Jerk is the New Black
Am I the only one who thought the whole “insult a woman to lure her in” tactic was dead?
SO 2004… amirite?
Well – it seems the trend hasn’t died, much despite its idiotic presuppositions.
And how do I know?
Well…. let me start at the beginning.
I had a date.
Yes,…I suppose you could say that the dry spell was broken, but… I’m not sure that’s such a good thing in light of how this went down. Here’s the scoop.
I met Craig online. He liked my profile and I thought his was decent. I wasn’t sure I’d be physically attracted to him, but I’m trying to broaden my horizons on that front, so we started texting.
By text, he was definitely funny – got my jokes quickly, came right back with his own clever wit, quoted Gin & Juice as well as Calvin… so – ….yeah.
We met for a drink one night before I headed off to an event with a group of friends.
He was sweet! Perhaps a touch nervous, but… who isn’t? We chatted about pub trivia, church, online dating, music, the Heights, etc.
He didn’t ask me too much about myself… but he seemed like a nice guy nonetheless.
But – I just wasn’t feelin’ it. He was cool – nice, funny, chill,…. someone who could hang with my friends and roll with their irreverent jokes and throw in a few of his own.
But not someone I wanted to build a romance with.
Maybe it was lack of physical attraction, maybe there was a depth of character I was looking for that wasn’t there, …I’m not sure.
We hung out once more in a friendly capacity…mostly just me making SURE there wasn’t a spark… and alas…none.
I figured my lack of romantic zeal was obvious, but just to be sure he knew what page I was on, I texted him that while he’s welcome to come hang with my friends any time (we’d established that we frequent some of the same local watering holes already), I didn’t think we were a good match romantically. He seemed jolted and asked if we could talk sometime. So, the next night he called me to hash out the terms.
He was quite frustrated with me for “dissing him” <– his words, not mine…do people still say ‘diss?’ He went into this whole monologue about how he “usually acts like an a#*hole to women – because that’s what they like,” but that he’d seen something in me that was a different caliber and thought he’d try showing his softer side. And apparently that’s the last time he’ll do THAT because it clearly didn’t work – and I don’t know the “real him” (I suppose that means the real him is a jerk?) We had that conversation a few times over, each time with me saying, “well, Craig, I’m really sorry you’re upset… I just didn’t think we had the spark I’m looking for,” and him going right back into his annoyance that I didn’t respond to him the way women usually do and that I didn’t really see the whole version of him which is usually more distant and rude. Um….WT…?
I don’t know what he thought the result of this talk would be… that I would respond to him being a sore loser by giving it another try? Who wants THAT?
He also allowed as how any man would be a FOOL to stay friends with me after being “dissed” (he really likes that word). He said, and I quote, “what kind of a*#hole would want to keep hanging out with you after it didn’t work out?” …..uuuuummm…first of all…that offer got taken off the table once you started being a baby about all of this… and secondly – to answer your question…..most of my guy friends!? I’d say 65% of the male friends in my life are guys who I met through online dating, and while there wasn’t a romantic spark, we realized we really liked each other as friends. They’re now some of the closest friendships I have! (In fact, some of them are reading this right now!)
So, after at least 10 minutes of him awkwardly going on about me not seeing the real him that’s usually much more rude… (no matter how many times I type that out, it still sounds so bizarre…), I finally made my conversational overtures that hint to the end of our talk… and he softened for a moment and said, “wait….there is one thing I want to thank you for.”
Here it is… he’s coming to his senses and wants to end this on a sweet note.
I’m listening, Craig.
“I want to thank you for broadening my horizons.” (awww….sure thing, boo)
“I mean…I’ve never dated anyone nearly as OLD as you.” (aaaaannd….there it is.)
Well, I gotta give him props for changing up his strategy.
The bulk of the conversation was just crude grumbling…but this was a not-so-cleverly disguised, passive-aggressive insult.
MOST of the women he dates are apparently spring chickens, but he went out on a limb to date the old lady with one foot in the grave.
As much as I want to blame this guy, or even the moronic book he probably bought on the bargain self-help shelf, the problem is likely more systemic. Our society encourages the backhanded compliments and a pursuit of superficiality over depth. In an interview with Rosalind Wiseman, author of Masterminds and Wingmen: Helping Our Boys Cope with Schoolyard Power, Locker-Room Tests, Girlfriends, and the New Rules of Boy World, a book about teenage boys and the way we neglect their desire/need for good solid emotionally strong relationships, she says,
“Great young men want to have rich emotional lives, but everywhere they turn, people are forcing them to live the stereotype of being a sexist, not-caring, emotionally disengaged, superficial guy. It’s amazing because we turn around and get angry with them when they go over the line, without acknowledging what we do as adults that stifles and silences and shuts boys up from being emotionally engaged people.”
I’m not saying Craig is off the hook because our culture “made him this way” – he makes his own choices and is responsible for finding and maintaining the kind of relationship he wants. But, we do all play small parts in the bigger picture of how men attract and treat women, by the way we treat our boys/teenagers/men.
So, inasmuch as I have a piece of the responsibility in the way I raise my own son, I plan on helping him grown into a strong masculinity while valuing and cultivating authentic and emotionally-rich relationships with women (once he’s 37, of course…).
A friend and reader suggested I link to an earlier blog post that addresses the differences between men and boys… and how we (women) SAY we want a man, but we ACT in ways that encourage them to stay boys… read it here.