Monday, March 16, 2009

(Trivial) Pursuit

I am so flattered that people have been asking when I was going to post again. I took almost a 2-week hiatus because I just couldn’t think of anything to write about. I mean, sure, the men in my life have given me PLENTY of interesting topics to discuss, but I lost motivation for a few days. It’s back now, I think.

So, here we go…

I’ve recently had the opportunity to converse with a man almost 10 years my senior. It seems that this decade really makes a difference in terms of our perspectives on dating and relationships. The Older Man sometimes makes me forget that he is older because his outward appearance suggests that he is actually pretty young. But no dice. He’s near 40. And he’s actually quite wise when it comes to relationships.

We went out this weekend and had a really great conversation about all the things that women are doing wrong. He said a lot of things that made a lot of sense and a lot of things that took me completely by surprise.

One of the things he said about women was that we are taking all of the fun out of dating.

“Taking all the… what?” I ask, baffled.

“Well, my JOB is to pursue women. That’s what I’m supposed to do. But women throw themselves at me. This is not a compliment. I’m mentioning it because I hate it. If women make it easy for me then, essentially, I am jobless.”


He went on to tell me that I should expect a man to pursue me and that I should allow the man to do so with little interference from me… because that’s what excites the man. To which, I replied, “But the men that I encounter almost act like they expect me to be the one doing the pursuing. They know they’re a hot commodity and they make ME work for their attention and affection. That’s why I’ve effectively given up on dating altogether.”

“Oh yes,” he chuckled. “The men of your generation are some interesting characters.”

“They don’t even buy drinks!”

“Really? Man… that’s… crazy.” He seems genuinely baffled by this piece of information.

But it’s true. A lot of men these days… especially those of my “generation” (a nod to the decade that The Older Man has on me)… expect to be the ones who are chased, not to be the ones doing the chasing. That sucks for me because it is not in my nature to pursue…I am not good at it. Perhaps, this is why I am single.

Shawna, a good friend of mine, actually had a man TELL her that he thought she should be the one pursuing him. Wayne, one of Shawna’s coworkers, had been asking her out for a few months and she had politely declined every invitation. Finally, she decided that the next time he asked, she would give-in and go out with him just once to see if he was worth her time and attention. One day, he called her and asked if he could buy her lunch.

“Hey Shawna, I was gonna grab some Chinese food for lunch,” he said. “How about I pick up something for you and bring it to your office. Then, we can have lunch together.”

“Sure,” said Shawna. “I’ll have whatever you’re having.”

“Great, see you soon!”

About 30 minutes later, they meet in a park across the street from Shawna’s building to have lunch together.

“So, now that I’ve bought you lunch, next time YOU can buy lunch for ME,” Wayne says.

Shawna, taken aback by his comment, continues to chew her food and decides not to respond.

“Did you hear me?” he asked. “I said that next time you can buy ME lunch.” Now, obviously Shawna heard him. They were sitting right next to each other at a table in the park and although the park was located in the middle of a large city and there was traffic noise to contend with, she had heard him loud and clear.

“Yes, I heard you. Don’t you think that you should take me out before we start talking about what I can do for you?” she asked.

“What?!” he exclaimed. “See, that’s what I’m talking about. You think you can just get a man by sitting around and letting him do all the work. YOU need to work on pursuing ME.”

Shawna started packing up her food, smiling sweetly all the while, gathered her things and prepared to go back to her desk.

“Thank you for lunch, Wayne,” she began. “But, I don’t think that we’re right for each other. Have a great one.” And with that, she turned on her heel and headed back inside.

My own personal experience with this happened just this evening with Charlie, a guy who’s been calling me for months. Now, Charlie calls… a lot. but when he calls, he has absolutely NOTHING to discuss with me. So, I honestly see his conversations as a waste of my time. But, every now and again when I have nothing else better to do, I might entertain one of his phone calls. At any rate, tonight, Charlie calls and after we exchange the usual pleasantries, we end up listening to each other breathe over the telephone line. The conversation was basically dead.

