My family loves boat life. So years ago I enrolled in a Coast Guard boating course and I learned many beneficial maritime rules and etiquette. It was interesting in that, unlike roadways, there isn’t necessarily a governing body that makes universal, stedfast rules for waterways. Hence, many of the Coast Guard’s pointers are more like guidelines that seem like common sense to ensure safety.

One lesson that stood out in particular pertained to how ships should approach other ships. Since there are no real “lanes” on waterways, boats can approach each other from 360 degrees and it is often difficult to tell who has right of way, who should yield or if the two are on a collision course. The way we were instructed to overcome this was to stay your course… however, if you were going to make a change in direction, make it deliberately obvious so that your intentions would be clear to the other ship. Basically, if you appear to be heading towards the same point as another boat, rather than tinker a few degrees to port or starboard (that is left or right to the lay person), make a strong move to the right to show the other vessel that your intention is to pass him on his port side. It seems simple and obvious, but until you are at the helm and captaining a boat, the importance seems inconsequential.

Of course you know this blog isn’t about boating. However, I was talking to a female friend the other day about relationships (I know, I know imagine that!) and she said something to the effect of, “I’m just not sure if he’s interested or not.” I pondered for a moment… how could she not know if some dude was into her? How does any girl not know? I asked other female friends of mine and realized this problem is far too common among women — not knowing when a man is interested.

The core of this problem is that most assume men send mixed messages. In actuality—we don’t. We send very clear messages. VERY. CLEAR. MESSAGES. However, many get lost in translation. It is like women are watching and trying to decipher if he just moved a couple of degrees to starboard or port. They wonder, “What did he mean by that?” or “He did that!” as if there is some subtle nuanced clue that reveals his desire and affection.

We are men — and as I have said it a myriad of times already but will recap — we are simple creatures. Our behavior is unsubtle, we are bold and vociferous and don’t usually sugar-coat things.

Just like the ship trying to navigate a busy waterway, when a man is interested he will make his intentions known with major, deliberate and obvious moves. To translate: if the move isn’t big and plain-as-day, then the message is NOT INTERESTED. (Well, maybe not completely NOT INTERESTED… but not gung-ho, can’t-stop-thinking-about-you interested in pursuing a true relationship.) When a man IS INTERESTED in a woman—and I mean truly, fire-in-his-belly interested—picture Sean Connery screaming out “RIGHT FULL RUDDER….NOW!!!”

There is an assortment of Right Full Rudder moves. They can include not just asking for your number but asking you out on the spot when you first meet to do something the next day; Probing with future questions about how do you feel about kids or living elsewhere etc., etc.; And for course, taking you to introduce you to family or intimate night with their closest friends. These all might come up at different times but there is one move that sets the stage for it all.

What is the quintessential Right Full Rudder move?…Date Package 1A. Date Package 1A is meant to woo and impress, to charm and appeal to a woman’s every sense. How do you know if you are on Date Package 1A? Trust me, you will know. If you think you might be on Date Package 1A but aren’t sure, then sorry to break it to you… but you are not. Set aside the wishful thinking and be objective.

I have yet to meet a dude who has taken a girl out on a “balls out” Date Package 1A that he wasn’t interested in.

Meeting somewhere for a cup of coffee, joining him with some of his friends for happy hour at Cabo Cantina or attending an impromptu function somewhere aren’t 1A Date Packages. However, they aren’t a relationship death sentence. Consider it a pre-date to probe and determine if the prospect is worthy of a premium date.

What does it mean if you not on Date Package 1A? He might still be interested… but it is more than likely interest in something other than a serious relationship. It could be a little wham-bam nookie, some companionship, a new wing woman, or maybe likes the gallery of your female Facebook friends. Or it could be that he just isn’t quite sure yet what he wants or where you fit-in and is trying to figure it out. But if all of a sudden he asks you out, picks you up with his car washed, has rezzies for a nice, new restaurant, tickets to some show afterwards or some art exhibit that you casually mentioned a month ago… then you just got upgraded to Date Package 1A.

There is also the common possibility that DP1A or some pre-date took place only for him to determine there isn’t a match or chemistry or whatever. It’s not a personal thing…it just is what it is. We all have a picture of what we want (or at least should have one) and if it doesn’t fit, either party can and should walk away in the most considerate way possible. No need to waste each others time.

The biggest dilemma for a woman is what do you do if you find yourself repeatedly on something other than DP1A? First just accept that he is feeling you out and wanting to get to know you better before he becomes an epigamic Peacock ready to show-off his plumage and mate. It could be that he actually finds you to be super-cool and interesting but wants to keep you on the friendship tip. If you are into him but find yourself on some mid-alphabet date package then you have a few options:

  • You can accept the new friendship/companionship. Self explanatory…you now have a new buddy but don’t expect too much.
  • Make him show his hand. What do I mean? Easy, don’t be so available to him. Go on a date with someone else, don’t be at his beck and call and certainly don’t put the rest of your life on hold waiting for him to make a strong move. You make a strong move one way or another, role the dice and see what you get. Better to know now than to waste weeks/months trying to figure it out.
  • Walk away. If you feel like you are giving him all the assets of you without him taking on any of the liability or contribute to the owner-equity, then the relationship balance sheet isn’t working for you. It’s better to save your ship and live to fight another day.

Sure there could be instances where men are shy or nervous but that will also be obvious. I’m sure the cat who wrote the book He’s Just Not that Into You would agree with me. You want a man who is willing and eager to go “right full rudder” Date Package 1A.