Terrible Secular Dating Advice via Miss Manners

Terrible Secular Dating Advice via Miss Manners

Non Christians at times give horrid dating advice. Here’s an example. A guy writes into Miss Manners, asking her how he can introduce himself to a lady.

Letter to Miss Manners:

    DEAR MISS MANNERS: I am a gentleman in my 20s and work in a very large office building. I am absolutely smitten (!) by a most angelic young lady who also works in the building. We cross paths in the lobby at least weekly and exchange repeated glances and smiles.

    Unfortunately, I know nothing about her except that we work for different employers (she rides a different elevator bank), so getting a proper introduction seems impossible. I know from reading your column that a gentleman wouldn’t try to pick up a stranger in public, nor would a lady respond to such an overture.

    However, in such a situation, isn’t it permissible for a lady to “accidentally” drop her handkerchief in the gentleman’s direction, he picks it up and offers it back, thus giving these two strangers a legitimate reason to engage in conversation? If so, is there a similar maneuver that a gentleman may use?

    Did I mention I am absolutely smitten (!)? I know you don’t dispense dating advice, but I would really appreciate your help here.

    GENTLE READER: You remind Miss Manners of an Ogden Nash poem about a gentleman who devised a plan for learning the identity of a beautiful stranger, the girl of his dreams, whom he saw on the street.

    He reasoned that if he chased her down with his car and ran her over, “gently … with one wheel, say, certainly with no more than two,” he would be able to read her name and address the next day in the newspaper.

    And so he did. That day, her address turned out to be Mercy Hospital. And when he presented himself there, it did not go well.

    From this we learn: no accidents.

    As for dropping things, Miss Manners doubts whether the handkerchief trick would work today. Do any ladies besides herself actually use handkerchiefs nowadays? A crumpled tissue would not have the same effect. And even the lace-edged real thing might inspire a horror of possible disease transmitted to anyone who picked it up.

    Ladies are not expected to pick up objects that gentlemen drop, but perhaps if you let your wallet fall, your dream girl might call it to your attention, and you could thank her so profusely as to start a conversation. Or she might hover over it, hoping you would not notice its absence, in which case you would at least know that she is not your dream girl.

    Would it be too easy for you to ask around if anyone you know knows her?

I have filed this under the “Nice Guys” tag on my blog, because this is one of the biggest problems with Nice Guys: they lack spines.

Forget Miss Manners’ advice about finding a third party to introduce you to the woman. Simply walk up to the woman and say “Hello my name is X. Would you be interested in going out with me for a cup of coffee, a movie, or dinner sometime?” Most women are not going to automatically assume a man they’ve been exchanging glances and smiles at for weeks who one day asks her for coffee is a rapist or something.

That’s all it takes to get a date – ask a woman out. Risk rejection. It’s not rocket science.

Some posters on a page that published the letter made some good observations, such as…

    It is weird that men are so taken with just appearances. She could be married, an alcoholic, a lesbian, involved in some sort of criminal activity, whatever. But he likes how she looks.


    Dear Ms. Manners.

    There’s a creepy guy in the lobby at work that keeps staring at me. I don’t want him to figure out where I work, so I take the wrong elevator whenever I see him. I waste a few minutes getting to work but I think I’m dodging a bullet.

    Can I go to human resources or should I try building security?