Decode His Date Invite

Can you tell what’s on his mind by where he wants to take you on a date? Yes—here’s the scoop on eight common locations.

By Matt Christensen

hat can you learn about a guy — and his intentions toward you — from where he wants to take you on a date? A lot! And it’s not as hard to crack as Morse code, hieroglyphics, or some ancient secret riddle. To help you along, we gathered some evidence, plus the opinion of a dating expert and some regular guys, and put it all together to help reveal the truth… and here it is.

The date: Your mancakes offers you a ticket on the 50-yard-line next to him for the Ohio State/Michigan game
What the expert says: If he’s dusting off his foam finger and calculating how many hot dogs he can scarf during half-time, it could go one of two ways. “On one hand, he could be inviting you into his world, which is a
The fancy dinner date isn’t all it’s cracked up to be…
mature way of showing his attraction to you,” says Dr. Paul Dobransky, M.D., CEO of and author of The Secret Psychology of How We Fall in Love. “But, on the other hand, he may be selfish and be expecting you to just do everything he’s interested in, without regard for your tastes or preferences.”

What the regular guy says: Will, 26, thinks that inviting a girl to the big game is a surefire way to show affection. “If she’s into sports, great, if not, no big deal. But, either way, I’d never invite a girl to a sporting event unless I was really into her. Sports are a guy’s sanctuary, and he’d have to really like a girl to let her in.”

What it means: Obviously, a guy who demands you sit next to him at the playoffs, despite your documented dislike of sports, deserves a 15-yard penalty for misconduct, but a mature, considerate invite to his favorite team’s home opener? Game on!

The date: He asks you to enjoy high culture by inviting you to a museum, opera, or the ballet
What the expert says: Just because he knows where the museum is, doesn’t necessarily mean he’s ever been inside. “Since every man is different, as a woman, you have to assess his maturity first,” says Dr. Dobransky. “There are guys who will naively assume that a date to a museum will impress you, which will likely result in you both having a bad time.”

What the regular guy says: “When I take a woman to this kind of event, I admit it, I want her to think, ‘Wow, that’s one sophisticated guy!’” admits Paul, 33.

What it means: Notwithstanding the handful of guys out there who do enjoy fine art, chances are he’s using this paint-by-numbers approach as a way to impress you.

The date: Movie time! Nothing fancy, just the two of you and a big screen
What the expert says: “A movie is a passive date. It may be an indication of laziness in regard to the relationship,” says Dr. Dobransky. But, c’mon, who says every guy who likes film is just phoning it in?

What the regular guy says: “A movie date is the most half-assed thing a guy can suggest,” says Aaron, 30. “It’s also the most guy-friendly date possible—you don’t have to talk to her, you don’t have to listen to her, and you get Sour Patch Kids.”

What it means: Since a first or second date should be spent getting to know you, a movie invite, complete with its lack of eye-contact and conversation, might clue you in to his real intentions—that he’s not really up for a deeply connected relationship.

The date: He suggests enjoying a low-key evening at the local jazz club
What the expert says: “Early on in dating, men need to make an effort to put their best foot forward,” explains Dr. Dobransky. “Quite simply, this guy isn’t trying too hard.”

What the regular guy says: No way, says John, 27:. “A jazz club is much, much different than a punk concert or something like that. A jazz club is relaxed, and the music can provide ambient noise to a conversation, rather than prohibiting one.”

What it means: While it may not register high on the effort meter, the guy’s invitation suggests that he wants to spend the evening with you, and not just next to you.

The date: Instead of a one-on-one, he suggests a double date with another couple
What the expert says: “If he takes you on a double-date early in the relationship, he’s expressing a lack of interest in you,” adds
A dive-bar date can show he’s really comfortable with you.
Dr. Dobransky. “A double-date may also be an ‘easy’ out, in his mind.” Be especially wary if your companion couple is a pair of his friends who you’ve never met previously. That may indicate that he’s not sure how he feels about you—and wants them to decide for him.

What the regular guy says: “If you and he just started dating, you’re going to feel like the fifth wheel on a double date with a couple he already knows,” notes Ed, 30. “It might not be an indication that he isn’t interested in you, but he definitely doesn’t want a one-on-one conversation.”

What it means: Since the first few dates are supposed to be efforts at getting to know one another, an early double-date may suggest he’s hoping to cut his dating workload in half by splitting time with another couple.

The date: You’re asked to show up on his arm at a party thrown by his friend
What the expert says: “If it’s a few dates in, this is a mature, welcome sign that he isn’t codependent or doesn’t only has sex on his mind,” observes Dr. Dobransky. “He wants to assess the ‘fit’ of you both as a couple by introducing you to his friends. Friends are an important part of life, so this is a fairly big step.”

What the regular guy says: Mark, 32, thinks a party date is a chance to show you off. “I wouldn’t bring a girl to a party unless I was proud to be seen with her.”

What it means: Think of this as dating show and tell. He’s excited to present you to his friends, who carry plenty of weight regarding his choice of women.

The date: Table for two at a much-hyped, expensive restaurant
What the expert says: Get ready to gag on your lobster tails, ladies. Dr. Dobransky feels it’s the lazy man’s way to dazzle a woman (albeit one with a big pricetag). “Unless he’s a master chef, out to teach you about food and learn what you like, I wouldn’t be that impressed.”

What the regular guy says: Maybe it’s too much, too soon. “I’d take a girl to a super-fancy, expensive restaurant,” begins Chris, 32. “But only if it was our five-year anniversary. It seems more appropriate for celebrating with someone you know well… not the kind of place where you’d take someone new.”

What it means: A pricey menu means he thinks he’ll be taking home more than a doggie bag full of seared salmon.

The date: No glitz, no glamour, just a night of drinking at his favorite dive bar
What the expert says: Deep-fried buffalo wings and a few Irish Car Bombs? Ain’t nothin’ wrong with that. “If the guy is a lively, sociable person, this very well may just be him being himself,” says Dr. Dobransky. “A small, neighborhood bar can be intimate, and it’s a setting in which he’s comfortable. He’s looking to impress you in a healthy, playful, flirty way.”

What the regular guys say: Almost every guy, including Owen, 28, agrees. “My favorite bar is always guaranteed to give me a good time. Taking a girl there means I want to share that fun with her.” Thank him for a good time, ladies, by letting him win at beer pong.

What it means: If you want to see the real, uninhibited side of your guy, watch how he handles himself at his favorite watering hole and with his favorite bartender.

Matt Christensen has written for Maxim and WWE Magazine.
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