Periscope Depth

cause I need red flags and long nights and she can tell

(Part eight in the ongoing dating series. Part seven, on how credibility makes dating easier, last week)

I’ve spent most of my prior entries talking about how to repair your own problems. You have to lead an interesting life. You have to be open with yourself and with others. Part of this is to make you a better catch. But part of this is also just to live a happy, fulfilled life.

Guys drive themselves crazy, obsessing over one woman – or just women in general – and hoping to be satisfied. But this isn’t any different than a guy obsessing over getting a particular job, or buying a LCD TV, or getting an Escalade. There’s that unconscious hope that says as soon as I get my hands on this, everything’s going to change. I’ll feel better in the morning and sleep easier at night. It’s all going to work out.

And of course it never does.

This is because the guy in question has issues with his own psyche. And getting a girl, even the Right Girl, will not solve those issues. Or rather, if it does, it’ll be because she starts calling the guy on his bullshit, not because she caters to his every whim. But that’s hardly the fantasy a guy entertains when he’s paging through Esquire. “Man, wouldn’t it be great if Ashley Greene got me to finish that novel?”

But, we’ve spent the last few weeks addressing that. We talked about self-confidence and living an active life. So let’s presume you’ve been taking that advice and have your shit in order. Now you need to be shown the next step.

How To Ask A Girl Out

I dunno. You just fucking ask.

What I’ve usually found works is asking for her phone number. Lots of dating advice columns will stress that you have to do it this way. You can’t ask a girl out over IM or Facebook, they insist. Having done both, I don’t see a problem with it. Romance has little to do with medium. But asking a girl for her phone number has the advantage of sending a clear, confident message. You can friend-request anybody; it might not mean a thing. But when you ask a girl for her digits, it usually means you want to ask her out.

If you’ve been absolutely dazzling her, making her laugh and keeping her interested, you won’t have to ask. She’ll insist on giving it to you. But this is rare, so don’t count on it. Come up with a good way to ask and then go for it.

If you’re still nervous at this point, relax. She will probably – if she’s single, and on the market, and you haven’t turned her off – give you her number. This is relatively easy for her to do. Of course, just because she’s given you her phone number doesn’t mean she’ll go out with you. Maybe she’s just being polite. Or maybe she’s still on the fence, but is willing to give you another shot at impressing her. Or maybe she’s been dying for you to ask.

You’ll never know which of those is the case until you ask, though. And you’ll find more failures than successes. A lot of times, you’ll get shunted to voicemail. Occasionally, you’ll find a woman who flat out won’t give you her number (shocking, right? who wouldn’t want to field calls from a single guy?).

Both have happened to me on many occasions. It’s expected. If a girl you were really attracted to turns you down, you’re allowed one night of staring into the middle distance while nursing a glass of whiskey. You can’t badmouth her to your friends (or worse, her friends); you can’t go cruising the bars looking for trouble. And this has to be the same night that she turned you down. No fair saving it up for later. One night, that’s it. Then it’s back in the game.

As for when you should call – two days? three days? two weeks? – I don’t know that, either. If you’re obsessing over the right time to call her so as not to scare her off, yet still keep her interested, you’re treating her like she’s The One. If you have the free time to sit on your couch and stare at her number on your phone, wondering whether or not to dial, then you’re not keeping busy enough. I have called girls up anywhere between two and fifteen days after getting their digits and I have found no consistent metric for success.

Here’s a revolutionary thought: how about you call her when you have something fun to do that you think she’d enjoy doing with you? Crazy, I know.

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