Should she make the first move? Let's help a nice reader get back in the dating game.
Q: I am recently divorced but ready to test the dating waters again. I'm in my early forties and don't often meet available men. In the past, I tended to be more traditional and to wait for the guy to ask me out.
I met someone the other day in whom I'm interested. Should I contact him? My male friends suggest that I ask him out. My female friends suggest that I follow the advice of He's Just Not That Into You and don't bother because if he really wanted to see me, he'd do it.
One possible caveat: I met him in a business setting with another person present and there was no flirting so I couldn't gauge his interest or lack thereof. That said, he was facing me and tapping my chair leg with his foot the entire time. Granted, it may be a nervous habit or restless leg syndrome. Also, we will never work with each other, so that will not be a deterrent in any way.
-- Older and Not Much Wiser, Boston
A: Welcome back, OaNMW. Dating hasn't changed much. Except for all the stupid text messaging.
You can tell your female friends that the self-help book "He's Just Not That Into You" does not recommend that you play mind games or shun your crushes if they don't immediately profess their love. You're allowed to show interest. You're allowed to ask him out for a meal. This guy may have no idea that you're hoping for a date. No idea that you're trying to decide whether he's playing footsie or if he has restless leg syndrome. He'd probably be pretty flattered. The bonus of dating in 2009 is that you're allowed to let him know.
If he doesn't respond to your invite or seems wishy-washy about the request, then sure, hit up your local library, check out "He's Just Not That Into You," and give it a read. But let's not get defensive before we have to. Dating is scary. You'll be putting yourself out there for possible rejection. But he might just feel the same way.
You won't know until you ask him. Your male friends are right.
Readers? Do you agree? Is he playing footsie? Should she ask him out? Share your thoughts here (and be nice, please -- this reader is newly single). Read yesterday's letter from an Aussie here. Spill your own guts here.
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Meredith Goldstein is a Boston Globe columnist who follows relationship trends and entertainment. She offers daily advice on Love Letters — and welcomes your comments. Meredith is also the author of "The Singles," a novel about complicated relationships. Follow Meredith at www.meredithgoldstein.netand on Twitter. Love Letters can be found in the print edition of The Boston Globe every Saturday in the G section.