Savage Love Letter of the Day: A Three Word Answer

Comments

1
This privileged mother fucker, things that simply by establishing rapport and having good times with a lady, he's entitled to ask her if she want's to take time away from her busy schedule to socialize and perhaps give him sex. What a creep!
2
Hopefully he will not ask her out by saying "Lets socialize and perhaps you will give me sex".
3
I dunno... From the tone of the letter, I think he should just pass her a note.

"Do you like me? Check 'yes' or 'no'. If 'yes', do you like-like me?"
4
I'll blame his dating ineptness on his having just recently gotten divorced, i.e. his having been off the market for a while.

But still.
5
yeah thanks Dan. Hop on your plane to Fiji or wherever, and leave us with nothing. Some loser who can't read flirting signs. Rendered impotent by the divorce perhaps. LW, therapy is your only answer.
6
He sounds so delightfully un-jaded, polite. I think the term was gentleman.
7
In a month:
" I was balls-deep in her last night when she had a really loud orgasm but I dunno - maybe she was faking it? How do I know if she really likes me? "
8
Hush, everyone. For once I agree with Raindrop @6. AIP is recently divorced and out of practice, and erring on the side of showing respect to a woman by not making advances towards her while she is in her workplace. Sounds like the nice guy (as opposed to Nice Guy) every gal wants.
9
@8 holdup wait. How is this nice guy different from a Nice Guy?
10
A Nice Guy (TM) is one who expects to be rewarded for his niceness, and will turn nasty/pouty/MRA if denied what he thinks he deserves in exchange for acts of basic human decency. A nice guy is just a guy who believes basic human decency is generally the way one should act in the world, and does not expect rewards for his behavior, or finds decency is its own reward. And sometimes said decency leads to getting into someone's pants, but that's just a pleasant side effect, rather than the main purpose, of being nice.

In general, niceness is transactional; it smooths over interactions between strangers, it eases tensions, it's a way for people who don't need or want to connect on a deeper level to exist in the same place for a period of time. Niceness is necessary for these superficial purposes, but it's what's behind the niceness that counts when you're actually making a deeper connection with a person. Kindness, decency, thoughtfulness: these are the actual character traits and values that differential a Nice Guy (or gal) from a good guy (or gal).
11
The difference is a Nice Guy doesn't believe there's a difference.
12
That's just a comment about Nice Guys vs. nice guys in general... My sense is the letter writer seems like a pretty decent dude, and if he does end up being turned down by this bartender, his gracious acceptance of her decision will prove his standing as such.
13
A tick for raindrop for pointing to a non verbal signal reader as a gentleman. You know Fan, as soon as someone tells me to shush, I'll do the opposite.
I was leaving hospital yesterday after seeing my mother, sitting waiting for hospital bus, and this couple sat by me. He an old white guy, she a younger asian woman. They have grandkids, so a long time married couple. At one point he actually put his finger across his mouth to shush her.
14
* a lousy non verbal signal reader.
15
He sounds lovely and I totally empathise with him, as someone who's been in a relationship for more than 20 years, I have never been in the dating pool (I guess in New Zealand in the 1980s we didn't go on dates, we just found people we liked in our social circle and that was that) and I have no idea how I would even start.
My husband's would be the same, having married his first girlfriend (me). And he's a super nice guy (not a Nice Guy). I could imagine him writing this letter if he was single.
16
husband, not husband's. Must get some lunch now too hungry.
17
Props to women with the strength and independence of mind to ask a man out directly or better yet just walk up and kiss him.
18
I want to know what he said that was disrespectful.
No, don't ask her out with your mutual gay friends "so she won't feel pressured on a 'date'". That's just hiding the fact that for you it's a date. If you're worried that she'll feel pressured, then don't say things like "her desire to take the relationship to a higher level". Getting coffee or dinner or going bowling can be a one-time thing, not Taking the Relationship to a Higher Level.
Another option is to say "I'd like to go out with you sometime. Here is my number, please text/call me if you're interested and we can figure out a day that works".
19
@1: You should really change your user icon back to the Cobra logo everyone remembers.
20
@25 even I don't remember the "cobra icon". Refresh me?
21
@3: I think he should just pass her a note.

This is madness you speak.

