Advice

Miss Information: How can I tell if he’s toying with me, or actually interested?

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missinformation

Dear Miss Information,

I met a guy one night when I was out with the girls. He took my number, told me the bar where he works, and asked me to stop by sometime. I never heard from him and never gave it another thought. Eight months later, I ended up going to his bar and saw him. He sat down with me and we talked for two hours. My friend said he must like me, since directors of high-end bars don’t usually do that. He told me to come back.

A week later, I went to his bar for a birthday party. When he saw me, he came right over, and we chatted about how his day was and how I was bringing him a lot of business. At the end of the night, he asked me to come back when it wasn’t so busy, because he wanted to go out. I told him I’d come back the next week. He made sure he had my number and said goodbye.

I came back the third week, and the place was even busier than usual. I met a couple of guys who kept talking to me. When I saw him, I said hello. He said he’d come by my table in a bit. He never did. When I went back up to the bar, he bought me a drink and told me that it seemed like I was too busy to talk. Then he disappeared. I saw him outside later. He said I should come by more often but never mentioned how we were supposed to go out.

I’m confused. Did I just assume that he liked me? I understand that he manages a high-end bar where meeting beautiful woman is  easy. I’m wondering if I got the wrong signals? Should I make a move? I’m not going to that venue for at least three weeks so I don’t look desperate. — Mixed Signals

Dear Mixed Signals,

Make a move? It sounds like you’ve made plenty, sweetheart. You made a move when you gave him your phone number. You made a move when you went to his bar. You made a move when you returned a week later. Even though it was on the pretext of somebody’s birthday party, your intentions were obvious. You made still more moves when you returned a third time, tried to talk to him, and got rebuffed.

I know what it’s like to be smitten with someone, especially when that someone is gorgeous and has a cool job. When they’re giving you encouragement, no matter how minimal, you’re always going to want to give them the benefit of the doubt.

But what you call "mixed signals" are really pretty straightforward:

Fact: he’s had your number for the better part of a year but has never called.
Fact: he only wants to see you at his workplace, i.e., he doesn’t want to go out of his way.
Fact: he’s had multiple opportunities, but has never officially asked you out.

It takes nothing to tell a pretty girl to come by your bar and bring her friends. I’m sure he likes the boost it gives, both to his business and his ego. I wouldn’t be impressed that he gives you free alcohol. He runs a bar. Fetching you a Gatorade or one of those awful roses in a plastic tube from the gas station across the street would be more meaningful.

Excuses like "he’s just busy" or "he saw me talking to those guys and got jealous" are just that — excuses, all of which add up to him not asking you out. You can certainly go ahead and ask him out. It’s not like he’s banned you from his restaurant and has taken out a restraining order.

It all comes down to a willingness to be rejected. If you can deal with the thought of him saying no, then go for it. Just be careful what you wish for. I wouldn’t be surprised if he accepts and then cancels, or goes on a few dates with you then backs out. How someone behaves at the beginning of a relationship is usually a good indicator of how they’ll behave later on. Why volunteer for more white-knuckled uncertainty, when there are guys out there who will like you and actually show it?

Dear Miss Information,

Ask your readers why women are hesitant to date short men. Is it social or biological? — Short Bald Guy

Dear Short Bald Guy,

What, no questions about being a bald guy, as well? I’ve been trying to come up with a famous, short, bald guy I want to bang, just to be contrarian, but keep stalling out at Mr. Burns from The Simpsons and Danny DeVito. Jason Statham is sufficiently foxy and follicle-free to be a contender, but IMDB lists him at five-eight-and-a-half, not far from the average American male height of five-nine. Vin Diesel is a disappointing six feet tall, which I verified through an exhaustive Google image search of shirtless photos. My job is horrible.

Is the short-men-can’t-date syndrome social? Biological? I don’t know. I don’t think anyone knows. You can look to all kinds of pop-science studies. For every one that says short guys don’t get the girl, there’s another that says women value personality and a sense of humor above all else. They don’t speak to individual attraction, a complex phenomenon which can’t be scientifically tracked to social data or the behavior of hominids millions of years ago.

Bullshit, you say? Science constantly evolves (and hopefully improves). There was a time when the idea of "female hysteria" was used keep women out of the workplace, and people of color were regarded as savages. Both of those had so-called "science" on their side, too. Studies like this one, which had a sample set of fewer than 100 people,  still somehow make the front-page news. My day job is advertising. If I tried to convince a client of something with that amount of evidence, I’d be tossed out on my ass. Why are the standards lower for human beings than they are for laundry detergent?

And I don’t buy the "just add confidence!" argument that so many people try to sell to short guys. It’s unrealistic. I just think anyone who differs from the so-called midline (whatever that is) of the human spectrum is going to have a tougher time dating, whether you’re skinny or fat, rich or poor, heavily tattooed, or living in a geodesic dome. The best advice I can give is to be the best version of yourself you can be, keep putting yourself out there, and be patient. Sometimes it takes awhile.

Readers, what would you say to Short Bald Guy? How does height play into your dating experiences?

Have a question? Email erin@nerve.com. Letters may be edited for length, content and clarity.