Monday, June 23, 2014

over-keen men & the BLOW OFF

Editor's Note: I LOVE when I get emails from our readers overseas.  This post was emailed to us by Fern all the way from the UK.  She makes so many good points, you have to read it!
Navigating the dating scene, especially the British university dating scene, can be pretty difficult at the best of times, but, as a self-identified strong independent woman who, and it is imperative that you believe me when I say this, isn’t looking for a serious relationship, a whole new set of problems arise. I’m not one to fantasize an entire fictitious relationship based on a shared smile over a bar, or indeed based on a casual night of sexy fun, which, as a secure young woman, I’m usually pretty happy to partake in. However, unfortunately, due to generations of girls being raised on Disney princesses and Hugh Grant movies, the Over-Keen Girl has become a trope that I have found myself constantly fighting to rebuff and reject.

No, I haven’t fallen helplessly in love with you after that sloppy drunken kiss on a nightclub dance floor, or even after that sloppy drunken sex we may have had (inexplicably) in your housemate’s bed. No, I am not going to throw all caution and dignity to the wind and blindly chase you down with texts and Facebook messages trying to rekindle the passion originally ignited by one too many gin and pineapple juices. If I do text you after our encounter it is most likely because you have given me your phone number, and in this modern age of texting and messaging, I have taken this to mean you would like to communicate with me again in the future, presumably by some form of textual correspondence.

Whilst this approach has resulted in more than a few instances of the Silent Treatment, wherein I never hear another word from them ever again, I pride myself on having a pretty thick skin, and being able to carry on relatively unoffended, albeit irritated by what I perceive as their presumptuous labeling of me as ‘too keen’ or ‘over-attached.’ The way I see it I’m just looking for a little bit of acknowledgement! We did, after all, share a moment, and, since I’m not looking for a serious relationship, a casual re-exploration of the chemistry we must have felt when we met is something I would be open to. I’m not looking for a husband, just someone I can hang out with casually and maybe have the occasional sexy sleepover with – isn’t that what I’ve been led to believe all men are looking for? Then why are these guys not all falling over themselves to jump into my casual bed, or at least send me one measly text? Luckily, since we’ve established that I am not that Over-Keen Girl I can usually take the hint and relegate these guys to the “do not contact ever again” section of my phonebook, before moving on with my life.

However, a situation arose recently where I felt it necessary (and about time) that I employ the Silent Treatment approach myself. Having been vaguely aware of this guy as a bit of a BNOC (Big Name On Campus for those of you uninitiated into University slang), when we were introduced by a mutual friend, who I later found out had been telling him that he should meet me, I would say yes I was interested. He had an attractive rugged look with tattoos and a beard, and a rough city accent which, as a middle class blonde girl from the suburbs I found all very sexy. We got chatting and before I knew it he had asked me out for a drink! Although slightly taken aback at his forward approach I wasn’t about to reject someone who clearly wasn’t playing the Silent game, and I accepted.

Unfortunately when it came down to our drink it became clear that the chatty confident BNOC I had met in a group setting at a bar, was not the same person as the deep and soulful hipster writer that I was faced with now. He essentially spent the date staring deep into my eyes, in what I’m sure he believed was a soulful non-verbal connection, but what I simply saw as a lack of things to talk about. Another date and a misguided daytime hangout later I resolved that no, I wasn’t interested in this. Call me a commitment-phobe if you will, but for the third and final time, I’m not looking for a serious relationship, and I’m especially not looking for one with a selective mute who apparently has nothing to say to me.

So, in the style of so many men before me, I began a process of subtle disappearing; I started to ignore his multiple daily texts, only replying to ones in which he invited me over, to say sorry I couldn’t make it I had plans, occasionally throwing in a vague comment about “being really busy at the moment.” Now, if it was me getting this response from a guy I was texting, two unreplied messages would tell me that it was probably time to give up, and to make some more room in that “do not contact ever again, not even for a drunken booty call” section of my phonebook. However, as a guy who I’m assuming has never had to worry about coming across as an over-keen psycho in his pursuit of girls, he continued to text me at least once, if not twice a day for the next week, whilst I stoically stood by my decision to remain silent, gradually beginning to worry that he may indeed be the kind of psycho stalker I have spent my entire dating career trying to dissociate myself from.

After a week of persistent texting the day finally came that I didn’t receive any messages from him, “at last!” I thought, “at last he’s taken the hint! Now I can move on with my life.” But no. Another week later my phone rang and, thinking it was my mother, I went to accept the call, not noticing until the last second that it was his name on the screen, he still hadn’t got the message?! Ignoring this call too, I then got a Facebook message a couple of hours later, saying that he found it ‘strange’ that he hadn’t heard from me, as he had thought we were getting on well, and maybe my phone had broken? I could not believe what I was reading! It was like listening to the desperate women at the beginning of He’s Just Not That Into You, coming up with excuse after excuse for why he hadn’t called.

