Saturday evening, I had a young woman over for dinner, a woman with whom I have now met in person 4 or 5 times. She is beautiful, she is passionately intellectual, she is more talented than she gives herself credit for and she can be very funny indeed; we enjoy one another's company and typically find ourselves surprised the time has passed so quickly.
She is also (yes, again) a great deal younger than I am, and one who is not, apparently, given to easily-readable body-language. She tends not to look me in the eye, she holds herself close.
From the tangible facts, I know that she likes me. We have gone out a number of times and she came over to dinner on Saturday. She also knows that I think she's beautiful (which, to me, implies an interest beyond mere platonic friendship). She has a boyfriend (of questionable long-term prospects), but also told me she considers herself polyamorous.
But beyond the tangible facts, I have no idea what she thinks of me.
What does it mean, ladies, when a man invites you over for dinner? Does it mean anything? Do you expect a pass? Think a pass might be made?
Am I an idiot to even be asking the question? (It's true: had she been within 10 years, with all other factors the same, I would have made a move. Am I being condescending in being so much more careful simply because the woman in question is so much younger than I am?)
I am curious as to whether you, my gentle readers, have insights into the general question - what are the rules? Is an invitation to dinner an invitation to dinner, or a tacit understanding that it is also at least a willingness to explore the idea of taking the relationship to a physical level?
When we were sharing a couch, should I have made a pass, or should I have waited for at least some kind of explicit signal she wanted me to?
I have, by the way, expressed my regret (at having not taken the chance) to the woman in question, so I expect I will soon know what she thinks of my questions - and of my cowardice/gallantry. But I am nevertheless curious to know what others think is the proper behaviour in such a situation.
And of course, I am terrified of checking my email. But checking it compulsively I am nevertheless.
If nothing else, I feel wonderfully alive.