Note: The "Trooper" in question is not actually in the military. It's a metaphor, people.

March 3, 2007

The Invisible Man?


If I was going to be all Freudian about this, I'd say that this whole phenomenon of men simply disappearing is all in my head. A result of my abandonment "issues" stemming from my dad's unexpected death when I was five. One day they're there, the next day they're gone without one word of explanation.

OK, so I do have some "issues" when it comes to abandonment. Who wouldn't after something so traumatic at such a young age. But that only justifies my reaction to a man's disappearance - a little overblown perhaps. But the disappearance itself? That doesn't have a damn thing to do with me. I think it's just what men (or a lot of the dating ones anyway) do. Trust me, that Post-It note breakup on "Sex in the City" was painfully realistic.

I don't know many women that would end it with a guy (even one they have dated only a few times) by just walking away without some explanation. We feel the need to EXPLAIN everything.
"It's just not working"
"I'm dating someone else"
"You gave me carnations on Valentine's Day"

We are compelled to give some reason behind our dumping. Maybe that's because we know how awful it feels when they just stop calling us without any explanation.

But men seem to be able to just turn their backs and walk away. I have no idea if they feel bad, think about it at all, or really don't give a crap. Probably somewhere in between. But I think I've figured out that the reason they do it is because it's easier. I can admit that we do not make it easy when we are being dumped. And I know men don't like to see a girl with hurt feelings or be responsible for those hurt feelings. They also don't like the unpredictability of our reaction. So when I'm being really honest with myself, I kind of don't blame them.

I think back to one guy I dated for a few months in LA. (the very first in my string of what I call "Gay-Straight Boyfriends" or GSBs. No, he wasn't gay, just liked shopping far more than me and is now a successful men's accessories designer). We had a good time together and our groups of friends were mixing wonderfully. But he was 25 (as was I) and just didn't want a girlfriend, while I clearly wanted a boyfriend.

He flaked on me a few times to give me the "hint" that something was up, then called and asked if we could talk. I knew what was coming. I was new to adult dating (as opposed to the college version of "hooking up regularly") and didn't understand how unusual it is to have a guy kindly go out of his way to break up with you and give you polite reasons. So instead of being grateful, I was prepared for battle.

I made sure I looked really good, put on a strong front and walked with him to my favorite yogurt shop across the street (my comfort place). There we sat and he told me he was changing careers and really going for a new life and didn't really want the obligation of a girlfriend right now. But he really likes hanging out and our group and hopes we can still be friends. I was ready for retaliation.

No way. You don't get my friends and you don't get to hang out with me anymore. And here are all the reasons why I don't want to be your girlfriend anyway.

The poor guy. Here he was trying to be kind and honest and I turn it all around and make him feel like he was the one being dumped. Women have that talent, don't we?

I got up and left him there, dejected. And walked home Woman of Power.

No fucking wonder guys don't make the effort to break up with us properly. That was probably the last time GSB #1 went out of his way to nicely dump a girl. I bet the next time he just stopped calling until she got the picture and went away.

Today, over 10 years later, if a guy I was dating took the time to dump me kindly, I would grab his hands and say, "Thank you for the consideration," give him a kiss on the cheek and go home a relatively satisfied, though dumped, woman. Sounds too good to be true? It is, because a guy would probably never do that and if he did, I wouldn't think to be grateful until the sting of the dumping faded after a few weeks.

So, what brought this on? My Match.com first date that was supposed to happen. Nope. He flaked. Twice. I gave him a chance the first time after I called him the day before our scheduled date (schedule a week in advance!) and he said, "Oh, I can't make it because of work. Let's reschedule." So we pick the next Friday, but not til 8pm because he will be working until 7:30. Friday night for a blind date - that's asking a lot but what the hell else do I have to do? The morning of the date - not a word. I email him a short "Are we meeting tonight? Otherwise I would like to make other plans." He replies "I will probably have to work. Why don' t you call my house at 7:30 and if I'm home let's definitely meet up. If not, I'm at work."

Are you kidding me?!! I'm supposed to wait around on a Friday night for a "maybe" date with some guy I don't even know?! I replied with a curt "Why don't we try to schedule when you aren't so busy." So maybe he didn't actually disappear. He's more like a hologram of some theoretical guy I've emailed with and talked to on the phone but never met -and never will thank you very much.

More Match.com stories to come I assure you. One guy who I will call "Mr. International Business Man of Mystery" I'm meeting Monday and, assuming he doesn't murder me or something, I have a feeling it will be entertaining, which is my main motivation for meeting him at this point.

Stay tuned, Soldiers. Dismissed.

5 comments:

Jacqueline said...

As a recipient of 3 (single - no less)carnations for Valentine's Day, I did finally tell the boy after a week-long struggle if the story would lend an educational lesson to the (clueless) boy, or deem me as a shallow and superficial b**ch at best. What the hell was he thinking? Three Single Carnations? Was he even thinking? I've got expanations ranging between clueless to just plain cheap. I finally come to the conclusion that men are not entitled to the "clueless clause" at my age of nearly 30 y/o. I might have believed that in high school. By your thirties, you either "got it" or "you don't". No excuses. No clueless discount. Period. Unfortunately, in my case, I think the boy fell both in the "clueless" and "cheap" ilk.

Anonymous said...

Yeah, the cop-out form of "breaking up" is rampant. And?? Girls do it to! We should have more family members with shotguns and special forces training involved in dating, because apparently, no one believes in manners. At least your guy CANCELLED (sort-of. BTW: his comment about he might be at work means he's either doing nothing else in his life or he wants to see how long Friday date #1 goes first) And at least he didn't chat you up in glowing terms before just falling off the face of the earth. What helped me is to realize this stuff is not just in my head,or just happening to only me, but that MANY people are actually so cowardly, they believe it's an option. While you may be picking these @$$holes, chances are unless you're a wacko or severely relationship-crazy, you're not causing it. Either they have intimacy/abandonment issues, too, or they have legit reasons for not wanting to date you, but can't bring themselves to perform the courtesy of wrapping their lips around a platitude, again, because of their own issues.

Anonymous said...

Also, it would be nice to know when to stop wondering, you know so you don't waste any time getting over it!

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Maddison said...

It is sad that most men act the same. I think it all comes down from being honest right off the bat.

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