Boy About Town has been busy. He wishes he had been busy going on dates, finding “The One” and settling down. Instead he’s had to keep himself occupied with other, nobler pursuits. It’s getting to Christmas time, when the parties kick into gear; maybe people are feeling a little merrier than usual, and some are looking to fill that gap in their life. It’s a time of opportunity.

BAT has realised something, though. Sometimes things can look rather like dates without being a date. This is an important point to note, if we’re to avoid the goldfish bowl/accountability/prayer circle/gossip environment that springs into life when a guy and girl walk into church together and one follows the other just a little too closely as they make their way to their seats – suddenly everyone’s talking about whether they’re a couple.

Remember: unless it’s called a date, regardless of how much it looks like one, you’re not dating.

In his infinite wisdom and unending kindness, BAT has six ways for you to spend time with a girl while still avoiding the date tag:

  1. Help with some DIY – this is a great way to spend quality time with someone without them, or other prying eyes, thinking there is something romantic going on. They might need a shelf putting up, or their latest IKEA purchase assembled. Warning: judge your flat pack furniture competence carefully. It could be a disaster if you leave the cabinet looking like abstract art and another guy has the chance to exercise his friendship by remedying the situation.
  2. The game of badminton – any sporting activity would work here, ideally one you’ve played before so you won’t make a complete fool of yourself. It’s a chance to show off your skills, but also your compassionate side when you let them win the odd game here and there – before trouncing them in the final stretch. Turning up to a date sweating is generally seen as a bad thing, but this way you get to work out, relieve stress and sweat as much as you like without grossing the girl out.
  3. The walk home after church – this is a classic. The important thing is to time your leaving down to the precise millisecond so you are accidentally exiting and heading in the same direction, at the same time, as the person you don’t want to go on a date with. The biggest challenge to this is potential hangers-on: other people also talking and walking (thinking they’re in the West Wing), making it necessary to walk your friend all the way home just to have a brief moment alone with them (ideal if you actually want to ask them out on a date – which you don’t).
  4. The group cinema trip that the two of you organise but never get around to inviting other people to. The potential for this to go wrong is evident, particularly if you think both of you are accidentally not inviting others, but the girl you thought you might have some alone time with brings a bunch of friends along. Could be awkward if you’re carrying a rose when you meet, so probably save that gesture for another occasion.
  5. The work meeting – this is a wonderful technique if your work areas overlap and you can find a reasonable, even if tenuous, excuse for meeting up to talk about a work-related subject. Can be difficult to segue from spreadsheets to seduction though.

And then of course there’s always:

  1. The post-DTR-friendship – you’ve defined the relationship, you’ve decided it’s not going anywhere, one of you – probably the other one – may be in a relationship, but you can still do date-like things without it approaching date territory. Great for spending time one-on-one with a girl without anyone thinking it’s a date. Only problematic if one of you thinks it is.

You can tell why BAT is exhausted. It’s been tough having such a hectic non-dating life.

With the mistletoe going up and Wham! playing in the stores, BAT is excited for the prospect for more opportunities to not go on dates.

What else should he do to avoid going on a date? Or perhaps, perish the thought, should Boy About Town ask a girl out on a date?

Written by Boy About Town

He's a boy about town finding his way in the big bad city. He likes real ale, taking photographs and the Smiths. He's got plenty of bromance and not enough romance. He's trying to figure out what the world and girls want from him. Come on ladies, give him a chance.

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