Monday, November 10, 2014

Note to dudes: don't assume we want to be your girlfriend.

Michael and I never would have crossed paths naturally. I read an article on my commute about some guy who raised funds and awareness for a charity in a unique way. When I realized he lived in my city, I connected with him on Facebook.

He asked me to meet for coffee, which I expected to be a conversation about his fundraising efforts. It had more of a date vibe and, immediately after, Michael started sending me flirtatious texts. It seemed sudden, but I didn’t write off the possibility of something transpiring between us. We made plans for a drink after work a week later. Our third encounter was in the neighborhood he was moving to in a few weeks. After a few drinks, he took me to the stands of a softball field with a view of the city skyline (well played, Michael). As much as I liked him, I had to put the brakes on the physical, because I’d only known him for ten days and it was starting to feel like it was heading into hook up territory.

Clearly more comfortable with texting, the next day: I'm not sure i want to be in a relationship and I want to tell that because i respect u [sic]
Needless to say, I was pretty taken aback…we’d only spent a few hours together at this point, and it didn’t feel close to the point of determining whether or not we were relationship material.

I don’t think I can say it any better than Ad Nauseam in her January 2011 post The Nobody Around Here Is Trying To Sleep with You 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. 

Michael and I saw each other a few times afterward. As it was fizzling out, I discovered a bar near me that plays country twice per week (a rarity where I live). I met a group of people around my age, including Kevin. He knew the dance to almost every song (I have a weakness for line dancing) and seemed friendly, so when he asked me to get a drink with him, I figured (1) what was the harm? and (2) why would I reject someone I’m going to see every time I want to listen to some country music?

The day of our plans, he blew me off. I found out why a few days later:
These two events happened in a span of four months. I may give off the kind of girl you marry vibes, but still.

To quote Ad Nauseam, the bottom line is this:
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. 

Kevin and I aren’t friends. But for the sake of full disclosure, I still think he’s a really good line dancer.

1 comment:

  1. It's frustrating when guys assume the girl they just met must want to pin them down and marry them asap! Like, what makes you so special buddy?

    That said, I would have respect for someone who could save both of us time by being honest about what they're looking for upfront, but I think there's a nice adult way of saying it. If after a couple times of hanging out someone said "What would you ideally like to see happen between us? Because I'm not sure I'm ready for a relationship," I would be thankful to know that sooner than later. It's better than being strung along by someone acting like they want to take things seriously, just to disappear after getting you into bed. It's also unfair that a guy thinks he's a hero for making it clear he doesn't want a relationship, but a girl who is honest about wanting one (but not necessarily with you!) is labeled crazy.

    And do you think for some people maybe deep down the reason the preemptive/defensive strike of "I don't want a relationship" hurts is because we feel like someone is closing us off before even giving us a chance?