I’m inspired by another Freakonomics post, this one about a study that shows men drive more, but not necessarily because they want to.

As the writer said, “But the big surprise is that this is a distinctly minority opinion. Instead, in relationships where the man drives more, 113 of you said this was due to the woman’s preference, while only 43 said it was the choice of the man.”

I confess that Kevin drives more than I do. That’s because he likes to drive, and I don’t really care either way. Plus, his car is bigger and nicer, so we often take it for road trips instead of mine.

How about you? Who does the driving (at least behind the wheel) in your relationship?

Editor’s Note: On some Friday’s I’m re-posting some old entries for the fun of it. This first appeared Feb. 4, 2009. What’s amusing about this one is that I’m now happily in love and living with one of these knights.

Lately, I’ve been spending a lot more with my male buds. They’re good friends, buying me a drink if my funds are low and spreading beer cheer when I’m down.

They provide an endless source of entertainment, as long as you’re going for dirty jokes, discussions of programming languages I don’t understand and music that doesn’t interest me.

Another great advantage is to eavesdrop on their discussions of women. It’s always interesting to hear their perspective on social situations with the opposite sex. Believe it or not, men (at least these ones) aren’t all that different from women when it comes to mustering courage, figuring out whether a date is a date and debating when to call.

Last Friday we all went out for beers at Landmark Tavern, which, in my humble opinion is one of the best hangout bars in Raleigh. Typically, it’s a roughly even mix of men and women, but that night the place was jam-packed with johns.

My eyes roved the room. “Raleigh really IS a great place to be single,” I thought.

I’m as rusty as the Tin Man when it comes to checking out guys and not really into it just yet anyway. (Gimme Oil Cans for courage and another week, ok? Blech, Foster’s.)

But it occurred to me that even if my social skills were up to speed, surrounded by the so-called “sausage fest,” could I be successful? What man would dare approach an attractive female surrounded by four guys?

One of my guy friends from college says that there can be no friendship between two members of the opposite sex without some degree of sexual tension. I disagree; I have had many friends for whom I feel no attraction. But he said for men, it’s different.

And I wondered – as I enjoy my single status, do I not get an ego boost out of hanging out with my guy friends? Aside from their genuine friendship, don’t I enjoy the male attention, ribbing and minor flirtatious comments as we wax poetic over Chimays?

Indeed, three of these four (the foruth has a gf) pay me compliments on a regular basis, and the all deserve knighthood for often opining that my ex is a “worthless douchebag.” (I didn’t say they were well-spoken knights.)

But then again, friends are the people who are there for you, who make you feel better, give you that boost up when you’re down. So what’s wrong with that?

Now, my only concern is that maybe my old college friend is right – perhaps there is a shiver of sexual tension between me and each of my single male friends.

If that’s the case, I have no need to worry about whether my guys will be messing with my game at Landmark. It’s whether I, in a moment of weakness, will decide maybe one of these guys should be part of my game instead of my relief from it.

I admit: I’ve faked it.

Nope. Guess again. I’m talking about faking religion.

I just read an opinion piece in the New York Times about a couple in Texas who fakes religion to ensure their children have play dates. And it got me thinking about my own religious fake.

It was 2006, I was living in a small Tennessee town, and I had just begun seeing an interesting man. At that point, I’d only had one “semi-serious” relationship, and I was excited that someone in this pathetic town of white-haired people was near my age and interested in me.

During our initial conversation, I found out he used to be a youth minister. So on our first date, I broke from my usual rules and brought up religion.

“I’m not religious,” I told him. “I went to Sunday School and church camp as a kid, and I was raised with basic Christian beliefs, but I don’t practice now.”

I figured if it was going to be a problem, I may as well get it out up front. He said it wasn’t an issue. He left the church because he was feeling conflicted about his religious beliefs. After the divorcing the church and his wife, he moved to New York City, where he proceeded to party like a rock star for two years.

He was now in Tennessee, working and living a more normal, balanced life, but he wasn’t practicing religion – or celibacy — which for me, was a green light. I should have known better. (more…)

Apparently there’s an iPhone app that helps men track their wife’s/girlfriend’s/sister’s time of the month. Um, ok.

Would you use something like that?

Too bad male mood swings are not as predictable. Is there an app for that?

“I have a date tonight with Tom! I’m so nervous!”

I got the text message last week from a girlfriend of mine. I was glad to hear it; this is a guy she met while we were all out dancing at Solas recently. He seemed sort of shy at the time; he would edge near her on the dance floor and then back away. Near, and then back off. Reminded me of an animal mating ritual, actually.

But eventually he scootched her direction and they danced for a while. Later, we cheered among ourselves when he pulled out his Blackberry to get her number.

