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Wayne and Wanda: A refresher course on Dating 101

  • Author: Wayne
    , Wanda
  • Updated: September 30, 2016
  • Published March 7, 2016

Dear Wayne and Wanda,

I have a co-worker, "Jeff," who has become a friend. We sometimes text about random things when we aren't at work. We stop by each other's desks to say hi. Recently he mentioned a show he planned to go to downtown, and I said I planned to go, too, and he asked if I wanted to go together. I said yes, and he said he would buy the tickets. He did. The show is coming up, we are going, but I don't know if it's as friends or if this is a date. How can I tell?

Wanda says:

The easiest way to tell? Ask! "So, Jeff, you know that thing we're going to together and how you asked me and how you bought my ticket ... Is that a date?" Jeez, even I felt awkward just typing that out as a hypothetical.

So unless you do want to have that probably awkward conversation, my advice? Assuming you like Jeff, go into your non-date date with an open mind. You should know by the night's end whether he sees you as a buddy, or something more.

Wayne says:

Awkward, indeed. But how about you stop worrying about Jeff's intentions and start getting some clarity on your own: Do you want this to be a date or not? Instead of waiting to see if he'll go in for a post-show kiss or a quickly give you a post-show friend-hug, you should formulate your own game plan and run it like Peyton Manning.

If you are only into him as a friend, you can avoid a messy end-of-night situation entirely by letting him know how you feel before you two even go out. And if you are into him, here are some Dating 101 tips: Meet for a drink before the show and then wrap your arm in his on the walk to the venue (the streets are awfully icy these days, right?) or attempt to hold his hand during the gig (oops, is that your hand?). Either move should elicit an immediate reaction that will let you know exactly how he feels about this date/non-date.

Dear Wayne and Wanda,

My marriage ended a couple of years ago, and I've just recently started online dating. It's been rough. I feel like there are interesting women on there but when I suggest meeting, they balk and make excuses. My brother, who is single, says I'm coming off too eager and that people don't really date anymore -- that I should suggest "meeting up" or "grabbing a drink" rather than my usual offer, which is dinner and a movie. Is he right? Do people not go on traditional dates anymore?

Wanda says:

A girlfriend once said that when it comes to online dating, she had three rules: Meet at the location and never tell a blind date where you live; don't exchange phone numbers until after you've met and decided there's a spark; and plan something short and sweet so you can rapidly bail if need be.

This may sound extreme, but it speaks to the mindset of today's average single adult. People are busy, and if they've been single a while, they know most first dates are likely to be busts. "Dinner and a movie" sounds like a major commitment. Your brother is right: Relax and start small, with an invite to share appetizers or have a glass of wine. If things go well, then take it up a notch.

Wayne says:

Doesn't matter if you've been out of the dating game since the Carter administration, a movie is still two-plus hours of sitting silently in a dark room. Not exactly a great way to get to know someone, eh? Wanda and her friend are right -- first dates are about keeping it simple, light and flexible (for extending chats or making a quick escape). A drink, snack and convo combo are perfect first-date fodder. Sure, they can be a little nerve-racking, but they will reveal whether you have a live one or a flat-line.

Besides, there's plenty of time for a movie on the third date, and if you're lucky, Netflix and chill on the fourth date.

Want to respond to a recent column, point out a dating trend, or ask Wanda and Wayne for wisdom regarding your love life? Give them a shout at wanda@alaskadispatch.com.

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