(@LA.COM)

July 13, 1997

Views on the Game of Dating

Well, to get a good debate going, I suppose there are three things you can bring up:

1) Religion

2) Politics

3) Dating strategies for single guys in the ‘90’s.

So first off, THANK YOU to everyone who participated in this very special experiment. The response was, in a word, whelming. Okay, it was overwhelming. And your suggestions were quite good! Ranging from simple, one sentence directives to complex, seven point plans, each response had its own unique feel, reflecting the diversity of you, the @LA.COM readership. Without further ado, let’s get to the results.


First a recap: While at lunch with my engaged friend Linda, we are served by a cool, hip waitress named "Sandy" (not her real name). The fact that she’s got a cool hair thing going is the least of her many talents; funny and charming with a winning smile, I’m at a loss as to how to go about turning a chance encounter into some form of date. After we left the restaurant (and without my knowledge), my friend Linda called her, finding out that she is seeing someone, but thought I was "cool."


The question put to you: What next?

Here are the responses (from our multiple choice section):

Take her flowers. Women love flowers. No guy has ever, ever gone wrong with flowers.

Go in, see her, be casual, and if she mentions the whole phone call thing, you could mention it, too.

Bad news, my friend; you can never go in to this California Pizza Kitchen again.

Listen, next time you go back, make a joke about it. But make sure she knows you're interested in seeing her.

Just be nice, be cool, and next time you see her, YOU ask her out.


As for the important question of future lunch dates with the lovely and very engaged Linda, she received overwhelming support – 79% of you think Linda and I should go back to this restaurant together. Okay, Linda, you’re off the hook.


As for the comments portion of the survey, I will preserve the authors’ anonymity, but there are words of dating wisdom here.


"You can ask her out ONCE. No pining."


"…the real answer is to pretend you are Brad Bennett and do what ever he would do!"


"So she's seeing someone. Do you respect that or do you get carried away with the whole cool hair thing? I mean, COOL HAIR! You don't find that every day, y'know. Ah, heck, do what I do. Pester away. If you don't, you'll never know and that's worse than knowing."


"Next time order pepperoni and sausage pizza. I don't think it will solve your problem, but it certainly sounds better than Hawaiian pizza."


"After two weeks, you are allowed to casually visit CPK again with Linda on a day that Sandy is working. Act interested but not gushy. Don't kill her with comedic one-liners, but be sincere and real. As my now husband told me when we first met, "keep your cards closer to your chest."

(Editor’s note: This is still part of the same suggestion – keep reading.)

Now:

Sandy, if she is seeing someone, can be a symbol of what's right in the world for you, and you can look to the CPK experience as a life lesson.

Sandy, if she is free, a delicate late-afternoon walk around the fountains of Encino with a re-usable mug of frappacino will appeal to her … opportunity to move into dinner, or if that is not a possibility, opportunity for you both to contemplate separately about the next time you meet …"


"Okay, here's the deal. Flowers are overkill for someone you don't know. You go to CPK every week anyway, right? Or at least, you did until Linda quit her job! But I'm sure that you two will dine together again. (You can't ditch the friend for the dream. It's bad karma.) So take Lin and go get your Hawaiian and next time Sandy is your waitress, you can pay the exact amount of your bill (with generous tip, of course) and that way you can walk out of there - here's the kicker - after having written your phone number on a small card with a note saying that you'd love to hear from her if she's interested in going to get a coffee sometime. No pressure of face-to-face romantic confrontation, no need for fear. It's the "ball is in your court" theory. Very gentle, yet obviously interested. That way, when she dumps the dork she's seeing, she knows how to get in touch with you without having the burden of "A Past Issue." The only thing is, you have to make sure that it's not the bus boy who picks up the card …" (Ed: I can just see it. "Hello, my name is Manuel, I got your card …")


"Ask her for a picture of the "guy" she's seeing , and when she hands it to you, throw it on the ground and spit on it. After doing that, sweep her into your arms to the musical accompaniment of "Ride of the Valkyrie", and fly off into the night sky on a horse named Phil. Failing that, hand her a sole dandelion, and drawl "yer purty"."


"Get one of your guy friends, like Frank or someone, to go with you to get a bite to eat @ the CPK. When whoever you take goes to the bathroom or something, call her to the table and ask her to go to a movie. She'll either say sure, I'd love to or Sorry, I'm busy, but at least you'll have tried."


"What the hell are you thinking? Of course, make a HUGE joke out of it. "Hi, I'm Colin, the dork who wants to date you! Hurry up and break up with that guy you're seeing … I'm sick of re-arranging my sock drawer Friday nights!" Then, no matter what Linda says, turn around and say, with your dry Colin Campbell wit, "Yeah, thanks for THAT." Request her section, and leave a big tip. Go in every week as usual. See, if you FEEL like a dork, (which you should, whenever your pals make a COMPLETE ass of you) the LAST thing you'll do is want to admit it, right? So, if you EMBRACE it, you come out looking way-self-assured. And, like you MUST be a nice guy, because you have a nice female friend who's definitely off-limits to you (the rock) so there's no ulterior motives ... you're just a downright nice guy! But next time, LINDA better buy. She OWES you, man."


"Be your usual cool self, take Linda with you, laugh, get a vibe, with Linda’s help, but don't ask her out yet, and see if she brings up the phone call …"


"Do they sell liquor at these CPK's? If so, go back with Linda. Both get drunk. Buy drinks for Sandy with the reddish hair as her shift ends. Worked for me in nailing the little waiter in Abilene, Texas, circa 1983. My friend was Nancy.

Sans alcohol, stop in with Linda near the end of Sandy's shift and coax her into joining the unthreatening twosome.

If she stays, she's meant to be yours. Otherwise, shoot her."


"Act naturally. When you stop seeking, what you seek will find you."


"Damn! Tough situation.

• No Gifts Or Flowers. Stalkers buy gifts.

• Take your time but not so much time that she might forget.

• Keep Linda (nice girl, hey she means well...) on a shorter leash--if you know what I mean? Colin's attitude: "Yeah thanks, I got it..." Keep the high school activity to a minimum. :)

• You did the absolute right thing by getting the cash back from Sandy. (You’re not a push over for some friendly chatter.) But another thing to consider is that maybe she's pathological ... and she's not a beautiful, stable, balanced, share my life, trust-worthy person. She might-a-been trying to score extra cash for a crack habit ... hey, man it's LA! :)

• What's the worst that could happen? Ask her out!"


So there you have it! Overall, it’s a lot to consider.

You have this promise from me: I’ll let you know how things go!


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Colin Campbell - jenolen@earthlink.net
Last updated July 13, 1997