Many a romantic comedy centers around a sarcastic, humorously judgemental, male character who finds something trivial wrong with every single woman he dates and breaks up with her in the shittiest way. In fact, that was the sole basis of the character Chandler for the first six seasons of Friends. Eventually, however, someone (usually a hot chick) shows them the error of their ways and wins their heart. I can only hope that, as the female embodiment of this male stereotype, that is indeed the case (not a hot chick).
In an attempt to analyze this behavior, 2012 is the year I’ve recapped, because 2012 is the only year in which I’ve dated. Married at 19, to the first boy I kissed, I am exceptionally inexperienced for a 25 year old. I can, literally, count the number of people I have kissed on one hand. I don’t know how to do this. It’s not like there’s a guide that I’m not too embarrassed to read. So I just have to go with my instincts… which suck. I wasn’t kidding when I advised my best friend to break the news of her rape to her out-of-state boyfriend via snail-mail.
At this very moment, I should be on a date at IHOP with Engineer. (All dates are called by their job titles, perhaps because my ex-husband never had one.) Obviously, I am instead writing a blog. Sooo… what happened to Engineer? I think to understand my dating present, I must explain my dating past, (post 4.5 year marriage.)
The dates of 2012 have gone, in order, from Combat Brian to Air Traffic Controller to Bartender to Landman to Law Enforcement to Analyst to Engineer. The following are my initial sarcastic claims to what was wrong with those whom I rejected.
Combat Brian: wore silver board shorts and flip-flops (are you fucking kidding me?) and had a comb-over at age 30.
Air Traffic Controller: had oddly placed ears and texted too damned often for anyone without a vagina
Law Enforcement: was 4 foot 9 inches tall (5’6″ in actuality)
Analyst: introduced himself as ‘Doc’, because someone called him that seven years ago and nicknames are neat-o.
Each of these things truly bothered me and were my original reasons for denying a second date. Gail couldn’t believe I’d actually turn a man down because of his shorts (I could see my reflection in them, I swear) and a comb over. The entire discussions were near identical to the aforementioned Chandler’s frustration with a woman who’s head was “like a satellite dish”. Are these real and legitimate reasons for not being with someone? Am I actually a person who would refuse to see a man again because of his ears? Is that even a thing?
Thank God, himself, the answer to the above questions is no. I’m not shallow enough to stop talking to a man because he’s only a half inch taller than me if he’s a great guy. I’m not going to shoot someone down over a silly nickname. I, however, am going to only notice the annoying surface things until I’ve ranted enough, while defending myself to Gail, to get to the deeper core of what was wrong with these guys. The superficial crap was funny and I can’t deal with adult emotions, as I’ve expressed in previous blogs. Thankfully (I guess?), each man had some true flaw.
Combat Brian – told me my marriage was a bouncy castle (the actual wording was “There is no way your marriage was worse than mine.”)
Air Traffic Controller – told me I was an idiot if I bought a bicycle under $2,000 and tried to convince me there was no God… also told a story about being pissed off when he ran over a cat and it messed up his bike wheel
Bartender – was leading me on as some sort of validation of self and claimed he didn’t mean it that way
Landman – wasn’t interested, but didn’t say so until after texting me for three days after the initial date (eye roll)
Law Enforcement – had completely lost faith in people due to his title and thought there was no improvement for anyone… used my phone number to solicit some kind of workout plan several weeks later
Analyst – expressed controversial political and parenting beliefs that were the exact opposite of mine… on the first date
Engineer – keep reading
I’ve included those who’ve rejected me, as it’s only fair.
So, I’ve had rational reasons for ending all communications. They weren’t for me. I wasn’t for them. That’s okay. The issue I’m still working on, however, really is not with the men. Every first and only date has a deal breaker by definition, even if that’s just the famous “he’s just not that into you” and that’s fine. I’ve gotten fairly good at taking rejection in the last year. In fact, I’ve come to the point where a large percentage of a man’s appeal for me, lies in my appeal for him. If he’s not interested anymore, then I’m not either, because what’s more of a waste of every one’s time and emotions? I’m good at taking rejection. The issue lies in my ability to reject. These are how the following men were rejected by me.
Combat Brian – I talked myself out of a disappearing bathroom break, but randomly said “We should probably free up her table” and more or less bolted from the restaurant. He stopped at his car, clearly wanting to have that moment where you linger and chat. I hugged him and said “I’ll text you.” He never heard from me again. He may think I’m dead. In my defense, this was my first date since my divorce.
Air Traffic Controller – I talked to him for a couple of days before the incessant texting got on my nerves and I ceased responding, even after “You wanna get together again” and “Did you die?” I received a text a few weeks later when I went into Chick-fil-a that said “Want to sit with me?” He was screwing with me and was just amused to see the girl who blew him off and I awkwardly said I’d been busy with school when he asked what happened to me. He got the point.
Law Enforcement – At the time, it was the best Nah date ever. We talked. We laughed. Neither of us ever mentioned seeing each other again. I didn’t text him and he didn’t text me.. until three weeks later, explaining that he just wasn’t feeling it. Most people seem to think that was him saving face when I didn’t contact him. I think it may have been so I would be more receptive to whatever he was selling. Who knows? I thought I did okay in this one.
