OK, you’ve done this; we’ve all done this. You make plans to hang out with a person — let’s call him or her Pat. Pat invites you to hang out on some random weeknight, and you accept — but then it occurs to you: does Pat think this is a date?
Pat is great/tolerable, but you are only interested in being friends/acquaintances. You reeeeallly don’t want Pat to get the wrong impression, or worst of all, attempt to make a move. So you send your BFF an urgent message: “You HAVE to come get drinks at 169 Bar tonight because I need to make it very clear that this is not a date.”
It’s the perfect plan, because now you can continue to be perfectly nice to Pat, yet you send an unmistakable signal that says “I like you, but I don’t like like you.” If you did, you wouldn’t have invited a friend on a date, you would have wanted to keep Pat all to yourself. Sorry, Pat.
Other times, there’s someone you’re really, really, really attracted to: let’s call him/her Nat. Nat is gorgeous, and the two of you have crazy sexual chemistry, but for whatever reason, you know it’s not a good idea for you to hook up. (Maybe Nat is the ex of your friend? Maybe Nat has problems that you can’t get involved with right now? Maybe Nat is your boss? There are a million reasons to not go home with that sexy, sexy Nat.)
It’s not that you don’t have self-control: you do. If you make the decision to not go hook up with someone, you won’t. But just in case, you call up your BFF (hungover from drinks with Pat the night before) and say: “You HAVE to come out with me and Nat tonight so that it’s not a date.” And then, though you still find Nat insanely attractive, the fact that it’s a group date and not a date date works wonders to diffuse the sexual tension.
So, readers: what should this person be called? This person that you invite so that the other person knows it’s not a date? They’re like your wingman, but in reverse.
Help us vote on a name!