Q: Your column about the guy who spent more time studying than dating (“The new kid,” March 7) got my attention. My problem is that I have no idea if a girl is interested in me when I approach her. I’ve had serious girlfriends, but I usually got to know them in class. I have no trouble talking to new people, but I’m clueless when it comes to knowing if a woman is interested in more than just talking.
A: Friendliness is the first indicator. If you’ve already got her talking, you’re on the right track. Keep the conversation fun and relaxed and don’t drill her on the topic of her. So many guys crash and burn because they ask too many questions without realizing they’re being intrusive. No one likes to be interrogated. Think about when you met your last girlfriend — you bonded over a common interest and took it from there. Don’t embarrass yourself with useless Internet pickup techniques, just be friendly and respectful.
A wise rapper named Trina — well, maybe not wise, but definitely a bad bitch — once said, “flirt ’til it hurt.” Abide by that rule and it will be easier to discern who’s flirting back. Smile, make eye contact and always face the person you’re trying to engage, so she’s aware that she has your full attention. Now watch. If you’ve piqued her interest, she should be mirroring those signals back to you. She might also lean in toward you when speaking, lowering her voice so you have to do the same. I’ve never noticed it myself (probably because I was too busy flirting), but apparently women tend to subconsciously draw attention to their necks when they really get going. A girl might flip her hair off her shoulders, cock her head to one side or touch her neck. It’s a physically vulnerable area, so she’s letting you know she’s cool with your advances.
Flirting should be habit. Every interaction is an opportunity; even if a girl isn’t interested, she may surprise you with, “My cousin will be here in 10 minutes, I think you would really like her.”
This is a ploy, but it’s a great indicator of makeout-partner potential: Try taking a couple of phone pics that include her and ask how you can share them. Facebook is an awesome tool here — you can connect with her on the spot then get to know her online. She might also give you her number, which is an invitation to text her. Since you’re no stranger to relationships, you should be able to take it from there.
Q: The girlfriend and I are at an impasse about moving in together. I’m asking that she get rid of her cat, which I am allergic to. She says it’s out of the question. The cat is 6 and healthy, so waiting for nature to take its course would mean waiting several more years. My sister got rid of her dog so her fiancé could move in, and they’re now expecting the birth of my nephew, so a happy ending is possible. How can I convince her that she will be fine living without her cat? I’m willing to find a friend to take him so she can still see him.
A: I’m sorry you and your sister were born without souls. Companion animals are lifelong partners, not disposable toys. Between 3 million and 4 million dogs and cats are euthanized every year due to such a lack of compassion. My advice is to drop the issue for another six years, spare yourself the expense of moving and donate the money to an animal shelter. Your girlfriend will appreciate the gesture and your about-face. Her cat means the world to her and a loving boyfriend wouldn’t present a heartbreaking ultimatum.