Cynical moment No. 1: She didn’t even think he would call. There are plenty of guys who ask for numbers just to collect the digits like trophies.
Possible Tool Moment No. 1: Ding. He passed! He called the next day and they talked. He asked what she was doing that week, and they set up a date.

So there she was, getting ready for this date, butterflies dancing in her heart.
Cynical Moment No. 2: “I’m so nervous,” she told me. “And it’s so silly. Here I am, freakin’ out, and it’s just going to be a bunch of wasted energy.”
Possible Tool Moment No. 2: Ding. Passed again! The date was a success. They hit it off. Talked, laughed, had a lot in common and ate some yummy Humble Pie tapas.

Cynical Moment No. 3: But one good first date does not mean anything, as we all know. What about those guys who just disappear and never call you again? They don’t even bother to say, “It just wasn’t there for me” in a text.
Possible Tool Moment No. 3: Ding! Ladies and gentlemen … he passed the third round! A second date took place later that week, again with success.

“I figured he might not just be some jerk who was trying to get some, or was looking for just a booty call,” Leslie said. He lives about an hour away and he always offered to drive to meet me, which seems like a lot of effort if you’re not looking for something more serious. He had to know there wasn’t going to be any, “‘Hey it’s 2 a.m. why don’t you come over?'”

Cynicism was fading. So they went out on a third date. (Can you here the slow tuba notes from Jaws? Ba dum. Ba dum. Ba dum.) Just went you think he might be ok …
Possible Tool Moment No. 4: BZZZZZZZZT. He asked her to come home with him at the end of the evening. “And of course I turned him down. It was a pretty awkward good-bye. I haven’t heard from him. Don’t think I’m going to.”

Leslie doesn’t view it as wasted energy; at least she gave it a try.

“To be honest, it was kinda fun to go on some casual dates … make out a little bit and move on,” she said. “If nothing else, I did get several free dinners and drinks in the process …. a girl’s got to eat, right?”

But why would he take all that time and effort just to ruin it on the third date? I thought we were beyond the “third-date rule.”

Maybe I should be more cynical.

Addendum: As I was drafting this post, the guy called Leslie for a fourth date! SEE? Optimism has its place in the world after all. But after that date, Leslie and Tom decided the sparks weren’t flying.

“We had a fun time, walked around downtown and had some laughs. I think we both knew things really weren’t going to go much further than casual dates though. He’s cute, funny, and an all around fun guy, but I didn’t see it going anywhere. I think he felt the same way about me.”

The other day, a friend of mine asked me when Kevin and I will get engaged.

Actually, he asked if Kevin and I were “talking,” and pretended to wiggle a ring on his left finger.

Sure, we’ve been talking. And at this month of the year, it’s hard not to think about. Because now is the time of year when cute proposals hit the news.

You know, the guy who proposes at a sports game on the scoreboard. The guy who pops the question in a comic book.

We’ve all seen or heard of odd proposals. And usually the girls says, “Yes.” But what you don’t see is that later, she’s a bit bummed about the story. Remember, it’s a story you both will be asked to tell many times — even decades later. “How did he pop the question?”

And don’t forget, some women have been dreaming of this moment their entire lives. So guys, here is a how-to list to make sure your engagement story lives up to fairy tale expectations :

1. Avoid the scoreboard. First of all, guys, those can go horribly wrong. Just look at these videos on Huffington Post. (Though some appear to be commercials for a jeweler.)

A guy proposed on Valentine’s Day Sunday at a Rangers’ game and the woman just walked away. Turns out it was a hoax. But would you want the public humiliation if she says, “No”? Plus, I’m just one woman, but sharing one of the biggest moments of my life with 70,000 of my closest friendly strangers does not make good romance.

2. Set the mood. Speaking of romance, think like a chick flick for a moment. Sure, it’s not fair that producers in Hollywood have come up with all these fake movie moments against which you will be judged. But now that they’re out there, at least try for something special. Flowers, candles or twinkle lights,  music — figure out how to create a special scene and feeling. Watch a few movies and jewelry commercials if it helps.

3. As any real estate agent will tell you, Location Location Location. This will vary depending on your fiancee-to-be of course. But you can’t go wrong with a place that has some meaning to the two of you. The place you met, or where you went on your first date, had your first kiss, said, “I love you” for the first time.” You get the idea. It can even be at home, if you set the mood right (see No. 2). (more…)

Saw this on Facebook:

Join us for a night of mingling with other local singles at Mosaic! Meet other professional men and women in their 20’s and 30’s. Feel free to bring a single friend or let your single friends know about this event!

Thursday, March 11 from 7:30 to 11:30 p.m. at Mosaic.