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A reader emails:
Really loved the “it’s complicated” post, and have found lots of versatile use for it in my life. Thinking about it though, I think it’s most effective with women new to you as opposed to women you have history with. I also don’t think it should be used as a text response. Some of my ex’s will hit me up out of the blue via text, usually playful messages, but sometimes with the direct inquiry “are you seeing anyone?” that only a woman (or clueless beta orbiter) would ask. While “it’s complicated” would now be my default response to a new girl at a bar if she asked the same, I think it sounds too defensive and pandering to an ex, as though you’re trying to hide something from someone who already knows you very well. [Ed: Agreed.] I also think it doesn’t have the same effectiveness if used as a text reply to anyone.
I went with this exchange recently:
aspirational ex-girlfriend: Are you seeing anyone?
(next morning) me: you workin for tmz now?
Good answer. Cocky and funny, jes like da ladeez like it. She also appreciates the haphazard attention to punctuation.
“Are you seeing anyone?” is a common enough question from interested women that the proper handling of it deserves its own post. (Rumor has it there are a lot of sniveling gameless betas who ask women this question when they first meet them. Pitiable creatures.)
If an ex-girlfriend, former fuckbuddy or platonic female friend who you think wants to revisit the good times with you, (or who simply wants to segue from friendship to sex), asks if you are seeing anyone, and you have decided that “it’s complicated” is not the best response, there are alternatives at your disposal.
“I’ve been dating someone for a bit, but I can’t say for sure she is the one.”
See: the reader’s reply above. Few women will follow-up an expertly delivered evasion with cunty lawyerly argumentation. This is because women who ask such questions don’t really want to know the unvarnished answer. The question is asked only to give them plausible deniability should they find themselves bedding a taken man.
“I’m dating around.”
This is my favorite answer, regardless of its accuracy. First, it shuts down further inquiry. Second, it leaves things open to interpretation.
“I’m not tied down yet.”
6. Agree & Amplify
Also a personal favorite. Girls like to think the guys they desire have no worries about meeting and banging women, or about settling down.
*”No” is not the ideal reply. Because of the power of preselection, you run a better chance of losing her interest if she thinks you are completely single than you do if she thinks you are getting pussy regularly. So even if you aren’t seeing anyone, you should massage your answer so that ambiguity is introduced to the dialectic. Women aren’t put off a man’s scent if he is seeing someone; if anything, they become more like a bloodhound on his trail. The only exception is when the man sings odes of love and devotion to his woman. Competitor women will generally** back off if they see that the man they want is truly, deeply in love with someone else.
**Before the fairy dust, pie in the sky, swoon brigade gets all gushy at this optimistic outlook on the female gender, let me remind the studio audience that I have observed, and experienced, plenty of exceptions to this rule.
Replies that you should avoid:
Too goofy. Chicks don’t dig the goof.
Too indecisive. Chicks don’t dig vacillators.
“Well, I’m fucking someone, if that’s what you mean.”
Too visual and sexual. Chicks don’t dig braggarts.
Too final. Chicks need a window of opportunity.
“Aren’t you the nosy one?”
Too slippery and awkward. What are you hiding?
“Wouldn’t you like to know.”
Too abrasive. If she’s an ex who knows you well, this albeit funny line will close off further exploration.
“Why do you ask?”
Too defensive. Also, why would you step on her hamster right as its revving up for a glorious rationalization to sleep with you?
Commenters are available during business hours to help you with further suggestions.