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October 26, 2012 7:00 PM   Subscribe

Joe in Australia wrote:
"A while back there was a thread in which people described their awkward obliviousness to social or sexual advances. There were accounts like "She said "Would you like me to take my shirt off?" and I replied "No, I think it looks nice."" "
Anyone able to identify the post?
posted by Mitheral to MetaFilter-Related at 7:00 PM (110 comments total) 24 users marked this as a favorite

I remember reading that. It is worse than a horror movie; I think I curled up in a fetal ball in sympathetic pain.
posted by Forktine at 7:05 PM on October 26, 2012 [2 favorites]


That sounds like the kind of thing that shows up on Reddit more than MeFi.
posted by benito.strauss at 7:09 PM on October 26, 2012 [1 favorite]


I think a very long Reddit thread was linked by someone here on MeFi with just these scenarios. There was both a "guys who missed the hint" and a "girls who dropped the hint and got rebuffed." It was super cringey and hilarious.
posted by amanda at 7:12 PM on October 26, 2012


I think amanda's right. I wish I could help further, but I'm too busy cringing as though I were watching Peep Show.
posted by Rustic Etruscan at 7:14 PM on October 26, 2012 [1 favorite]


Too bad we don't have a FAQ. This came up like a month ago right here on Metatalk. And here is the Reddit thread.
posted by Justinian at 7:21 PM on October 26, 2012 [6 favorites]


I want to say thanks for the Reddit link... but I just can't. Just can not.
posted by Splunge at 8:07 PM on October 26, 2012


I was hitchhiking home from high school one day when I was about 17, and I got picked up by a single girl in a convertible, who asked where I was going, & after I told her where I lived, she offered to drive me to my house because it wasn't that far out of her way. We listened to some cool music & had a great chat, & when we got to my house, she pulled into the driveway, & turned the car off. I just got out & said "Thanks for the ride!" & went inside.

Another time, in my mid-twenties, one of the hottest singers in town at the time grabbed me by the waist at a party and said "Your girlfriend says you're a really hot fuck." I think I just said "Is that so?" (found out later she was really into three-ways -- oof)
posted by Devils Rancher at 8:29 PM on October 26, 2012 [3 favorites]


"I like your glasses!"
posted by Rhaomi at 9:18 PM on October 26, 2012 [17 favorites]


I went through the Reddit thread and I think my stomach turned itself inside out.
posted by LionIndex at 10:21 PM on October 26, 2012


These make me laugh. It doesn't always end badly. I met this attractively nerdy super-geek in my first couple weeks of grad school and made some subtle getting-to-know-you remark and he curtly said, "I'm busy, I have go get to a meeting."

Saw him again a few days later at a grad school party and offered him a ride back to his car. Tried to engage him in small-talk in the car to find out if he was single and interested; ended up hearing a 30-minute story about a dead deer. He said after I let him out by his car and drove off, he realized his error.

So he managed to ask for my number the next time he saw me. And managed to call. And then talked about torts for forty-five minutes before I finally gave up and said, "I have to go --" and he jumps in real fast, "On a date with me?"

Reader, I married him. Despite his awkward, clueless false starts.
posted by Eyebrows McGee at 10:57 PM on October 26, 2012 [79 favorites]


Some of us guys need training. Sad but true.
posted by msalt at 11:05 PM on October 26, 2012


On a walk with a girl. "My hands are cold." My thoughts "OH FUCKING SWEET I BROUGHT GLOVES, SHE'LL LOVE THIS." Procure gloves, girl says no thanks with a puzzled look. My thoughts: "What is she crazy? These are DESIGNED to warm up hands."

I am not even cringing, these are so hilarious. ::wipes tears:: I think because I've been the nervously flirty girl in so many stories like this, so sad to be rejected, so worried I've offended, so unaware of what was actually going on. Also I've dated so many guys like this that it warms the cockles of my heart. That sense of serendipity at having brought gloves...
posted by stoneandstar at 12:43 AM on October 27, 2012 [8 favorites]


my new favorite response to thread shitting ever


[–]idontliketocomment 1517 points 2 years ago
reading this hurts.

[–]Wokkel 752 points 2 years ago
I can only imagine how painful commenting was.

posted by mannequito at 2:59 AM on October 27, 2012 [4 favorites]


My wife had to virtually club me over the head before I wised up (hence the username). I'm grateful she was and is so patient with me. I leave you with this thought.

The history of my stupidity will not be written.
For one thing, it's late. And the truth is laborious.

-- Czeslaw Milosz

posted by arcticseal at 7:50 AM on October 27, 2012 [9 favorites]


And here is the Reddit thread.

goddamnit dudes, get your shit together
posted by nathancaswell at 7:57 AM on October 27, 2012


Back when I worked two jobs, I often bought my groceries at the Shopper's Drugmart by my apartment because I was too beat to do proper shopping. And often there was a really nice, very pretty cashier there who was always personable and really, really enthusiastic about me signing up for a Shopper's Optimum Points member card - we'd always spend a minute or two discussing them, and she'd give me a registration form that I'd instantly forget about as soon as I got home.

One lonely evening, while waiting for someone to respond to a blistering riposte I left for them on MeTa, I happened across the nice pretty cashier's profile on a dating site. She seems nice, I thought. Too bad she probably thinks that I have tapeworms from eating all the crap I buy there - plus, if I asked her out, she'd say no and I'd be Creepy Customer Guy and would have to find somewhere else to buy my daily two-litre of Coke and Stouffer's Microwavable Chicken Crustini. Oh well. Doesn't matter anyway, she like country music, there's a lot of typos in her profile, and she sort of seems like the sincere and earnest type that drives me nuts. So I kept my mouth shut and shopping there and eventually filled out a points card application. Then one day, while I was staring into the freezer case, pondering what kind of Delissio frozen pizza I should inflict upon myself that night, she walked by me a few times - we'd exchange hellos, me shyly, she, I thought, curtly but politely. Finally, she walked up to me a fourth time, took a deep breath, and asked if I would like to go out for coffee sometime.

