Thursday, February 07, 2008

Getting advice

Dating is hard everywhere, for everybody. I know very few people who found their partner early, and even fewer who managed to stay happy. I've always been a quirkyalone, so why do I even date? It's because I know from experience that being in love, and having that love requited, can be pretty fab. It makes food taste better, makes colors seem brighter, rattatat-boom and all that goodness. That is why, even though I think that dating feels like diving into an Olympic swimming pool full of razors, swimming twenty laps, then showering in a bucket of lemon juice, I keep at it.

I had a rather amusing email conversation on this topic with Steve, a friend and former coworker who is gay and in a committed, healthy, happy relationship. Steve keeps it real, his husband Jay is a blast, and their kids - two little weiner dogs - are adorable. I tend to be the person in my social circle who plays armchair psychologist, so it's nice for me to have somebody that I can go to for advice and reassurance every once in a while.

Steve: Sorry I missed your call last night - we were both a little frazzled and just sitting down to eat.

Me: No worries. Want to do lunch this week?

Steve: Next week would be better, assuming I'm still here. I think I'm booked, but you never know.

Me: Awesome. I'm glad they extended you! I'm down for next week. Did you vote yesterday?

Steve: Yes I did.... with the dogs. They both got stickers.

Me: I knew your dogs were patriots. So, please help me out with this...what is up with guys out here? They can't close. They're all "heeeeeyyyyy", but don't actually ask you out. If they do, they don't call to confirm. They don't come up with any ideas for the date. They expect the chick to do everything. Where are the hunters? The ones who say "I dig you and I want to take you to [whatever] restaurant on Friday." I'm a New Yorker, I don't have time for bullshit. It's like passive aggressive Peter Pan syndrome out here. HELP.

Ed note: Yes, I am aware that women can ask men out. I myself have done that several times. Here's the problem that I've experienced - if I do the asking, the guy either freaks out because he thinks I'm already in love with him, or he assumes that he's automatically getting laid. I thought the whole purpose of a date was to get to know somebody, or see if there's any chemistry? Have drinks, maybe an appetizer, keep it short, no pressure? Sounds good on paper, but it doesn't seem to work. Not for me, anyhow.

Steve: I can't help you out because it's just as bad on the gay side. Maybe worse, because guys are naturally sleazier. I had pretty much given up before I met Jay.

Me: Goddammit. I can't even become a cat lady because I'm allergic to cats!

Steve: There's always birds. You could be a Bird Lady.

Me: Tuppence a bag!

Steve: More like a pound sterling with inflation.

Me: Well, at least I'll be a rich crazy bird lady.

Steve: True. Maybe I should look into it because I'm never going to get rich in this business anymore.

Me: Lawd, yes. Whenever a young whippersnapper asks me, "do you have any advice for me in this business?", I say "Invest well," 'cause you never know. Can I print our crazy bird lady convo in my blog? Because I just reread it and laughed. I know my readers would enjoy it.

Steve: Judging by the stock market lately I'm not even sure that's good advice. And by all means blog me.

Me: You rock. I will make ya famous! So, I got a rather depressing email from my friend Patrick, which basically said, "Lower your standards." SAD FACE. Lower than the guy who asked me for a bj over drinks? Lower than the guy who pushed his vegetables around on his plate and barely spoke to me on our second date? Lower than the guy who had three kids by the time he was 27 (never married) and "didn't know why?". DO NOT WANT.

Steve: Honey I can top that - I met the man of my dreams many years ago only to discover he was an "Adult Baby".... he wanted me to diaper him!

Me: Yeah, you win.

Steve: Could have been worse.... could have been a "plushie."

Me: Hahahaha....I'm going to wind up sharing my bed with stuffed animals. Andy Dick makes my dates look well adjusted.

Steve: I think it's just LA. I think that's why I want to leave. I'm over this town.

Me: I may stow away in your suitcase.

Dammit, California, you have a gorgeous coastline, ethnic diversity, great food, beautiful mountains and terrific weather. Please do not make me pay for it all with a Crazy Man Tax!

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Blogger Snark Scribe said...

The Crazy Man Tax is everywhere, just in different percentages.

8:51 PM  
Blogger Linnaeus said...

I might be able to shed some light on this, at least from the perspective of me and my friends.

Some men act the way the way you describe because, well, they don't want to do any work.

Some, though, have ideas but may be overcompensating a little in order to take seriously the opinions of the woman in which they're interested. They want to maximize the likelihood that she'll have a good time, so they figure that not having everything planned out will allow for the woman to have some input in terms of where to go and what to do; this also helps such guys learn early on what she likes. They don't want to be the controlling, "we'll do what I say" kind of guy.

Perhaps you've experienced the following scenario, Ging, but if you haven't, put yourself in the position of a guy who genuinely wants both you and he to have a good date. I've had the experience of doing all the planning and yet discovering that the woman in question did not like my choices and made that pretty clear through her actions and mannerisms. When you're already going through a dry spell/losing streak, you start wanting not to gamble that your plans will be the "wrong ones".

Put in a more general way, I think a lot of guys who take seriously the changing gender roles in our society are still trying to figure out what they "should" do.

I'm not saying that your critique here is invalid, but offering a partial explanation for why you're seeing what you're seeing.

10:49 AM  
Blogger Ginger said...

You haven't said anything I haven't said before, to other girlfriends, guys, myself, whatever. I'm not talking in general here, I'm talking LA, which has an absolutely huge slacker population. A lot of the women here are really horrible too (but of course, I don't date them, so they're not an issue on this blog).

Here's an idea: talk to each other and make plans together. Nobody flakes, nobody runs everything. That's not so unusual where I come from, but is a novel concept here.

I went on a date yesterday with a guy who was genuinely surprised that I rolled with the punches when our original plans didn't work out. He was shocked at how easygoing I was about it. It seemed like normal behavior to me, but is a big deal here, where so many people feel entitled to have everything their way for no good reason.

The point of this post was that, in a city where everybody is trying so hard to look like they're the coolest person in the room, they stop caring what kind of impression they're making. The next thing you know, you're sitting across from somebody who didn't bother to shower/talks to everybody else in the restaurant, because they're networking/asks for a bj over appetizers. The latter being my personal fave, natch; the others are real experiences of friends of mine.

2:29 PM  
Blogger Linnaeus said...

Point taken, Ginger. I've not spent a whole lot of time in L.A., so you're definitely a better judge than I am of the dating environment there.

It's just that your remarks were reminiscent of a conversation I had with a couple of women friends of mine here in Seattle, a city whose local culture is self-consciously set in opposition to places like L.A., and I probably lumped in your comments with theirs a little too quickly. I remember them expressing frustrations similar to yours, although they were a lot more general about it than you were here. One of my friends expanded on her comments by saying that she'd like it if "guys were guys" more often and handled more of the dating details more often.

I agree with making plans together; in fact, in situations in which I'm still getting to know someone, that's what I try to do...such as in the case of the date I'm going out on this Tuesday. Wish me luck!

(Oh, I should tell you the story of a recent date I had in which my date had us joined later by her sister. Yes, I'm serious, and no, I didn't call her again after that one...)

6:26 PM  
Blogger Ginger said...

Yeah, Linnaeus, lumping me in with other women you know unadvisedly is not a good idea, since I don't fit the traditional single gal mold.

1:34 PM  
Blogger Linnaeus said...

Trust me, any "lumping" was unintentional. ;)

1:57 PM  

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