Dear Wayne and Wanda,
Every year about this time I am on a coed softball team with the same group of people. Usually we have one or two new people on the team. We're in what you'd call the beer league. We aren't really competitive or even that good. But we have a lot of fun, and we usually hang out after and drink beer or maybe go get pizza. It's a nice way to spend time and meet people.
This year we have a new girl on the team. She's actually one of the better players but in the downtime when I've gotten to talk to her I've seen how cool she is. She's really cute and funny and is usually the one at the center of attention, telling hilarious stories, making everyone laugh. One night we all ended up at one of the player's houses and I spent a lot of time talking with her. By the time I left to go home, I pretty much knew I wanted to ask her out. But at the next practice, one of my buddies said she ended up staying the night and messing around with another one of our friends.
Now I don't know if I should ask her out. I felt like she was into me but then she messes around with the other guy? And maybe I totally misread her and she wasn't into me at all but just likes attention? Should I ask her out anyway or just let it go?
(Editor's note: Warning. The following responses contain a plethora of baseball/softball metaphors.)
Hey slugger, you're never gonna hit a home run if you don't swing the bat. You were at the plate and she grooved a big juicy fastball right into your wheelhouse, but you stood there with the bat on your shoulder like a Seattle Mariner. You're out; your teammate is in. Hit the showers ... alone!
Sorry son -- this is a tough but critical lesson for softball and love. If you really want to win at either, you have to play with passion and you have to leave it all on the field. You set yourself up for victory, but you took your eye off the ball. Rookie mistake. I hope you learn from this error and it fuels you for the next time you're up to bat with the game on the line.
Now I'm not saying you missed your chance to score entirely. Love is a long game and summer is the season of softball, sun, suds and postgame make-out sessions. Maybe she was just bummed that you whiffed and she subbed in a pinch hitter for an inning?
Now dust yourself off, play with confidence and win one for the Wayner! Attaboy!
So you hung out at a party. You spent all night talking. You were clicking and sparking and getting along great. And then ... you left? Um, no wonder she hooked up with someone else! You had an easy catch floating right toward you, and you dropped your mitt and walked away. She was no doubt left in need of validation that she's still got game. Why do men do this? Hint to male species: If you're vibing with a lady and the energy is flowing, act on it!
That said, don't give up so easy. She sounds like a fun girl who's fearlessly enjoying her summer. I'm with Wayne; you still have a chance! Clearly there's a connection and mutual interests.
But tread carefully. The trouble with free-spirited women is that their energy is intoxicating, but their love for freedom is all-consuming. Sounds like she enjoys being the life of the party -- er, team? And while she may be up for a few innings on your field, she may not be up for retiring her free-wheeling jersey just yet.
• Wanda is a wise person who has loved, lost and believes in retail therapy. Wayne is a wise guy who has no use for therapy. Send them your questions and thoughts at firstname.lastname@example.org.