A few weeks ago, I received a comment replying to one of my posts, from a man I’d gone out with once. His response answered the question of what had happened with us, but it sparked so many more thoughts/questions, that I thought it demanded its own post. Here goes.
Before I dive in, …Yes, I asked the guy if I could use his thoughts as a springboard for a post and he was very gracious to say yes. (After a fair amount of bribery, cajoling and …there may have been a couple days in my basement bunker with nothing to eat but vienna sausages and some light water boarding, but he’s fiiiiine now). Also – since his first name was on the comment, I’m just going to go ahead and use it.
If you want to see the original post with his comment – check it out here.
[for those of you who know the “Kevin” situation…this is neither “good Kevin,” nor “bad Kevin”…this is an entirely different Kevin. Whew… glad we covered that.]
Kevin responded to my perplexity at not hearing back from him for a while after what I thought was a pretty good first date. Then, when we DID connect, he told me he wanted to see me again.. and then fell off the map. Here’s a snippet of the comment he left:
“I have been reading a book entitled “The System” by “Doc Love” of all names! “The System” basically encourages the man to show interest in the female and then intentionally back off for an extended period of time to cause her to chase you. “Women love to be the aggressor,” says Doc Love. It makes the man a challenge for the female. If the woman pursues the man, then her interest level is high. If she does not chase the man, then she’s not interested and should be forgotten. As for whether or not this line of thinking is accurate is certainly questionable, especially since each female reaction cannot be predicted to an exact science. Anyhow, right or wrong, I backed off on communication with you intentionally to measure your interest level. Not once do I remember you initiating contact with me during that time. You do present yourself as one who dates quite a few men. That in itself for me was a little off putting. You seemed so enamored by the quest for love and elevated it to such a public status that I often wondered if/when “Mr Right” did come along, would you be able to end the search? Sort of like the dog chasing the car analogy. When the car stops, now what? Game over?”
First of all… so… which problem WAS it that kept him from taking me out again? Sounds like there were a few, and they conflict with each other.
a. he backed off of communication and when I didn’t initiate, he assumed I wasn’t that interested?
b. I was TOO interested in the pursuit of real love?
c. I date too many people?
Dude, you gotta pick one. I mean… if you claim that I elevate love to a too-lofty place, then how can you simultaneously be upset with me for casually dating? And if I seem too heavy with the love stuff, then why did it bother you that I seemed to back off of communication? I would think that would temper the intensity of my too-strong love search?
Also – it seems contradictory to say that I am so enamored with the quest for love that, perhaps, if Mr. Right did come along, I wouldn’t be able to end the search. Help me out here. If you have a lofty goal and you go seeking that goal, people will criticize you for it and wonder if maybe your real goal is just the search? Isn’t that a little presumptuous? It implies that you either know me better than I know myself (and after one date, I think that’s highly unlikely), or that you think you’re SO amazing that if I don’t fall in love with YOU, that my love-finder-o-meter must be broken, or only for show.
Do Olympians face this problem? As they’re diligently training, do people come up and tell them they’re not invested in their atheltic journey because they’re only interested in the days of preparation? That’s crazy. They’re only putting that much effort into the training SO THAT the endgame (their true goal) will be amazing. I’d like to think of myself as a relational Olympian. No, I don’t just love running laps and lifting weights and doing my back handspring 100 times in a day for its own sake. I’m enjoying the process for sure, but my eye is firmly on the final goal, don’t you worry. And, I’m not going to settle for participation. I want to win the gold.
Secondly, let’s talk about this “system,” whereby a man measures a woman’s desire level by ‘backing off.’ EVERYthing is wrong about this, not the least of these is the author’s name…
“Doc Love?” really? That’s a self-assigned title, no doubt. I dare say he didn’t get his PhD at an actual accredited “love school.” That sounds like the sort of graduate program you see on billboards where the student union and academic office sit comfortably between a Famous Footwear and a Dairy Queen. I mean…if we’re just picking whatever darn title we want out of thin air and an overdeveloped sense of significance, I’d like to be called, heretofore, “Relationship Empress.” (I would’ve gone with queen, but I don’t want to be prideful.) On a related note, I’m rethinking the title for my upcoming book. Maybe something understatedly excellent like, “the queen guru of all matters of the heart speaks on life, love and the universe” or a more simple gem: “Dalai Love.” Alright, alright…back to the task at hand – let’s break this down:
To begin with, women YEARN to be pursued. This is a universal truth that you can take to the bank. If anyone says otherwise, they’re either misinformed, lying (to themselves at the very least), so damaged/wounded that they don’t have the capacity for this desire yet or they’re selling you something. Life IS pain, highness. Oh wait… wrong inspirational speech. Yes – women. Wanting to be pursued. Right-o. So, aside from the aforementioned damaged lot, the majority of single women crave the pursuit. I’ve had this conversation SO many times – with men and women. Women want a man to desire them so much that he will put his energy toward the investment of chasing her. This shows his eagerness and that he sees something WORTHY of his time/energy/sacrifice. Even the women that “love to be the aggressor” are still wooed by a man who initiates with them. Believe me.
Now, this isn’t mutually exclusive. I know it’s a pet peeve of men’s when women use the “men should pursue us!’ line to avoid expending energy to cultivate a relationship. I’m a firm believer in mutual pursuit, once it’s clear both parties are “in.” Women, while wanting to be chased, can also really enjoy doing the same. There’s an excitement to being the initiator/aggressor, and I know men appreciate when women jump into that role. But in the end, we want to land a man who didn’t just sit back on his lazy laurels waiting for us to come scoop him off the couch, take the remote and cheez-its out of his hand and coerce him into a relationship. Blech. It’s like most Godfather impressions…No one wins.
So, I suppose after reading Kevin’s comments and my experience with other 1-date-only’s, perhaps I ought to consider a slight paradigm shift. At the very least, I feel like I need to start giving men an exit interview survey at the end of a date, where I ask if they prefer a woman who comes on strong or one who lets him take the lead. That way I’ll know the layout of that particular obstacle course before starting the race.
The more I date, the more I have determined that I am a catch. (I realize the obvious irony here… no need to point it out. Yes, yes – the longer I go “unclaimed,” the MORE I think I have to offer? Seems backwards, but it’s true…I’ll explain in another post). But, I truly believe that if man sees that (my worth as a woman/friend/romantic partner), he’ll keep putting his line out there to catch me. And I will be gracious and winsome in the process. I don’t play hard to get. I don’t wait a certain amount of hours or days to text or call back… I am just me. And after the initial steps of the courtship process, I am ALL about mutual pursuit. I am happy to be the aggressor. I’m a communication junkie. If I like someone, you’ll know it – I’m not afraid to express my thoughts and feelings as I gauge my increasing interest in someone. But, until I know he is interested in me, I feel like all of my gushing would just be suffocating.
Oh mercy…what a tangled web!