Friday, January 07, 2011

Unsolicited

I haven’t complained about girls in a while, and I know that’s endearing, so here goes. But to be fair, I’ll try to complain about guys in equal measure. And to be even more fair, these are generally things I’ve been observing others do, not things that have been done to me, so perhaps I’m a bit less biased than normal.

Guys often say “There’s no one to date.” This is them being lazy. What they mean is “No girls are actively pursuing me.” Now I’m the first to admit that I’m a lazy soul, and I appreciate girls showing some initiative. However, I certainly understand their hesitance in doing so. There’s a bit of chaos theory involved here. Say there’s a girl, and you’re neither interested nor disinterested in her. She decides to invite you to a potluck, or to some group outing or to sit by you at church or whatnot. Sometimes, this makes her more attractive, because she’s jumped from neutral to readily attainable. Sometimes this makes her less attractive, because her initiative has taken away some of your control in the velocity of the courtship. I couldn’t tell you what factors go into pushing this one way or the other, and neither I suspect could the girl, so understandably she is unlikely to make such a move. So when guys complain that there are no girls to date, because none of them are sending clear signals, it’s not really accurate. Conversely ladies, the guy has the identical dilemma in showing initiative, so you can’t say it’s easy for them to ask you out either.

Girls don’t just want certain male behavior; they want to dictate the exact manner in which that behavior should take place. A lovely friend of mine just got engaged. Props to her. Although she was happy about the engagement, she did comment that she was disappointed it wasn’t more of a surprise. This complaint came after she had specifically requested that he propose by a certain date. Earlier in the day she had in fact, excitedly, told me how she thought he was going to propose that night. When he did, not surprisingly, it wasn’t a surprise. Another friend recently recounted a situation in which a guy asked for her last name so he could look her up on facebook, rather than ask directly for her phone number. I admit, not an ideal situation. But the point is he was expressing interest, and she was dissatisfied that his interest wasn’t exactly in the manner in which she desired. If you’re getting the attention and the end result you want, be willing to put up with bumpy road to get there.

Just as girls have unrealistic expectations about male behavior, likely brought on by Hollywood, guys have unrealistic expectations of beauty, by the same source. Pre-example disclaimers: of course everyone has their own aesthetic preferences, and I have no particular affection for Reese Witherspoon, apart from sharing a birthday with her. I recently overheard a friend saying he wouldn’t go out with Reese Witherspoon if she weren’t famous. She’s not cute enough. If you look at people who are primarily famous for being attractive (is she really famous for her acting?) and setting them below the threshold for people you are willing to date, there’s probably a problem with your expectations. I suppose this could be considered an insult to the girls I date, but I don’t expect them to be as attractive as the professional beauties I see on the screen. You can’t expect entertainment standards to be the standards of your reality, nor would you really want to.

I have no segue to this point, but girls want to have their cake and eat it too. Weight joke omitted. The biggest problem I see in this category is friends. Now, friends are important, or so I hear. And a boyfriend doesn’t replace the need for friends. But if you can’t date, or even do things with boys that might lead to dating, because of the amount of time “required” for friends, that’s likely a problem. I have had the following conversation: “Do you want to go out Friday? Oh, sorry, I’m doing xyz with Sally, but I really want to get together. Ok, how about Saturday, I’m free most of the day. Oh well I’m doing xyz with Jane in the morning, then meeting up with Gomer at xyz; how about in 2 weeks?” Yes, she could be trying to let me down softly and not simply say no. This is also lame by the way. But I think the problem is more often that girls actually allocate all their free time to friends. And if they actually prefer doing things with their friends to the prospect of romance, that’s their prerogative. But then I hear an awful lot of “Guys in AZ/OH/NY don’t ask girls out.” A lot do, but get friend-blocked.

So ladies, consider your priorities, time allocation, and how particular you are about the exact manner in which guys do things. Guys, consider your own lack of motivation, and how stunning a person needs to be to make you happy. Also, I realize I’m not particularly equipped to give dating advice, but I find that most people who give it don’t know what they’re talking about, so I might as well join in.

3 comments:

katielizabethawkes said...

ahaha i love that you called me out! touche. But i mostly like when you said "Gomer."

Paul said...

I once got turned down for a date for a ward activity. Kind of missing the point of a singles ward, I thought.

ESOdhiambo said...

The girls make plans with friends because they want to do stuff. They can't just sit around and hope a guy will ask them out and when they don't the girls feel like they either have to scrounge to come up with plans or sit home wishing they had made some. I think it's pretty reasonable to anticipate that people already have plans for the following weekend. If you are really interested, ask them out for a weeknight or a weekend night in the next few weeks.