Reader, I married her (Eventually, not when we went for coffee).

Thank you, whatever merciful entity is looking out for oblivious dorks with zero confidence.
posted by Alvy Ampersand at 8:31 AM on October 27, 2012 [45 favorites]


Those Reddit anecdotes are like alternate universe Penthouse letters.
posted by orange swan at 8:32 AM on October 27, 2012 [20 favorites]


A waitress at a restaurant I cooked at stopped me in the walkway between the kitchen & dining room, raised my shirt up with her index finger, put it on my belly button, then ran it down my belly to the top of my pants & said "What's that -- a treasure trail?" I froze in terror, barely managing a weak smile.
posted by Devils Rancher at 8:38 AM on October 27, 2012 [1 favorite]


It says that somewhere in the thread- that they start out like penthouse letters and end up like FML entries. I know that because I've read it two or three times- fml.
posted by bquarters at 8:38 AM on October 27, 2012 [2 favorites]


I broke my collarbone and the really cute ER nurse and I were talking about it and I asked something like, "will there be a permanent disfigurement?" and she responded "why? are you a model?" Later she asked if the pain was really bad and if I wanted a shot of Morphine and, after that that, palmed me 4 Percocets to "get me through till I could get my Vicodin prescription filled, but don't tell anyone." Didnt ask for her number. FML.
posted by nathancaswell at 8:48 AM on October 27, 2012


A waitress at a restaurant I cooked at stopped me in the walkway between the kitchen & dining room, raised my shirt up with her index finger, put it on my belly button, then ran it down my belly to the top of my pants & said "What's that -- a treasure trail?"

(Reader, I fired her.)
posted by Combustible Edison Lighthouse at 8:49 AM on October 27, 2012 [21 favorites]


arcticseal that is the best story of a username I've read in a long time.
posted by headnsouth at 9:13 AM on October 27, 2012 [3 favorites]


On a walk with a girl. "My hands are cold." My thoughts "OH FUCKING SWEET I BROUGHT GLOVES, SHE'LL LOVE THIS." Procure gloves, girl says no thanks with a puzzled look. My thoughts: "What is she crazy? These are DESIGNED to warm up hands."

Man, my friend MARRIED the girl he let wear his gloves! First date: her hands are cold. He lets her wear his gloves. Years later, they go for a walk, her hands are cold and her mittens are mysterious not in her pockets like they usually are. He lets her borrow his gloves, which have a ring stashed in the left ring finger.

These don't all end badly. But it's way funnier when they do.
posted by asnider at 9:49 AM on October 27, 2012 [27 favorites]


Those Reddit anecdotes are like alternate universe Penthouse letters.

"Dear Penthouse Forum,

I always knew it would happen to me..."
posted by Forktine at 9:51 AM on October 27, 2012 [4 favorites]


So, I guess this is why boyfriend when I was 16 took about a million years to kiss me? We kept going out on dates, and kept having these awkward intervals in his car when he brought me home where I would tarry waiting for the goodnight kiss, and it would never come, and I'd finally go inside, confused and discouraged. We weren't much on feminine assertiveness back in those days.

I've mentioned here before how 15 years later my now-husband and I each thought we'd stood each other up when we agreed to meet at 11:00 on a certain Saturday, and I thought we meant 11 a.m. and he thought we meant 11 p.m. and we both went at 11 and obviously missed each other... and it took a mutual friend to clue us in that we we hadn't stood each other up. How terrifyingly delicate and precarious some life-changing events are!

He didn't struggle at all with the kissing business, though, so things went swimmingly after we managed to synchronize our watches. Yay for adulthood!
posted by taz (staff) at 10:16 AM on October 27, 2012 [14 favorites]


My boyfriend and I have had a disagreement for years that guys like this exist. He seems to think that all guys know when there's an opportunity for sex available and will take that opportunity at all costs. I tell him, honey, there are some painfully clueless dudes out there. Now I have proof!
posted by cabingirl at 10:32 AM on October 27, 2012 [1 favorite]


I have the nagging feeling that I could tell a whole bunch of these stories, except that the moment of enlightenment never came.
posted by restless_nomad (staff) at 10:39 AM on October 27, 2012 [58 favorites]


Yeah, I was like this for a LONG time. The cluelessness was bad enough that a very strong come-on momentary felt like a sexual assault because I had no fucking clue as to what was going on at first. The relationship didn't last two months but at least it finally got me in the game.
posted by charred husk at 10:48 AM on October 27, 2012


24-hour clock, taz! Solves timekeeping problems!
posted by the man of twists and turns at 10:59 AM on October 27, 2012 [6 favorites]


In a few cases in my youth, I thought I was smart enough to see through the "male cluelessness" and kept on pursuing the targets of interest even after they had said clueless things like "no, the [absolutely gorgeous] weather is not good enough for a walk in the park". As it turned out, they just weren't interested in me.
posted by Melismata at 11:17 AM on October 27, 2012 [3 favorites]


I literally have dozens of these stories. Though I lost my virginity at 19, it wasn't until I was 26 that I realized that there were women who wanted to have sex with me and that things I thought were hints, but assumed weren't, were. It's amazing how powerful that understanding is.

Ones I didn't pick up on:

- Girl I was desperate for in high school comes over to watch a movie. We're sitting on the couch and 30 minutes later she lies down on it and puts her head in my lap and says, "You have no idea how long I've been wanting to do this." And I say, "Half an hour." We watched the rest of the movie in silence.

- I worked retail and every Sunday these two girls would come in and hang out for hours talking to me. One day they ask what I'm doing after work and I say I'm gonna go home, my parents are away for the weekend and I have to feed the dog. They ask if they can walk me home. I say sure. We get to my house and I tell them, "Okay, this is my place. Thanks for walking me home." They ask what I'm going to do now and I say I might go for a swim (we had a pool). They say how awesome that must be because it's crazy hot out. One says how if she had one she'd go skinny dipping every night. The other agrees. I say, "Yeah, you should get your parents to get one. Thanks again for walking me home." And I head into the house alone.

