Recently I had a discussion with a friend of mine about this guy that she was trying to date. She started explaining to me that she knew that he was into her, and that she was interested in him but he was afraid of trying to take her on a second date because of the implications that come with multiple dates(I guess finding someone attractive is questionable on some sort of moral level I haven't gotten to yet) but she didn't know how to make him feel comfortable with his attraction toward her. We continued to talk and I put in my two cents but this conversation got me thinking about what might be the most common dating conversation when singles ward's have open discussions, you know the one, it usually comes from the 30 year old girl with 2 weeks left before her 31st birthday, realizing that this might be her last chance to go on a date with anyone under the age of 40, she pipes up, "Do you think it's ok for girls to ask guys on dates if they're interested?" From there pandemonium ensues, the guy who's been asked on one too many dates by girls over a Facebook message vehemently opposes, whereas the shy guy who has never asked a girl out on a date in his life raises his hand to voice his approval. From there the relief society president tries to make a spiritual application to their discussion while the elder's quorum president is arm wrestling for no apparent reason, the bishop's wife tries to give her best input on how it's the priesthood responsibility of the elders to go on dates whether they find their date attractive or not but by now none of the elders are listening anymore because an arm-wrestling tournament has broken out and Bishop and the ward mission leader are next on the card. Ok this might be a slight exaggeration, but anyone who has sat through a combined priesthood/relief society meeting on dating knows that it's not that far off... However I feel like in the world we live in, it's a completely relevant question. So can a girl ask a guy on a date in a ultra-conservative dating culture and hope for any success? I personally have been on a lot of fun and productive dates where I was asked out by a girl(Gasp!) but if you're asking out a guy and want something more than just a date to come out of it, then let me give you a bit of advice.
1. Make the guy feel important and needed
For a lot guys out there, they might feel like their surrendering their man card by going out on a date that you asked them on because they've been taught that they should be the ones doing the asking their whole lives(ultra-conservative dating culture remember) so make him feel like he's still doing the manly thing by going on a date with you. If he offers to pay(which any guy worth dating would) let him, let him open doors for you and even pull out you seat for you at dinner. I know this all seems a bit traditional, but when you give guys the opportunity to be gentleman, they'll usually step up to the occasion and might just begin to man up...
2. Don't pull the desperate card.
I'm pretty sure this works both ways but as far as I'm concerned there might be nothing less attractive than someone who is completely needy and desperate. I'm ok with someone being attracted to me and I'm more than willing to give everyone a fair shot but if a girl asks me on a first date when we're going to get married and what the name of our third daughter is going to be, I hate to break it to her, I'm not going to ask her on a second date. I'm all about dating and committed relationships but if you lay out all your chips on the first hand chances are that you won't be in the game very long. I'm not saying that avoid talking about relationships but your chances of ending up in a relationship increase exponentially if the girl has enough self-respect and class to be ok with herself regardless of how this first date goes.
3. Be bold, but not over-bearing...
Admittedly, this section is probably a combo of the two sections above but I don't think that it makes it any less important. If you're interested in a guy, feel free to show it, you don't have to ask for an engagement ring on the first date, but feel free to flirt with him. Contrary to popular opinion, guys do want attention, it's just a different type of attention, they want to feel like they can trust you, secure, and needed. If you go out of your way to give a sincere compliment or two during a date, chances are that your soon to be Prince Charming will actually become that Prince Charming you seek because he'll feel comfortable around you and will be able to open up because they know they can trust you. You see the key to building any sort of relationship is building a foundation of trust and openness so build that foundation first and then start asking about the ring after.
Well I hope that I did enough to shake up a few antiquated views on dating, but if you like the old-fashioned approach to dating I totally respect that, but as an single member of the church with a chin beard(Gasp! How can he live with himself?) I feel like people should worry a little less about what's protocol and start worrying a little bit more about the people they're trying to date. Always be proactive! Even if you don't feel like asking the guy you like on a date, let him know that you're interested in trying things out at least because then the ball is in his court and you can live without regrets because even if things don't work out, you can say that you did everything you could so you can have closure, or even better you can develop a real, lasting, worthwhile relationship!