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I met her at my usual first date lounge, ten minutes late right on schedule. As I sat at the bar (thin crowd, plenty of elbow room), she pranced up to my side from across the room, waving back at someone. I looked over my shoulder and saw six or seven people, half girls and half guys, sitting on sofas and waving at her in return.

“Are those your chaperones?”

“No, they’re friends of mine.”

“I see. So you brought them here for protection? Probably a good idea. I usually show up to dates with a chainsaw.”

She was starting to catch on. “I swear it’s just a coincidence. I didn’t tell them I would be here.”

I glanced back at her social circle. They were watching us. Fucking great. I’d have to hustle her to a new venue ASAP, no way was she going to loosen up with her friends judging her every move. But first, drinks.

Fifteen minutes into our conversation (going well) the bartender places a couple of shot glasses in front of us.

“Courtesy of the gentleman over there in the white shirt.”

We both look in the direction of the sofa and one of the guys is smiling at us. My date smiles back.

“How sweet. My friend bought us drinks.”

I lifted my shot glass and nodded toward him in recognition. He nodded in recognition of my nod. I returned to my date and resumed our conversation, paying close attention to her body language to see if she attempted any over the shoulder lookbacks at drink-buying dude. She didn’t. Another twenty minutes passed and I was getting itchy to bounce. As I prepared to pull the trigger, her friends walked by us and stopped to say goodbye to her. Many hugs and introductions were exchanged. I watched our benefactor closely, determined to figure out his designs on my date and his role in the group dynamic. Preliminary analysis: Ingratiating beta who wanted to fuck my date.

***

You are a student of human social dynamics. Your experience with and knowledge of these sorts of situations grows with every passing day. When your date tells you her friends are at your venue of choice by sheer coincidence, you assume:

a. she’s lying, and act accordingly; that is, move her to a new spot quickly or end the date prematurely.

b. she’s telling the truth but it’s virtually guaranteed that one of the men in the group has a crush on her and will come over and say something stupid to ruin the mood of your date.

c. she’s telling the truth and they are just friends who will not sabotage your date, so you are OK to stay.

d. she’s telling the truth but you believe it is unwise to linger in that venue as long as they are within line of sight of your date.

When one of the betas buys you and your date a round of shots, you assume:

a. he’s a cool guy buying his friend and her date a drink, and he does this all the time with no ulterior motive, so you toss him a friendly nod.

b. he’s a scheming punk buying his cute friend and her date a drink because he secretly wants to bang her and thinks this is the best way to undermine the vibe between her and you.

c. he’s a superb example of Beta Maximus in the field who thinks by buying his puppy crush and her date drinks she will instantly fall in love with him and forget all about you.

d. he’s just retarded.

Given the assumptions above, decide which is most likely to be true. Then, evaluate which responses you have available to you and the best way to handle this situation.

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