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What would you do?

Moving on from politics to normal relationships, I'm not asking that question as though you are Jesus.

But rather in reference to the following romantic scenario, reluctantly provided by one of my buddies who is growing tired of having his dating adventures analyzed on this blog:

You're a 30-something single guy who has engaged an attractive female co-worker in conversation over the past two months. From day one, the conversations have become progressively friendlier and more flirty, with the most recent flirty conversation culminating in you asking her out on a date.

Now in these workplace conversations you guys have grown more comfortable with one another and have shared bits and pieces of your lives. You've revealed that you each have siblings, that you prefer beer, while she prefers Vodka, that you both like CSI, that you both grew up in or near the city where you live and work, that you both enjoy classic rock, and B monster movies. But the one question neither of you has asked is if the other is single. You just followed your gut and assumed it. Apparently you were right, 'cause she excitedly accepted your date invite.

It's date night. You two are sitting at a sidewalk cafe, sipping booze, sharing an appetizer, and yucking it up as you "analyze" people from the steady flow walking by.

Suddenly, your date looks up and locks eyes with a guy walking past your table. Her eyes light up and she jumps up. They embrace and chat briefly. They say goodbye and embrace again, and then the guy leans in and gives your date a kiss...on the lips. It appeared to be just a peck, but you're still taken aback. The guy makes eye contact with you, nods an awkward hello/goodbye, and continues walking. Your date sits back down, big smile on her face, and picks up the conversation where it left off. No explanation.

What do you do - drop your fork and ask her what the hell that was all about, pretend it didn't happen, or obsess over it and then avoid her at work the next day?

My buddy did a combination of one and three. Right away he dropped a jokey sort of hint about three being a crowd and saying he hoped some strange woman didn't come and grope him why they ate. But his date didn't take the bait and continued on as though the evening had gone perfectly. So the next day at work he felt goofy, he says, and avoided her.

Somebody's gonna comment that he's old enough that he should have had the nerve to confront her right away and ask what that lip peck was all about. But that can be easier said than done. Semi-shyness can be a powerful crippler.

I advised him to take her for coffee during the work day, tell her he had a really good time...mostly, and under good circumstances would like to do a second date. But first he needed to know if she was already in some sort of relationship with that sidewalk kiss-face dude.

What's there to lose? She's either gonna answer "Silly, that's my big brother. It was just a peck. It's how we do in my family!" But then there's the follow-up question of why she didn't introduce you to her "brother." Or she's gonna answer "Silly, that's my best friend, my gay best friend. It was just a peck. That's how we do in my circle of friends!" And then there's the question of why she didn't introduce you to her "friend." Or she's gonna answer "Yeah, that's my special buddy. We're swingers. And you're welcome to join the party if you're open-minded enough!" And then there's the logic that she didn't introduce you, 'cause she wasn't quite sure how to tell you about her lifestyle.

Either way, if she gives the right answer he continues trying to develop the relationship. If she doesn't give the right answer, then my buddy learns a valuable lesson about why it's rarely smart to date a co-worker...at least in a tiny office setting, where you have to see each other all day everyday.


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The Sarcasticynic

I'd tell him to get over himself. These days a single girl or guy should be able to have a relationship that involves a peck on the mouth without having to explain anything. Now if there were deep kissing or removal of certain articles of clothing involved, then yes, there should probably be at least an introduction.

James B.

Ha! Easy for you to say, Sarc. This isn't about stifling women's liberation or women's right to kiss anyone they want. It's about courtesy. You're on a date with one guy, so don't kiss another guy lip-to-lip. And if you must, then at least show some respect to your date by telling him who you just kissed. Yeah a peck is different than a tongue-swapping makeout session, but it's still a kiss. And sharing one with a member of the opposite sex who isn't your relative or staunchly platonic friend sends a confusing signal.

You're a better man than me if you can tell me with a straight face that under the same circumstances you wouldn't have been disconcerted to see your date and another man put their lips together in front of you.

The Sarcasticynic

Yeah, when I was in my 20s it would've driven me batty. As I matured, I realized that a lady's "priors" were not a reflection on me.

That said, this may have been a "set-up" she arranged to test to see if this mild-mannered coworker turns into a psycho when the lights are dim.

