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0233 Asking for a Date

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Welcome to English as a Second Language Podcast number 233: Asking for a Date.

This is English as a Second Language Podcast episode 233. I'm your host, Dr. Jeff McQuillan, coming to you from the Center for Educational Development in beautiful Los Angeles, California.

Remember to visit our website at eslpod.com. You can find there a complete Learning Guide for this episode. This is a ten page - eight to ten page guide that includes all of the vocabulary words, definitions, sample sentences for each of the vocabulary words we talk about, cultural notes, additional information about some words we don't talk about on the podcast and a complete transcript of this episode.

Our episode is called “Asking for a Date.” Let's go!

[Start of story]

I admit it. I’m a player. I work in an office where there are a lot of attractive women. Take Debra, for example. I heard that she just broke up with her boyfriend last week so I decided to ask her out.

Liam: Hi, Debra. How’s it going?

Debra: Okay, I guess. How about you?

Liam: I’m doing okay. You know, I’m going to an art show this Saturday. Would you like to come with me?

Debra: Geez, I’m pretty busy this weekend.

Liam: That’s too bad. How about going for a drink after work today?

Debra: Well, I don’t know...

Liam: Come on. It’ll be fun and we can try that new place down the street.

Debra: I guess that’ll be okay, but just a drink, right?

Liam: That’s all and I promise I won’t even try to buy you dinner.

Debra: [laughs] Okay, then. I’ll see you after work.

I ask women out wherever I see them, even ones I’ve never met before. At a restaurant, if I see a woman eating by herself, I usually say: “I just hate eating alone. Do you mind if I join you?” The other day, I saw a woman at the grocery store and tried my luck.

Liam: Hi.

Monica: Hi.

Liam: I’ve just moved to this area and was wondering if you could recommend a good restaurant around here.

Monica: That depends on what kind of food you like. There’s a good Italian restaurant on Elm Street, or there’s a good Thai place on Lyndon Avenue.

Liam: Which one do you prefer?

Monica: I like them both, but I’d probably go for the Italian place.

Liam: In that case, would you like to join me for dinner sometime?

Monica: I’m not sure. I don’t even know you.

Liam: You’re right, but you seem really nice and I’d like to get to know you better. What do you say?

Monica: Well, maybe. Here’s my number. Call me and we’ll talk about it.

Liam: I’ll do that. I’m looking forward to talking with you again.

It’s as easy as that. I don’t try to be a player. All it takes is a little charm and a little flattery, and women will find you irresistible.

[End of story]

Our dialogue in this episode is all about dating, and we have a man, Liam and two different women, Debra and Monica. We watch Liam try to get dates with these different women.

Liam begins by saying, “I admit it. I’m a player.” To admit, “admit,” something means to say something is true even if you don't want to say it. It's like confessing something. Well, what Liam is confessing here is that he's “a player.” Player, “player,” is an informal expression or informal word that means a man who dates a lot of women, usually at the same time, often without the other women knowing that you are dating more than one woman. So, Liam says he's “a player,” just like me!

He says, “I work in an office where there are a lot of attractive women.” Attractive, “attractive,” means pretty or good looking. He says, “Take Debra, for example,” meaning let's start talking about Debra as an example. He says, “I heard that she just broke up with her boyfriend.” To break up with someone means to end a romantic relationship - to stop a romantic relationship. This happens here in Hollywood, here in Los Angeles, all the time among celebrities and stars. So, to break up with someone means to end your relationship.

Liam then starts talking to Debra, he says, “Hi, Debra. How’s it going?” She says, “Okay.” What about you - “How about you?” Liam says he's “doing okay.” He says he's “going to an art show” on Saturday. An art show would be a show looking at pictures or paintings. Of course, Liam is trying to impress Debra - make Debra think that he is a very cultured person.

He asks Debra if she would like to come with him, and Debra says, “Geez, I’m pretty busy this weekend.” This is what the women always used to tell me when I asked them out on a date! The expression geez, “geez,” is one we use to express surprise, or perhaps confusion. Well, Debra is perhaps a little surprised and she says that she's “busy this weekend.”

