Tuesday, March 3, 2015

On the Flip Side...

I was chatting with a male friend the other day where I, in normal sarcastic manner, was chiding him about the entire male species' inability to understand that if we're going out with you, we really like you. There's not a single woman on this planet who wakes up in the morning and thinks, "Today, I won't like to fall in love." So if she's going out with you - and dresses up even a little - it's because she's incredibly hopeful that you're reasonably nice.

But then why do most guys screw up on the date?

My friend said, 'Because if that's what women want, then why don't they just show it?" Before I dismissed this childish attempt to blame the other party, I stopped. I asked him what he meant and he  asked me that if I was a guy looking the way I did - only more masculine - then what would I do to charm a lady. And I was stumped.

The first thing I thought of was - "Jeez! At 5'3, I'm too short." Can you imagine? If I had to date me, I won't be able to get past the height??! How fucked up is that? Then there were other things. Like... I have to remember to be charming and funny. Self-depracatory humor but not so much that it sounds insecure. Ok, I can do that. Would compliment the girl's perspective on something. Ask her about her family - not in an interview way. And when she asks me questions, come up with a story that allows me to innocuously touch her / hold her hand briefly.

I started thinking that I had this whole thing kinda sorted until we decided to role-play. He was going to be the cumulative average girl who's decided to go out with him, and I'll be smart funny charming. I'd like to say it went well for me, but then I'd be a liar. While it did become farcical, what emerged was a much more sobering truth.

As a woman, I'm so used to being wooed that I've never considered the insecurities that the Man comes with to the table. If he looks confident, then he must be, yes? Not necessarily. Sometimes it just means that he's spent a long while in front of the mirror saying, "I can do this." It's likely that almost everything he does is wrong with someone. Should he offer to pay? Did she get offended by him holding her hand? Or NOT holding it long enough? Or ordering the wrong thing? Or not saying a funny enough joke? Or was it so funny that now he's the joker at the table doing knock-knock entertaining? Does she think that people wearing check shirts are a certain way? Should he say he's #goldandwhite or #blueandblack? And all those multiple things that change depending on the woman you're going out with.

My friend continued. "If a guy shows up, it usually means that given half a chance, he'd like to do sexy things with you. And continue doing them over a period of time. But with women, it's like the test begins now and you're already late and we're constantly playing catch-up." The conversation veered to what a guy finds attractive and he said, "You know what guys want? To chill the fuck out. We want the girl to be happy, and smiling and to leave us alone."

I was surprised. I asked, "Don't you want someone to challenge you, make you be better?" He laughed and said, "Yes of course because we get bored with all the incredible amount of support and cooperation we get from our colleagues and competitors, right?" Hmm. I asked myself if I want someone who challenges me all the time and the answer is no. Life is hard enough, there are immense challenges in-built in my world already... Do I want to come back home to someone who challenges me further instead of just saying, "It's not your fault. You're awesome."?

While we sat there listening to music and sipping our beers, I looked at my friend who was gazing at a particularly beautiful girl standing a few feet away. I asked him why he didn't go and talk to her and he said something really sad. He said, "I don't want to deal with the baggage of her exes today." Is that what we are - a walking unhealed wound of Betrayals Past, looking for someone to come and fix us? And then I have to ask myself if I'm capable of offering the same services I'm demanding. I mean, am I in a position to heal their battle wounds as well?

Because then THAT would be a useful partnership