James B.

Hmmm. Sarc, if she arranged a set-up on the first date then I think she might be the psycho here. First date is waaaaaaaaaaaaay too soon to test the other party.

The Sarcasticynic

A good point. Another question I'd have is, Did she give your buddy a goodnight kiss after this date, and if so, did she freshen up her lipstick first?

James B.

Sarc, that is a very good question. I'm gonna find out about the goodnight kiss. And if the answer is yes, I don't even wanna know about the lipstick.


hmm...from my point of view, she didn't really need to introduce them (it is only a first date...) but a quick explanation would have been nice.


hey there JB. nice looking blog you have here. good to read your stuff again.

about this question... if she shut him down the first time he asked, she'll try to do it again. he may never find out the whole truth, because she will dance around it. he's gonna get played.


I don't understand why he just didn't stand up and put his hand out -- introduce himself - thereby forcing the fellow to reciprocate.

Michelle | Bleeding Espresso

I'm a gal, and had the tables been turned, I definitely would've reacted the way your friend did at the table...shock and awe is *not* good on a first date! And if I were the girl, I just can't *imagine* kissing another guy in front of my date even if he was my gay friend or not introducing the lip-locker at all. In the words of Stephanie Tanner on 'Full House' (oh like you didn't watch it), how rude!

I like your advice, James. Mature but not pushy. I hope it turns out well for your friend.


Hmmm, seems to me some form of explanation/introduction is in order in that kind of situation.

Mind you, many don't do it. Often my husband & I would be out somewhere. He'd see someone he knew from work, chat with them for a while, then we'd move on.

I'd do the, "Who was that?" routine. Cos in my book it's just plain RUDE not to introduce people you're with to people you know etc. My Mum tells me my Dad used to be similar, til she had WORDS with him, several times!

Now H's better at it, & generally remembers, or I just introduce myself!

Maybe the girl was just forgetful, or rude. Maybe her Mom hadn't brought her up to introduce people? Maybe she wants to keep her personal/work life separate. Though in that case - why was she out on any kind of date with your friend in the first place?

Ettiquette - it's more about thinking about the other person/people, as real people, than the 'correct' fork!


She either owed him an introduction or an explanation. She changed the date from what was expected by introducing another party, even for a brief time, and excluded your friend. The way to include him is to explain or introduce him.

It's really a function of her priorities and where your friend fits into them.


So many different things it could be. She might just be really friendly and is that way with alot of people she knows well. Maybe there's history with the guy, an old lover. Maybe they are currently seeing each other but not exclusive if she's seeing your friend too. By the time you get to that age, everyone has some drama and history. And that it was only their first date, does she need to tell him everything? A quick kiss, even on the lips, isn't something that anyone necessarily needs to explain. She probably should have made an introduction. Or he could have extended his hand. But in a few seconds and with her being in a new situation with your friend it just didn't happen that way. Hell, I've forgotten to introduce people in my own house! Like I just think that everyone knows everyone or is friendly enough to do it themselves. LOL I'm bad with that at times. :(
Really no one best way of handling it, depends on your friend's personality. Obviously he's bothered by it. Your advice was really good though, ask to go out again but find out first if she's in another relationship. If it's going to bug him then he needs to know one way or the other and if she is just that friendly with other people that might be too much for him in the future too.
Dating and work don't usually mix well but he had the guts to ask the vodka drinker out so now he needs to go one step further and ask a few more questions.....


I think it's very poor date behaviour on the part of the woman -- I thing the onus should have been on her to explain at the time. It's almost like (but possibly worse than) going on a date with someone who then spends half their time taking "really important" calls on their mobile.


I think that his date wa really rude not to introduce him to the person who "pecked" her on the lips. I always introduce people to each other, even if it is just at the shopping centre and I see an old acquaintance or something, I always say "Trish, meet Margo, Margo this is Trish" or whatever. I don't know, maybe I am old fashioned.
Anyway, the other thing to do, now, for your friend, is to take the woman out again, if she lets him, and to pash the first girl he sees right in front of her..no expllanation needed,LOL!

James B.

Claudia, I can see your point on her not needing to introduce him, but yeah, she definitely should've given a brief explanation.

