Monday, June 22, 2009

What do Walruses have to do with dating?

Here’s a question from an alert reader with an age-old problem.

Dear HTF,

Do you have any dating advice for teenage guys?  Thanks.


Well my friend, I’m going to assume that you’re an actual teenage guy and not one of the non-teenage mothers who more commonly read the blog.  I was once, well, you . . . in a way.  But that was quite a long time ago.  By your measure I’m guessing my 33 years make me ancient, but I’ll try to help you out a bit here, because one thing I’m certain of is that teenage guys know as much about dating as walruses know about the US Tax Code.  So here are just a few words of advice:

  • Absolutely do this (date) at your own risk.  It looks simple on TV and in the movies, but it’s incredibly complex because…
  • At no point during the date (or even years into your marriage) will you have any idea what she’s actually thinking.  You need to recognize this and not let it get you down, because there’s nothing you can do to really fix it. 
  • Know that every single word you say (or any other sound/movement) will be interpreted in ways that you couldn’t possibly have imagined.  For instance, you may say, “What would you like to eat?” – this benign question, all by itself, may abruptly end your date and leave you sitting in your car stunned (and hungry).
  • Be sure to ask lots of questions so that you at least have a shot of knowing if things are ok.  But don’t expect complete answers – you’re gonna have to guess at what she really means.  This is certainly the hardest part.
  • I suggest dating in groups to get started.  There’s a strength that comes from being around other confused guys that you’ll probably need.  Also, you’ll hopefully have enough friends among the witnesses so that you can find out after the date what really happened (good or bad).  Additionally, if you say or do something wrong (and you will) it’s much easier to pivot the conversation over to poking fun at the amount of styling gel your buddy sitting next to you used.
  • Be nice, I mean genuinely nice.  With all the other commotion in your head this may get forgotten – kinda like how you might forget your name when you pick her up.
  • Remember, she said yes.  While that may have been out of pity, she hopefully wants to hang out with you.  So go ahead and have a little confidence . . . but not too much, because, well, you’re a teenage guy and when you get the slightest bit overconfident, really bad things always happen.  (I’ve been there, dude – let me know if you wanna hear some illustrative stories from way back when.)
  • Despite my last point, she probably doesn’t want to hear you talk about yourself the whole time.  You’re only that interesting in your own mind.  So try to encourage her to do the talking – remember, fewer words from you is a good thing.
  • Of the few words you should use, remember to compliment her.  Here are a few examples of compliments, however well-intentioned, you should avoid:
    • Didn’t you wear that to school today?  It looks better now.
    • Your teeth are almost straight
    • I like your perfume, it’s the same one my mom wears
  • Remember that the end of the date is the most important part (this is the same reason that most guys screw it up).  This is where you try to piece together all of the cues from the night to figure out if she actually likes you still.  (hint: if she jumps out of the car while you’re still pulling into the driveway and runs into the house, you don’t need to “piece together cues” – you can assume the worst)  So if your quick analysis tells you that things went well you may try for a hug or kiss.  Recognize that 98.3% of guys mess this part up too, so it may not hurt to ask her another question.  For instance, “even after being with me for the last 3 hours, do you still think I’m an ok guy?”  If she says “SURE” that means NO.  However, if she says “yes” and actually looks you in the eyes when she says it, you may have a shot there.

Oh, I could go on and on, but you’re a guy like me, so any more instruction would probably confuse you even more.  Thank you for your question and let me know if you have any more along the way (trust me . . . you will)!  Good luck my friend, let us know how it goes!

Remember to send in your questions/comments to  You’ll assuredly get a great response on the blog that you may or may not actually like or find useful.


Emmy said...

I want to hear stories! :)
To the teenage guy:
Good advice but you shouldn't probably kiss on the first date.. if as HTF stated, you asked her if she likes you and she says yes and looks you in the eye, then give a really nice hug and look into her eyes but then leave her wanting more.. so she can lay awake all night fantasizing about the next date and if you will kiss her that time.
And then that way in case you were totally reading all of the signals wrong you won't get slapped ;)

HTF said...

Whoa, Emmy, good call! See, that's stuff a guy never would've thought of on purpose, unless someone tied him to something and made him read Twilight books.
But I really dig the pragmatism of avoiding the slappage.

Emmy said...

HTF, I just had to tell you I started busting up laughing when I read your response to my comment as I just finished Twilight for the second time yesterday :)

rlsecor said...

Oh I am sure we would all love to hear stories :)

And please Lord, don't ever let anything happen to send any of us back into the world of dating!

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