Here's the trouble with the push-pull of romantic, what shall we call it, inquiry. You boys are either so careless or get so worried about showing us you don't want serious attachment, that you douse the fire before it's even warming.
What to do with a fumbled first date, as experienced by a good friend of mine this weekend? Meets a guy through a good friend at a dinner. Guy is handsome, well-spoken, has an interesting career he's excited about, but most of all, his interest is visible. He is very attentive, pursuing. He lights up when she addresses him, but he never intrudes - I saw it in action. Still, she's a little skeptical, as she is with all men (and women), who like her too much right away. With guys it most often seems to mean that they are stressing about undressing. Sometimes it's a genuine smittenness, but in LA that's a rarity. That, and he's a little too pretty to be a safe bet.
Anyway, she doesn't balk when he asks for her digits, though she does back away when she senses a goodnight kiss looming. Not a puritanical impulse, she's just showing good self-preservation. She feels a little guilty about having lied that she wasn't available for the weekend (untrue), but next week was open (true). So she sends him a quick email the next day (Lovely to meet you, a succinct joke referring to something they'd discussed, then have a great day), in case she seemed too standoffish.
He responds right away, wants to know about her availability, a few emails are exchanged. One message he allegedly didn't receive, that being the one where she invites him to a Sunday afternoon cultural event (safe), or she's available Friday. Bad one to miss/leave unanswered, but what choice but to believe the first time? By Tuesday they establish Friday as the best possibility. He says they should speak in the next couple days to confirm it. No call. She feels that burden is his as he suggested the date, and the date of the date. Plus he 'missed' that email.
No call Thursday, Friday, Saturday or Sunday, when an email is sent in the evening:
Work has been crazy...I'm now in Dallas area for a few days shooting a
show about __________....
I'll be back towards the end of the week, I'd still love to get
together, maybe we can plan some time for this weekend, or early next
Hope all is well,
She phones me. What should she do?
I think this guy is either a "nice" player, careless cause he can be; completely overwhelmed with work and socially retarded; or he's being a little gamey. He probably gets away with a lot with women, because he's too pretty, successful and charming. In person, he comes across as sincere. His "niceness" has been well demonstrated by his consistent use of smiley faces in each and every email. Irrefutable iconography. Smiley-ness is his logo.
I do not like the fact that there is not so much as an acknowledgement that he's blown it off, save his drive-by quasi-explanation, "work crazy." How about an apology, Jackass? Do I seem angry for her? I'm not, but it's just all so ridiculous in this era of cell phones, wireless computers and blackberries. There's NO EXCUSE for no preemptive contact. To do anything less is just poor manners. Plus, you're activating all sorts of anxieties in people before any of it is really at a critical romantic stage. Totally unnecessary. If you wanted to keep things casual, you just raised the stakes on yourself, dum-dum.
She points out that sometimes one wants to take the strong approach with these oafs and say, "You know, I'm not angry. You're a nice guy, but Honey, you blew it." This is hard for us, because you know, we're compassionate, we want to understand. We're raised to be compliant, but come on, people. Weren't you trying to woo? Why would a guy blow the very first date if he really liked a woman? My best guess is that he wouldn't. He would never let it happen.
My curt suggestions for her reply:
1. I'm sorry, what?
2. You didn't confirm, you didn't cancel. Still, I'm not a hotel.
3. I don't like emoticons.
That's right, the sounds of silence. Do jackass maneuvers warrant a response?
What choo think? Really, vote for one, write in a candidate, give us your thoughts.
(*the title of this post is a saying invented by a friend's seventy-ish mother, in regards to the ambivalence of the generations of men following her own. it's total genius. thank you, Phyllis.)