- I go on a date with someone I met online. Fifteen minutes later my date excuses herself to the bathroom. The woman at the next table reveals that she's friends with my date and that she came along for safety reasons. "We do this all the time." She joins me and finishes my date's drink. I say, "Aren't you worried she's gonna be pissed you did that?" She says, "No. We share everything and now we'll be ready to leave when she gets back." The girl returns. I pay the bill. We leave. On the street, one girl says "We should hail a cab." I do. The girls get in and I say, "Nice to meet you both" and close the door and hail another cab for myself.

- I go out with someone I swapped emails with on a dating forum. After the first drink she says, "I told my friend how much I was looking forward to meeting you." I told her I was anxious to meet her as well. She says, "When I told her I was going to meet you tonight she said that I shouldn't because it was obvious that I had a bizarre infatuation based on your picture and that if I met you this quickly I'd be blowing you twenty minutes later." We ended up back at her place where she showed me her belly dancing outfit (she was an instructor) and told me her nickname at university was "the head queen". This woman was also a producer on a sex tv show. I managed to get home that night without even an attempt at landing a single kiss.

And on and on.

I am happy to relay that once I realized that women wanted to have sex as much as men did--something I firmly did not believe when I was younger--things changed rapidly and consistently for the better.
posted by dobbs at 11:18 AM on October 27, 2012 [26 favorites]


What restless_nomad said. I do remember one time tutoring a slightly older coed in my economics class, who invited me over and her friends all sort of disappeared. And when they returned two hours later, they were all "How did it go-oooooo?" And she was all "It was great, we had sex three times." And even I then realized I coulda have had a V-8. But it felt like I missed the boat, and I was embarrassed and thought she had lost respect for me so I didn't pursue it.

I think it boils down to poor socialization and no self-confidence to trust your instincts, combined with the blaring sexual messages all around us that can make it so confusing and baffling for some of us. In my defense, I'm better now, but I was an oldest, so no one to school me, went to an all-guys high school, and just didn't have any female friends.

I don't think those of you with sisters or female friends or moms who tell you about it all, or just in healthily mixed gender groups can appreciate how different the monocultures of men and women are, and how non-intuitive it is reading signals across that gap.
posted by msalt at 11:23 AM on October 27, 2012 [2 favorites]


Not to say, of course, that this link isn't absolutely effing hilarious:
posted by Melismata at 11:38 AM on October 27, 2012


I don't think those of you with sisters or female friends or moms who tell you about it all, or just in healthily mixed gender groups can appreciate how different the monocultures of men and women are, and how non-intuitive it is reading signals across that gap.

I'm a lesbian, and I'm shit at reading signals. (Presumably I'm also shit at giving them, since the only times I've gotten laid have been when one or the other of us said, pretty much literally, "I think you're attractive. Can I kiss you?") I just think the sort of media-valorized coy "romance" thing doesn't work very well in the real world for most people.
posted by restless_nomad (staff) at 11:40 AM on October 27, 2012 [25 favorites]


Yeah, during the sow-my-wild-oats phase (early 20s) I was left frustrated by a succession of clueless dudes before striking gold with a single no-fail sentence: "Wanna make out?"

Damn my attraction to the quiet type.
posted by troika at 11:56 AM on October 27, 2012 [4 favorites]


I changed a tire for a woman in a little black dress at 2 am in an alley in a bad part of Anacostia. When I was done she asked me if there was anything she could do for me. I will never forget the look on her face when I said "No, I can't think of anything."

I punched myself in the head later.
posted by Mr. Yuck at 12:15 PM on October 27, 2012 [2 favorites]


Well now I'm wondering if that dude who I thought was trying to sell me insurance on the bus was in fact hitting on me. Thought it was a weird place for a sales pitch.
posted by zennish at 1:08 PM on October 27, 2012 [1 favorite]


So, I was at my favorite brewpub the other night. The waitress said to me, "would you like some dessert?" I said, "no, just the check, please." How stupid could I have been????
posted by found missing at 1:19 PM on October 27, 2012 [5 favorites]


"12 years later I realized: they were trying to seduce me."
posted by UrineSoakedRube at 1:20 PM on October 27, 2012 [4 favorites]


So, I was at my favorite brewpub the other night. The waitress said to me, "would you like some dessert?" I said, "no, just the check, please." How stupid could I have been????

I'm clearly still the dumb, clueless guy I used to be because I still don't get it. Or perhaps they don't serve dessert at the brewpub? If they don't serve dessert I guess I could see it, since you would have an opening to ask her if she wanted to join you somewhere else. But if they DO serve dessert, well, that's just her job.
posted by Justinian at 1:35 PM on October 27, 2012 [1 favorite]


Some years ago, one of my co-workers, she was tall and blonde and statuesque*, really friendly, really smart, and somehow she kept coming over to where I worked and striking up conversation. And at the time my self-image was such that it really wasn't in the real of possibility for someone like that to be interested in someone like me. That wasn't the way the world worked, and while I certainly didn't think this the best state of affairs, I had pretty much made my peace with it.**

We even went on some of what I now suspect were proto-dates that were set up like this:
Her: "Hey, let's go check out this new sushi place near my apartment." Me: "Okay."
Her: "So-and-so that you mentioned you liked is having an exhibit at this nearby museum. Interested?" Me: "Sure."
And so on.
One afternoon at her apartment she said she was going to lie down for a little nap. She didn't seem sleepy. "Okay," I say. "I'll just let myself out." She seemed disappointed but I couldn't figure out why.

One night we were at the same party and had been sitting together on a bench. She said she was cold, so I gave her my coat and put my arm around her in what I thought was an appropriately friendly way. She later drove me home and told me, on the drive, that another boy at the party had tried to make out with her and she didn't like that, but she liked the way I put my arm around her. And I thought, "So, I won't try to kiss you. Good to know."
I got out, thanked her for the ride, and went to bed. She called a few minutes later and wanted to know what was going on, if she had scared me off or whatever. "No," I said, sleepy. "Why would you scare me off? I think you're great." And that was it. She stopped hanging out. A few months later I switched jobs.

