit I preferred Tootie and Blair."

(Oh yeah, I was a real winner with the ladies.)
posted by bondcliff at 7:50 AM on April 28, 2009 [1 favorite]


"No. What do I look like, an idiot?"
posted by box at 7:53 AM on April 28, 2009 [2 favorites]


'Yes, although looking at my life to date, it's become increasingly obvious that Fate does not believe in me.'

Ladies, I am single BTW.
posted by permafrost at 7:54 AM on April 28, 2009 [3 favorites]


"Oh, jeez, I'm an idiot."
posted by box at 7:55 AM on April 28, 2009


xmutex, are you stealing my playbook?
posted by stratastar at 7:56 AM on April 28, 2009


"I am a nihilist -- I believe in nothing " in a thick German-esque accent.
posted by _Skull_ at 8:01 AM on April 28, 2009 [2 favorites]


It's useful to think about this kind of thing ahead of time,

Then you spend your time thinking about moments ahead of time and trying to find the perfect thing to say, rather than being in the moment.

"Maybe."

Followed by a kiss.


That works great, unless the person really wants to talk at that moment and then kiss, so you've just screwed things up.

I'm guessing the original poster mean perfect response in the sense of responding so that the two people "have a moment" where what's inside a person is validated by outside agreement or knowledge from another person, usually expressed verbally. Then for a few seconds or maybe a minute or two, the world seems larger than just you and this shell you're trapped in, suddenly you not only know, but feel as though you're not alone.

These moments work best when they're not rehearsed.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 8:09 AM on April 28, 2009


"Doesn't matter. Fate believes in us."

...just for fun. I actually agree with the 'naturalness' school of thought articulated in the comments above.
posted by nihraguk at 8:11 AM on April 28, 2009


"As Dennet argues in Elbow Room: The Varieties of Free Will Worth Wanting, isn't the illusion of choice as valuable as actual choice?"
posted by orthogonality at 8:19 AM on April 28, 2009 [9 favorites]


No, but if you kiss me right now you might make a believer out of me.
posted by Rubbstone at 8:36 AM on April 28, 2009


I don't believe in superstars,
Organic food and foreign cars.
I don't believe the price of gold;
The certainty of growing old.
That right is right and left is wrong,
That north and south can't get along.
That east is east and west is west.
And being first is always best.

But I believe in love.
I believe in babies.
I believe in Mom and Dad.
And I believe in you.

Well, I don't believe that heaven waits,
For only those who congregate.
I like to think of God as love:
He's down below, He's up above.
He's watching people everywhere.
He knows who does and doesn't care.
And I'm an ordinary man,
Sometimes I wonder who I am.

But I believe in love.
I believe in music.
I believe in magic.
And I believe in you.

Well, I know with all my certainty,
What's going on with you and me,
Is a good thing.
It's true, I believe in you.

I don't believe virginity,
Is as common as it used to be.
In working days and sleeping nights,
That black is black and white is white.
That Superman and Robin Hood,
Are still alive in Hollywood.
That gasoline's in short supply,
The rising cost of getting by.

But I believe in love.
I believe in old folks.
I believe in children.
I believe in you.

But I believe in love.
I believe in babies.
I believe in Mom and Dad.
And I believe in you.
posted by ND¢ at 8:41 AM on April 28, 2009 [1 favorite]


"Yes! My favorite bit is either the coconut shy or the maypole."
posted by laumry at 8:41 AM on April 28, 2009


Wow. An hour and a half later and I'm swimming in great responses. I'll pass out the favourites later, but for now...

My comfort zone, for good or ill.
Smile and say "no, just luck" (fearnothing)
"You'll have to wait and see, I guess." (rev-)
'Yes, although looking at my life to date, it's become increasingly obvious that Fate does not believe in me.' (permafrost)

On the boundary of cheese, but would probably be fine
"I met you, didn't I?" (idb)
"I believe in Darwin and survival of the sexiest" (KokuRyu)
Yes. I'm fated to live a full, healthy, and wonderful life. (chrisinseoul)

Pure cheese. Delightful, if unusable by me.
"Not until now." (BadMiker)
"We're here, aren't we?" (fire&wings)
When it comes to you and me, yes. (Ironmouth)
"Doesn't matter. Fate believes in us." (nihraguk)
No, but if you kiss me right now you might make a believer out of me. (Rubbstone)

