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I Just Can’t Pick Up On This Stuff: 5 Times I Missed A Woman’s Overt Hints That She Wanted To Open A Baskin-Robbins Franchise With Me

I can pick up on most social cues no problem, but there’s some stuff that just goes right over my head. Here are five times I missed a woman’s overt hints that she wanted to open a Baskin-Robbins franchise with me.

1. Kate: I met Kate at a party a few years back, and while I was oblivious to it at the time, in hindsight she was all but begging me to own and operate a franchised Baskin-Robbins location with her. She stood super close to me while we talked about the visibility advantages of franchising an established national restaurant chain, and she kept playfully touching my arms and saying stuff like, “Wow, your arms are so big. I bet you could scoop sooooo much ice cream with them.” I just assumed she was really friendly. As the party was winding down, she invited me over to her place to check out “some paperwork” she thought I’d find interesting. I figured she meant something like passport renewal forms (still got five years on mine), so I politely declined and went home to sleep. But looking back on it, she was askin’ for the Baskin, clear as day.

2. Erika: I ran a couple highly successful Outback Steakhouse franchises with Erika a few years back, but I always assumed our relationship was purely casual dining-based. Not that I didn’t fantasize about entering the frozen dessert sector with her, of course; she had one of the thickest investment portfolios I’ve ever seen. But I figured she was probably sick of guys constantly trying to open a Baskin-Robbins franchise with her, and I didn’t want to seem disrespectful. Anyway, we eventually went our separate ways, but we caught up over drinks a couple months ago, and much to my surprise, one of the first things she did was apologize for always coming on to me to open a Baskin-Robbins franchise with her. I just about spat out my kir. She said she had been absolutely desperate to open a Baskin-Robbins franchise with me back then and wasn’t particularly subtle about it, dropping constant “31 flavors” innuendos and deliberately flashing me glimpses of her Dairy Queen franchise’s tax filings, but she figured I wasn’t interested. We had a good laugh about it and went back to our lives, but to be honest, I’m definitely kicking myself for missing the chance to open a Baskin-Robbins franchise with her. I bet the margins would have been nuts.

3. Allie: One Saturday night way back in business school, my classmate Allie sent me a 1 a.m. text reading “UGGHHH YOUR BUSINESS ACUMEN IS SO SHREWD IT’S STUPID 😉 LET’S RUN THE 31 TOGETHER PLZZZZZZ.” I was convinced it had to be a wrong number, so I just pretended I hadn’t seen it. I didn’t want her to feel embarrassed. But thinking about it later, that text plus all the subtle ice cream scooping gestures she made at me during classes almost certainly means I fumbled yet another woman who had eyes for the ‘chise (in the Baskin-Robbins sense).

4. June: Once while we were hanging out just the two of us, my friend June said she wanted to show me someplace special and drove me up to this scenic ridge overlooking the city, just after sunset. It was breathtaking, lit up like that. She told me she’d always dreamed of opening a Baskin-Robbins franchise one day, that she’d come up here sometimes to pick out lights in the distance and imagine herself choosing flavors for a heavily foot-trafficked traditional restaurant location there. “We’d have Cherries Jubilee and Jamoca Almond Fudge,” she mused softly, pausing for a moment. “But all this time, I’ve been waiting to find the right guy to run it with.” Suddenly she was making the most intense eye contact I have ever experienced. She seemed like she was waiting for me to say something, so I said, “Well, good luck! I’ll definitely stop by for a Polar Pizza Ice Cream Treat now and then, haha.” The hopeful look in her eyes faded. She turned away, crumpling down in her seat. Her breathing went ragged and fitful—nothing for a few moments, then a big, sharp gasp, then nothing. I thought maybe she was coming down with something, so after a few minutes I said I’d walk home to save her the drive. She nodded without turning back. A couple hours later, I got a text from a mutual friend of ours checking in on me because they heard June asked me to open a Baskin-Robbins franchise with her and it went badly. That was news to me, but it wasn’t exactly wrong either. In the end, June moved out to Oregon before we could patch things up. I hope she finally got to franchise that Baskin-Robbins there with someone wonderful.

5. Sarah: While her hints about wanting to explore the franchising possibilities of America’s #1 ice cream chain with me didn’t get through my thick skull any better than anyone else’s, Sarah was the first woman to figure out that I might just be slow on the uptake instead of disinterested. “Hey,” she said to me one day after I missed an explicit reference she made to Baskin-Robbins’ ‘Seize the Yay’ franchising eBrochure, “You do get that I’m saying I want to open a Baskin-Robbins franchise with you, right?” In fact, I very much did not get that until she just flat out said it, but boy, was I ever excited when she did! I pretty much shouted “Oh cool!” while making a face like a YouTube thumbnail. Thankfully, my gooberish reaction wasn’t enough to put her off the idea, and I’m proud to say we now run three wonderful Baskin-Robbins franchises in the greater Boston area with a fourth on the way next month.