This comment is only as long as it is because it is literally only now, in this moment as I am writing this, that I realize the extent to which I missed the boat on this one. It was a few months before I figured out that taking a nap might have been an invitation to something, but it's only today that I see how much I let her do the heavy lifting on what might have even been considered dating.

So ... that's embarrassing.

* Note: I say that not to specifically endorse a particular, generally normative, conception of beauty, but merely to convey the fact that, from my own perspective, this girl had got it going on.

** In retrospect this probably had a lot to do with not having the emotional reserves to deal both with my depression and the (anticipated) rejection and not wanting to risk having to face both. Man, looking back, depression robbed me of all kinds of things.
posted by gauche at 1:36 PM on October 27, 2012 [18 favorites]


I just really like dessert.
posted by found missing at 1:46 PM on October 27, 2012 [8 favorites]


Oh, yeah, so if someone were to send send a facebook message to a missed connection like this, the content of which amounted to: "You were amazing and wonderful and didn't do anything wrong and I'm sorry I was too messed up to even notice what you were doing." that wouldn't be at all creepy and inappropriate, right?

I'm, um, asking for a friend.
posted by gauche at 1:51 PM on October 27, 2012


Just let it go.
posted by grouse at 1:53 PM on October 27, 2012 [6 favorites]


If you are currently facebook friends/parted on totally friendly terms? Yeah, I'd send that message. (Although... see above. I am blunt as fuck about stuff like that, and very much prefer people to be blunt with me.)
posted by restless_nomad (staff) at 2:00 PM on October 27, 2012


Print out this thread and mail it to her
posted by Greg Nog at 2:02 PM on October 27, 2012 [14 favorites]


Print out this thread and mail it to her

And address the envelope with letters cut out from various newspapers and magazines!
posted by You Should See the Other Guy at 2:03 PM on October 27, 2012 [37 favorites]


I just really like dessert.

Wow, I really lobbed that one over the net for you to spike.
posted by Justinian at 2:04 PM on October 27, 2012 [1 favorite]


If it's been a few years, best to keep it to yourself and chalk it up as a lesson learned.
posted by kagredon at 2:11 PM on October 27, 2012


- Back in my last undergrad year, I discovered I was really into this second year girl. It somehow happened that I kept running into her and chatting with her in the library; I even bumped into her in a second-hand book store. One time, she asked me pretty much out of the blue: "Hey, do you have my IM?" I said: "Of course not, why should I?"

- A few weeks later, she asked me (over IM; she had acquired my IM from a mutual acquintance of ours) if I would like to go to a Midsummer party with her and her friends. I said, "Sure." So I went to a Midsummer party with her and her friends...and had a great time sitting around a fire, grilling meat and talking with her and her friends.

Reader, I'd totally marry her if I could afford to.
posted by daniel_charms at 2:18 PM on October 27, 2012


Huh. I'd hoped to convey by my tone that I think it's a pretty inappropriate idea of the sort that one sometimes gets the impulse to do but doesn't act upon. The more so because I am quite happily married.
posted by gauche at 2:25 PM on October 27, 2012


The more so because I am quite happily married.

...Oh. Yeah, that would be a much less good idea, then.
posted by restless_nomad (staff) at 2:31 PM on October 27, 2012 [6 favorites]


I'm quite depressed by the realization that I haven't missed any green signals.

I do however have this story from high school days:

Guy: I'd like to ask you to the dance on Friday, but I can't.

Me: Why?

Guy: Because it's a Sadie Hawkins dance.

We went to the dance.
posted by orange swan at 2:34 PM on October 27, 2012 [4 favorites]


When I was 13 and at summer camp, I was on a walk with this guy I really liked and he kept trying to lead me back into all these secluded places, except we kept getting caught by counsellors, and I had no idea what was going on. "Why do we keep going behind bushes? Wow I've never been back here before." Finally he just gave up and we made out on a bench. Happy ending!

I just think the sort of media-valorized coy "romance" thing doesn't work very well in the real world for most people.

Yeah, I am thirding the amazing success of a straightforward, "Do you want to kiss me?" or whatever you are interested in doing. Being coy is a self-defense mechanism, but clearly a direct "no" is less painful then all this clueless flailing.
posted by muddgirl at 2:36 PM on October 27, 2012 [1 favorite]


Reader, I am not married.
posted by drjimmy11 at 2:40 PM on October 27, 2012 [11 favorites]


You lucky people are using up the universe's supply of one-in-a-million chances.
Now there are none left for the rest of us.
posted by Nomyte at 3:40 PM on October 27, 2012 [6 favorites]


I have been on five dates that I did not know were dates beforehand (and in most cases, not until well into it or even days afterwards). On two of those, I did the asking. Only one of those was the "he decided it was but oh hell no, I just owed him a thank-you lunch for getting me a job" type.

I still occasionally kick myself over the very first one: Homecoming, my senior year, my all-though-high-school boyfriend and I had just broken up. I didn't have a date, and it was fine, I was just going to go with my friends and their dates and it was cool.

My friends brought along the older brother of someone we vaguely knew. He went to prep school on the East Coast, looked like Paul Rudd in Clueless*, WORE A TAILORED SUIT WITH DOC MARTENS AND A SKULL-AND-CROSSBONES TIE (which he was very concerned that I was both cool with and loved - which I did, and politely said so), paid for my dinner, opened my door, tried to make conversation...

And I?
Completely.
Missed.
It.

They handed me - and I have to assume there was at least a small amount of intense pre-planning involved here** - my dream man on a silver platter and I completely blew him off. I still kind of blame my friends for not taking me into the ladies' room and beating some sense into me. I should have climbed that shit like a tree in a flash flood.