He should to have his friend pass the note to her friend, who then relays the note with response back to his friend, who then peeks at the answer and passes it back to him, before joining with her friend to spread the gossip around to everyone else in the bar.
22
@20: She's suggesting you are a male former poster known for bizarre and profane outbursts. Don't take it personally, though, men are all the same to her.
23
WC @22, do you know that undead is female? They have never disclosed their gender, that I've noticed. Undead, Sportlandia is nothing like Mr E.. Nice to see you, busy.
A three word answer for this guy, Go For It.
24
@23: Why is it not reasonable to use male and female pronouns for avatars of famous people? I really don't think any delicate sensibilities are being broken with such a verbal convenience.
25
I don't know about anybody else, but I wish him good luck, and hope he writes back with a status update.
26
The lw sounded sweet and genuine to me.
Not only is he way out of practice, but the woman is a bartender and it's well-known that friendliness is the bread and butter of successful bartendery,
but
the bar's a pretty LGBTQ-friendly (or majority) environment.

In other words, he has three very legitimate reasons to not assume she's into him.

And the fact that he doesn't assume she is, or act like if he's nice to her, she owes him sex, just makes him that much sweeter.
Go for it, AIP, and good luck!
27
@24 And if the avatar is male, but the name somewhat female? What would you presume in that situation? Why not just say 'they'?

@19 While I've had the same inkling, I don't think Sporty is the dearly departed Mr. E. There's no way he'd be able to contain his oft-repeated creed. "Because women are LYING LIARS who LIE!"
28
This LW could be me if I had a desire to date, which I luckily don't have.
29
@Sportslandia @LavaGirl instead of spewing your trolling negativity towards the LW, can you give peeps some constructive criticism?
30
@26 'it's well-known that friendliness is the bread and butter of successful bartendery'
This made me smile :) The US is one of the few places I've been where you can expect friendly service at a bar.
31
Yeah, I'm gonna give the LW some slack. Bartenders are flirty by profession, and it's a Queer bar - can you imagine a woman being like "so I'm at the gay bar and the male bartender keeps calling me 'sweetie' and giving me hugs - do you think he wants to date me?"

But that being said, there's enough going on there that a casual "hey, no big deal if I'm misreading this, but do you want to go on a date some time?" is ok.
32
LW sounds like a decent dude. The bartender would be lucky to have him. He exudes sympathy. She has probably seen it all and he in contradt projects politeness and respects her boundaries.
33
@29 TS, apologies. I was being flippant. And who made you my mother.. do I know you?
Constructively, if you'd read all my comments @23, I suggested the guy go for it.
As in, stop with all the second guessing and ask the woman out.
34
The clues can be read a trillion ways, so why bother. Enough that there are some encouraging ones. She doesn't slam the drink down in front of him. If he's not ready to date yet, because divorce, then wait till some woman bangs him over the head and drags him off to her room. If he is ready to date again, then he's got to do it with a bit of confidence. Be bold in his asking, and if she says no, then it's practice. Win Win.
35
Sporty @9: A nice guy is a guy who is nice. A Nice Guy is a man who believes that if he acts "nice," women will be obligated to fuck him, and stops being nice and starts being a dick as soon as he realises the particular woman he's been pretending to be nice to isn't going to fuck him.

Mtn Beaver @11: Perfect answer.

Raindrop @24: Zombies have no gender. :) Undead, what is your preferred pronoun?
36
A nice guy is thinking, "Does she like me?" A Nice Guy would be thinking, "How can I manipulate her into sleeping with me?"
37
Next time you're at the bar, and she hands a drink to you, reach out and sensuously caress her hand with a roll of toilet paper.
38
@LavaGirl flirting doesn't always indicate sexual interest. And what if she jokingly slapped on his butt? If a man does it to a woman then it's considered a form of sexual harassment but the other way around is more intricate and complex than that
39
17/WoofCandy: Props to women with the strength and independence of mind to ask a man out directly...

My guess is that if you compared women who ask men out with men who ask women out, the women would, in general, handle rejection better. But that's only -- or mainly -- because those women are a self-selected group; they have, as you put it, the strength and independence of mind to ask a guy out. Those women who, like men, would handle rejection very poorly, likely refrain from asking guys out at all.
40
@35 I guess enough time hasn't passed yet to know.

@29 Troll Slayer there's no constructive advice. just ask her out, that's all.
41
I agree the LW should ask her out and Dan's advice was good.