Analyst – I’d shaken his plush claw without cringing and we sat in Starbuck’s and talked. I grew increasingly uncomfortable and unattracted to him as the date progressed. He explained his terrible parenting ideas and told me I was doing my job wrong. I heard about his idiotic political beliefs and I was just done. Finally, breath of fresh air, I felt enough time must have passed to explain that I had to go to Saturday Mass at 5:00. As he checked his watch, I realized… it was 4:06 and the church was just down the street. I have this problem where I pretty much decide that if I can’t make something better, I may as well make it worse. So, I said “Yeah, I’ve got to go to confession, too. It was nice meeting you” and fled. It’s not an exaggeration. He wasn’t even out of his chair yet. I just wanted to be not there so badly, I didn’t even consider etiquette. Etiquette, however, would’ve involved another fluffy handshake and I’m okay with having missed that. I am not exaggerating here. The man had to have had fur on the pads of his fingers. He must have been some kind of shapeshifter. It’s much hotter in paranormal romance.*
*I am totally exaggerating, though he had very hairy hands.
I honestly hope that my skills at rejecting will improve over time. I express this not from an IHOP with Engineer however, so here is the most recent dating sample I am able to break apart and analyze most accurately.
Engineer was 25, kind of cute, had ADHD and liked to say so… a lot. He talked about how he hated bars… and music… and television… and movies… and how this made him more sophisticated than the average guy. He told about how after college, he couldn’t find an engineering job and worked as a janitor. I admire that. I work hard to support myself and believe everyone should. Then he explained that it was frustrating to do so, because he was smarter than everyone working there. (Really? He was a recent college graduate with no engineering experience of which to speak and he was smarter than all of the engineers in his home state?) Then he paused to exclaim that the bottom of the light bulb above us was shiny and he had to touch it, in case I forgot he had ADHD and liked to say so. At that point, I asked how he was able to get through school if it was such an issue and he explained that his professors allowed him to sleep through class, because if they woke him up, he’d correct all of their work and embarrass them.
I am dead fucking serious.
At the time, despite the above charm, I thought he was alright. He was upbeat, had a big boy job, saved his money, and expressed similar political values to mine. He was mostly polite. Then he shot himself in the foot… with a torpedo. I explained that my sister was interested in engineering, not because she wanted to be an engineer, but because my dad was pushing her toward it. I said my dad loved bragging rights and constantly tells people I’m 25 with a Masters degree. I was going to finish with “I don’t even have it yet”, when he interrupted me to joke “But he doesn’t say what in, right?”
In hindsight: FUCK. OFF. I have worked my ass off for my degree and he is not better than I am because his bachelor’s is in engineering and I am not spending an entire relationship arguing that. No fucking way.
The date ended soon thereafter, because I actually did have homework to do. My frustration, however, did not set in for a few days. There just weren’t many trivial complaints from Engineer, save for his annoying neck cracking and his intentional quirkiness (which Gail and I refer to as “Hamburger Phone” in a Juno reference). However, judgementally analyzing meaningless crap seems to be a pivotal part of discovering the whoppers.
Gail: imitating me “He clearly hasn’t clipped his fingernails in weeks. P.S. There was blood under them.”
That is DEAD ON from someone who knows me just that well.
Gail constantly tells me I have to give guys more of a chance if I don’t want to die alone, so I left Engineer thinking “Well, we don’t really have anything in common and he’s kind of annoying, but… eh. I’d go out with him again.”
Then I spent a few days thinking him over.
On Wednesday (first date was Sunday) I received a text message asking what I was doing. I responded and asked the same. “Hot dogs. Enough said?” was his response. That is text message word salad as far as I’m concerned, but whatever, I’d conceded to a bit of Hamburger Phone. He then began to brag about how little T.V. he watches. Originally, I’d admired that. People watch too much T.V. and I think that’s a waste. Sometimes, though, T.V. is fun and there is nothing wrong with that. Not watching it does not put you on any pedestal. The television conversation led to him asking if I’d like to watch Arrow with him every week when he does slum it with all of us mindless drones. I avoided an answer, since I’d already agreed to a second date tonight and didn’t want any further commitment yet. Then, yesterday morning, he asked if we could spend the whole day together instead. Upon receiving this message, all I could think is BACK OFF. I just fucking met you. Calm the hell down.
I explained that I was working during the day, so just the date would have to do. We were going to go see Wreck It Ralph and I’d dreaded it from the time I said yes, but couldn’t pinpoint why. Everything seemed too small. Then I began the over-analysis I am so known for and I realized the true issues. We have nothing in common. At all. He hates everything and I don’t. The fact that I like the occasional comic book movie is NOT foundation enough for a relationship. It’d be like Leonard and Penny, only he’s not nice and I’m not hot and this isn’t prime time, so it doesn’t work AT ALL. That’s reason enough to end it here without taking into account his whopping superiority complex and the fact that he is annoying as fuck. Best case scenario, I date him for a few weeks before flipping out one night and yelling “You hate EVERYTHING but yourself” or declare “For someone with ADHD, you are ironically singularly focused on telling me about it 37 times a day.” So I’m going to skip that.
As I’ve explained, I have plenty of grounds for cutting ties with Engineer. But I’ve yet to master how to do it. Last night he texted and asked if I still wanted to see the movie since it was so short. I responded saying I’d prefer to do it another night, because of my homework. I haven’t heard from him since. A part of me hopes that I get the chance to say “I’m sorry. I just don’t think we have anything in common. I’d rather not.” Another part of me hopes to avoid that opportunity in case I don’t take it and just stop responding to him as I have every other man I’ve turned down and desperately clings to the fantasy that this is just the end of it. I am quickly learning, however, that no one can EVER end things smoothly. I’m really quite comfortable with the stereotypical male Not Calling that women hate. If he doesn’t call, I know he’s not interested. What’s wrong with that? It’s far better than receiving an “I’m just not feeling it” speech and absolutely better than giving one. I imagine, on some level, I will always date like a sitcom man. In fact, I dread the day I actually have to break up with someone. I’m a little afraid it’ll be on a cake.