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.
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The Leading Man and Important Lessons
I don’t know if it’s just me, or if you’ve noticed too. It feels like things have gotten a bit sloppy around here, and I need to take care of some minor housekeeping. It has come to my attention that there is a loose end I have failed to tie up. Admittedly, in the last two quarters of my MBA program, I was a little frazzled; my blogging became sporadic; and the flow of things around here got a little off. It’s not easy being Superwoman, but I intend to set this blog back on the right track if it kills me.
Sidenote: Actually, when I was a little girl, I wanted to be Wonder Woman, not Superwoman. I think it was the costume, the golden lasso of truth, and bracelets. And what prepubescent girl in the 70s didn’t hope to one day have tits like Lynda Carter?
Anyway, the little discussion that erupted over Man #27, The Flavor Saver made me realize I had never followed up to tell you about what happened with Man #24, The Leading Man. You may recall when we last saw The Leading Man, he was giving me a hug, kissing me on the cheek, and telling me we should definitely go out on another date.
Hooray! The date had been really comfortable and fun. The Leading Man wasn’t one of those guys who made me feel I had to be anything other than who I am, and I definitely wanted to go out with him again.
So, I patiently waited for his call…
I made sure I sent him a text message, telling him I had fun and thanked him for the date…
…and I waited.
He sent me a friend request on Facebook.
Pretty exciting stuff.
I commented on a picture of his dogs.
I sent him a message asking him if he ever got that Thai food he had been craving. (Hint, hint.)
No. He hadn’t.
I had a conversation with the friend who had set me up on my date with Man #24.
“What’s the deal? Did he say anything to you guys?”
“No, sometimes we go months without hearing from him. He’s just like that sometimes. Sometimes we have to call him and leave messages telling him to call us because we’re worried about him.”
Oh, for fuck’s sake. And, she and her husband thought a guy who does this would be a good leading man for me in their romantic comedy?
This is why letting friends set you up on dates is a bad idea.
“I don’t know what to say,” she said, “I would just leave it alone and maybe he’ll call you.”
“Yeah, I’m not going to chase after him.”
By that time, I had already had my date with The Karaoke Kripple, determined he was looking for a sugar mamma, and was searching for my date with Man #26. I had 75 other men to date, and time’s a wastin’. There was no sense in waiting around, hoping for another date with The Leading Man.
I’m not going to say it didn’t bother me though. It made me wonder about a couple of things. First, why do men do this thing where they say they want another date and then never follow through? It doesn’t make sense to me. I guess after having dates with a couple dozen men, I can sort of understand how, at the end of a date, a man might not want to deal with the awkwardness of saying, “Well, it was really nice to meet you, but this is the last time we will be seeing each other.” In fact, I have a backlog of writing I need to do, and, shamefully, I recently did something similar to the date who will become Man #32. I promised something at the end of the date that I knew, in the moment, I would never deliver.
I know. I’m not proud of it, but it happened.
But, like I said, with a little first date experience under my belt, I can see how it happens. However, also because of my first date, 100 date experiences, I can also say how important it is in these situations to take corrective action immediately. It makes no sense whatsoever to lead a person on, and I certainly don’t invite my blog fodder to be friends with me on Facebook.
The other thought that crossed my mind was that, as I had feared, I was no longer the thin, attractive woman The Leading Man remembered from that summer party in 2006. That had to be a major disappointment for him. During our conversation at the bar, he even seemed disappointed that I was dying my hair auburn. I wasn’t even the blonde he remembered. I seriously considered that my extra weight played a significant role in his decision to not ask me out again.
So, you see, even I, super heroine, serial dater that I am, get rejected sometimes. Counter to popular belief, it’s not just me doing the rejecting.
This happened a little while ago now, and I’ve had time to think about it. The important lesson here is not “Oh, boo hoo. He doesn’t like me.” It’s not, “I’m a big fat fatty so I don’t deserve love.” No.
The important lesson is that when a man says he’s going to call and he doesn’t, he’s doing you a favor. The way my date with The Leading Man went down had direct comparisons to my date with The Blues Man. The Blues Man had also said we should go out again and left me wondering what was wrong with me. This time, however, with The Leading Man, I just quietly let things fade away, went on about my business, and didn’t get all heartbroken over it.
This may sound anti-feminist to some, but one thing I have learned in this process is that I don’t like doing the chasing in a relationship. I don’t like the woman I become in that relationship dynamic. I want to be feminine. Please let me be feminine even with my potty mouth.
I’ve had my experiences enabling passive-aggressive men, and it is a thankless job. That shit is hard work, and it’s not worth it. I personally don’t think pursuing a man pays off in the end. When a man knows what he wants, he will go after it, and if he doesn’t want me, there is really no reason for me to want him.
Unfortunately, Seattle, as a city, has a very passive-aggressive personality. Some theorists hypothesize that it is due to our bad weather; we’re all hunkered down, shoulders up, heads down against the rain. But regardless of our weather, the guy for me won’t be afraid to ask me out for a first date and then a second and then a third.
If he’s divorced, he’ll talk openly about what happened in his marriage, but he’ll resist letting his ex get custody of his balls. (No woman in her right mind wants a man who is still letting another woman drag him around by his cojones.) No, the man for me will have his balls. He’ll be ready to be in a relationship. If he’s scared, that’s fine, but he’ll muster up his courage and do his own work instead of expecting me to be his therapist.
So, the important lesson is: Rejection is fine, because I want a man who wants me. That seems like a no-brainer, doesn’t it? I want a man who wants me, and I want a man who will wrap his hands around the back of my head and kiss me so I know it.
Ok. I know. In addition to Wonder Woman, maybe I also watched Gone with the Wind one too many times growing up.