I'm sitting cross-legged on my therapist's couch 4 months after my husband's announcement that he wants a divorce when my therapist informs me that he thinks I should start dating again.
I had told myself and others that I was going to take time off to concentrate on myself for once. Between a husband and three boys, I didn't know who I was anymore. I just wanted to hang out with my girlfriends, drink martinis like a fish, and let the hair grow long on my legs if I wanted. I had even gone so far as to announce to my friends that I was going to take a full year off from any kind of relationship.
Read more here.
I hate it when that happens, and it seems to happen more often than I would like.
Do you know what happens when you’re too nice? People will take advantage of your good humor; that’s what happens.
Perhaps I need to be more specific. There are a few observations I have made in the past few weeks that need examination.
First of all, until my catastrophic blunder with The Blues Man two weeks ago, neither my match.com dates nor my Plentyoffish dates knew that I was chronicling my adventures. Since I did not want a repeat performance of my mistakes with The Blues Man,however, late last week, I went on both match.com and Plentyoffish and changed my profile to include information about my blog. As much as I felt I needed to do this for moral, blogging reasons, I was hesitant to reveal this information for a couple of reasons.
First, what I’ve found in dating my Craigslist dates (who DID know about my blog) is that men will be on MUCH better behavior when they know you’re going to be writing about them. Well, I should preface that. They will be on the best behavior of which they are capable. (Believe me; there is a huge difference.) You may think that good behavior on dates would be a good thing, but I’m starting to think that it does not give an accurate picture of the behaviors that are out there. I compare notes with my girlfriends; I know.
Second, I have found myself trying to be much more diplomatic in how I write about my Craigslist dates as opposed to my match.com and Plentyoffish dates. This has had serious implications and this is where I have realized that I have been far too nice. And, perhaps this being nice shit needs to stop.
Let me offer some examples and illustrate the subsequent events that have brought the error of my ways to my attention.
There have been a handful of dates from Craigslist that I have erroneously reviewed as good dates just because they didn’t totally suck! Two in particular come immediately to mind.
The first was a date with a gentleman who was probably my mom’s age. The venue of the date was nice and the conversation was ok, but he seemed to be one of those people who is an authority about everything. There was nothing in particular that he said that set me off; it was the way in which he said things. He had a rather condescending air about him, and the last thing I want to be around after escaping my machismo soon-to-be-Ex (STB Ex from here on out until the divorce is final) is someone who is incapable of treating me as his equal.
To further compound my mistake of being too nice, and not calling this behavior out in my post-date post, I later emailed him and ask if he could provide some reference materials we had discussed while on our date. In my email, I was cordial, but not flirtatious. My philosophy was that, although I could not see myself in a long-term relationship with him, overall, he was not a bad guy, and I should be able to shoot him a friendly email.
I was wrong. I received an email in response, which informed me that although he was interested in seeing me again, the fact that I was not divorced yet bothered him,and he was not interested in dating me.
That’s actually good, because I was not in the least bit aware that I was interested in dating his old, know-it-all ass. I thought this was mighty presumptuous to say the least. This is one of those cases that supports the “men and women can’t be friends” argument from “When Harry Met Sally.” Apparently, there are men who think that just because you email them, you must want them.
Not true guys. Not true at all.
Next we move to another Craigslist date. Again, the venue of the date was great, but the conversation was horrible. Do you want to know why? Because it wasn’t a conversation. This date blathered on so long, talking about I don’t know what all, that I had one of two choices. I could either stab my eye out with my drinking straw to keep myself awake, or I could be what I consider to be rude, and interrupt him for a few brief seconds to get a word in edgewise.
This tendency to talk, more than ask questions and listen, is a very common issue with men. At least 7 of my 13 dates so far have talked so much during the date that I’m sure they walked away thinking that I have much more personality in the blogosphere. They did not bother, in the least, to find out anything about me. In fact, most of them could not shut up long enough to take a breath, let alone ask me a question and then wait for an answer.
If I was inclined to give them a break–and I already have by being too nice–I could speculate that what is happening is that men are reading my blog and, because I have written so many of my insights here, perhaps they feel like they already know me. Therefore, when it comes to the date, maybe they feel like they need to tell me all about themselves or that they need to impress me.
To be honest though, I think these guys are just clueless as to how rude they are. They lack interpersonal communication skills, and they wouldn’t know an intelligent woman if they met one. They’re too busy talking.
Finally, with this second Craigslist date, he seemed to think that he should be able to exert some sort of editorial control over what I wrote about him. He started freaking out about what I considered to be a minor detail, written in the way in which I had perceived it. After a few extremely verbose emails where he argued that what I wrote was not a “statement of fact,” a phone call, and a comment on the blog, he won out and rather than continue to deal with him, I eliminated the two sentences in question, his comment, and deleted him from further communication. It was better to just cut him off swiftly and cleanly. Personally, I think he came off as much less of a prick in the blog post than he did in real life. He was much more interested in being right than in how he would be perceived long-term.
So, you see; I feel like I’ve been too nice, and I feel like these guys tried to take advantage of that. It seems as though they either a) thought that I was a pushover or b) thought I was hot for them. Neither of these things are remotely accurate. I’m ashamed to say that I have not been as forthcoming in my reporting of my dates, because I didn’t want to hurt anyone’s feelings. Well, that is about to change. I’m not out to massacre 100 men, but I’m not going to continue to sit back and let their borish behavior go unnoticed either.
To all of this, I will simply say; this is my blog, written from my perspective. I’m sure that if my dates were to write about me, they would have their perceptions too. Some of those would be good. Some would be bad. Those would be their perceptions.
But isn’t that what we do with people everyday? We make judgments base on our interactions with people all the time. Certainly, going on these dates and assessing what I like and don’t like, what works and doesn’t work, makes me more aware of how I might also be perceived.
For me, that means I will try to ask intelligent questions of my dates and listen more…
…if I can get a word in edgewise.