Does she want to date you?
By Alan Goldsher
Guys can be kinda dumb.
I’m not talking kinda dumb in a low-IQ kind of way—remember Ken “Mr. Jeopardy” Jennings? Last time we checked, he was a guy—and clearly not unintelligent. But in terms of figuring out how to comprehend a woman’s feelings about us when we’re trying to make the leap from “friends” to “friends who kiss,” forget about it. This is especially true for guys who’ve been burned in the past (and who hasn’t been?) who are wary about rejection. Maybe we’re not totally illiterate, but we often have a difficult time reading signals. So here, a few signs she’s interested—consider them your green light to get closer.
The “let’s laugh” signal
Distinctly not-dumb guy David Wygant, author of Always Talk To Strangers, is an excellent signal-reader. “If she makes you feel like a stand-up comedian, even though you’re not that funny, she wants to take it to the next level,” says Wygant. Similarly, Rosemarie of White Plains, New York, shares, “If I’m interested in a guy, I kind of tease him—I try to get a funny, bantering chat going. It shows that I’m interested in playing a bit of a cat-and-mouse game, you know? I’ll say something like, ‘I think you’re just making that up,’ or ‘Honestly now, has that line worked?’ but I say it with a big smile and eye contact so he knows I’m just joking.”
The tell-tale time sign
If you are friends with a woman and sometimes wonder if there might be more there, take heed of when she wants to hang out with you. If she wants to meet you for a quick workday lunch, chances are she doesn’t fancy you in the way you might hope. But if she asks you to meet her for a drink in the evening or to see a movie with her on a Saturday at 8 P.M., she may be casting you in more of a boyfriend role. Says Shelly of San Diego: “I work with a lot of guys and admit to getting crushes on coworkers from time to time. I’ll chat them up about new movies I want to see, and if one I’m interested in asks me out, I do what I can to make it at night on a weekend. That makes it so easy to grab a drink or food afterward and get to know each other on a more personal level.”
The body language clues
OK, so the odds of a woman reaching out to hold your hand while you’re flirting with her are slim to none. So how does she use her body to show you she’s interested? Jess from New York believes a woman’s gestures will send you the message. “Her body language will give her away—if a woman leans in toward a guy while he’s talking, mimics his body language, and maybe sneaks in a subtle touch here or there, these are pretty good signs that she’s into him. Obviously, he should get her phone number and actually call.”
And how does a guy know if a woman isn’t interested? “If she is looking around the room while he’s talking to her and crossing her arms across her chest,” says Jess, “she’s probably not that interested. Also, if she tells the guy that he would be perfect for her sister or she suddenly brings up the fact that she’s been talking to her ex-boyfriend, there’s probably not a spark there.” The guy should just move on to a woman who is worth his time or possibly take the uninterested woman up on her sister offer.
The look of “I like you”
A guy should also know what kind of eye contact is waving him in. Direct eye contact that lasts more than a couple of seconds is a sign of interest, say the experts. And if a woman looks from your eyes to your mouth, well, things are in very, very good shape. “I don’t know if it’s conscious or not, but when I like a guy, I find my gaze wanders from his eyes to his mouth,” says Moira of St. Louis. “It’s definitely a seduction move; it lets him know that I’m thinking about what it would be like to kiss him.” Gentleman, if you’re getting that signal, this is another time you want to go ahead and get that phone number.
Taking the next step
Once we men realize she “likes us, likes us,” our minds are oftentimes so blown that we have no idea how to proceed. Fortunately, Wygant does: “Once she gives you the hints, you need to close the deal. Ask her to talk to you away from her friends or call her up on the phone and say, ‘You know what? I want to take you out for a nice dinner—just the two of us.’”
What if the object of your affection is a woman you’ve known as a pal for a while? Over dinner, you have the talk, advises Wygant. “You say, ‘I’d really like to become more than friends. I’d like to start dating you. What do you think of that?’ At this point, she’s given you every single sign that this is the conversation she’s been dreaming about, and of course the answer is going to be yes.”
So it all really boils down to a two-pronged plan: Pay attention and take a chance. If you focus your energy on the woman in question rather than on yourself or your surroundings (which is what you should be doing anyway), you’ll pick up more than you ever thought you could have. And if you disregard the very obvious signs — the laughing, the touching, the eye contact — and you don’t go for it, well then, then you are kinda dumb.
Alan Goldsher’s book, Modest Mouse: A Pretty Good Read, will be published by Thomas Dunne Books in August 2006. Visit his website at http://www.AlanGoldsher.com, or write him at email@example.com.