Then Liam, who, of course as a player, tries to get women to date him, goes on to say, “That’s too bad. How about going for a drink after work today?” To go for a drink means to go have an alcoholic beverage or a soda, maybe a beer, with someone in a bar. And Debra says, “Well, I don’t know,” and Liam starts to try to convince her; he says, “Oh, come on. It’ll be fun and we can try that new place down the street.”

Debra finally says, “I guess that’ll be okay, but just a drink, right,” meaning they're just going to have a drink, more or less as friends, nothing serious.

Liam, lying of course, says, “That’s all and I promise I won’t even try to buy you dinner.” To buy someone dinner - for a man to buy a woman dinner is usually a sign that he wants to date that woman.

Liam goes on to talk about how asks women out - he asks them to go on a date with him. To ask someone out is to ask them to go on a date. He says he asks them out whenever he sees them, even ones he's “never met before.” He then goes on to say that when he's at a restaurant and he sees “a woman eating by herself,” he'll say to her, “Do you mind if I join you,” meaning is it okay that I sit down with you - will it bother you?

He says, “The other day,” meaning in a recent day - recently, “I saw a woman at the grocery store and I tried my luck.” To try your luck at something is to do something even if you know it may not be successful - even if you know it may not work. To try your luck - you hope you are successful.

Liam, of course, begins by simply saying, “Hi” to this woman. The woman, Monica, says, “Hi,” and then he, again, probably lying - probably not telling the truth - says, “ I’ve just moved to this area” - I've just moved to this part of the city - “and was wondering if you could recommend a good restaurant around here.” Of course, what Liam is doing here, as all men know, is trying to start a conversation and trying to find an excuse to talk to this woman.

Monica says, “That depends on what kind of food you like.” The expression that depends on, means that is determined by or that would be influenced by someone or something else. So, she's saying here, well, there may be good restaurants, but it depends on the restaurant - the kind of restaurant that you like. She then says, “There’s a good Italian restaurant,” and there's also “a good Thai place.” Thai, “Thai,” refers to Thailand - the country - and Thai food is very popular in many large cities, like Los Angeles

Liam says, “Which one do you prefer?” Which one do you like? And Monica says, “I like them both, but I’d probably go for the Italian place.” To go for, here, means to choose or to select. It also has other meanings, this expression, to go for. If you look at the Learning Guide, you will see some additional meanings for this expression, but here it means to select.

Liam, says, “In that case, would you like to join me for dinner sometime?” Liam is what we would call very smooth. To be smooth, “smooth,” if you're a man means that you have a certain talent about getting women to go on dates with you, or to say the right thing so they will go on a date with you.

Monica says, “I’m not sure. I don’t even know you.” Remember, they're at a grocery store. Liam says, “You’re right, but you seem really nice and I’d like to get to know you better,” meaning I'd like to find out more about you. “What do you say?” What do you say here means what do you think - what is your decision? Monica says, “Well, maybe. Here’s my number. Call me and we’ll talk about it.” Here’s my number means here is my telephone number.

Liam says, “I’ll do that. I’m looking forward to talking to you again.” He ends the story by saying that “It’s as easy as that,” meaning it's very simple; you just have to do what he did. He says he doesn't “try to be a player. All it takes,” he says - all that is necessary - all that you need - “All it takes is a little charm and a little flattery, and the women will find you irresistible.”

A little charm, “charm,” means the power to attract other people - to make them feel comfortable. If we say about a person, “He's very charming,” we mean that other people like him - he has a good way of relating to other people - talking to other people. Flattery, “flattery,” are words that you use - things that you say to someone else to compliment them - to make them feel good about themselves.

What Liam is saying here is that if you have a little charm, and if you can give women some flattery, they “will find you irresistible.” To be irresistible means that it is impossible for them to say no - for someone to deny. If a person is irresistible, you mean that the women will have to say yes because they can't say no.