Having been a waitress and a bartender in playful bars, I disagree that the woman is obviously into him. I think the LW's confusion is perfectly valid, and the best way to clarify is to ask her out. If she's interested and says yes, then good for them. If she's just a playful person and she's not interested in him, then she will decline, and if she's as decent a person as the LW seems to be, then she will thereafter refrain from being so physically flirty with him since he will have made her aware that he is taking her playfulness as interest. So no harm done on either side, and they will both know where they stand, and he can continue to enjoy his local bar. On the other hand, if she declines but then continues to physically flirt with him in such overt ways (the massages for example) then he will know that she is not as decent a person as he is, and he can take his interest elsewhere. So regardless of the outcome, the right thing to do is politely ask her out and figure out where he stands here.

I'm also a little curious about what the disrespectful thing is that he said and why it necessitated an apology. Knowing that might give some more insight into the dynamics. Here's another that I hope comes with an update.

All this talk of women asking out men, while that's great, I always feel that the problem is the expectation that equality means that women start acting like men. In reality, women tend to do less "asking out" but more initiation of future contact in natural social spaces. So you are less likely to find a woman asking you out in a public space, but if you are at a party or a hobby/sports/community event, women will initiate planning a future thing to do together along the lines of "hey are you coming to the ... next week?" and then exchange phone numbers that way. So what I've found (and as I've learned from this site, my own experiences are not always indicative of greater norms) is that if you ask couples you know how they met (and exclude online dating here as that's it's own thing- we are talking about physical encounters) they have met both ways- through cold approaches and through shared social connections- in my experience the latter tends to be more common. So I'm usually wary of men's complaints that women don't ask them out as they seem to only be talking about cold approaches in public rather than more natural initiation in a social setting- and then extrapolating from that that they (the men) have to do all the initiation work because they are defining initiation very narrowly. The key to this is to ask those same men what they do outside of work that would allow them to meet women in the first place. People who are involved in lots of things and have a wider social net and more experiences tend to date more. You are obviously taking greater risks of rejection by hitting on people you don't know in public, and I don't see the point in blaming women for not taking this risk when there are other ways to meet people. No one is forcing you to hit on people in public. I don't see anything wrong with it and have done it quite a bit myself in appropriate settings, I'm just pointing out that it's not a necessary or valiant approach. If you take that risk, you do so because you choose to, not because there aren't other ways to meet and hook up with people.

In any case, this little diatribe was directed at the conversation directly above me and I think it has nothing whatsoever to do with the LW's situation as the women in question is at work and they do know each other. If she is actually interested but has not asked him out herself, there could be all sorts of reasons including her own personal fear of rejection, but I suspect it has more to do with her being at work. Bartending and waitressing are both jobs in which you stay very busy and interact with loads of people so she could be interested in the moments she's with him but not really think too much about him otherwise- this was absolutely the case for me when I was in the service industry. You are moving quickly and living in sort of a "now" in that job, so sure you flirt with the attractive interesting guy in front of you and you aren't not interested, but then another customer is in front of you seconds later, and so on all night. He might ask her out and then she'll think to herself "aha!" and "why not". It doesn't necessarily mean that she's just sitting around desperately waiting for him to ask her out. But it could be that. Or it could be that she is just a flirty person and needs some awareness of boundaries. Or it could be that she's flattering him for his continued business. In any of these cases, the LW is correct to ask her out and figure out which it is so that he knows how to proceed.
42
@41: "Or it could be that she is just a flirty person and needs some awareness of boundaries. Or it could be that she's flattering him for his continued business. In any of these cases, the LW is correct to ask her out and figure out which it is so that he knows how to proceed."

Yup. It's not necessarily... uncouth, but the LW needs to keep in mind that bartenders are generally gregarious and may intentionally or not reflect back any emotions or (safe, friendly) flirtations sent their way. Leave the option open for her to have meant well and positive towards him and don't get your hopes up so high to be dashed on the rocks.

This is not to say don't ask, but try to be gracious if her friendliness was universal and not romantic.
43
@38 TS, flirting as I understand it, is a sign of sexual interest. The intention behind it won't be known until he asks her out. If she says no, there will be other women.
44
And there's enough of a power imbalance that it's unlikely a bartender will ask out a customer, regardless of gender. I'm not saying bartenders never sleep with customers, but bartenders will seldom *hit on* customers in a clear unambiguous way. Because if they turn you down, you've probably lost a customer. No matter how friendly it all gets, it's still a transactional relationship, and the person who is at work needs to stay professional.
45
@ agony, yes thanks.

