Games, analysis and discussion

Whether to ask a girl if she has a boyfriend

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I haven't had much dating experience in my almost 60 years, and I still am single. However, there is a dating advice question I've given some thought to recently, as prompted by a memory from my youth. Regarding the question of whether a guy should ever ask a girl if she has a boyfriend, I've seen a variety of answers when doing some web searches. After trying to apply some logical thinking to the issue, the correct answer seems clear to me now. Namely, after some sort of introductory conversation(s) between the two, the guy definitely should not ask the girl (directly, or even indirectly) whether she has a boyfriend, if he's interested in taking things to the next level (that is, having one or more dates, for starters). He should simply ask the girl if she's interested in going out.

Here's how I reached this conclusion. Asking a girl directly if she has a boyfriend (no matter if conversation[s] have gone well thus far, and the girl seems interested in the guy) can be wrong for a number of reasons. One is that it can be perceived as being needy (maybe not too likely, but still a risk). Another reason is that the girl may feel she has to rush a decision about telling the guy if she likes him. Worst of all though, the guy may be perceived as being rude for asking the question, and this may be at least a little bit upsetting. The worst case scenario happened to me when I was a pre-teen, and I asked the question of a girl of similar age, when we were in a bowling league in Ottawa. The girl took offence, immediately told me she'd never be my girlfriend, then said how dare I ask if she had a boyfriend, followed by quickly going out the door in tears, never to come back (I'd thought she'd liked me [maybe true] since beforehand she gently teased me a lot - perhaps a common way to flirt, even beyond youth). Maybe she also thought I brazenly wanted to skip right over the dating stage, to be considered her 'steady' immediately. Luckily for most who might ask the question directly, the worst case scenario may only happen with the very young as participants.

Several people and sites advise that a guy ask the question indirectly, such as by saying a line like "Your boyfriend is lucky to have you" - and then the guy hopes she'll then say whether she has a boyfriend. Well, some girls might suspect what the guy is up to, and, worse still, guess that he is insulting their intelligence, though perhaps this is unlikely. Anyway, the indirect approach is somewhat artificial at best, requiring a 'line' be carefully prepared, recalled and executed. Like the direct approach, there is no real upside compared to just asking the girl out - she can then turn the guy down without even revealing if she has a boyfriend - personal information - if she wishes to (if the girl happened to want to cheat on a boyfriend she has already, asking her indirectly will not solve that bit of bad fortune, either). On the other hand, if the girl agrees to go out with the guy, if both parties are being honest (i.e. not cheating), then it can now be quietly assumed by all that the girl had no boyfriend already (and that the guy had no girlfriend already). If one or both parties are cheating, though, heartache is going to happen down the road no matter what was said or done earlier.
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Nothing to do with chess