The Soft Sell – Is It A Real Date?


There will be no denying my two X chromosomes when it comes to dating.  As much as I don’t want to dissect every single statement, email, text message or smoke signal that comes my way from an attractive individual of the opposite sex, I do.  And its satisfying the same way a quick 10K run: you want to vomit, your legs are about to give out, but my! how you’re practically giddy from the lack of oxygen to your brain!

Recently, a girlfriend of mine advised me that I should be forewarned about dating men in their mid 20s.  One had just emailed me with what she termed a “soft invitation” to an event later that same week.  A “soft” invite, according to my friend, was when someone happens to mention a party or some other like event and appends the postscript that you’re more than welcome to come with them if you’d like.  Its not a date, its just if you want to hang out.  And that, to her, was a valid warning about men in their mid 20s.

Instead of thinking about what this guy may have meant by his “soft” invite, though, I got to thinking what my friend meant.  As a woman, am I supposed to be disappointed by a guy who just wants to hang out?  Is hanging out the equivalent of a booty call?  Am I selling myself short because its a “soft” invite and not a proper call with a dance card and all?

Maybe I don’t apply the same rules for everyone, because I know there have been definite instances where I was insulted by a dinner invitation extended on a Friday night instead of calling on Wednesday instead, but somehow when this guy gave me this “soft” invite, I was completely fine with the idea of hanging out.  Afterall, I wanted to hang out with him, too!  He could be boyfriend material, but he could also be friend material, network material, skeet shooting partner material, etc.  Also, if he’s cute, he may also have cute friends!

In the end, I turned down his “soft” invite because I had other plans that night.  But he still wrote back.  And I still felt the same giddiness as if I ran 6 miles in 48 minutes.

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