Made me laugh, but I doubt I'd use it in the field
No, but it was meant to be that way. (FauxScot)
"Isn't it lovely to think so?" (arco)
No, I choose my own beliefs. (chrisinseoul)
"I believe in me having sex with you right now." (xmutex)
"No. What do I look like, an idiot?"(box)
"Oh, jeez, I'm an idiot." (box)
"I am a nihilist -- I believe in nothing " in a thick German-esque accent. (_Skull_)
"As Dennet argues in Elbow Room: The Varieties of Free Will Worth Wanting, isn't the illusion of choice as valuable as actual choice?" (orthogonality)
"Yes! My favorite bit is either the coconut shy or the maypole." (laumry)

Nice, but too strong; as I said in the question she wasn't giving signs of wanting to be kissed (no extended eye contact)
Enigmatic smile, followed by kiss. (desuetude)
"Maybe." Followed by a kiss. (Potomac Avenue)

I am too stupid to understand your lines...
"No. You're pretty." (teraspawn)
"Of course, though I have to admit I preferred Tootie and Blair." (bondcliff)

Wonderful and yet another reason why I should brush up my Shakespeare. Plus I have the eyebrows for it.
There is special providence in
the fall of a sparrow. If it be now, 'tis not to come; if it be not to
come, it will be now; if it be not now, yet it will come—the
readiness is all. (LucretiusJones and Bill S)
posted by Busy Old Fool at 8:44 AM on April 28, 2009


I think it's important to clarify whether you do or do not, in fact, believe in fate.

If you do: "Yes."

If you don't: "No."

Brevity works.
posted by etc. at 8:46 AM on April 28, 2009 [2 favorites]


"Yes, and I have already planned the names of our 4 future children and 2 future schnauzers."
posted by clearly at 8:56 AM on April 28, 2009


Then you spend your time thinking about moments ahead of time and trying to find the perfect thing to say, rather than being in the moment.

These moments work best when they're not rehearsed.

Not necessarily. I'm agreeing with you mostly--overthinking and not reading cues from your partner is wack to the max. I'm only disagreeing that naturalness is a birthright of all lovers everywhere. It's sweet when that works out, but your argument seems to be that you should just keep swinging the club any way you feel like it and hopefully at some point you'll hit the ball onto the green in one shot. I'm just advocating a little bit of aerodynamics.

Young guys get in situations all the time where they know something grand or elegant is being demanded of them but they can't think of anything and end up jabbering or running away. My general advice remains: Say Less rather than try to be witty, and then just kiss her.

On preview: OK if you say so OP! I personally can't imagine a woman sitting on a hill overlooking the lights of the city and asking about What It All Means without at least being open to the possibility of making out, but maybe I'm old fashioned.
posted by Potomac Avenue at 9:01 AM on April 28, 2009


Or, combining the best of the lot into one concise package:

"I believe in me having sex with with our 2 future schnauzers."
posted by Admiral Haddock at 9:05 AM on April 28, 2009 [6 favorites]


Is this a particularly drawn out esprit d'escalier?
posted by BadMiker at 9:16 AM on April 28, 2009


And to deal with the (welcome and entertaining) derails:

Naturally being in the moment: Brandon is making me feel very shallow, but in reality I wasn't looking to have a moment of deep connection. I don't generally feel those until I know a person well. In my experience of early dating, people like to bat around flirtatious smalltalk as a friendly verbal game. Re-reading my question, though, I can see how it could be read as a more serious enquiry than it actually was. Sorry for the ambiguity!

Kissing: Absolutely there was a chance of a kiss that evening, but not quite yet, in my quite possibly erroneous opinion. Had I said something less ludicrous, maybe we would have been able to move up a gear, but, for me, extended eye contact and a face turned towards mine are a sine qua non of attempting a kiss.

Stalker: As I wrote in the question, we later parted amicably, so no worries there. Thanks for the warning, but this particular woman co-owned and ran a successful business and had a very active social life, as well as being jolly pretty. Perhaps she was 'desperate and irrational', but if so she hid it well!

L'esprit de l'escalier: Goodness, yes!
posted by Busy Old Fool at 9:19 AM on April 28, 2009


"Ask me tomorrow morning"
posted by phrontist at 9:21 AM on April 28, 2009


If you don't know what to say, turn the question around: "Why do you ask?" or "Yes / No / I don't know. Do you?"

Not exactly flirty but it shows you are interested in the other person and offers you a chance to learn more about them.
posted by Gor-ella at 9:25 AM on April 28, 2009


(Double cheese alert)...

"Only after I've met you."
posted by joewandy at 9:28 AM on April 28, 2009


How about:

"Sometimes."

or perhaps with a little eyebrow lift:

"I could be persuaded either way."

