You’re a grown-ass woman, and it’s 20-damn-13, so why are you waiting for a guy to ask you out? (Or a girl, for that matter, it’s 20-damn-13.) Chivalry isn’t DEAD, it just became ‘courtesy’ and now non-knights and women have to do it too. The upside to this is that we also get to vote and own land and things, so next time you’re mad that you had to hold the door instead, know it is not this guy’s last opportunity to do a nice thing for you and also that you can dish out a nice lil door hold once in a while too, Lord and/or Lady High Horse. My point is, give up The Rules. No one is obligated to call anyone first or ‘make the first move.’ If you want to ask someone on a real live date, make like Nike and just bloody do it.

Now, I am a decorated graduate of the school of Hang Out As Friends Until It’s Quietly Been Months That You’ve Been More-or-Less Dating and Now There’s No Way Out Of It, That’s Your Boyfriend, so I’ve had consult some outside experts on this, but what I’ve assembled feels like Valuable Research. I hope you think so too, because I like-like you and this is my fun public way of asking you on a date. YES, you! You at home! Shine your dancin’ shoes and tell your mom you’re “sleeping over at Emily’s,” because we are goin’ ouuuuuuuuuuut!

Seek and identify a possible date-ee
There are so many ways to put yourself out there these days that it seems impossible you can’t find someone to go on one measly little date with. If you really feel like the whole world is so undateable you would not deign to have a single meal or drink with anyone in it, build yourself a Rapunzel style castle and give yourself the Hathaway wants an Oscar special. Otherwise, maybe expand your horizons! If you’re not into Tinder, consider Friend-of-A-Friend in-person matchmaking. If the idea of apps or strangers setting you up makes you want to zip into a onesie and lock it at the top, head out with friends to parties of mutual acquaintances, or sign up for a class that interests you. Just see what’s out there! It’s not as bad as you think. And be open to it: open to conversations, open to eye contact, whatever. Once you’ve engaged Crush Mode, they start to crop up everywhere.

Consider any roadblocks
Great! You found someone. Now, does this person have a: girlfriend, spouse, substance abuse problem, incredibly overbearing parents, subtle but undeniably present misogynist attitude, a pet your allergic to or a penchant for fedoras? Are they interested in: the same type of relationship that you are, the same level of safe sex you are looking for, some dumb obscure band that is really important to you, or listening to you speak in general? Think through your dealbreakers and what’s important. I know I just said not to be too picky but I think we can draw the line at a) married, b) “hates condoms” or c) fedoras.

Lay the groundwork
Gentlemen and ladies–but especially gentlemen because no offense, straight guys, but my Motorola Razr at the COTTAGE is better at picking up signals than you. (Haaayyyuuuuge Motorola Razr-related burn there for the gents. Things are heating up! #misandry) Basically let’s all agree to the following : if a person you are getting~*ViBeZ*~ from mentions an activity to you that two people could attend together in a date-like fashion, chances are good that they are trying to drop a hint that the two of you should do that. Why not just say, “We should go see that movie/take that cooking class/attend that gallery opening… together?” And see how they respond!

Be honest and direct
It’s important that you listen to me right now: if the person above agrees to do the thing with you, you do not know for 100% certain that they are agreeing to date you. Chances are high and it can be awkward to have to clarify, but you really really must make sure the person you are going out with knows it is a date. We’ve all been out and slowly, quietly realized: Ohhhhhh. Oh. We’re on a date. Oh boy ALERT ALERT FIVE ALARM DATE ONGOING COMMENCE EMERGENCY TEXT FROM A FRIEND. The last time this happened to me I was climbing up the fire escape of a U of T building with an ice cream cone in my hand, and as the sun set VERY romantically I went “OH. KAY.” And made a super weird face as I tried to imagine ways I could get down from the roof posthaste with everyone’s ice creams and dignities still in tact. There were no available ways. I think the best method of present this information in advance is to say “It’s a date!” and when they try to laugh or point out that that’s a silly awkward way to put it, look them very seriously–and sensually–in the eyes and say “It is.”

Bonus tip: if someone asks you out and you’re not into it
Be really, really nice about it. Providing they are polite and back off after you tell them you’re not interested, remember that it takes a lot of guts to put yourself out there to someone in a way that doesn’t merely involve right-swiping their face. Go with the classic “I think you’re a really wonderful person and it’s so kind of you to ask, but I’m not interested in you that way/available romantically right now/ever, ever ever getting back together/etc.”

So, do you like me? Y/Y? (Circle both.) Pick you up at eight!