I'm not surprised that my friends kind of started drifting away from me after that, because I was clearly an asshole.

*Which came out 5 years later. He out-Rudded Rudd.

**He was only home for the weekend. For all I know, he came home for this. I've never wanted to ask.
posted by Lyn Never at 3:40 PM on October 27, 2012 [9 favorites]

In retrospect this probably had a lot to do with not having the emotional reserves to deal both with my depression and the (anticipated) rejection and not wanting to risk having to face both. Man, looking back, depression robbed me of all kinds of things.
Yep, cannot say how much I've been there. When at that moment there was a door wide open and I knew it was 90% certain she'd opened it for me, no, that 10% chance I'd misunderstood kept me from that polite little "you're talking about a crush on me, right?".
posted by ambrosen at 3:57 PM on October 27, 2012 [5 favorites]


So, I met this cute girl at work - she had come in to order shirts- and we got to talking, and discovered we were both recently single & had 5-year-old daughters. We set a play date for the kids at the children's museum, and talked & talked. We all came back to her place, & the kids were getting along great & my daughter asked if she could spend the night with her new friend, which seemed okay, so we sat up and talked & talked on into the night. When it finally came time to go, she walked me to the door where we lingered a bit, not wanting to break off a great evening. I decided to chance leaning in for a quick, polite friend hug as I exited, and she grabbed my head & kissed me hard.

Reader, I...

Yeah, I married her. So glad she didn't bother with the hints.
posted by Devils Rancher at 6:16 PM on October 27, 2012 [11 favorites]


Then again, sometimes we're genuinely Not Interested.
posted by LordSludge at 8:48 PM on October 27, 2012 [6 favorites]


Reader, I am not married.
drjimmy11, I just espoused you!
posted by JujuB at 8:57 PM on October 27, 2012 [1 favorite]


It was pretty late in life before I bought a clue, but just in time to manage to not screw it up with the woman I married. Phew!
posted by Zed at 9:34 PM on October 27, 2012


I bought a clue once, but I left it somewhere in my apartment and I can't be bothered to look for it when there are so many cute cat pictures on the internet I haven't seen yet.

Reader, this is why I'm single.
posted by maryr at 10:01 PM on October 27, 2012 [4 favorites]


Dobbs, I'd have answered that question with "half an hour" too. Nice to know I'm not alone in my social awkwardness.
posted by arcticseal at 10:07 PM on October 27, 2012


I don't think those of you with sisters or female friends or moms who tell you about it all, or just in healthily mixed gender groups can appreciate how different the monocultures of men and women are, and how non-intuitive it is reading signals across that gap.

I'm a woman and I'm just hopeless with this stuff. Basically if you want me to go on a date with you you should say "would you like to go on a date? With me." Anything else will go so far over my head I won't even feel the breeze.

I honestly just thought I had a lot of guy friends in college and was always being asked to do things with guys and hanging out with them because guys really liked me as a friend. I was an idiot.
posted by fshgrl at 10:12 PM on October 27, 2012 [3 favorites]


Oh god... Leave a rural gay club with both of the other women who were there. Weebling along amicably in the night air one girl says "well, it's getting late, would you like to come back to my place girl2?" and gets the reply "no, I am going back to Iteki's". This is news to me, but I am cool with it as she's really nice and very attractive. We go back to where I am staying, talk for a few hours, have a few drinks, she says she has to go and I see her out. We stand in the doorway doing a prolonged "so, it was really nice to meet you" routine when she says "I don't really have to go, I'd much rather come back in and make out". I agree to this fine initiative, but such a surprise, I didn't know she liked me "that way". •facepalm•

Reader, I didn't marry her, but neither did I learn anything.

Picture a cold, bright spring day. Have been trying to impress a woman all week on a course, we get on well, and today we've spent the entire day together; taking long walks, stopping for coffee, actively avoiding (with mischievous grins) other course members who try to join us. At one point I climb a huge tree and bring down armfuls of mistletoe WHICH I DO NOT USE. •facepalm•
Day progresses to night, we are hanging with some friends and I am getting a back rub from her. The friends, having more clue than us, drift off and she asks me back to her room. Backrub is now shirt off, lights off, AND I STILL DON'T GET IT! She asks if she can kiss me, thank the baby Jesus.

That, as they say, was that, cos I totally did marry her and just as well, because how would you rate my survival chances in the wild?
Occasionally it crosses my mind that if she were even just a tiny but shyer we might never have been us, and I shudder.
posted by Iteki at 2:02 AM on October 28, 2012 [3 favorites]


I really love how every post, mefi, meta, or even askme, turns into a fucking open mic for users to tell any semirelevant story they have. No wonder so many people are increasingly scared to clearly say HEY HOW BOUT A DATE--we're all desperately telling our stories online. OMG I WAS OBLIVIOUS ONCE!!!!11!1
posted by Joseph Gurl at 3:54 AM on October 28, 2012 [2 favorites]


I've mentioned here before how 15 years later my now-husband and I each thought we'd stood each other up when we agreed to meet at 11:00 on a certain Saturday, and I thought we meant 11 a.m. and he thought we meant 11 p.m. and we both went at 11 and obviously missed each other... and it took a mutual friend to clue us in that we we hadn't stood each other up. How terrifyingly delicate and precarious some life-changing events are!

