Saturday, April 28, 2012
I have this friend Rachel who went for dinner with a guy and his girlfriend last month. The guy brought a friend along (Matt) to keep the numbers even, and my friend and the new guy got along pretty well. They talked a lot over dinner, had some drinks, talked some more, had a few more drinks, flirted, made eyes, went to a bar afterwards, danced, held hands, walked home together, then kissed on her doorstep. He then went home like a gentleman should. After they said bye, she realised he hadn't asked for her number. Not to worry, thought Rachel, he can easily get my number off his friend. The next day, she got a text from her friend, saying he hoped she'd had a nice time, but no text from Matt. A week later, the awesome foursome got together again. It was a repeat of the first time – talking, drinking, flirting, making eyes, dancing, hand holding, except this time, at the end of the night, she invited him inside. The next morning he got up, said thanks for a lovely evening, and didn't ask for her number.
Four days later, she received an email from Matt with a link to some YouTube clip he'd promised to send her. They emailed back and forth for the next five or so days, then Rachel decided to take matters into her own hands. 'Dear Matt,' she wrote, 'Seeing as you haven't yet asked for my number, here it is.' He responded immediately, with – in my humble opinion – the douchiest line I've ever heard: 'Wow, you just took all the mystery out of this whole situation. I'm kinda disappointed.' A week later, the awesome foursome got together again for dinner. And guess what? Rachel and Matt spent the evening talking, drinking, flirting, making eyes, dancing and holding hands. And at the end of the night, she went back to his apartment. And guess what else? He still didn't text her the next day.
For as long as I can remember, I've been obsessed with relationships. Growing up I always had a lot more female friends than male, and that made me the perfect sounding board – a straight guy who would sit and listen to his lady friends speak at length about their relationships. But over the years this experience had two adverse effects on me: I became very cynical about the way that girls act in relationships; and I stopped being able to listen to somebody tell me about how much of a cretinous fool-in-love they were being, and still manage to give them kind, gentle advice. My, 'Oh wow that really does suck, I'm so sorry he acted like that,' became, 'HE OBVIOUSLY DOESN'T LIKE YOU AND HE'S SLEEPING WITH YOUR BEST FRIEND SO STOP PURSUING HIM YOU UTTER FREAK.'
The other problem I found with girls who chased after douchebag guys was that it seemed to only encourage more douchebaggery in guys. Thanks to books like The Game and TV shows like Mad Men, guys could plainly see that being nice to girls would never get them anywhere. We're constantly inundated with messages that tell us: If you want a girl to like you, act unavailable. Lie. Cheat. Don't text back. Strip her of her self esteem and she'll fall in love. And no matter what, never be one of those pathetic nice guys, because you know what happens to them – they never get laid! I read this brilliant comic strip recently where a girl is standing there bemoaning her single status. She cries out, 'Where are all the nice guys!?' To which 10 of her male friends glumly reply, 'We're over here, in the friendzone.'
The new TV show Girls exemplifies this problem brilliantly. You have two relationships shown from the two female protagonists' perspectives. On the one hand, there's Hannah with her emotionally unavailable sex partner Adam. He is so detached from the relationship that he doesn't text back or even bother to listen when she's talking. Despite the fact that Hannah's friends tell her that he's a douchebag, she continues to go back for more, knocking on his door – just in case he's home – if he hasn't replied to her messages. And on the other hand there's Marnie with her sickly sweet boyfriend Charlie, who loves her so much that she feels smothered. She hates it when he touches her.
Girls is only into its second episode, but while it has spotlighted the problem, it hasn't offered any type of solution. I wish I had one – if I did, I wouldn't have to try and be kind to a girl who's crying over a guy who treats her with less respect than a dog turd he's stepped on. To my complete and utter surprise, shouting doesn't seem to work.
In conclusion: People are crazy.
I LIKE YOU!