These are little too game. Depending on the moment, and in this example, I think something heartfelt, would be better.

(shake head, then turn and gaze into her eyes) "This moment, this now, anything could happen. Anything."

But probably not:

"I have assimilated a variety of viewpoints, each authoritative in it's own right: from the priests in the Temple of the Teleologues; from a bewitched bird who plucked messages from a box; from a fasting anchorite who drank a bottle of pink elixir which I offered him in jest. The resulting visions were contradictory but of great profundity. My worldview, hence, is syncretic."
posted by wobh at 9:35 AM on April 28, 2009 [1 favorite]


I"m intrigued that "I met you didn't I" would probably be fine, but "we're here aren't we" is over the line... similarly for fate not believing in you vs fate believing in you...

But, as etc said so succinctly, what is wrong with just, you know, answering the question? Maybe she was just thinking about it and wanted to talk... turning it into a "moment" could have been really annoying if she actually wanted to get to know you. Maybe she was just being flirty, but I feel like I've asked questions like that without noticing the potential implications, because I'm actually just thinking about the world and wondering what someone else would say about it.
posted by mdn at 9:46 AM on April 28, 2009


Also, Even if it's not necessarily a romantic moment, but with someone you want to spend more time with, it's worth figuring out how to ask and answer these sort of questions honestly and yet "openly", uncategorically, so that the other person can respond and build on what you say. For a lot of people, agreement isn't as important as potential. Some kinds of conversations create potential for more conversation or more other things. Even, and perhaps especially, in long term relationships it's important to talk to each other this way.
posted by wobh at 10:01 AM on April 28, 2009


I"m intrigued that "I met you didn't I" would probably be fine, but "we're here aren't we" is over the line... similarly for fate not believing in you vs fate believing in you...

Yes, that's interesting. It was a subjective grouping done at some speed, so I would caution against too much plate-of-beaning. However, for both of your examples, the phrases that I found too cheesy invoked coupledom ("We're here, aren't we?" "Fate believes in us") which I suppose I find a touch clingy for a first or second date. YMMV.

But, as etc said so succinctly, what is wrong with just, you know, answering the question?

Absolutely! Actually, I think that's what I did, but it was met with (IMO uncomfortable) silence. Perhaps it was indeed a factual enquiry which my response satisfied, but my impression is that, given the circumstances, a less literal approach would have been welcomed.
posted by Busy Old Fool at 10:20 AM on April 28, 2009


"I make my own."
posted by -harlequin- at 10:33 AM on April 28, 2009 [2 favorites]


I'd probably say, "I don't know, but I've certainly had times that felt like fate." Then 1) look in eyes, 2) head tilt/slight smile, 3) move closer, 4) if she moves closer as well, kiss her for crying out loud.
posted by Skwirl at 11:21 AM on April 28, 2009


"No, but Santa Claus believes in me."
posted by plinth at 11:22 AM on April 28, 2009 [1 favorite]


Yes, but maybe you should come home with me; I'm scared I'll have to go home and master fate alone.
posted by nomad at 11:29 AM on April 28, 2009


Thanks to this thread, my response to this question will forevermore be:

"No, but fate believes in me."
posted by 2oh1 at 12:02 PM on April 28, 2009


I always liked "character is fate" (attributed to Novalis). Concise, not too unflirty, and insightful (in case she's actually looking for philosophical discussion).
posted by ambulatorybird at 12:13 PM on April 28, 2009


Only in retrospect.
posted by You Should See the Other Guy at 12:14 PM on April 28, 2009 [5 favorites]


I damn well hope so, otherwise who have I been sacrificing to all this time???
posted by doobiedoo at 12:53 PM on April 28, 2009 [1 favorite]


"Sure, I believe in fate. Then again, I believe in things like the easter bunny and true love, so take that for what it's worth."
posted by jabberjaw at 2:20 PM on April 28, 2009 [1 favorite]


"I don't believe in fate...

but I do believe in fate"
posted by Lanark at 2:44 PM on April 28, 2009


What is the youtube link that ND¢ added to the lyrics about "i belive in you"
...it is not available in my country says youtube :(
posted by talljamal at 1:36 PM on April 29, 2009


Thanks again, for all the answers. I've sprinkled a few 'bests' around according to my taste, but there were plenty of other suggestions that didn't sound right in my mouth, despite being witty/cunning/delightful.
posted by Busy Old Fool at 1:27 AM on May 4, 2009


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