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Assist! I Wish to Ask Considered one of My Meals Pantry Shoppers Out on a Date.

Every week in Pricey Prudence Uncensored, Prudie discusses a tough letter with fellow Slate author (and her husband!) Joel Anderson, just for Slate Plus members. This week, they dig into “Meals Fling.”

Pricey Prudence,

My query issues asking somebody out on a date. I (50s homosexual man) work at a meals pantry which has common shoppers who can are available as soon as a month. During the last couple of years there may be one consumer (40s homosexual man) who is available in and could be very pleasant and barely flirty. We now have consumer info, together with cellphone numbers. Wouldn’t it be fully inappropriate to textual content with an informal “It was nice to see you at the moment on the pantry, I want to get to know you higher exterior of labor, would you wish to seize a espresso/have lunch someday?” I do know which may appear innocuous, however he didn’t give me his cellphone quantity, so would know that I appeared it up (Creepy, proper?). And since he receives a service from me which he counts on, it may make it awkward for him to come back again. (Actually dangerous, sure?) He’s very nice, and I believe we might have time hanging out, however having been out of the relationship scene for some time I’m hesitant.

—Meals Fling

Learn Prudie’s authentic response to this letter.

Jenée Desmond-Harris: So I selected this one as a result of I wished to err on the facet of creating positive the letter author didn’t sexually harass a consumer (notably somebody susceptible and in want of meals), however I’m frightened I missed a artistic means for him to make a transfer. As somebody who’s all the time been flirt and has a knack for pickup traces, what do you assume?

Joel Anderson: Maintain up earlier than I reply something, I have to clear the air: You’re the one who as soon as instructed me that you just have been a flirt, and also you stated it in a means that made clear it was an immutable reality about your self, like having curly hair or lengthy legs. Whereas I by no means keep in mind saying this about myself, ever!

Jenée: Perhaps I’m misremembering and also you simply stated you by no means had hassle getting a date. No matter! Do you could have something so as to add to assist this man?

Joel: That’s additionally false however let me get all the way down to enterprise.

This can be a horrible concept. I truly thought you selected this letter due to that point I used to be organising landline cellphone service in Florida (sure, this was many, a few years in the past) and the customer support rep texted me again after the decision to … I don’t actually know what you’d name it. However she stated she thought I sounded cute. And you realize what I couldn’t assist however assume after initially being flattered? That it was wildly unprofessional and inappropriate.

Sir, please don’t do that. It looks like you could have factor going for now. If issues are going to show private, you need to let the consumer be the one to make that occur.

Jenée: I’d forgotten about that customer support interplay. A minimum of in that case, you by no means needed to see her once more and weren’t counting on her for something after the decision ended. It additionally jogs my memory of once I made a report a few stolen cellphone and the police officer who got here to take it saved asking the place I used to be going to hang around that weekend. Not nice. I do surprise, although, if there’s a way that’s nonetheless inside the bounds of professionalism that the letter author can talk heat and openness. Like, I don’t know “Oh I see you bought some apples this week! I make an incredible apple pie. If you’d like, I may convey some in so that you can attempt subsequent time I bake one.” What do you assume? An excessive amount of??

Joel: Oooooh have a look at the flirt, again in motion! However that’s fairly good.

I additionally assume if the LW simply lets the interactions proceed, in the event that they’re as pleasant and flirty as he believes, that it’ll progressively escalate to some extent the place the consumer will ultimately ask them out. But when the LW simply doesn’t wish to depart destiny to probability, then yeah, possibly making it clear he’s doing one thing particular for the consumer, like making an “wonderful apple pie,” is a possible opening.

Jenée: I suppose the rule I’m comfy with is “You may be actually, very nice and pleasant to set the stage for him to make a transfer however you need to cease wanting suggesting spending time exterior of the meals pantry.” The closest I’d be comfy with could be “Any enjoyable plans this weekend? I’m going to the Memorial Day parade. Perhaps I’ll see you there!”

Joel: No surprise you used to have so many suitors! However sure, the main points of the invitation are a lot much less necessary than what the LW shouldn’t do, which is make a direct ask or name or textual content them at their private quantity. The truth is, if the LW did the latter, they might discover themselves being fired from their place.

Jenée: Nothing that will require the consumer to say “no.”

Joel: It’s positively an open-ended invitation, like “I’m going to be right here on this present day” after which allow them to take it from there. Or per your earlier recommendation, the LW ought to do one thing that lets the consumer know he’s concerned with him past their routine interactions on the meals pantry. Even when it’s complimenting a particular merchandise of clothes, or turning “How was your weekend?” into an actual alternative for engagement and never well mannered small discuss.

Jenée: Yep. Additionally: Do you ever surprise what may have been with the Comcast rep?

Joel: Not likely, as a result of I used to be in a relationship on the time! Do you surprise about what may’ve occurred with the cop who wished that will help you together with your cellphone?

Jenée: Not within the least. Think about me as a Blue Lives Matter spouse!

Joel: Nicely, you probably did as soon as give cash to a police fund however I’m glad we’re on the identical web page, lol.

Jenée: Okay that was a really completely different time they usually obtained me with a narrative about injured officers. We’ll save the evaluation for an additional column.

Joel: I can’t wait to learn all about it.