the writing and photography of Neil Kramer

The Importance of Sentence Structure in the “Date Question”

In some ways, I know less about “dating” now than I did in high school.  I never dated in high school, so obviously, being young and stupid, I naturally assumed I understood it all.  Now, after years of experience going bra-shopping with Sophia at Target and forgetting to buy flowers on Valentine’s Day, I understand the ramifications and complexities of every life decision, which can paralyze even the strongest of men.

This was my Facebook status update earlier —

“If you were a separated woman who lived on my block, and I asked you to go to the movies, would you assume that I am asking you out on a “date,” and what would you think are my “motivations?” Won’t this act forever change our current relationship? Why the hell am I asking YOU?”

I received several interesting responses.  Thank you, Facebook “friends” — some of who I know absolutely nothing about, but love you anyway — for your honest responses.  I wish I could go on a date with you.  But frankly, I would be too worried that you would write about the disastrous date on your blog, so forget about it.

The Facebook response that intrigued me the most came from Marie Angell, a singer from Houston, who indicated that asking a woman out on a date is primarily — about language.  As a writer, I love to think about the meaning of words.   Writing is about words.  Recently, I wrote a post that everything online is merely words.

So why can’t dating be seen as simple and controllable as being about words?!

This is what Marie wrote —

“Is this a date to you? If so, then you should say something along the lines of: I’d love to take you out–would you like to go to a movie on <date 3 days hence>.

If you just want to hang out as friends (for …now), you can say: I’m in the mood for a movie. How about you?”

So, in a nutshell, if a guy starts a sentence with “I’d love to…” he wants to get into the woman’s pants.  But if he says, “I’m in the mood…” he is saying that he hasn’t seen “The King’s Speech” yet, but hates going to the movies by himself.

Now, it is all clear.


  1. Marie

    Women like the words! And you should definitely see The King’s Speech. It’s fantastic. Hey, maybe you could take someone with you … 😉

  2. Stay At Home Babe

    That there Marie is awful smart…. okay, but in all seriousnous she’s is awfully insightful and also right. It is all about the language, but I would add the body language as well. If your body language is kind of nonchalant and the way you respond to your dentist when he asks you how often you floss…. then she probably won’t think you’re wanting to see her muffin. If you have that flirty, engaged sense about you then she’ll get the clear message of date–when coupled with the approriate verbal language as well of course. Okay, writing all of this out has made me think about mating rituals and cues way too much and now I’m really glad I’m married.

  3. V-Grrrl @ Compost Studios

    I guess if I say, “You’re going to see The King’s Speech? Can I come with you?” the last part might be open to interpretation. Marie’s right, wording is everything!

  4. Jack

    Just tell her that she makes your headache. But make sure to say it with a blank expression so that you can enjoy watching her try to figure out if you are coming on to her or just complaining about her.

  5. ChinMusik

    It’s been a while since I was a playa, but I have a vague recollection of pheromones trumping both words and body language. Then again, I fell in love with my wife over the phone so what do I know.

  6. erika

    i always assume it’s a friendly date until the person is more clear with their body language/words. A simple sentence could mean a thousand things lol

  7. Lydia

    I have never thought of it that way but she’s absolutely right. Isn’t funny how a few words can change meaning so completely?
    Im also slightly jealous that your facebook statuses are more interesting then mine are- but I’ll get over it. Probably. (Can I borrow this status?)

  8. Danny

    This may seem as if I woke up in 1952, but to me, either of those wordings sound like you are asking her out on a DATE. Wouldn’t any woman think that? Do those different wordings really make such a distinction? And what’s the difference between it being a DATE and just going out together? Being the gentleman that you are, you wouldn’t make any moves so soon anyway, would you? Oy, it’s clearly a good thing that I’m not in the dating world.

  9. bookfraud

    Excellent post, Neil. I have a couple additional comments to those that have been made:

    1. A date is a social engagement with another individual that has the threat of sex at the conclusion.

    2. When I was single, and I was confused or not whether I was asking a lady out on a date, if she said “no,” then I knew she thought it was a date. So if she says “no,” no matter how you couch it, you know she thought it was a date.

    • Neil

      I love the comments of you and Danny. I can see us all hanging together in the History Club in high school.

  10. 3b1m

    Sigh, I wish I was separated woman who lived on your block… I really want to see The King’s Speech!

  11. Danny

    You’re so right, Neil. But at least the History Club is better than the Dungeons & Dragons Club.

  12. Always Home and Uncool

    Pretty much everything I say to My Love is an effort to get in her pants. I figure, odds are it’ll eventually happen.

  13. C...

    I totally get that! 🙂

  14. Tom G.

    Shit! Marie in Houston, why didn’t you tell me this in High School? Damnit, I could have gotten so much more action. Instead I ended up with scores of platonic girl friends, who’d confide to me what utter jackasses their boyfriends were as we shopped for bras.

    Although, in retrospect, this did prepare me well for marriage.

  15. Jenn

    Hmm. Now I have to go re-read your email about German theatre…

  16. Slow Panic

    i think the whole thing is always and forever confusing. which is maybe part of the fun. says the person married for 18 years and wouldn’t know a date if it bit her on the ass.

  17. GrandeMocha

    Maybe you should say, “Would you like to go on a date to see….?” or “We should hang out sometime. You could bring your single friends if you like.” THAT would make it clear.

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