It absolutely floored me that a relatively cool guy could be this un-cool about a girl he had only met a handful of times! And, on a more selfish level, it infuriated me that whenever a guy had pulled the Silent Treatment on me, I was forced to simply accept it in order to save face, and then grumble to my friends about “that loser.” Yet, when I try and turn the tables and take the same approach with a dude, I get harassed and called out on it! Could this be because guys haven’t had to spend their dating education learning about the dangers of appearing “too keen” and the extremely (and somewhat unfairly) fine line between “interested” and “crazy”? Is it because the same persistence that from a woman would be labelled “psycho,” from a man would be considered “charming,” or “not giving up”?

Either way I wasn’t going to be broken; the last line of his message said “if I don’t hear anything from you I’ll take the hint” and whilst he could have taken the hint around eight texts ago I was glad that I wouldn’t have to live in fear of him calling me anymore, or worse, showing up at my door, and that I could move on with my life. However, I must ask any guy reading this to consider, if you’re about to send a text or a message to a girl who seems to be ignoring you, ask yourself; “If I received this from a girl would I reply? Would I think she was crazy or too keen?” Stop the dating double standard now! If you’re allowed to pull the Silent Treatment on us, then don’t be surprised when we pull it on you! What are your experiences with over-keen guys or the Silent Treatment? Do you agree that there is a double standard between men and women? Comment below!


  1. Okay, this is SO true. In fact, when I was looking for a photo to accompany this post-- I did a google image search for "man waiting by the phone" only a few photos popped up and they were tied to articles about men waiting to hear back on whether or not they got a job! SO... women wait by the phone for a guy to call and men wait by the phone to get a job offer. Awesome.

  2. I encountered this sort of guy once when I was 19. I was fresh out a relationship and not looking for anything serious (or so I thought). He was a friend of my sister's boyfriend at the time. We went on our first date to Olive Garden. I met his best friend the second time we hung out. The third time was late one night after I got off work. We made out and I let him feel me up. Right after that (literally it was later that night) another guy I had been casually seeing this whole time confessed his love. (Spoiler: we're now married). I basically told Mr. Olive Garden that I couldn't see him anymore as I had decided to become more serious with someone else. He couldn't let it go. Multiple texts saying how he loved me and knew we were meant to be. Yikes. He didn't even know me. He held on for about two weeks before finally getting the message. I suppose I was lucky in that sense.

  3. I find it intensely hypocritical that you moan about being given the silent treatment by boys and then give it yourself, all the while denouncing its use in dating etiquette. It seems almost boringly obvious that all you had to do was be honest and send the boy a message politely saying that you weren't really interested, rather than endorsing the 'dating double standard' that you seem so enraged by.
    I don't know many 'strong, independent women' who don't have the courage to lay their cards out on the table with honesty and frankness in these situations - to the boy's face. It's really very simple, and saves prolonged emotional (albeit misplaced or wasted) investment on both sides.

    1. I see your point, but I will say that in my dating years, I was probably a victim of the silent treatment multiple times-- and I only used it once on someone else. I guess I felt like it had happened to be so many times that I'd earned the right to give myself a break from the uncomfortable conversation. I think a lot of women sometimes feel like it's justified because it's happened to them SO many times.

    2. I wouldn't say that I'm moaning about the silent treatment itself, I'm moaning about the presumption that the girl must be head over heels in love with the boy, which tends to result in the silent treatment.
      I don't denounce its use, in fact I have come to accept that the silent treatment simply is a fact of dating, and is certainly something that most guys appear to deem an appropriate response. For this reason I definitely feel justified in using it on someone else. I do bemoan the fact that whilst most ladies tend to recognise the signs and back off, I have experienced and been told about multiple instances of continued, unreplied approaches from guys who simply haven't got the message. This is illustrated by a friend of mine who, after reading this post, showed me three pages of unreplied texts from a guy she had spoken to ONCE.
      Indeed I could have spoken to him frankly and honestly to tell him that I wasn't interested, but until I receive some of that respectful behaviour from a single guy I get involved with, I won't be letting myself feel guilty over this one. Further to that I should also point out an incident in which another friend of mine, fed up with the constant stream of unreplied texts from a man she met online, sent just this sort of message, telling him that she wasn't interested and goodbye. This man's response was to then send her an aggressive reply, telling her she 'wore too much make-up anyway and thought she was one above the rest.' As I'm sure you can imagine, the rifeness of this type of behaviour is also a huge deterrent for any kind of communication of rejection.

    3. 'an eye for an eye only ends up making the whole world blind'