MiniJonB, you read my mind. I hope my guy isn't in for several months of being punked. Hopefully if he doesn't get a decent answer out of her, he won't ask her out again. They can still be work friends, but no more.

Pamela, I know. I told him the same thing. But then I also remembered that I'm always braver when I'm thinking about an act than when I'm actually faced with that act. So I have to accept my guy's word that he was a little in shock. And that's why he didn't stand up and say anything.

Bleeding Espresso, I'm awaiting an answer from him this afternoon as to how things went.

Sharon, I like the way you think! That used to bug me too, when someone I was with failed to introduce me when a stranger (to me) approached us. Thought it was rude.

Monty, good point. I don't know that my buddy is/was a high priority to her. And to be fair to her, why should he be? It was a first date. Still, it would have been the civil thing to introduce him or ease his mind with an explanation.

Mary, I had a friend like that once - extremely friendly. Whenver she greeted close friends, platonic friends, she greeted us all with a peck on the mouth. I don't know how her boyfriend could stand it. He'd always stand there looking awkward. Hell, I couldn't stand it. After a while I got like Seinfeld in that episode where he refuses to allow a neighbor to kiss him on the cheek. I started ducking and dodging this woman's lips, opting instead for a quick-release hug.

Goodbyetoallfat, that cell phone analogy is a good one.

Cazzie!!!, they say turnabout is fair play. I'll pass your advice on to my buddy.


I'm still baffled that she didn't introduce the kissface dude. Not because they kissed in front of her date, but because I (like other posters here) always introduce folks when I run into them and I'm with someone else. Always. Force of habit. "Date, this is my friend/coworker/neighbor/gimp, Reggie," or whatever. Seems odd that she didn't introduce him right off and didn't take the bait when her date opened the door for her.

My friends and I often kiss each other, sometimes lips, but most often cheeks. We're affectionate, but we introduce people.

James B.

Melissa, I'm torn between what my biggest hangup would've been - the kiss or the non-intro. I think both would've bothered me equally, 'cause I'd see the kiss as making the intro a necessity.


The point of whether or not Guy 1 (on the date) had a reason to mistrust Guy 2 (the kissee) is moot. The woman was rude not to either introduce the two (which could have been done very casually) or at the very least, make some sort of statement regarding Guy 2 after he'd left.

That she did neither is unpardonable rudeness and a way of making some sort of passive/aggressive statement. It definitely said something about her personally.

Rude. Just rude. I hope your buddy cuts bait.


2 things--1, this is what happens when you date someone you work with. Think of how many people any of you have been out with in youe lives and how many didn't work out. It's a much higher percentage than the ones that went well. Why add people you have to work with to that potential list of bad break-ups? There's too many fish in the sea. And 2, this sounds like she ran into and old f-buddy or boyfriend, in which case, I actually understand why she didn't make an introduction. If I ran into someone I used to lay down with years ago, I wouldn't know how to introduce them to my current date either. Yeah it's rude, but it would be kinda like taking part of my old life and old world and introducing it to my new world. I wouldn't even want to mix the two up.


And if I were the guy, my reaction would totally depend on the goal. If I want to screw the woman, I'd ignore it and keep focused on the goal. If I want a long-term relationship, I couldn't ignore it because it would be the 800-lb. elephant in the room. With smudged lipstick.


Hi James, I am a first timer when it comes to commenting to your blog or any others for that fact. So I will try not to offend the masses.

Your friend, in my opinion was a victim of society. We have lost the little bit of class that we had left. You have guys walking around showing their underwear, you have women wearing shirts careful to show the tatoo of their baby daddy's name on their breast and you have women who make out on dates, but not with their date.

Your buddy had every right to be offended, if for no other reason, common courtesy. She could have at least said something after the guy walked away such as" I would have introduced you, but for the life of me I could not remember by smackers name."
Tell your buddy to date someone with a little more class and respect, but he needs to let her know of her error, just for the heck of it.

James B.

Carol, welcome! And please come back often. Good comment. You're right about the class deficit. I'm afraid it's been fading for years. And unfortunately for me, my generation which comes on the heels of Baby Boomers is just now recognizing the class erosion. Hopefully we haven't recognized it too late, before it erodes even more in the generation behind us.

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