By Alyssa Velazquez
Elm Staff Writer
When someone asks you to go to dinner–someone you’re familiar with, that you get along with–and you know that you could both have the potential for a stimulating from-breadsticks-‘til-coffee conversation with, you say “yes,” right?
But what about when that same person asks you out on a date? What do you do then?
Do you say “yes?” Or do you say no for the sake of your current platonic relationship? If this situation were with someone else, a complete stranger, would your answer be different? When do you know to say no and when do you say “yes?” Is saying “no” just a logical process of elimination, or is it unnecessarily prohibitive?
For the most part, despite my frequent talks and soapbox lectures, the majority of my relationship material and experience is from the past. When I was a little girl, my mother and I would have a daily routine exchange of dialogue. I would walk in the door, and after I was done setting my bookbag down in my room, I would go to the kitchen and my mother would ask, “How’s your love life?” followed by my response of, “What love life? I don’t have one.” Though I no longer live with my parents for the majority of the calendar year, the response today is the same as it was during certain spans of high school. No partner and no love life. So when someone asked me out this weekend I said what anyone else with no boyfriend or girlfriend would say: nothing.
It was Friday night. My roommate and I had just gotten back from Dover after having gone to the mall for some last-minute Christmas shopping and a much needed fast-food fix. As we were pulling back into the Western shore parking lot, we decided it would be a shame to ruin a perfectly good night of procrastination by going back into our suite to labor over the textbooks and papers of the upcoming week. So instead of taking out our suite key, we gathered our purchases and visited some friends bearing a movie and snacks.
Although we went in the direction of one room, however, I ended up in another. Despite my intended travel route, I was sidetracked. There was a celebration going on, and I felt it my duty to stop by and offer my accolades. However, what started out as a few minutes turned into an hour and the person I was sitting next to in the beginning was not the same person thatt walked me to the door.
The person of interest was a friend, a mutual friend through mutual acquaintances, who turns out was looking for mutual feelings. The first move was asking for a number, followed by a very apparent survey of my current love life, similar to my mother: just as obvious, though lacking years of practice and motherly intentions. The phone number I gave, along with a very clear definition of my current love life. It was when he proceeded to ask me out on a date that I ran out of answers, responses, even sounds, all I could do was smile.
The problem was not my friend, nor was it the fact that he was asking me out, the problem was that I had a problem saying “yes.”
Had being single for so long turned into more than a waiting period? Had it transformed into a state of being–a lifestyle rather than a hiatus? Had I become so removed from the dating world that I could no longer see myself a member of its society. Was it the fact that he was a friend–a friend that was a member of a wider group of friends?
My second thought as I continued to smile and attempt to overcome my mute disposition was, could I allow my friends to impact my decisions? When thinking about saying “yes” or “no,” could I allow myself to think about all the other individuals in my life who would vote with me or against me? When did saying “yes” become so hard? I didn’t say “yes” that night. I didn’t say anything, and there was no need. Because if there is one thing you can count on friends for, its coming in when you need them, regardless of whether or not you told them to.
That night, after finally going back to my initial procrastination destination, I sat with my girlfriends thinking, had I become too reserved with my love life? Have women become too reserved in our dating, waiting for the perfect guy to come and ask us out in a manner Hugh Grant would be proud of? Has “no” become a too-frequent word in our relationship vocabulary? Maybe “yes” is the answer, or at least a nice escape from a current single existence. For now, I’m tired of responding with “no,” especially considering the fact that it leads to a bigger phrase: “no love life.”