The important part was going to a CoX dinner with him. Across the way from us was this gal who ordered sake. She knew it was more than she wanted to drink, so she offered it to the table. The two of us started yammering and she poured me some. nyankoframe tapped me and whispered at me that he'd like some too. I said -- without whispering -- "just ask her!", but he was too shy.
The gal -- whose name I don't remember now -- asked what he wanted to ask. nyankoframe just blushed, so I said "Umm -- well. This is kinda delicate, but my friend wants me to ask a question for him."
"Are you single?"
She laughed and said she wasn't. I took the reins of conversation again:
"Is it a good relationship?"
"Yes, it really is."
"Do you tell him everything? Because what he doesn't know..."
"Yes, I do."
Sensing nyankoframe's anxiety to put this line of questioning at an end, I pressed the advantage before he could get a word in edgewise.
"Are you poly?"
She laughed and said she wasn't, but she was flattered.
Having been sufficiently embarrassed, nyankoframe sheepishly said that he didn't want to ask those things, but just wanted to ask for some sake.
Remarkably good strategy for dealing with shy people. I'm glad I had the foresight to implement it.