Volume 3, Issue 1, (Originally Published on Monday 4 March 2013)
Dear Agony Aunt
I’m on a committee with someone I really like at Uni. I think he’s flirting with me, because he’s always sitting next to me, touching, laughing at my jokes (which is sadly not due to my meagre comedic timing). What should I do to let him know I’m keen and want him to ask me out?
Dear Hopelessly Infatuated,
Your Aunt Beryl is here to give you love, but tough love.
As sisters in the twenty-first century, we are no longer bound by the gender norms of the 1870s or even the 1970s. You can, in this day and age, take the lead. To do this, start small and build up.
First, gauge interest by, at committee meetings, sitting down after him, and not next to him. If he moves and sits next to you, we can consider that an indicator of interest.
Second, when he touches you, don’t flinch or press into it. Make it seem like you haven’t even noticed.
Third, tell only the worst Dad jokes, while keeping your already stellar comedic timing.
From his responses to your pulling away, you can calibrate your next steps. If he still shows cautious optimism, he’s keen (or clueless). If he cools in his ardour, he was never really interested. As long as he’s not being creepy, you can dole out your next enticements. Respond to his entreaties, laugh at his jokes (no matter how bad — even better if you actually find them funny), smile, twirl your hair.
All this is advice your Aunt Beryl would have given you in 1991. It’s 2013. You’re a big girl; you’ve got your own mind and can obviously speak it. How about this, ‘hey, if you asked me out, I would say yes,’ or this, ‘I’m keen – let’s hook up,’ or even more direct, ‘I would like to take positive steps towards you seeing me naked.’
You came for advice, and here it is: don’t be afraid to get it wrong. If he’s keen, he’ll laugh at your efforts and keep being friendly, not like a brother.
If you spend your time consoling yourself by watching The Notebook, eating a tub of ice cream and crying, but do not take any action, your Aunt Beryl will be very disappointed in you.
Sincerely, Aunt Beryl