The biggest life changing event here is switching to a 24 hour clock, already! There's no ambiguity in "I'll meet you at twenty-three-hundred-hours...yes, at 16°46′33″N 3°00′34″W"
posted by UbuRoivas at 6:10 AM on October 28, 2012 [5 favorites]


UbuRoivas: But what about time zone mix-ups?? That's where Swatch Internet Time saves the day! (And also guarantees that your date will stand you up.)
posted by LordSludge at 6:45 AM on October 28, 2012 [3 favorites]


I can tell you honestly at 42 I would likely never have been on a date, never been kissed, and certainly never have had sex with a girl if said girl hadn't taken 100% of the initiative and added another 50% to overcome my terror of dating. I have no idea where these women got their confidence -- each relationship, literally, the woman did all of the work and usually my shyness resulted in a conversation that went something like "Slarty, I really like you, I have been calling you and coming over so frequently these last weeks because I want to hug and kiss and maybe have sex with you. Would it be ok if I did that now?" It's weird because its totally out of step with the rest of my personality where I'm usually quite confident, witty, and adventurous. It's pretty amazing to me that I've gotten to this age with what i consider a fairly normal amount of sexual experience and ended up married to a pretty level headed person. I think I just accepted that I lacked the flirtation gene and that there are other people who have this gene over expressed and it all balances out. But it's easy to imagine I might have spent my life alone, particularly if I'd grown up in an environment where women were conditioned to be demure.

This Reader thing we're doing now is really cute
posted by Slarty Bartfast at 6:55 AM on October 28, 2012 [8 favorites]


With me, it has been a combination of genuine cluelessness and fear. There were signals that I only figured out years later. However, there were also times when I thought a woman might be interested but was paralyzed by shyness and fear of rejection. My first kiss was a stage kiss.

My wife and a college girlfriend both took mercy on me and made their interest very explicit. "Would you like to kiss me?" is the only signal that ever worked on me.
posted by Area Man at 7:35 AM on October 28, 2012 [1 favorite]


With all of the missed anonymous threesomes and back-alley blowjobs happening in these threads, there are three possibilities: One, I'm approximately 250% more clueless than I thought, and I think I'm pretty clueless. Two, these threads have a disproportionate number of Fabio lookalikes with asperger's. Three, there are people full of shit on the internet.

On a walk with a girl. "My hands are cold." My thoughts "OH FUCKING SWEET I BROUGHT GLOVES, SHE'LL LOVE THIS." Procure gloves, girl says no thanks with a puzzled look. My thoughts: "What is she crazy? These are DESIGNED to warm up hands."

Wait... what was he supposed to do? seriously...
posted by cmoj at 10:30 AM on October 28, 2012 [2 favorites]


I think he was supposed to hold her hands. Invitation to low-stakes human contact, and all that. See also e.g. "gosh, my shoulders are so sore..." which depending on the context may be a request for advice on stretching routines and posture adjustments but might be a hint that you could rub some damn shoulders already.
posted by cortex (staff) at 10:42 AM on October 28, 2012 [5 favorites]


three possibilities

Four, they're just not that into you...
posted by MartinWisse at 10:42 AM on October 28, 2012 [1 favorite]


"Oh, I sure could use a coffee about now…"
posted by Nomyte at 11:06 AM on October 28, 2012


All of my dating interactions have gotten 1000% better since I have had my own place so it's easy enough to say "So it's getting sort of late and I am going to go to bed. You can either go home, sleep downstairs, or come upstairs with me." and then people can choose in a pretty hassle-free environment. I think my high school obliviousness saved me from some interactions and potential relationships I probably shouldn't have been in anyhow.
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 12:55 PM on October 28, 2012 [3 favorites]


There's a reference to something similar to Ask culture vs Guess culture in that Reddit thread:

There was a TEDtalk or some similar lecture about the purpose of speaking indirectly. For socially well-adjusted people, this comes naturally and subconsciously. The purpose is that it saves face for both parties, by allowing for plausible deniability. Examples included, girls propositioning guys and offering to bribe a waiter or cop.
[link]
posted by UbuRoivas at 1:09 PM on October 28, 2012 [2 favorites]


Years ago the hottest girl I've ever met (o god so hot) threw herself at me and I smiled weakly and dropped her on the floor.

After realising what I'd done I moved to plan B: WHEN YOU THINK SOMEONE WANTS TO GO TO BED WITH YOU, SAY TO THEM 'WOULD YOU LIKE TO GO TO BED WITH ME?'

It actually works surprisingly well.
posted by Sebmojo at 2:58 PM on October 28, 2012


My (now) wife spent several months dropping anvils worthy of a Chuck Jones cartoon until I got a clue. What's interesting is that this relatively common scenario is rather unreported, both in the media and in real life. The overall narrative - positive or negative - is largely dominated by the assertive/predator male. By the way the ending of this episode (NSFW) of the French TV show WOMEN! (by comic duo Judith Siboni and Olivia Côte) hints at the fear lurking in the guy's mind when this sort of situation happens.
posted by elgilito at 4:02 PM on October 28, 2012 [1 favorite]


I don't know French. What were they saying?
posted by grouse at 4:10 PM on October 28, 2012


but might be a hint that you could rub some damn shoulders already.

Damn, cortex, every time I read about networking events where people are rubbing shoulders, I'm going to have flashbacks to this thread. In a bad way.
posted by ersatz at 4:10 PM on October 28, 2012


...yes, at 16°46′33″N 3°00′34″W"

Better specify the datum too...
posted by Confess, Fletch at 4:28 PM on October 28, 2012


I don't know French. What were they saying?
The woman has a conversation with another woman (offscreen) who tells her to find some unamed lost item (like a pair of earrings) for her (look on the shelf..., under the chair..., behind the curtain etc.). In the end the man awkwardly offers her a drink and gets called a creep (surreal, over-the-top miscommunication is one of the comedic devices of the series).
posted by elgilito at 4:44 PM on October 28, 2012


Grouse, my French is bad, but I think the gist of it was that the woman was looking for something that belonged to her friend across the room. She looks for it on the shelves, under the chair, and behind the curtain. The man, who has been getting an eyeful, asks if she wants a bit of champagne (I'm not sure of this). She has given no notice at all to this guy, and is honestly confused about his offer. She returns to her friend.

On preview, elgilito got it better.
posted by Rustic Etruscan at 4:45 PM on October 28, 2012


Better specify the datum too...

Now my body is starting to quiver
And the palms of my hands getting wet
My GPS is NAD 27, baby,
It's all a terrible mess
posted by Devils Rancher at 4:54 PM on October 28, 2012 [1 favorite]


I think he was supposed to hold her hands.

