Tuesday, July 02, 2002

OHMIGAWD, Lesbians Do This, Too...

6 ways guys brush you off

MP Dunleavey
from Lifetimetv.com

Dear MP:
I am so sick of dating. What is wrong with men? They say one thing and do something else; they send mixed signals and are completely unreliable. I should become a nun!

Dear Sick of Dating,
I have to agree. A huge source of angst and frustration for those of us who are single and dating are the people we are single and dating with, in a word: Men.

That said, we women do have a way of making it worse for ourselves.

How? By misinterpreting certain male phrases and gestures which, if you paid attention to them early in the dating process, would actually save you countless hours of waiting and worrying (and haven't we all done enough of that?).

The biggest mistake most women make is not getting it when men give them signals that they’re not interested. One way to cope is to learn common male rejection phrases. This handy glossary has received high-level male clearance (from my guy friends.) Memorize it—and you’ll never be fooled again:

1. “Call me!” Translation: I am not being coy or shy; I’m just not interested enough to call you.

2. “Let’s get together some time.” Translation: Wow, I am so not excited to make a plan with you that if you press me for a specific date, I will lie and say I left my Palm Pilot at the office.

2. “You’re sweet.” Translation: You are so not my type, but you are sweet. And I feel a tinge of regret that I have to dump you.

3. “I’d like to take it slowly.” Translation: I’m married, have a girlfriend, or can’t sleep with you for reasons so obscure that even my shrink doesn’t understand. Either that, or you just don’t do it for me.

5. “I’m totally swamped for the next couple of weeks, but after that I’d love to see you.” Translation: I am too busy to be involved with anyone else but myself. Plus, I’m seeing eight other women.

6. “I love spending time with you. Let’s see how things unfold.” Translation: I am chronically ambivalent about everyone I date, and you are no exception. I will drag this out for months if you let me.

We’re all pretty sharp when a guy tries to pull one of these moves on a friend. That’s when we warn her, “Honey, he’s a loser!” The difficulty is recognizing the blow-off when it’s directed at you. There are two big reasons why it’s hard to see a blow-off, even one the size and speed of an asteroid:

1) You like this guy. You had a nice time on your dates. You may have kissed him, slept with him — or had hopes of all of the above. Finding out that you are completely alone in your romantic fantasy is a blow. I’m sorry about that. But get over it.

2) Men are dumber than ear-wax. In their lame-o effort to let you down gently, they may deliver one or more of the above lines while doing something completely contradictory--like holding your hand, making out with you, or even (yes) asking to see you again.

All I can say about that is: When a guy is solid about wanting to date you, he will make that as clear as the sun rising. If you’re getting foggy signals and lots of static on your radar, assume the connection isn’t mutual. It’s his loss.

Remember, most guys don’t like to reject a date any more than you do. If they stumble and send mixed signals, be clear and direct and ask them what the deal is, if you have to. If he’s still being ambivalent, kick him to the curb and move on.

"Why do guys say they'll call, then don't?"

Q. I went out with a guy recently and we had a great first date. He said he'd call me, but he never did. I'm sick of men acting like they're still in junior high school. What is up with that?

A. Funny, the same thing just happened to me. In fact, I'd say that the he-never-called routine is still the number one occupational hazard of dating, even when you're an adult. Why?
As both a single woman and an intrepid reporter, I've asked many men about the motivation behind this ubiquitous fib. Why not just say, "Thanks. Bye!" Dating is stressful enough. One thing we women don't need to do is wait for a guy's phantom phone call.

Luckily, male behavior is much less of a mystery to men, so the dozen sources I polled gave me virtually the same explanation for that famous false "I'll call you" promise:

"It means nothing."
"Why does someone bless you when you sneeze?"
"It's a reflex."
"You want to look like a good guy."
Are these reasons stupid? Yes, but as a male friend recently said in self-justification: "Men may be stupid — but women are crazy." (I countered that men are both stupid and crazy, but that's another column.)

So where does this leave you? I can't say for sure, but I can tell you where it has left me: I went out with a guy a few weeks ago; it was a blind date, but we had a good time. During the date he mentioned wanting to see me again, and the next day he even left a message, thanking me for the evening. I called back to thank him, and added that I was going out of town but that I'd be back the following weekend. The ball was in his court. I never heard from him again.

I spent about 10 minutes sulking, and another 10 minutes wondering if I should call him. And then my inner Queen Bitch Diva Goddess Warrior Woman stood up and said: "Oh, for Pete's sake. Life is too short. So he's not interested. What's the biggie?"

In other words, it might sting a bit when you realize that you've been dissed, but take some comfort in the fact that at least he has saved you the trouble of having to figure out that he's a chump down the line. Which means you can move on immediately; which is exactly what I did. And here's a happy ending, fellow single princesses: The next guy I went out with called when he said he'd call, e-mailed when he said he'd e-mail, asked me out for a second date — and generally expressed the sort of interest you'd expect from a mature human being. I'll keep you posted.


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