Tuesday, June 29, 2010

SAF: The "See, I'm Not An Asshole!" Blow Off

Fall 2009. I was still a Cupertino castaway, in my parent's house, after living in NYC for six years. I was a foreigner back in the land of sunshine and strip malls, and I admit, pretty lonely in suburbia.

Around this time, I had met a guy who I didn't really think too much of at first. After a few fun dates though, I started to let my guard down a little. He was tall and handsome and we seemed to have a lot in common. He pretended to laugh my dumb jokes and we watched the same tv shows. That's about all I can ask for these days.

Out of the blue one day, around date #4, he canceled dinner on me. Funny thing was that I had woken up that morning and had a weird feeling that he would do that. I just KNEW. It's just instinct, I suppose-- we always KNOW when shit's about to hit the fan, don't we? So I wasn't surprised when he called to say he wasn't feeling well, just a few hours before we were supposed to meet.

"He's lying," my friend said to me, "you can tell."

Blow off?

All downhill from there.

He totally went MIA on me. We had been avid chatters, texters, emailers and even talked on the phone (kinda overboard for a dude I'd only been out with a few times, but I was just going with it), and all of the sudden, POOF! No contact. We had so much fun the last time we met up! What was going on? I was confused.

I didn't call him. He didn't call me.

A week went by, no contact. Nothing.

So, this is definitely the blow off, right? Hmmm, not quite just yet.

I threw a big party that following week. It would be a big night out, and all five of my friends would be there. I had invited him to come before his disappearance, and he had said he would come. Since we hadn't been in contact for a week, it didn't even cross my mind that he would remember.

[Ok, that's a lie. I totally thought about it all day and made sure I looked extra cute, just in case he did come.]

And guess what? He did. He fucking showed up with his friends. I was shocked, but managed to act nonchalant all night. I figured that it was a big deal for him to come, meet all my friends, and that he was extending the olive branch after avoiding me all week.



Long story short, it ended a week later with the all-too-typical Let's just be friends mantra.

Wait for it... wait for it...

Ohhhhh, ok, so THIS is the blow off. Like, the official one. Awesome!

Honestly, I got the message loud and clear when he canceled dinner (Blow Off #1), then went MIA on me (Blow Off #2). Got it. You're just not that into me. I studied the book and saw the movie, and while they both made me want to gauge my eyeballs out, I learned a thing or two about the SIGNS to look out for. I'm a big girl, and can handle it, thanks.

That said, you know the one thing that I am totally NOT ok with? The fact that he showed up to the party.

WHY did he come? Why would he go through all the trouble to come out and meet my friends? To stick around the whole night and act like he actually gave a shit?

I'll tell you why. This is the classic See, I'm Not an Asshole! Blow Off. Dudes do this quite often-- they are petrified of being labeled The Asshole so they go out of the way to do something nice, only to turn around and fuck you twice over.

This is also a close cousin to the Wait, Let Me Just Make Sure, Just One More Time, That I Really Don't Like You Blow Off. Yah, you know exactly what I'm talking about.

Boys, this sucks. Don't do it. BE A GENTLEMAN. Don't avoid being an asshole-- just don't be one.

PS- Confession: It's true. This is the now-famous blow off that started THE BLOW OFF. The rest is history.


  1. I love this. It's so common for the dumper to not want to be the asshole in the end. I think the best thing that my first dumper did for me was to stay the hell away from me for a few years.
    "BE A GENTLEMAN. Don't avoid being an asshole-- just don't be one."
    Or I would revise it to:
    "BE A GENTLEMAN. Don't avoid being an asshole-- just BE one."

  2. Thanks for reading, Yoko.

    I think we've all had this experience at one point or another-- it's so common, I hear about it all the time! Why are guys so scared of being THE ASSHOLE?

    It's never easy being the dumper OR the dumpee. But we're all adults! We'll all fucking deal with it the way we need to! Just be respectful, is all I ask.

