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Dating Triumphs and Tragedies
by Nicole Roberge

It's the Back Pat, Charlie Brown!

I recently had a friend in town and while we could have lived it up in LA, we decided to revert back to our five-year old selves, and went to Knott’s Berry Farm—a Snoopy theme park. We acted like little kids, running through the park, taking tons of pictures with Snoopy, going on rides, and eating way too much candy. And while I was disappointed at the lack of my favorite candy, peppermint patties, at Peppermint Pattie’s Candy Store, it was a good time. “I haven’t laughed this hard in a while,” my friend, Kelly, said. It was way too much fun to act like a kid and forget that we are too old to act that goofy. Or eat that much candy.

After our fun-filled day, we settled into a big slice of cake at the park bakery. “Aww,” my friend said. “She got flowers!”


I pulled away from my carrot cake, and turned to look at the counter. The blushing girl, who served the amazing cakes, had just received a gorgeous bouquet of a dozen roses. A smitten young lad stood on the other side, and looked quite pleased with himself.

“Do you think he delivered them, or they’re from him?” Kelly asked.

But as mystery lover sauntered over to the edge of the counter, we realized this was no ordinary delivery.

The girl admired her flowers again, and then disappeared into the back while the boy waited patiently.

When the girl returned, without the flowers, she was just glowing.

“They’re in love!” Kelly gushed.

The girl certainly look quite love-struck, however, when she gave the boy a hug, she gave him simply a pat on the back.

“He just got the back pat!” Kelly exclaimed.

“A guy comes into her work, gives her a dozen red roses, and he gets the back pat. Ouch,” I replied.

What is it with what? What’s the point? I mean, even if you don’t like the guy, show him a little more respect than the back pat. After all that effort that he put in. But the thing is, she seemed so happy. It looked as if she really did like, or even love him. Or was at least seriously in crush with him. What was going on?

Maybe sometimes our facial expressions reveal different emotions than our body language. Perhaps we are too afraid to exhibit any kind of emotion too soon through our body language to signal real interest, but when it comes to facial cues, we can’t really hide them. We naturally exhibit our true feelings through our faces and indicate how we are feeling, but try to mask it by our actions. It’s not really possible though. The question is, do people in these situations pick up on it?

We noticed, because we were onlookers. But did flower girl know she had given him the brush off with the back pat, even though she was totally blushing. And what did the guy think of his bad reception? Because after all, this guy didn’t hide his feelings—he put it all out there. He brought her a dozen red roses. At work. Right at the counter. For everyone at Snoopy’s pad to see. That takes some serious guts. Linus wouldn’t do that. Charlie Brown might think about doing it, and then there’d be a whole episode where he’d contemplate doing it and then have a whole set of theories on it that he’d evaluate while badgering Lucy and the crew. The dirty kid, Pigpen, he might do it, because he’s just beyond caring, but still, it wouldn’t have the same effect. But this dude, he did it. And that girl just…gave him the back pat.

But on the other hand, maybe she was so overcome with emotion, that she didn’t know how to receive him. Maybe no one had ever brought her a dozen red roses before. Maybe it is early on in their “courting” stage, and she hadn’t expected it, never mind at work. She wanted to thank him, but barely knew him, so gave him a hug, then a little pat to say, “yes, I really mean this hug.” Could be. It was a sweet scenario, either way, but a little disappointing.

Maybe it is the idea of romance, and as Kelly and I sat there, enjoying our cake, we just wanted a good show. It was playing out like a scene from a lovey-dovey movie, and we not only wanted the guy to get the girl, but we wanted him to sweep her off her feet, and for her to throw off her apron and jump into his arms. Free cake for everyone!

But no, back pat it was. We went back to our cake. So disappointing.

The point? Maybe we get into these awkward situations, where yes, we’re happy at a romantic gesture, but we don’t want to show it. Yet, it obviously shows. But is that really a reason to sort of snub a guy? Is that fair to him? I know that there are all these little games and strategies to rope him in, but come on, whatever happened to a little good old-fashioned romance with a hug and twirl at the end? Then a nice big slice of cake. Let’s just stop trying so hard, is all I’m saying, and if you’re happy, then be happy. Like the song. If you’re happy and you know it…well…you don’t have to clap you’re hands. Kelly and I were glad that at least our happiness came in lots of sugar and running around after Snoopy.

Maybe I’m reading too much into it, but if a guy was sweet enough to bring me any kind of flower anywhere, I think I’d at least give him a big ol’ bearhug, not just a hug with a back pat. Lame. And if he brought me cake…

Dating Triumphs and Tragedies is published every Sunday by Online Dating Magazine columnist Nicole Roberge. She can be reached at

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