A few weekends ago, I was at this bar/restaurant for brunch and I saw a cute boy walk in. I’m terrible at maintaining eye contact and/or smiling at cute boys (so terrifying!), so I probably looked at him and looked away quickly. He joined his friends at the table behind me, in the chair with its back to mine. In pulling out his chair, it got locked to mine, which I pointed out to him when his chair wrestling wasn’t getting him anywhere.
Me: Our chairs are hooked together.
Him: Oh, we were destined to be.
I should note here that I was giddy inside at that moment, not because I thought he meant it or believed it, but because this was a clear sign of flirting (right????). We talked a little and then I turned back around.
A little while later, I went to the bathroom and made myself look at him and smile when I came back (sooooo hard for me, but I did it! Yay!). He took the hint and started talking to me again. We chatted a little. I talked to his friend (“B”) and realized that we have a friend in common that lives on the other side of the country (“P”). Small world.
So, the boy and I keep talking but I start feeling a little self-conscious/rude because I have my back to my table and was flirting with a guy in front of my brother and a bunch of guys that are like brothers to me (every male at the table was with his GF/wife). So, I turned back around (away from him). I had in my head that I was definitely going to give him my number and was trying to think of smooth ways to do this. While I was thinking, he and his friends got up and left! He said goodbye and shook my hand (weird?) and that was that. “Crap, I missed my moment!” I thought, and then started mentally composing a Missed Connection. But who knows if he reads those, right?
And then I grew a pair! (not literally.) I texted P and got B’s number and then texted B and asked him to pass along my number to cute boy. He responded and said he would.
And then cute boy never called. What gives?!? I get idle flirting, but his seemed a little bit more intense or, I dunno, direct? So it seems weird to not get a response. They were with two girls, one a lesbian (yes, I’m basing that on stereotypes) and one that I assumed was B’s girlfriend, so I don’t think B was cockblocking.
That’s it! Please explain what happened there.
— First Foray Into Real Flirting Gone Wrong
So, the dude never called.
There are a million possible reasons. Maybe he’s too shy. Maybe he’s moving to Portland in four days. Maybe he just broke up with his GF of nine years and is a good six to fourteen months from being able to consider dating seriously again. Maybe your friend never got him the number. Maybe somehow he got the impression you wanted to contact him to help him move a couch, not thump the cushions of one. Maybe he has an extreme fetish for huge, tanned boobs. Or tiny freckled boobs. Whichever you don’t happen to have. Maybe later that day he robbed a bank with a mask of Richard Nixon and is currently on the run/searching for the biggest waves in the world like Bodhi in Point Break.
Maybe, Maybe, Maybe.
In other words, who knows? Not even the DW can decode from this little amount of info, and he’s a self-certified genius. What he can tell you, though, is that this looks like a classic Half Full or Half Empty kind of situation.
Meaning, one way to look at your encounter (the way you seem to be looking at it) is that you stuck your neck out to flirt with a cute boy in a way you usually find yourself unable to do. What’s your reward? Dude, you got totally rejected! Now you’re confused and bummed out and you’re wondering whether it’s worth it to try to act like all these irrationally confident bitches who walk around in their gladiator sandals and spray-on shorts that show bottom cheek and act like they’re the Queen of Titslandia even though they’re super average looking underneath all that glittery makeup because if that’s what it takes to get a cute dude you lock chairs with in a restaurant to call you back then the whole unseemly stew of these jerks can go fuck each other and make stupid babies for themselves. Dicks.
Okay. Actually, to your credit you didn’t get bitter like that at all. But the DW gets the impulse to go Half Empty. It was his least favorite part about being single to work up a decent flirt and then just have to stand there like an eager dork waiting to be judged worthy of flirtation reciprocation. (Flirtation Reciprocation, of course, also being the name of the DW’s as of yet unreleased re-recording of 70s soul classics. You haven’t lived until you’ve heard the DW lay down some sweet Al Green.) It’s hard to stick your neck out and flirt, especially when the word that comes to mind is “terrifying” rather than something like “exhilarating.” And when you finally build up the courage to smile and chat with a cute boy right there in front of your brother and everything are not rewarded with the reaction you were hoping for, well, it’s natural to use that as an excuse to go back to not flirting. Not flirting feels a shitload easier. If you don’t flirt, you can’t get rejected. And not being rejected has its advantages.
But here’s the thing. Not being rejected doesn’t feel better in the long run because nobody finds a decent partner without getting shot down first. Numerous times. And really, was this even rejection? The Half Full view of The Tale of The Cute Boy in the Restaurant is that you overcame a fear, and it worked. You talked with a cute boy, he talked with you, you got a good enough vibe to pass on your phone number- Bing, Bang, Boom! Great afternoon!
True, this dude didn’t show up on your lawn twenty minutes later with 101 roses, first class tickets to Paris, original poetry, a puppy, and a vintage boombox blaring Peter Gabriel songs. Life, alas, doesn’t work that way.
What you did get, though, was hard, irrefutable evidence that when you flirt with a cute boy, nobody is going to make a poop face or yell “For the love of God, no!” or scratch a record needle and bring the whole restaurant to a stop. In fact, it was totally, utterly, completely normal. You are better at flirting than you think and clearly flirtworthy in return. It was a nice little moment that felt good, to both you and the dude. You should feel more confident in your moves the next time a cute dude comes your way and let your flirt flag fly.
And in that sense, your first foray went very much the opposite of Wrong, right?
Here’s to less terrifying, more exhilarating.
PS- Glad you didn’t literally grow balls.