    I like your line, it's much better! Revised above.

  3. Hey guys, more good stuff. I like TBO for bringing the funny of dating gone bad. Also, curious how TBO itself affects your current/ongoing dating. Like, do you have any evidence of people you're dating or flirting with being aware of the blog (I'd imagine most savvy daters are now googling and researching those they're dating, I know I would) and acting differently towards you cuz of it?

    And, at the risk of hyperanalyzing what is mostly just a fun, flip blog among friends... what are your thoughts on setting up TBO as a dating blog whose m.o. is to look at dating from an inherently negative perspective? i.e. only stories of annoyance, dickishness, embarrassment, fizzling, etc... Do you ever feel that part of it affect you? Do you, even, look FWD to a blow-off for content (or, if not look fwd to it, at least not mind?).

    I'm curious...

    I also have thoughts on guys not wanting to be (seen as) assholes...

  4. Hey Harper, thanks for your comment and thanks for reading TBO. RE your question on the blog affecting our dating lives...I've been dating the same person for 4 years now and while the bf reads the blog and is supportive, i think it does weird him out when he's referenced and i don't think he enjoys reading about my past relationships. I try to be respectful of that and limit specifics on things that have happened between me and him. If we ever broke up, it would mean more material for the blog, but i'm sure it would be too painful to write about at least for awhile. I think for the most part, the reason we can laugh about these blow offs is that we've had some time to heal and get some perspective on the situation.

    Also, I know some of the contributors prefer not to use their real name or change details of their blow off stories in hopes that it would be disguised enough that people wouldn't be able to figure out who they're talking about. the idea of certain guys reading things i've written about them does freak me out.

    and you've hit the nail on the head with our M.O. I really thought it would be funny/interesting to have a blog that's devoted to the ending of relationships and the crappy parts of dating. and hopefully, if anyone is going through a bad break up, the blog can be a source of comfort or just further proof that dating sucks.

  5. Also, great post Kayoko! I think guys are more terrified of being assholes than girls are. Probably because we've gotten the shit beat out of us by so many guys pretending not to be assholes, we feel entitled/okay about having our own asshole moments. And boys, just b/c you were an asshole in one situation doesn't mean you're an asshole forever. there's always room to redeem yourself--- sadly for us, you usually do that with the next girl.

  6. Hey Harper, thanks for reading!

    This post has been a long time coming-- mostly because this is THE blowoff that inspired the birth of this blog. I don't want to put too much emphasis on the situation, what happened happened, and at the end of the day, the dude isn't a bad guy. But he did hurt my feelings. That's just how it goes, and we all move on. We're all adults here.

    It's ok to talk about it though, right? I dunno, I admit, I'm still not 100% comfortable with this post-- mostly out of fear that he will read it-- but I also tend to have this Japanese-Masochist outlook that says that being uncomfortable is a good thing. Ha.

    I am a writer. I am also single. I have an incredibly fatalistic view about dating (not romance, or love, but DATING), and think it's hilarious to talk about how much it fucking blows. This is why I choose to contribute to THE BLOW OFF, under my real name, with my real stories.

    Hollywood has painted a picture of love and romance and meeting THE ONE, but in reality, we are all lost souls just wanting to be understood. It takes time to build relationships, and it hurts when there are miscommunications, there are breakups, there are endings.

    Let's talk about it.

    It's not easy for any of us to share such personal stories, but as a single person, there have been many occasions where writing about my dating follies have gotten me into trouble. But I believe (or hope, rather) that whoever I am with will ultimately accept me for who I am, ie, what I write.

    LOVE THE BLOW OFF! Readers, and Sara, thanks for all your support! I fucking HATE DATING but won't give up on love, I promise!

    PS- Harper: please share with us your thoughts on being and asshole. I'm curious.