@lava- people also flirt because it feels good to have others show that they are interested in you and also to get attention. Also people flirt because they don't have other social skills. I'm not at all interested in women but as I've gotten older, women tend to hit on me pretty frequently and I've been told commonly enough that I come across as a lesbian on a first impression (though not after a conversation or prolonged interaction- whatever that means, but I've had this feedback from plenty of women over the years). Anyway, back to my point- despite the fact that I have absolutely no sexual interest in women, I have found myself responding to flirting by flirting in response and feeling flattered though I never initiated and I have the self-awareness to notice and stop. My husband is a great flirt, and it's an endless source of fascination for me to see the women he chooses to flirt with and how they respond, even when there is absolutely no chance of sexual encounters for anyone involved and everyone knows that. Though that particular scenario doesn't disprove your point since certainly there is some level of interest though circumstances might prevent any escalation. Flirting can be funny and can diffuse sexual tension as well.

Anyway, I agree with your conclusion that he should ask her out, but I think flirting has a social and interpersonal use well beyond interest in sex. Hopefully, we will never work out all these details and codify sexual interest in exclusively unambiguous as that would take out half the fun in life.
46
@43: "flirting as I understand it, is a sign of sexual interest."

Contextually bartenders behave in a friendly manner with customers that in different contexts could be considered "flirting", however that easygoing, fun, and and personal interest in you and what's going on with your day is a bit different for service employees. Especially in such a role that requires social adeptness.

It might be, but LW shouldn't expect any guarantees.
47
Yes undead, I've been saying the same. Nothing ventured nothing gained. Go for it. For gods sake ask the woman out to coffee, easy start.
Female bartenders rubbing a customers back, how often does that happen.
48
Agony @44, excellent point. It's totally up to LW to make the first move here, as the bartender's job could be at risk if she gets any more obvious about her interest in a customer than she already has. Although, as undead @42 points out, she may just be naturally friendly and outgoing to everyone, or she knows she can pull down excellent tips by casually and lightheartedly responding in kind to signals from regular customers that they are attracted to her. The only way he can find out for sure is to ask her out, and the ball is clearly in his court.

EmmaLiz @45, YES! I lament the demise of audacious but innocent flirtation with strangers and casual acquaintances, with absolutely no intention on the part of either flirter to take things to the next level sexually. Advanced-level flirting used to be a fine art, quite frequently practiced at social gatherings of all types, and a very pleasurable one. It is a fine way to let someone know that you find them attractive in an abstract sense, but regrettably you have just this one conversation, this one dance, this one party to truly appreciate each other's magic before returning to your respective real lives and real-word partners (whom you happen to adore). I'm glad to hear that flirting is still an accepted thing in your part of the universe, because it has declined drastically in mine in recent years. ''...
49
@37: In the immortal words of the late Phil Hartman as the even later Frank Sinatra, "You had me, and then you lost me."
50
What about the ass slap?
51
Sportlandia @40: "@35 I guess enough time hasn't passed yet to know. "
In that case refer to my comment @36.

Emma @45: I've had a friend refer to "flirting" versus "flirting with intent."

One clue that seems to have been missed by the commentariat is that the bartender gave this guy her number. To me, that's the biggest sign that she wants him to use it because she wants to see him outside of work.
52
@50: It's really really hard to grasp social intent without being there to witness stance, expression, tone, language, and general interaction.

@51: "One clue that seems to have been missed by the commentariat is that the bartender gave this guy her number. To me, that's the biggest sign that she wants him to use it because she wants to see him outside of work."

Sure! Still, always safer to leave the option out there that the story as presented by the LW is the reality they want us to know and missing critical pieces that might sway things (wants to see is not necessarily wants to date.) I think the posters here with a few exceptions have been positive and supportive for following up otherwise.
54
Dan Bacon, a British motivational speaker, teaching how to hit on women with Playfully Arrogant Humor
55
@53 what a thoroughly awful website. It appears all women behave the same all the time and you can programme them to respond the way you want. How depressing. Not to mention it assumes all men are exactly the same in their thoughts and feelings towards women. How depressing for men who don't fit the mold.
56
Bacon basically is trying to make money based on his own personal experience with what works with women and how he managed to pick up. Apparently many people agree with his techiniques
57
I'm sure most female bartenders with any lived experience at all can see these "techniques" coming a mile away, and would vastly prefer a sincere chap like AIP who clearly likes her for her and isn't pulling some PUA bullshit.

News flash: a lot of women aren't single because they "can't get a date" but because they have standards...
58
Troll @50: Is that a suggestion, or have you misread the letter, which never mentions an ass slap?