Monday, June 25, 2007

sometimes a girl just needs one

I usually don't write about guys and dating in this space. This is for a variety of reasons:

1. There's not a lot to write about. I live in DC, am tall and won't date bisexual men, conservative Republicans or guys who cite The Da Vinci Code as their favorite book. This dramatically limits my options.

2. When there is something to write about, I prefer to keep it to myself for a while. That way, if we wind up actually dating, I won't be forced into a conversation that begins "Hey, I write about my feelings on the Internet. Oh, and I published stories about you there, too."

3. I repeat the exact same pattern over and over and over.

Let's explore # 3, shall we?

In the last year, I've repeated the same relationship three times. The guy is always older than me, of the indie rock persuasion, in a sell-out job he hates and is a little bad at life but not so much so that it's a major red flag (31 and sleeps on a futon, 35 and still goes home to do laundry). We date for a couple of weeks, agree we both hate Dane Cook and are rapidly losing affection for Zach Braff, introduce one another to our favorite movies and songs, hook up a few times... and he completely disappears.

THEN, within two months of the last encounter, he reappears full of dramatic apologies and self-hating prose, completely disproportional to the amount of time we've been dating. These emails, phone calls, text messages and online friendship network requests have all contained at least two of the following phrases:

- "I can't believe how I blew it with you."
- "You are the coolest girl I've met in a long time."
- "I'm dating someone else now so I'm not doing this just to get in your pants."
- "The way I treated you is my biggest regret."
- "Please forgive me. I hope we can still be friends."
- "Are we still going to that concert?"
- "Can I come over?"

My response to all of this has of course been to completely ignore it. Because when you blow me off, especially after we've slept together, you don't get the reward of my friendship or even me acknowledging your continued existence. Internally, I've been terribly jolly whenever I get one of these crawling-back contacts. It may not be as great as actually continuing a relationship, but knowing that you're still thinking about me long after I've stopped thinking about you... not gonna lie, kind of validating.

However, when the latest Disappearing Act resurfaced at 2:30 last Saturday morning, it stopped being validating and started being a little fucking annoying. This was partly because I was in Wichita, sharing a hotel room with my entire family, and one does not generally enjoy receiving drunk dials when one's father is in the room . But mostly, it was annoying because I knew exactly what was going to transpire the second I saw his name on my caller ID. He would chicken out and not leave a voicemail. Then he would call back later, sober, to try to explain why he called before. I would not answer this call either and he would leave a stammering voicemail full of apologies for both bootycalling me and for dropping out of contact last month. And sure enough, this is exactly what happened. If tradition continues, I fully expect an awkward follow-up email within a week.

This is not a pattern I'm particularly enjoying, and yet, given the less-appealing options of celibacy or dating college-age Republican Hill interns, it's what I have going for me at the moment. There have been other options in the last few months, perfectly nice guys with whom I share little chemistry and banter, guys who are very good about keeping in contact, but I'm a spark junkie. That such sparkage seems to be irrevocably linked with guys who can't handle it and run away is frustrating, but I'd much rather be single than desperately trying to cultivate attraction when none is manifesting naturally.

And, on a somewhat related yet semi-random note, there is no horror quite like the horror of talking with a nice guy at a wedding, doing shots and comparing favorite bands and asking him how he knows the bride and groom and realizing that this guy hitting on you, doing the elbow-stroking thing to move in a little closer, IS A COUSIN. Way to make drunken apology texting from DC man-boys seem terribly appealing.


I-66 said...

As someone who has an ex who still asks about me 7 years after we dated, I know exactly what you mean when talking about validation.

Attraction should not need to be cultivated, EJ. Tis better to be single then indeed.

Aileen said...

EJ, you may not like my answer.

A lot of what you describe are simply male traits. Even the nicest of guys blow off a girl when they shouldn't, then try to get back with them in a variety of ways after the fact. Sometimes they need that time away to realize what the relationship meant to them. And yes, sometimes they are clumsy, awkward or downright inappropriate in their attempts.

But if someone that you truly cared about tries to make a return, you might want to take a moment and think about it. Not a booty call of course, but a real reconciliation.

EJ Takes Life said...

Aileen, I completely agree. It is just that they are following the exact same pattern, the exact same timing of disappearance and reappearance, that it is starting to get uncanny. So many similarities in such a short time are spooky!

jess said...

Yah. Been there. Done this.

But I can understand why they'd regret it! You're lovely.

Silly mens. :)

Hey Pretty said...

At least the ones who are mean to you later apologize for it...

Kristin said...

I'm glad I don't have any cousins anywhere near my age...

The apologies are good; though, you're worth so much more.

Ryane said...

HAHA. I completely laughted out loud at the end of this post. That is too funny...

as for attraction--I agree w/you 100%. It needs to manifest naturally b/c it can't be forced.

Barbara said...

I have this theory that many guys actually freak out when they realize they are with someone they could spend the rest of their life with. Maybe they just run away and hide and deal with that realization and then come back with their tail between their legs.

I had this weird thing where I kept going out with guys who ended up marrying the next person they dated after me. Like I was the warm-up act for the real thing. Not exactly a confidence booster. Wonder how many of them are still married today?

Larissa said...

Barbara - there is a movie coming out soon that speaks to that, reversed. It's called Good Luck Chuck.

EJ - I hear ya...the same thing has happened to me plenty of times, or something equally annoying/frustrating.