  7. Holy shit I just had like 4-5 paragraphs get erased.

  8. Write it over please!!!!

    Also, to your point about looking forward to blowoffs for content. That's insensitive! Of course no one looks forward to a blow off, come on! I guess the point of this blog though is to keep our senses of humor about it, no matter what.

  9. Being married 3+ years, plus 2 more together before getting hitched, I remember little about the dating world/psyche/experience. But I DO remember the feeling of dread and terror when the prospect arose that someone I was dating or hooking up with was going to think I was an asshole as the end approached. Terrifying.

    I think the tropes of guys as 'offenders' who 'play' and 'dump' and 'use' girls (transitive verbs), and girls as 'victims' who 'get hurt', 'get used', 'get pissed off', etc (all intransitive, acted upon) are still alive and kickin. HUGE generalizations, yes, but I'd argue still quite present in real life and in the onslaught of movies, tv, pop, and hiphop we're all subjected to daily. And I think guys in our social strata are aware of these tropes, consciously and/or subconsciously, and don't want to be seen as an asshole putting a girl through this kind of ringer 'yet again'. Who would want to be seen that way, after all?

    But as you've correctly identified, it's the over-correction in the other direction that is the real screwup in the process. I think it comes down to- most guys would rather "put out a fire" with cajoling, promises, jokes, temporary best behavior, etc than deal with having someone out there think they're a 'real' asshole. We need to communicate that, even if things go badly, we're not doing it ON PURPOSE. So once we can establish that it's a problem of chemistry, or timing, or whatever, and we can build the other person's esteem of us back up to a point that is at least palatable for us, then we can bail, but not until then. That's the reason for the over-correction and scrambling to make things temporarily good, peaceful, amiable, etc. To not do that would admit a negative image of ourselves, inside and out. But how many people walk around with a negative self-image? Very few, I'd argue - only the truly, deeply depressed. And if the guy you're dating isn't in that deeply depressed demographic, then I'd wager it's likely he'll do what he can to mollify you and improve himself in your eyes and his own before letting things end.

    I guess what I'm saying is, it's a mix (a deadly cocktail!) of the male instinct for problem-solving and the human instinct for maintaining self-worth.


    PS, re: my question of whether a contributor here might look forward to a blowoff for blog-material, I'm not sure it gets more qualified, gentle, and open-questiony than the way I asked the question (and, again, it was a question).

    PPS: But, am I defending myself now against your "insensitive!" claim FOR THE VERY REASONS I'VE JUST OUTLINED ABOVE ABOUT PRESERVING SELF-IMAGE AND MALE FIRE-PUTTING-OUT???

    PPPS: And, did you make that claim while feeling 'victimized' by an 'offending' man, intruding into the mostly-feminine domain of this blog, an example of those damn traditional male/female tropes again?

    The mind reels...

  10. Harper- Thanks so much for your totally thorough, very insightful and highly intelligent response. It's good to get feedback, esp from a male perspective. You certainly made me feel less like a crazy person for writing this in the first place.

    So I'm not just imagining this! The "See, I'm Not An Asshole" behavior really DOES EXIST!

    Sigh. Don't think I should be so excited about this, afterall. I wish it didn't exist, and we could just all be upfront with each other, men and women, from day one. Why do we hide so much behind these masks? We're all so jaded and traumatized, it sucks.

    Your PPPS is totally hilarious. I wasn't feeding into the victimization stuff at all, or the male/female tropes. But come on, even if you haven't "dated" in five years, you should know that being blown off just plain out SUCKS. Even if neither of you really were into it in the first place.

    It's like Carrie and Berger in SATC. She was gonna dump him anyway, but he did it first. In a post-it. It fucking BLOWS BALLS!


  11. Kayoko, I just did a search on google for this new restaurant (ipuku) that opened right below my apartment, and the site that popped up and that had a review on it seemed really familiar. Turns out it's cause it's your blog, which I guess I had run into somewhere earlier from your Blow profile! Anyways, what a crazy small world!

  12. OMG O! Let's hang out!!! I live in Oakland!