It’s all in how you answer “What kind of sweets do you like?”

Japan is a country that loves sweets and loves to eat out, and so it’s also a country that’s absolutely packed with dessert cafes. These eateries are particularly popular with young women, and while that’s great for satisfying a sweet tooth, it can also lead to some awkward social interactions.

As Japanese Twitter user @epneur recently mentioned, it’s not unusual for guys to ask women they’re attracted to out on a date if they happen to know a good cafe that specializes in whatever kind of dessert she’s especially fond of, whether it’s cake, parfaits, pancakes, or matcha sweets. Of course, if the woman isn’t attracted to the guy, she’s then stuck having to shoot him down, so it’d be simpler if there was a way to prevent the guy from making the invitation in the first place, which is where @epneur’s tweet comes in.

If a guy asks a girl what kind of sweets she likes, and she says ‘gummies,’ she can end the conversation without him saying, ‘Oh, then we should go get some at this place I know,’ because there aren’t any gummy cafes.

If you tell him you like cake, macaroons, boba tapioca tea, or something like that, he’ll say he knows a place, and then you’ll have to turn him down, and those kinds of conversations can be a pain.

I just learned about this technique today.”

@epneur doesn’t specify exactly how he learned about this method of indirect rejection (possibly someone used it on him), but in any case, the theory made sense to many online commenters, who reacted with:

“So if she says ‘gummies,’ then I’ve got no chance.”
“You know, recently I’ve noticed that a lot of the girls I meet say they’re really into gummies. Now I know why.”
“I always tell guys I’m really into pickled plums.”
“When it’s a guy I don’t want to ask me out, I tell him I used to like some kind of candy that’s been discontinued.”

However, more than a few commenters pointed out that while gummies are hard to find in Japanese cafes, they’re readily available as pre-packaged snacks, and that a guy might still respond with “OK, let’s go get some gummies together at the convenience store!” In that case, if she’s really not interested in the invitation, she’ll probably just have to bite the bullet and give a rejection that’s firmer than the chewy candies.

Source: Twitter/@epneur via Hachima Kiko
Top image: Pakutaso
Insert image: Pakutaso

Follow Casey on Twitter, where he recalls his wife asking him out to eat okonomiyaki after she found out it’s his favorite Japanese food.