I'm flummoxed. I keep hearing from infuriated women friends that Portland guys don't ask them out directly. Yet when I ask women out directly, it freaks them out. They're taken aback, faced with having to give an actual answer. This could be true for other genders; I'm just relating a straight man's perspective.

For the record I'm usually clothed and bathed when I ask. I don't do it over a megaphone or in places that might put them on the spot (Blazers game, public square, confessional booth). When using online dating, I'm asking through email, so it's as low-key as possible.

I guess this could be summed as "dating sucks," but I'm curious if I missed something along the way—is there a new way of asking someone out that leads to actual human connections? Do tell.