Thursday, September 27, 2007

The rest of the date

This is a continuation of this post.

We went out for dinner to a place he chose. A perfectly nice restaurant, but neither amazing nor overly spendy. This becomes an issue in post-date interaction, in case you're wondering why it merits mention now.

As soon as we'd settled into dinner, the questions began. Initially, when someone asks you a bunch of questions, you feel flattered, no? Who doesn't like to talk about themselves? Wow - he must be really interested! He wants to know all about me!

Here's the thing about me - if you ask me a point-blank question, I'm likely to answer. And so I very candidly answered a variety of questions. You really want to know something and you ask, I'll tell you.

But then, at some point, I started feeling like I was being interviewed. And the questions got too intense.

Unfortunately, my verbal Akido skills are rusty. I haven't been put so completely on the defensive in a conversation in a long, long time.

And so I started asking questions back. And it became clearer and clearer that any questions I asked were being deflected. He was, in fact, quite defensive. He didn't want to answer questions. Just to ask them.

And then the compliments/why aren't you married? piece of the evening began.

I can't remember if he asked if I was wearing my glasses on the date because I was deliberately trying to look less pretty than I am before or after the rest of what I'm about to describe. It all lumps together for me in one big blur of assholiness.

Anyway. Then there was a period of you're strikingly beautiful. And clearly really bright and hilarious. This, as you know, was only leading up to. . .

"So, why aren't you married? I'm going to assume that you've had opportunities?"

How do you answer that? I've laid it out before and a number of you offered possible responses.

But what I said was, "Really, what you want to ask is, what's wrong with me? I mean, that you can't see on the outside? Right?"

In fact, that was what he exactly wanted to know. So awesome that I'd been so blunt about it!

I couldn't wait for the date to end. And it was one of those dates where the person wants to lock you into the next date before you've said goodbye. I just wanted to get to the corner, say goodbye, go home, close the door, and breathe.

I've given this a lot of thought. Initially I was furious. It took a while - because it took a couple days past the two-day post-date aftermath - for me to stop being angry and really think about it.

And what I think, particularly considering his actions afterwards, is that this is all about him. He's unhappy with where he is in life. He's angry, afraid of being alone, afraid of being considered undesirable. His "what's wrong with you?" is really a "what's wrong with me?" question.

This is sad. And it's also the reason I hated teaching little kids. Kids will come into the classroom and dump everything that's going on in their home lives on you. But of course they can't articulate it.

You won't have a 7-year old say, "I'm misbehaving and a complete pain in your ass and totally attention needy because I'm neglected at home." Or, "We have 11 people living in two rooms and I don't have my own bed and am perpetually tired and hey, that's why I kicked her and took her notebook."

That stuff you learn slowly, through stories. They made me so sad. And classroom management was so hard for me. I didn't get any intellectual stimulation from them, and got a whole lot of emotional challenges. The whole thing exhausted me. I just don't have the right personality to teach children.

But now I'm beginning to think that we all do it, everywhere, to varying degrees. In the office, on dates, in interactions with the cashier at the supermarket. The amount to which you affect people negatively with your own baggage is going to depend on level of self-awareness, how much you've dealt with your issues, and how secure and happy you are with yourself in that particular time and space.

This is not where I thought I was going to go with this. And now post-date stuff doesn't really fit here. But I think my assessment is correct.


  1. You are so right. The "What's wrong with you." question inevitably means, "Please give me confirmation that there's nothing wrong with me because I think I'm a complete fuck up." (In my experience, anyway.)

    Sorry about the craptastic date. He sounds like a real tool.

  2. While camping, myself and my perfectly lovely friend were asked by a drunk guy there with his girlfriend why we didn't have boyfriends. I laughed because he was drunk and was clearly an asshole. My friend got mad because apparently it doesn't matter if you're if you're drunk when you're an asshole if you're still an asshole.

    I ended up dating him. Turns out he just needed an interpreter. What he had meant was, "wow, you ladies are smart and beautiful, I'm surprised no one has snatched you up yet." but he's a boy and can't think in "nice words."

    But in the end the question should have been, "Hey, guy? How do you keep having girlfriends?"

  3. Wait a minute. Back up. "So, why aren't you married? I'm going to assume that you've had opportunities?" What a loser thing to ask on a date! And are you wearing glasses so you look less beautiful?

    On behalf of all guys, we're really all not that dumb, offensive and self-absorbed. I used to think it would be scary dating a blogger, what with my every move reported to the world within 24 hours. Now I see where some boneheads deserve it!

  4. if I was wearing my glasses on the date because I was deliberately trying to look less pretty than I am

    lisa, i think you are spot-on in your assessment of the underlying dynamics that create situations in which the above sentence is actually uttered. however, for the life of me, i don't know how you managed at that point to not get up, throw some money on the table to cover whatever you'd already eaten, and say sayonara.

    your self-control amazes me!

  5. Almost - Yes, exactly. Tooltastic.

    AJ - I love the "Hey, guy? How do you keep having girlfriends?" And you are so truly lovely! He was lucky lucky he got to be your boyfriend!

    Riley - I know it's not all men, but I appreciate it. As for being blogged about, I wrote a lot about the Director because he liked it, but other than him, anyone I've dated recently that I've gone out with more than a couple times and thought I'd really like, I don't even mention.

    kate.d. - I'm starting to think I'm just stupid. Why sit through that? Why not flee? I dunno.

  6. Yes, your assessment is correct. Not to mention insightful. I didn't wonder why my beautiful, sexy, smart wife wasn't married already; I just dove in without question. Oh: and if he thought your glasses diminished your attractiveness, what a pornhead.

    My new favorite sentence:

    "It all lumps together for me in one big blur of assholiness."

  7. So, really.....what IS wrong with you?

    Just kidding (in case that wasn't obvious)!

  8. Jordaan - I love that you said that about your wife. That's exactly as it should be!

    FreckledK - Heh heh. (I do know your sarcasm.) What's wrong with me is that I go out with assholes like that. I wish that's what I'd said!

  9. This was a fantastic, insightful post. Bravo.

  10. "So, why aren't you married? I'm going to assume that you've had opportunities?"

    How do you answer that? I've laid it out before and a number of you offered possible responses.

    Sounds like someone missed a prime opportunity to practice faking Tourette's...

  11. Rich - Thanks so much!

    Anon - Hahahaha! I forget about Tourette's till it's too late!

  12. I'm less offended by the why-not-married part of the question (for subtext reasons from AJ's comment), but the "I'm assuming you've had opportunities" part is galling. I mean, holy crap. You'd think that a journalist would have better investigative skills.

    But really, that's what it was, an interview. He's obviously not goint on a date, he's doing a MateCheck. He has a list, needs to check things off, so let's get right down to it. I'll take Flaws and Secrets for $600.

    I wonder if there's a perverse curiosity that kicks in at some point. Like, can this really be happening and can it actually get worse? I just can't look away. Maybe that's why you stick around. Or it's masochism. Either way.

  13. Hector Projector - that's what I call it. That person who projects all of thier insecurities onto you because they hate those things about themselves. You (collectively) will never make these people happy.


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