What ever happened to the simple question: “Would you like to go on a date with me?”

I don’t care if they consider me an old fogy, but I think young people today have utterly bizarre dating rituals. Boys don’t ask girls out; they send out signals to test the water. And girls aren’t forthright, either. They pretend they’re not receiving the signals or they send back their own signals. By the time all these signals have been passed back and forth a half dozen times, neither party has any earthly idea what the other  is saying or thinking.

Case in point. A college junior I know sits next to the same woman every day in a large lecture class. He’s interested in her. He walks her back to her dorm after class, his signal to her that he’s interested. One day he’s late to class and has to sit on the other side of the room. When class is over, she doesn’t wait for him and he doesn’t approach her. Now he’s trying to interpret the meaning of her action. “Maybe she didn’t want to appear too anxious. Or maybe she isn’t interested in me. Or maybe she thought she wasn’t important enough to me because I was late,” he goes on and on.

“So why don’t you just ask her out?” I say. “If I do, and she doesn’t want to go out, she’ll stop talking to me,” he explained. “You’re a little nutty,” I respond.

Young men and women read little signs in each other’s emails, gestures and remarks. They do a mating dance. But they take so long to connect, there’s not a bit of spontaneity left. “The internet has made us more isolated and less social,” the young man said. “No one wants to appear too anxious or forward. No one wants to take chances.”

Taking chances spices up our lives. If you won’t take a chance on a making a date when you’re 21, what will you take a chance on?

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