Poke, but Don’t Superpoke

23 Mar

Text with caution

By popular demand (and by popular I mean two female friends of mine have discussed/requested more coverage of it this week), we’re going to talk about some Dating Rules, specifically regarding first-date follow-ups. Who should message whom first after a first date? Here we run into the issue of gender dynamics and control.

So you’ve had that really nice first date. He came in looking all dapper and not at all socially awkward as you had imagined from the multiple references to Game of Thrones and Battlestar Galactica. She was super-quirky and charming, not at all the distracted cat lady you were expecting from her profile. You hit it off right away, discovering shared interests in college hockey, zip-lining in Costa Rica, and Deathcab for Cutie (remember them?). She giggles nervously at his jokes, he adjusts his and watch several times throughout the night (without ever looking at it). Minutes turn into hours and before you know it, 2 AM is here and you both have work the next day. You part with a really tight hug, exchange promises to “do it again,” and maybe even part with a brief but meaningful smooch.

What’s next? I try to play it by ear, but these days, if I like the girl, she’ll know about it within 24 hours or less. Some people like to text immediately after parting, and this might be totally appropriate and heart-meltingly awesome in some cases, but I saw an insight from some girl on Twitter who said (paraphrasing): “Let me marinade in the last few hours and take you in before you start spamming me.” There’s definitely something to that. Human beings are complex creatures and sometimes we need to miss a person to realize their full value. Maybe a first date is more appropriate for a head-on collision of unfettered emotion, or maybe it’s occasion for a more nuanced and flirtatious “dance.” The one thing I unequivocally won’t do is wait some arbitrary amount of time. This is juvenile and unnecessary. If you want to feel like the other person has options/is busy yet still takes the time to tepidly tell you that he/she likes you, you may want to think about how you ascribe value to people.

The question I was asked, though, is what do you do if someone tells you that you’re awesome and he/she would love to see you again, and even keeps texting over the next few days, but stalls or waffles on asking you out again. Ladies, it may not shock you to learn than even as a guy, I’ve limited scope on this turn of events. Why isn’t he setting a date? This is one area where a red flag, which I normally hesitate to raise, may be indicated:

  • Maybe he’s got other options
  • Maybe he’s already in a relationship
  • Maybe he lied about having a good time
  • Maybe he caught a bug from a “too nice girl” and is phasing you out slowly
  • Maybe he needs a nudge
The first four cases are ones that are pretty straightforward. If you don’t hear from him/her within 48 hours of a mutually stated desire to rendezvous again, assume one of the above and take no action (if there’s an exception, you’ll hear from them eventually). If you think (think really hard about it—you want to be sure) that a nudge might just be the ticket, be proactive but subtle. If you’re absolutely certain this could be the beginning of something beautiful, drop him a casual text and see if he’d like to join you for some specific activity (concert, gallery opening, wine tasting event, etc.) and name a specific date. Or (may the gods of dating forgive me) use a light fib to tell him you’ll be super-busy next week, so if he wanted to get together, it needs to happen Friday (or whatever your dating calendar allows). This way you can draw out his attentions in a direct manner without too much manipulation/game playing. If, after all this, he/she is equally reticent or noncommittal, assume they’re playing the field and move on.

2 Responses to “Poke, but Don’t Superpoke”

  1. unsoho April 3, 2012 at 4:29 pm #

    I agree with your checklist/assessment. Any word from the guys out there on what they think of a girl making the second date call? I have no problem initiating D=2 but have been shocked to learn some guys find it a turn off. Are they control freaks or is this more common that I think?

    • Datestable April 3, 2012 at 4:42 pm #

      Will have to ask my friends. Guys are really reticent about these matters. I have almost never been “superpoked” but I’ve been poked a few times. I guess the cliche that guys like to do the hunting is relevant here.

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