Y Me: How do you handle it when excessive flirting is on the menu?

Posted 9:42am on Tuesday, Jan. 01, 2013

It has happened to almost everyone: Your date starts flirting with the waiter or bartender. It has happened to me numerous times, and led to countless fights, hurt feelings, and ruined dates.

I was once on a date at Reata, and my gal pal's flirting was so over the top that I made a huge show of giving our server her phone number. That might not have been the classiest way to handle that, but it sure felt good. I never saw that woman again.

A recent incident involving a friend of mine got me wondering how to correctly handle that scenario. The obvious answer is: "If anyone is rude enough to do that to their date, then he/she isn't worth their time." That's true, but it's also hard for people like me to get a date. So when I do go on one, I can let a lot of stuff go in the interest of making things work.

Here's what happened:

A few weeks ago, I was out with some friends at Rodeo Goat (you've got to try that place, by the way), and our very attractive server caught the eye of a buddy of mine. His game had all the subtlety of a cat in heat. Our poor server, who most likely experiences that sort of thing on a daily basis, handled him well. She was polite but never let on that she was interested or even mildly entertained by my pal's blatant advances. With lines like, "Looking at you is like staring into the sun," I'm impressed she didn't vomit all over his burger.

But, emboldened by a few craft beers, my friend's advances persisted -- even after his girlfriend showed. She tried to laugh it off at first, but the more he kept the act up, the chillier she became. She never once asked him to stop, and became quiet and visibly grumpy. Eventually, after the third or fourth comment he'd made about how hot the waitress was, his girlfriend of almost a year got up and left without a word. My buddy's reaction was, "she always says she doesn't want me to change the way I behave in front of her."

Needless to say, the whole episode was awkward for me and the four other people at our table. The thing is, I fully expected my friend to cut it out when his woman got there. And when he didn't, I was certain she'd put a stop to his shenanigans. Neither of those things happened. The two worked it out the next day, and they are still together.

Every time that sort of thing has happened to me, I put the kibosh on it -- usually managing to make an ass of myself in the process -- and I never saw any of those women again. I guess the way to handle it would be to calmly explain to the offending flirt that his/her actions are hurting your feelings. But who can be calm at a time like that?

I'd be interested to know what you, the reader, thinks about this one. Am I right in thinking that this kind of behavior is just not OK, and the only thing to do is address it? Or is there another way? Email me at dating@dfw.com with your thoughts.

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