“Charlie, why do you call me if you have nothing to talk about?” I asked him.

“I’m not a phone person,” he says with a slight attitude. “I’d prefer to talk to you in person.”

“So, why don’t you make plans to speak to me in person? You don’t invite me out, but you complain that I’m ignoring you. Why don’t you make an effort more significant than dialing my telephone number?”

“Don’t blame it on me! You could plan something. Why don’t you ask ME out?”

“You are the man, Charlie!”

“Oooh. I’m ‘the man’. I forgot I was dealing with a DC woman.”

At this point, I was so angry that had I been a cartoon character you’d literally have seen smoke coming out of my ears. This dude has got to be kidding me. Why do I need to plan something for the two of us? Whatever happened to men taking responsibility for starting the relationship off on the right foot? Whatever happened to flowers, candy, love songs, good old fashioned courting?

I know that we’ve been taught that we, as women, need to take the reins in our relationships. And I do agree… to an extent. Like, I think that we should let our intentions be known up front, I think that we should set standards so that men know what we can and cannot tolerate in a relationship, I think that we should require men to come correct, but I do not think it should be the woman’s responsibility to pursue her partner. I think that The Older Man has a point… in a way, it emasculates the man. And no real woman wants to date a eunuch.

Men, stop being lazy already. I mean, really. Woo me, dammit! Show me that I’m the one that you want to be with. Let me know that you think I’m worth the effort… if you’re trying to get into my pants, which – let’s face it – is the ultimate goal almost 100% of the time… there is no greater aphrodisiac than true romance. Put in the work and you WILL reap the words.

I don’t know about the rest of you, but I have had it with passive men. Maybe it really is a problem that plagues the men of my “generation”. Or, maybe it has nothing to do with the age and/or race of the man and more to do with his character.

Either way, I’m going to learn to be more discerning. And the next man that indicates that he’s the one that deserves to be pursued can see himself right out of my life.


Anonymous said...

Ah, the internet: Private, but not Secret... hence leaving the The Blogger, anonymous yet exposed.

Freedive said...

Touche! Take all of what you said in your post then add the element of dichotomy and you have my stump speech to all my friends with romance issues.

If you find a guy and he requires you to pursue him, then you must prepare yourself to follow this course for the duration of your relationship. Given the natural order of the man-woman dichotomy, this will probably make you feel like you are in a relationship by yourself.

Since there is no formula for a good relationship or finding a good man, this is about the only "thing" you can rely on to increase your odds for finding both.


Anonymous said...

This post depressed me and I couldn't finish reading it. :(

But glad to have you back!

when will the boys become men? said...

I dated this guy a few years ago, he was awesome in the beginning, calling/emailing/texting all the time. I assumed that meant he was so into me. I was trying to take it slow and was taking my time getting to know him. After awhile though he told me he didn't know why I was holding back and being so cautious, why I was so scared, etc and started to change. He went from sweet to creep really fast. He started reminding me that he is used to being the one pursued and he was putting in all the work. He then informed me that a friend from college who has always wanted him had contacted him and was trying to get with him and maybe he should give her a chance since she wanted him so badly and I didn't. I told him if that was what he wanted, to go ahead but I couldn't be rushed into a relationship by threats. He updated me about her trying to sleep with him. I told him if that's what he wanted, he should go ahead. In the end I didn't want to hear the BS or deal with this new not-so-sweet version of him and told him we were better off as friends (although he wasn't much of that clearly). He ended up dating her. I actually thought for awhile I might have made the wrong decision. He still called regularly to try to make me jealous with updates about his relationship, but would slip in how he missed me. Point of all this is, he was a creep. I didn't need that, and I didn't need a guy waiting for me to pursue him. That's his job, and with the economy the way it is, we don't need to take jobs away. I'm being the stimulus.