Now let's listen to the dialogue, this time at a native rate of speech.

[Start of story]

I admit it. I’m a player. I work in an office where there are a lot of attractive women. Take Debra, for example. I heard that she just broke up with her boyfriend last week so I decided to ask her out.

Liam: Hi, Debra. How’s it going?

Debra: Okay, I guess. How about you?

Liam: I’m doing okay. You know, I’m going to an art show this Saturday. Would you like to come with me?

Debra: Geez, I’m pretty busy this weekend.

Liam: That’s too bad. How about going for a drink after work today?

Debra: Well, I don’t know...

Liam: Come on. It’ll be fun and we can try that new place down the street.

Debra: I guess that’ll be okay, but just a drink, right?

Liam: That’s all and I promise I won’t even try to buy you dinner.

Debra: [laughs] Okay, then. I’ll see you after work.

I ask women out wherever I see them, even ones I’ve never met before. At a restaurant, if I see a woman eating by herself, I usually say: “I just hate eating alone. Do you mind if I join you?” The other day, I saw a woman at the grocery store and tried my luck.

Liam: Hi.

Monica: Hi.

Liam: I’ve just moved to this area and was wondering if you could recommend a good restaurant around here.

Monica: That depends on what kind of food you like. There’s a good Italian restaurant on Elm Street, and there’s a good Thai place on Lyndon Avenue.

Liam: Which one do you prefer?

Monica: I like them both, but I’d probably go for the Italian place.

Liam: In that case, would you like to join me for dinner sometime?

Monica: I’m not sure. I don’t even know you.

Liam: You’re right, but you seem really nice and I’d like to get to know you better. What do you say?

Monica: Well, maybe. Here’s my number. Call me and we’ll talk about it.

Liam: I’ll do that. I’m looking forward to talking with you again.

It’s as easy as that. I don’t even try to be a player. All it takes is a little charm and a little flattery, and women will find you irresistible.

[End of story]

The script for today's dialogue was written by Dr. Lucy Tse.

That's all we have time for. From Los Angeles, California, I'm Jeff McQuillan. Thanks for listening. We'll see you next time on ESL Podcast.

English as a Second Language Podcast is written and produced by Dr. Lucy Tse, hosted by Dr. Jeff McQuillan. This podcast is copyright 2006.

Glossary
to admit – to say that something is true even if one doesn’t want to; to confess

* Last week, one of the football player on the championship team admitted that he had used illegal drugs to build stronger muscles.


player – a man who dates a lot of women, often at the same time

* Those guys are such players! They hang out in bars nearly every weekend trying to get women’s phone numbers.


attractive – pretty; nice-looking

* Renee is very attractive. She has long beautiful black hair and green eyes.


to break up with (someone) – to end a romantic relationship with someone

* Clint wants to break up with his girlfriend, but he doesn’t know how to do it without hurting her feelings.


geez – an expression used to express surprise or confusion

* Geez, are you still working? It’s almost midnight!


to go for a drink – to go to a bar or restaurant to drink an alcoholic beverage, such as beer or wine

* After the concert, they went for a drink at that expensive new restaurant near the concert hall.


Do you mind if I join you? – May I accompany you? Would it bother (annoy) you if I joined you in what you’re doing?

* I heard that you’re going to the movies tonight. Do you mind if I join you?


to try (one’s) luck – to do something, knowing that it may not work; to try to do something, hoping that it will be successful, but not being sure of it

* The company wanted to hire someone with 10 years of experience and I only had three, but I decided to try my luck and apply for the job anyway.


to depend on (something/someone) – to be controlled or determined by something or someone else

* We’d like to buy a new car, but that depends on whether we’re able to save enough money.


to go for – to choose; to select

* If I had to choose between a vacation in Asia or Europe, I’d probably go for Asia, because I’ve always wanted to visit India.


