Dear Amy:

I'm a happily married woman. Last weekend I went shopping with a single girlfriend, Diana, whose dating (mis)adventures have involved men who've turned out to be interested only in the proverbial "one thing."

We were shopping, and enjoyed some friendly banter with a shopkeeper.

I learned that Michael was a landscape designer on the side, and I got his number for a project I have in mind. My friend Diana flirted mildly, and he flirted back.

We said a cheerful goodbye to him and then went to a nearby restaurant/bar, where I (easily) persuaded Diana to let me text Michael and invite him to join us.

Our text exchange follows. We were disgusted by it.

We: "Michael, my friend Diana and I were just in your shop. I am looking for a landscape designer for my yoga garden, but we're getting drinks and snacks around the corner now. If you're closing soon and feel up for it, join us."

He: "Just got your message. It sounds like you ladies need your gardens 'tended to,' not designed. Hee-hee . . ."

We: "We'll take that as a joke."

He: "Do you want to take that as a joke? Are you two still out?"

We: "First question - yes. Second question - no."

He: "Back home all nestled in bed?"

We: "Sounds like you're the one that needs your garden tended. Sorry, but I'm happily married and Diana's only interested in the real thing. Thanks anyway. Was fun meeting you."

He: "No hard feelings. Just playing around. You ladies have a good night!"

Amy, where did we go wrong?

- Text Averse

Dear Averse: Your only crime is in thinking you'll get Noel Coward banter from Will Ferrell.

Look, you tried. It didn't work out the way you wanted. But this guy's suggestive texting illustrates that you won't always get hearts and flowers from someone whose only qualifications as a potential partner are that he's cute and has the opposable thumbs necessary to use his phone's keyboard.

And guys? Texting "hee-hee" and twirling your virtual mustache is a deal-breaker, at least for women of a certain sensibility.

As for you, texting the cute guy from the bar around the corner sounds like a hook-up opportunity to me, but maybe - like Michael - my mind is in the mulch.

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