Sunday, April 30, 2006


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:

Hey _______,

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
week... :)

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.)


srchngformystry said...

my vote is for number 3 and number 4.

GrizzBabe said...

I don't have enough experience to comment but I won't let that stop me. Personally, I think honesty is the best policy.

Your friend's response of "You know, I'm not angry. You're a nice guy, but Honey, you blew it" seems totally appropriate. Maybe he will come back sincerely apologetic, maybe he won't. But if men don't know what our standards and expectations are, how can we expect them to step up, if they desire?

The Frito Pundito said...

Well, it's nice to think that there is some response that would shock the jerk into realizing the error of his ways, recognizing how great a woman this is, etc., but we all know that 95% of people are so self-centered (and this guy sounds like he is in that category)that nothing your friend writes will make any difference whatsoever. That being the base, I agree with grizzbabe, your friend should be honest, say what she truly feels (in a nonabusive way) and perhaps he will respond in kind. Most likely he won't, but at least your friend has been true to herself.

Or threaten to blow up his house. That at least will get a response from him.

whosyourhuckleberry said...

What she should do is play courtship aikido with the putz. She should display a proportional amount of aloof ambivalence.
She should keep him in a state of perpetual perplextion.
"Ya, I'd love to go out with you. No Friday's no good. Nope not Saturday either. I'll get back to you..."
And so forth.

stella said...

Number two, and not just because travel writing metaphors speak to me. It points out the transgression while somehow managing to stay open to an apology.

Anonymous said...

How about "Excuse me. There is this other guy on hold? [or at the door, or whatever]. Can I get right back to you?"

Then go about life as if none of this ever happened. Reply to no emails. Answer no phone calls. Return no messages. Reopen The Question only on receipt of flowers at work*, a letter of apology written in blood, and two tickets--front row center--to the opera, concert, or play on your friend's must see list*. Then...maybe.

Sorry this is too late to be relevant. I'll stumble on forward in your blog to see if there is a resolution to this doubtful skit.

* Mr. Clueless will turn all rocks to get that info if he is the gen-u-wine deal.

ex LA guy