Late to the dating game? - follow up / male version
January 10, 2010 1:36 PM   Subscribe

Late to the dating game -- follow up? I was in this mefite's position a few years ago. Now stuck a few steps further. What's next?

So, I'm in my late 20s (turning 30 this year), graduated from college, worked for a while, now in grad school for a PhD in CS.

Nearly exactly as this previous mefite, I'm friendly and talkative, have a lot of interests, and take care of myself (in good shape, no dressy clothes, but clean and w/form-fitting tees and jeans). I was very introverted until my early 20s, so I missed out on the whole dating/hooking up thing. Now that I'm a bit older, I am not really introverted any more. However I find that most guys I'm attracted to are either already in a relationship, have a family — and I too refuse to be the "homewrecker" — or are straight.

I too have issues with the "club" scene: I have bad hearing that prevent me from having any type of conversation in a crowded / loud place. I too have a pretty busy schedule, mostly work.

I used to have issues talking to guys I was attracted to, but this has changed as well. Where my situation differs from the previous mefite:

- I am male, residing in Europe;

- after several negative experiences, I grew tired of online dating (OKC,, others). I cannot really find out whether I'm interested in someone without seeing the "real thing" in person first, preferably even after a couple of conversations;

- for a few years already I have been very comfortable asking males (and females) out for various activities, ranging from entertainment to relatively intimate one-on-one occurrences such as dinner at home, movies, etc. In other words, I can set up the perfect man date and my acquaintances often accept knowing that I know how to make it enjoyable and not awkward in any way.

My problem is that I don't know how to make "the next step". My dates (with either men and women) are entertaining, pleasurable, we often get to know each other well, and I have developed quality friendships with several people. Unfortunately, I do not know how to flirt or otherwise express my desire for a closer relationship.

Previous advice on AskMeFi was to initiate flirting and pay more attention to flirting coming from others. Here I should mention that I have absolutely zero gaydar, and am mostly attracted to the shy, slightly dorky type of guy who typically is more clueless than average, and who usually are themselves uncomfortable with displays of affection. Also during shared activities I rarely think about physical attraction and simply enjoy companionship, so I sometimes don't even think about flirting.

So dear follow mefites, how should I proceed? Am I doing anything wrong? What am I missing?

I have a potential idea: while I am myself out to everyone, I am usually not interested in the sexual orientation of my new activity partners until I start to know them better, at which point they may already assume that I am not interested since I have not displayed interest initially. Besides since I am older most people my age would assume that I know how to figure out things / how to get what I want when I want it (i.e. assume that I am experienced) so they might interpret cluelessness on my part as intendedly platonic interest. I feel like I am building my own male "friend zone" and making things needlessly difficult for both me and potential partners.

If that is the case, I urgently need to know how to break the cycle. Suggestions welcome.
posted by knz to Human Relations (2 answers total) 8 users marked this as a favorite
I'd screen for sexual orientation earlier so you can mentally separate "possible boyfriends" from "friends / activity partners."

I'd also think about moving through a gradient where your activities get more and more obviously date-like, and somewhere near the later end of that, start looking for transitions into especially romantic activity. You might hang out in the afternoon for your first activity together, then go out for a nice dinner for the second, then cook for him at your place on the third time. If the "out to dinner" date went especially well, you could even invite him up for a nightcap or some espresso after dinner. When you're alone together, think about how to create a romantic mood. Maybe find excuses to touch him lightly. Are there reasons you might need to sit next to each other on a bench or couch? To watch a sunset? To watch the movie you rented? To show him photos? However, if subterfuge and situation engineering and hints aren't your style, directness is always a mature approach, like saying "hey you know, it's been really nice hanging out these last few times, I hope we get to do this more."

As I'm female, take all this for what it's worth.
posted by salvia at 3:43 PM on January 10, 2010

I cannot really find out whether I'm interested in someone without seeing the "real thing" in person first, preferably even after a couple of conversations

But isn't that the point of online dating? You meet in person to find out whether you're interested in each other--the online part is just pre-screening and scheduling.
posted by Sidhedevil at 4:25 PM on January 10, 2010

« Older Help me to find land for farming!   |   Throwing out old checkbooks Newer »
This thread is closed to new comments.