But they were walking and he was wearing gloves. Presumably.
posted by cmoj at 5:56 PM on October 28, 2012


A girl in my first-year German class invited me over to her apartment to study one Sunday afternoon, quite out of the blue. When I got there she cooked me lunch. Then we studied at the kitchen table for a while. Then she suggested we study in her bedroom. On her bed. Thing is, I knew she probably wanted me to jump her bones, but not only was I still a virgin but I hadn't even kissed anyone. I didn't make a move because I wasn't sure how to go from zero to sixty in one afternoon. Needless to say, after the study session ended and I left she didn't even want to make eye contact with me in class for the rest of the semester.
posted by The Card Cheat at 7:49 PM on October 28, 2012


This one time, a guy who lived on my floor (I didn't know him, but he knew me - birthmark, etc.) called me and asked if I wanted to go out with him. I was so used to being harassed by my roommates, kids from high school, and random drunken idiots on the street that I assumed this had to be another cruel trick - so I yelled at him and slammed the phone and cried for about 20 minutes.

Man, I am so glad I'm not in college anymore. And I am not surprised the extremely-blunt-and-also-anonymous approach is so unusual.
posted by SMPA at 8:06 PM on October 28, 2012


A girl in my first-year German class invited me over to her apartment to study one Sunday afternoon, quite out of the blue. When I got there she cooked me lunch. Then we studied at the kitchen table for a while. Then she suggested we study in her bedroom. On her bed.

I had almost the exact same situation once, and the reason for relocating to the bedroom was a slightly confusing "my flatmates might be home soon...wouldn't want them to disturb us".

Only, in our situation the issue wasn't virginity, but the fact I knew she had a boyfriend & I was too morally righteous to allow anything to happen unless she was single - because that would be playing around with another guy's possession or something.

Shame it wasn't a later feminist theory class, because then the study could've started out with an exposition of how she's her own woman & can make her own decisions, and if her boyfriend found out or objected, then that would be her responsibility, okay?

(leaving aside the issue that you don't necessarily want to be involved with somebody who sneaks around behind their partner's back...because I did really like her, but a lot less after that)
posted by UbuRoivas at 9:17 PM on October 28, 2012


I want to go back in time and shoot the younger version of me right in the head. Damn the paradox, full speed ahead.
posted by aramaic at 6:27 AM on October 29, 2012 [2 favorites]


The younger me really needed a kick in the pants.

Years ago I was at a party where I knew hardly anyone. Waaaay out of my element. However, I did manage to strike up a conversation with an attractive woman where who thought it was really cool that I was being responsible and being the DD for the couple of people I did know (the beer was crap, so I didn't feel like drinking, but I didn't say that).

Later on I was sitting on the couch and she mentioned that she'd like to sit down, but there was no room and could she sit on my lap instead?

I, of course, got up and let her have my seat. Because, I thought that was being a gentleman and I was too clueless to notice what probably qualifies as the third most blatant come-on in hook-up history. I suspect I then wandered off somewhere else, because sitting on the floor was uncomfortable.

I have no idea what I was thinking.
posted by It's Never Lurgi at 10:46 AM on October 29, 2012


I envy all these people who have women apparently trying to hit on them all the time. I mean, I kinda ended up mostly gay, but still, it would have been a nice retroactive ego boost.
posted by darksasami at 10:59 AM on October 29, 2012 [1 favorite]


I think that's part of the thing. For me anyway, I missed all of those blatant come-ons because it's only happened a few times. I wasn't prepared for the possibility that I was being hit on.

It's not really a good story, but I still cringe about the really cute blonde at the college party where I was all long haired and rollin' my own cigarettes. We talked all night, then her and her friends were leaving and her friend came up to me and told me, "So you should probably get Tiffany's (I don't remember) number before we go."

So I said, "AAAH I'LL GET IT LATER I'M SURE I'LL SEE HER AROUND." Of course, I didn't. It's not even that I didn't understand what was happening. I have no idea what was wrong with me. I guess I thought I'd see her around for some reason.
posted by cmoj at 12:28 PM on October 29, 2012


Oh boy, so, twenty years ago or so, I'm lying on the couch watching X-Files or something when a good friend of mine comes over to the house. I was living with two fellow grad students at the time and we had people dropping in and out all the time.

Anyhow, she comes into the house and asks if one of my housemates was there. He wasn't. She then comes over and lies down on the couch in front of me, the whole back of her body pressed against the front of mine. She reaches over and pulls my arms around her, placing my hand on her bare stomach (she put it under her shirt).

Now, we were old friends and she'd dated a friend of mine. I thought she was just being playful or something.

After the X-Files ended, she said "would you like to fuck?"

No, seriously.

I laughed because I thought she was joking and we just stayed on the couch and watched TV for another few hours. Then my housemate got home and I went to bed, alone.

18 years later, I ran into her and she said "I was so into you, but you laughed when I offered to sleep with you."

I said "I had no idea you were into me. You shouldn't have been so subtle. I'm pretty clueless."

Then she told me the story that I just shared with all of you, which I'd forgotten but confirm is true, and which demonstrated to me that the depths of my cluelessness ran deeper than even I had ever suspected.
posted by Joey Michaels at 1:01 PM on October 29, 2012 [19 favorites]


I'm kind of glad I missed most of the cues for casual sex when I was young. The times I fell for it resulted in big trouble. You know- the naked stalker standing through the sunroof, driving with her feet on the wheel, using a walking stick on the pedals and following you on a trip to the grocery store? And then to your mom's house?

Sometimes we miss these clues because our subconscious is busy picking up on something else. So you back away and then you only think about the sex you missed out on. In reality, you missed out on the aftermath, and lack experiences that most people don't enjoy.
posted by Mr. Yuck at 1:24 PM on October 29, 2012 [7 favorites]


Sometimes we miss these clues because our subconscious is busy picking up on something else.

