Thursday, January 13, 2011

The Nobody Around Here Is Trying To Sleep with You BLOW OFF

Generally speaking, when it comes to dating I’m open to all types of personalities, quirks and odd behavior. I also, for better or worse, tend to give a wide berth to a variety of dysfunction (especially in exchange for a certain amount of hotness; I suspect most of you feel the same way but that’s another post). There are a few qualities, however, that drive me up the wall. The top of that list is presumptuousness. It blows. And it deserves a blow off.
Girls are often accused of projecting future ambitions for a relationship onto early dates (although I’ve seen precious few examples of that among my friends). However, even if that were universally true, guys are equally guilty of projecting as well; they just do it in the opposite direction. You know what I mean. There’s the guy who tells you after an amazing first date that he doesn’t want to be in a relationship. The guy who tells you, in a non-stealth preemptive strike that he doesn’t want children in response to the question: “what do you think about dessert?” Relationship? Children? I thought we were just having mojitos, stranger. What I find fascinating about this type of behavior is that it’s usually wrapped in a “I just want to be honest/upfront/open” nice guy bow and is almost always followed by the suggestion that sex should totally still happen.
Here’s the problem with this supposed effort to be a “good guy” about not wanting something that no one has offered; it ruins things. The fun part of starting anything new (a new job, new friendship or, yes, new relationship) is the adventure of it, the excitement of not knowing what will happen. But if you pee on the fire before it has a chance to burn properly, that excitement disappears and there’s little reason to hang around. If you’re told on your first day on the job that you will never see a raise, promotion or even a better mousepad as long as you’re employed there, you’re gonna get out of dodge as quickly as possible, right? You’re not gonna sit around like an asshole.
My most recent brush with presumptuousness came from an unexpected source: an ex I broke up with over a year ago. Our break-up was the kind of awful slow-motion heartbreak you navigate when you want to try to stay friends due to numerous close mutual friendships. We knew our paths would continue to cross so we tried to be gentle with each other and somehow we did it. In fact, I was quite proud that we were actually able to become friends after the relationship (and the sex) were over. We’d both moved on, moved away and moved into each other’s periphery. So, while planning a trip to his town for my friend’s birthday, I thought I’d shoot him a little email beforehand saying that I’d be around and if he was, too, we should say hi. It’s the same email I sent to my other friends. In response, he replied that he didn’t think it’d be a good idea for us to sleep together while I was in town so I probably shouldn’t crash with him because it’d be too hard for us to resist each other.
Pause…*sigh* …Oh, dear…
Well, after I put my mind back together (because, yes, it was blown), I drafted a reply. There are a number of ways to reply to an innocuous hello email but “I don’t want to fuck you” isn’t one of them. You know the weirdest part of all? No one else who received that email thought I was trying to sleep with them. Huh, funny that. Here’s the thing: social cues were invented for a reason. In part so you don’t hurt someone else’s feelings. Even if it were true that in some alternate universe I’d decide to take an international flight at my own expense in the hopes of having sex with a man I broke up with over a year ago (all the while using my friend’s birthday as an excuse for the entire charade), there are many other, more delicate ways to indicate that sex is off the table. Because, even if you’re no longer interested in someone, there are few things worse than a sex blow off. Especially from an ex. Especially from an ex you can’t believe you ever slept with in the first place.
Presumptuousness is an evil bastard for a number of reasons. Yes, it’s rude, arrogant, unreasonable and the height of assholery but beyond all of that, it assumes the worst of someone who just wants to spend time with you.
If you happen to be the kind of person who thinks everyone you meet wants your body/children/love/whatnot, try to at least to employ manners and use those aforementioned social cues if you feel the need to make premature announcements. That way you don’t hurt your future, present or former amours unnecessarily. And you won’t make a fool of yourself. Because what if that hot date didn’t want a relationship with you either? And what if she didn’t want her kids to inherit your enormous forehead (and ego) anyway? Or what if she just replies to your rude email by stating, quite simply, that nobody around here is trying to fuck you?

3 comments:

  1. I think a copy and paste of your response would be well-appreciated. How the hell one manages to respond to that kind of e-mail, is beyond me.

    As to the whole presumptuous thing in premature blowoffs--as you put it, "to be a good guy"--before there's anything there in the first place, I can confess to being guilty of the crime. But I usually do it as a way to blow someone off --not to have sex with no strings attached. The fact is, I can usually tell very early if there is long term potential in a relationship and even though I'll have fun with someone on a first date, know that it's not there. The options left are 1) continue dating said person knowing that there's a very very high likelihood that I'll blow them off in the future (is it wrong to date someone with this being the case?)or 2) tell them upfront the truth and avoid leading them on. Looked at that way, it's not as bad.

    Now, I once had a girl tell me, after like 4 months of us dating and me bringing up the conversation that she didn't think we'd work out long term either, but that she loved me and still wanted to continue dating. It was confusing, but it made me rethink the whole need to be upfront deal. But I still somehow feel it's best not to lead someone off when you can't really see yourself with the person for too long.

    Just my two cents.

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  2. Love the post ad nauseum! I once had a guy that kind of screwed me over call me "bitter" when the opportunity was there for us to sleep together again and I turned him down. Truth be told, I was just really in love with a different guy who ended up blowing me off-- and to this day, I wish I'd hooked up with the old fling after all.

    I also agree with O. I think guys are stuck between a rock and a hard place. We want them to be upfront with us, but we also don't want them to be presumptuous. You dudes are damned if you do, damned if you don't. But, I will say overall, I think we respect guys who are honest--- even if we didn't want their nuts anyway.

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  3. O. - I think you make a good "damned if you do, damned if you don't" point but it sounds like you're a good guy. You give something a try, it doesn't work out, you say so. That's TOTALLY fair. Girls appreciate it, even if their feelings are hurt initially, they appreciate it because it doesn't waste anyone's time.

    I'm mainly talking about guys who project what they think a girl wants before they've given anything a chance and then reject her because of fear, general neuroses or just assholery.

    For instance, a friend recently went on a date with a guy she wasn't sure about but wanted to give him a chance and they had a good time. That is, until they were saying goodbye when he goes: "I don't want to be in a relationship but we should just, you know, have fun." Then gave her a creepy look. She didn't know if she wanted a relationship with him either but was creeped out by the "but let's still have sex" aspect. That's a dick move. I've had the exact same thing happen to me. Fine if after the first date you don't see it going somewhere or you're not attracted, say so. But don't say, essentially, "I don't enjoy you're company but I would like to keep you as a fuck buddy. Whattaya say?". Those are the kind of guys I'm addressing.

    I've had first dates where I think "he's great, but no" but I don't jump the gun, assume he wants a relationship and then rejection him simply because I think he wants to be my boyfriend. An easy way out is: "I think you're great but I feel like maybe we're just friends." Done. Everybody moves on. But expecting to get laid after blowing someone off? No.

    I guess it's really just manners that I'm after, that's all.

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