Twenty Something: Is it Networking or a Date?

by WL Author

Three clues it might be more than just drinks.
By Ursula Lauriston

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The Scenario: Its 8PM on a Friday night. Your roommate sees you getting ready and asks where you’re going. While slapping on your fire engine red lipstick, you inform her that you are going to grab drinks with a new friend. She asks if it’s a date. You stop, turn to her, and slowly realize YOU DON’T KNOW.

Now to some, not knowing whether or not you’re going on a date sounds ridiculous. But those confused few have obviously never been Twenty Something in Washington, DC. In a city known for networking, politics, and infamous parties, traditional dating has long since fallen by the wayside.

Is it networking? Is it a date? Is it both networking and dating at the same time? Before we explode with confusion, here are 3 hard and fast signs that clue you in to what’s really going on.

1.    You sit down and eat dinner
These days, most guys don’t ask girls out to dinner anymore. They’re more likely to say something along the lines of “let’s grab a drink sometime.” Apparently “drinks” are the new first date.

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(Article coming soon.) Asking a girl to grab a drink is completely vague and that’s exactly the point. It’s non-threatening for both parties and leaves room for a definition later. However, if you are asked to go to dinner with someone who hasn’t been a lifelong friend and seems interested, or if the original plan was to get drinks but you sit down to dinner, then most likely you’re on a date.

Unless you’re at McDonalds, a dinner is usually intimate and requires lots and lots of conversation. It’s a time to get to know the other person.

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And that’s why it’s a date.

2.    You talk more about your affinity for Jersey Shore than politics or work
Networking is rampant in this city. We talk so much about what we do, I’m sure some of us have forgotten who we are outside of work. But the truth is – although work is important – if that’s all you talk about while you’re together, then the person has yet to even scratch the surface of who you are and is probably just interested in keeping you as a business contact. On the other hand, if you just barely talk about work and find yourselves talking for hours about your most embarrassing moment or how your mother still calls you poot poot, then you my friend are on a date.

3.    When you try to pay, he is APPALLED
A lot of guys pay for a drink or dinner. This doesn’t always mean you are on a date. Sometimes he is just trying to be nice, wants to be a gentleman, or doesn’t mind treating you this one time.

But if he looks at you like you’re crazy or is confused when you try to pay your way: 1- he’s a keeper, and 2- this is absolutely, positively, unequivocally a date.

And while I’m on a roll, here are 3 hard and fast clues that let you know you’re NOT on a date:

1.    He brings his girlfriend/ wife
Damn.

2.    When the check comes, he smiles and asks if you mind going Dutch
The smile is supposed to ease that cutting feeling you’re experiencing right about now.

3.    You go in for a hug at the end of the night and he pats you on the head
Was the date at the zoo? I can’t think of anything worse than a good night pat.

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