I bet there have been times where there was something to pick up on that I totally missed, but there have been way, way more times where I though "Hm, I'm going to choose not to notice that" because my inner drama klaxon was going off loud enough to shake the walls. But yeah, I am sure that works more subconsciously in people who are not quite as at peace with their general skepticism about humanity.

(Why, yes, I am single, why do you ask?)
posted by restless_nomad (staff) at 1:29 PM on October 29, 2012 [2 favorites]


You are too young for me. But the flummoxed/skeptical look on the profile pic is precious.
posted by Mr. Yuck at 2:09 PM on October 29, 2012


Hah, funny, I posted the original "searching for this thread" thread, and not too long ago, either. Good stuff.
posted by Conrad Cornelius o'Donald o'Dell at 8:26 PM on October 29, 2012


"would you like to fuck?"

I'm pretty sure even I at 17 would have picked up on this hint.
posted by msalt at 2:19 PM on October 30, 2012


msalt, I swear on a stack of Jesuses and Buddhas that I thought she was kidding.
posted by Joey Michaels at 3:04 PM on October 30, 2012 [3 favorites]


Nothing like this has happened to me, but a friend of mine told me about his own experience with getting a very strong and clear signal. One time he went to a girl's place to watch tv or something. She left for a bit and came back wearing nothing but a smile. He told me he said something like "I have to go now" and just left her there like that. I think he understood what she was doing but he was just too intimidated.
posted by Green With You at 3:07 PM on October 30, 2012 [1 favorite]


I showed this and the reddit thread to my wife, who immediately says (paraphrased), "You? You who didn't get the hint even after I was sleeping in your lap on two separate occasions, want to laugh at these people?"

I distinctly remember both instances, but I didn't have a clue... till now. So, errr, thanks Metafilter!
posted by the cydonian at 12:39 AM on October 31, 2012 [3 favorites]


it was new years eve. a blizzard. i was going to stay home with roomate and listen to music. we got bored. my roomate left for a party, so i decided to go to my friends girlfriend's apartment to see what they were up to. my car slid into a ditch at the foot of the drive. a few moments later my roomate appeared. his car had gotten stuck at the end of the road. i went and helped push it out and he dropped me at friends girlfriend's place. several of her sisters were there. other people arrived. one sister lost her seat while getting a beer. she looked around the room, said "i'll just sit here if you don't mind" and plopped into my lap. too lacking in confidence to understand, (she was and still is beautiful) i basically made dumb small talk and said a bunch of innane things. which i am very good at. soon she interrupted, and looking me in the eye, said "shut up" and began to kiss me. 45 minutes later we were naked. a year later we were married. (17 years later we went our separate ways, but why screw up a good story?) left to my own devices, none of it would have happened.
posted by quonsar II: smock fishpants and the temple of foon at 10:23 AM on October 31, 2012 [2 favorites]


There was this one time when I threw out a futon mattress for a girl that I was obviously interested in, who was obviously interested in me, after a night of grinding on each other at a bar and I didn't even say good night to her at all, just kind of shut the door and went to bed.

I even had the nerve to wonder why the hell she kind of just fled out of there the next morning.

Reader, I am not married to her. I'm dating another girl I had an awkward 3-year-long pre-relationship with that involved lots of sleeping over on separate furniture and one time on the same couch but vertically inverted.
posted by dubusadus at 10:50 AM on October 31, 2012


The younger me really needed a kick in the pants.

He wouldn't understand why he was getting it.
posted by phearlez at 10:58 AM on October 31, 2012 [1 favorite]


Metafilter: less painful then all this clueless flailing.
posted by herbplarfegan at 1:17 PM on October 31, 2012


Throughout my pre-undergraduate education, my classmates mocked me by feigning friendship.

For instance, one guy, whom I never talked to and who never talked to me, walked beside me as I went home to my grandmother's. He offered to set me up with a girl I liked. I tried to brush him off. Nothing good could have come from that conversation. Still, he insisted. He asked me why I was mistreating someone with such good intentions. Our paths diverged. He went his way, I mine.

The mockery lay in the manic immediacy of the friendliness, as though there were nothing better in the world than to befriend Rustic Etruscan. By the end of high school, I no longer trusted the quickly friendly. I heard sarcasm in every kind word. I saw irony in broad smiles. A girl flirted with me at the movie theater; I told her to go away. One person called me paranoid. I denied it at the time, but that guy got it right. Not much has changed since then.

All this is to say that should anyone ever flirt with me, even as obviously as Joey Michaels' friend did with him, I would still fear the coming punchline.
posted by Rustic Etruscan at 4:27 PM on October 31, 2012 [4 favorites]


Once, in grade nine, there was a boy who sat next to me in science class. We flirted every day in an awkward, embarassed, grade-nine kind of way. I was sooooo into him. One day, out loud, where everyone in class could hear him, he invited me to the school dance. This is not something anyone in real life, in grade nine, gets to experience! The boy I liked in high school asked me to the dance!!

I accidentally said no.

Then, one of the "class clown" guys was like "ooooh, shot down by a popular girl", which was super mean to me because I was distinctly not popular, and mean to him to imply that he couldn't even get a date with an unpopular girl, and just a generally dickish teenage boy thing to do.

Then, I got so embarassed and upset at what I had done that I started to make up a lie about how I had to babysit that night so I couldn't go to the dance. I think that this was me trying to backpedal and instead just flailing around wildly, searching for something, anything, to make it seem like I wasn't rejecting him.

THEN, I went to the dance alone, hoping that he would be there and that there would be some kind of glorious reconciliation.

He never spoke to me again. Oh, and nobody danced with me that night.
posted by windykites at 8:02 AM on November 1, 2012 [1 favorite]


Wow windykites, that could totally be on Pathetic Geek Stories. Teenagers suck.
posted by grouse at 10:28 AM on November 1, 2012 [1 favorite]


Adding this late, but my friend Cat coined the word "Flirtspergers" to describe the syndrome detailed here.
posted by Joey Michaels at 2:27 AM on November 7, 2012 [4 favorites]


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