I’d like to get to know you better – I want to learn more about you; I want to know you better; I’d like to become your friend (or maybe a boyfriend or girlfriend)

* Pierre said he’d like to get to know me better, so we’re having dinner together this Friday.


here’s my number – here’s my phone number; an expression used when giving someone one’s phone number written down on a piece of paper

* A beautiful woman walked up to Alberto at the party and said, “Here’s my number. Call me.” He was so happy that he couldn’t stop smiling for hours.


charm – the power to attract other people and make them feel comfortable

* Marjorie has such wonderful charm. Everyone loves spending time with her.


flattery – the use of words that other people want to hear, even if they aren’t true; saying things to make other people feel good about themselves, so that one can get what one wants from them

* Mike always uses flattery when his wife is angry. He thinks that if he says that he likes her hair or dress, she’ll stop being mad at him.


irresistible – impossible to deny; impossible to say no to

* Carina is on a diet, but she never loses weight because chocolate cake is irresistible for her.

Comprehension Questions
1. Why does Liam ask Debra to go on a date?
a) He feels bad that she broke up with her boyfriend.
b) He thinks she is attractive and wants to spend time with her.
c) He needs someone to go to the art show with him.

2. Liam tells Monica that he “just moved to this area” because:
a) He wants to ask for directions to the grocery store.
b) He wants to know where the good restaurants are.
c) He wants to give her directions to his house.

Answers at bottom.

What Else Does It Mean?
player

The word “player,” in this podcast, means a man who dates a lot of women, often at the same time. For example, “If I had known he was a player, I never would have agreed to go on a date with him.” A “player” is also a person who plays a sport or a game: “Basketball players are usually very tall.” A “player” can also be someone who plays a musical instrument: “The piano player knew all of our favorite songs.” A “player” is also a business or a person who is a leader in business or politics: “Microsoft is a key player in the computer industry.” Finally, a “player” is an electronic machine that plays music or video, such as a record player or a DVD player: “He bought a new CD player for his car after the old one was stolen.”

to go for

In this podcast, the phrasal verb “to go for” means to select something or to choose something: “I’m so thirsty! I could really go for a large glass of water.” “To go for it” means to try to be successful at something, usually something that may be difficult: “People have always told me that I’m too short to be a professional dancer, but my teacher convinced me to go for it.” Another similar phrasal verb “to go into (something)” means to join an organization, especially if it’s related to one’s career: “He went into the army when he was 18 years old, and now he’s a captain.” The phrasal verb “to go on about (something)” means to talk about something for a long time, usually while complaining or boring the listener: “Denzel was so boring at the party! He just went on and on about his job and he didn’t let anyone else talk.”

Culture Note
It’s very common to go on “dates” or informal meetings to try to find a romantic partner. However, for many people, it’s difficult to meet people to ask for a date, either because they are too busy or because they feel uncomfortable talking to strangers. Because of this, some companies and organizations offer “dating services” to help busy or shy people find dates.

“Speed dating” is popular, especially in large cities. In speed dating, many “single” (unmarried people) are in a large room for one hour, often during their lunch break. The room has many small tables, each with two chairs. Normally, the women remain seated and the men move to a new table every five minutes. Each “pair” (two people) talks for five minutes and, if the man and woman like each other, they exchange phone numbers. Then the men move to the next table. Speed dating allows single people to meet many people in a short amount of time.

There are also many volunteer organizations that organize projects for unmarried people to do together. Projects could include cleaning up a park, painting a school, or playing with sick children. The participants feel good about what they’re doing, and at the same time, they meet other unmarried people who have similar interests. Similarly, churches have “singles groups” where unmarried people study the Bible together or other religious topics while learning about each other.

Some people dislike using these kinds of dating services and they prefer to have their friends help them find a date. Friends may arrange a “blind date” for them. This is when two people who don’t know each other meet, usually in a public place, such as a restaurant or a cafe. These dates can be “awkward” and the man or woman may feel uncomfortable, but sometimes they help people find their “true love” or the person with whom they want to spend the rest of their life.

Comprehension Answers
1 - b

2 - c