Tuesday, March 06, 2007

The votes are in

See, now, I knew you people would have much to say about this whole to-call or not-to-call dilemma. Who needs Google to answer life's most pressing questions; I can just ask all of you!

Incidentally, I have realized recently that I am not alone in turning to the Internet for advice on matters such as this. In the past few days, presumably equally torn and confused people have found their way to my blog via a variety of similar quandaries. Here is just a sampling:

  • Calls five days after first date
  • First date waited week to call
  • First date call voicemail
  • When he says let's play it by ear after the first date

To that last person, I would like to say, "Sorry, honey; it doesn't look good." To the first two, I would like to say, "Five days? A week? That's nothing. Try ten days over here!" Also, to the person who found my blog by Googling Deep fried Wikipedia, I have no idea what you're looking for, but I sort of love the whimsy obviously brewing within your brain.

But back to my pressing question and your many thoughts on it. I didn't respond to your comments as they came in partly because I wanted to see where things went without any further input from me but also because it was the kind of day where I was actually very busy doing work while at work. Crazy, I know. You'd think they pay me to be there or something. Sheesh.

In any case, I thought I would summarize the results as they stand right now (as of 10:15 p.m. Tuesday). Not-so-shockingly, the majority of you are not feeling the love with "Med." Though, frankly, given the way I admittedly editorialized the question, I'm actually surprised it was this close.

The question, if you recall, was this: if a man waits ten days after a date to call me, should I actually call him back? Here is what the non-lurkers had to say.

The people have spoken

Many of you made some fine points. I respect 3Carnations' opinion that one offense doesn't justify writing someone off entirely and that people sometimes need to grow on you, that the chemistry and magic isn't always immediate. But I also agree with everyone who said that it's not wrong to want more enthusiasm, more respect, more consideration than this. Hence the dilemma, you see.

I could argue back and forth on what it's reasonable to expect when. Delayed follow-through after a very casual first pre-date maybe doesn't mean a guy won't step up later, once I matter to him in a more solid and real way. But I also agree with Stacy that being delinquent with personal contact translates into other relationships as well. I wouldn't tell a friend I'm going to call him in the next few days and then wait a week and a half. I certainly shouldn't think it's acceptable to do so with a dating prospect I'm presumably trying to impress either.

What's strange is I think I'm actually more demanding, more picky, more bothered by "rule-breaking" transgressions now, at 32, than I was at 23. I suspect some people's criteria loosen as they get older; they learn to settle for less to avoid being alone. It should be clear by now that I'm not the settling type (kayak hear me roar, remember?), but that's not even what I'm getting at here.

Maybe secretly and subconsciously I want to be alone; maybe I'm that cliched commitment-phobe in so many sitcoms and movies--the guy who breaks up with a girl because her earlobes are uneven or the girl who won't date a guy because his shoes just aren't right. Maybe that's all this hangup on the "when to call" question is. Maybe I'm just looking for reasons to avoid a second date.

I really don't think that's it, however. I think I am just tired beyond tired of letting bad behavior slide. These are 30-something-year-old men I'm dating. Shouldn't they know better by now? Shouldn't they have figured this stuff out? If they truly want a relationship, shouldn't they understand that a little effort would be nice? At 24, a guy could jerk me about, play hard-to-get, vanish inexplicably for days on end. It was part of the game, part of the learning process; I didn't know anything else. But somewhere along the line, most of those guys grew up. Presumably we women did, too. We realized that if you find a good thing, you don't let it trail along behind you by a thread; you hold it tight and treat it right and do what you can to make it last. I'm mixing my metaphors, I realize, and it's only going to get worse. I'm about to compare single men to the clothing racks at TJ Maxx.

I don't really believe that generalization that "all the good ones are gone." I'm also not immediately leery of divorced men because of some false assumption that they're "damaged goods." I honestly believe that every relationship teaches us something and that we're all likely better partner material the more life experience we have. That said, however, when I think about the men I've met lately, I can't help feeling like I'm looking at a clearance rack. I don't want to believe that all the good ones are gone, but the men I've met lately seem to come with some sort of sticker or warning. "Past Season," they say. "Irregular." "Missing Button." I know plenty of women who swear by the merits of these racks. TJ Maxx is a treasure trove if only you take the time to look. And it's true, I guess--I should possibly keep on hunting; try things on; realize I could find a great bargain in there somewhere. But I've never had much patience for the hit-or-miss adventure that is TJ Maxx, and dating often feels a lot like that.

Mind you, I am well aware that I've likely got my own label hanging from my wrist notifying prospective suitors of my own flaws as well. Surely I am "Irregular" in some way, so the analogy doesn't stop with the men. And that is why I did, in case you are wondering (and I'm sure many of you are) return Med's call earlier tonight. If his own call was just a late-made courtesy gesture and the voicemail tag ends with my message, I am completely fine with that. But at least now I can rest easy in the hopes that 3Carnations isn't tracking me down to beat some sense into me. And that's what really matters, is it not?

20 comments:

Jurgen Nation said...

BRAVA!! S, I *loved* this: "I think I am just tired beyond tired of letting bad behavior slide. These are 30-something-year-old men I'm dating. Shouldn't they know better by now? Shouldn't they have figured this stuff out? If they truly want a relationship, shouldn't they understand that a little effort would be nice?"

That is so on point I actually cheered out loud and scared the hell out of Jurgen. They SHOULD know better by now. The best advice a friend gave to me was that you set the stage in the beginning of a relationship, so it's okay to be a little more demanding in the beginning. Not that this is being demanding by any means - it's a matter of courtesy - but you're responsible for setting the bar at which you want to be treated, you know? It's the pessimist in me, but I always think, "if it's crappy now, what's in the future?" Yes, pessimistic and no, it's not for everyone, but even so. You determine in the beginning how a man will treat you later and it's just my opinion, but being selective now is just a matter of due diligence for happiness later. Huge hugs to you!

Jurgen Nation said...

Sorry...meant to write "how a man or a woman will treat you later..." It's the same for both sides.

3carnations said...

My husband would be mortified to discover that apparently I am the crazy person on the internet, not all of you, since people think that I am tracking them down to beat sense into them when I disagree with their relationship choices. Yikes.

Did he actually SAY he would be calling you in the next few days? I missed that in the original post...

I'm glad you called him back. If nothing else, if he doesn't call you back, then at least you took the high road and didn't ignore his call. If he does call you back, and I suspect he will, then we will be glad to decide any subsequent relationship decisions for you via internet vote. :)

Darren McLikeshimself said...

And I think this is what bothered me the most about Med – that he's in his thirties and he's still pulling the ten-day call wait. Swingers is a movie, dude, not a playbook.

lizgwiz said...

I'm getting less tolerant as I age, as well. I just won't put up with the bullshit I did as a younger woman. I think it's because I've been alone enough to know that there are worse things--and one of them is being in a bad relationship. And I'm a kayak, damn it!

-R- said...

Heh. You know, I have been basing my opinion on the fact that I did not like H at all the first time I met him. But he was 23 at the time, and I would expect him to act a lot differently now!

Anyway, I love this post. TJ Maxx clearance rack = excellent analogy.

stefanie said...

JN--Thanks. And I totally agree with you: setting the stage is what we're talking about here. And you're right, the same does hold true for both genders. I was actually hoping some more male readers would delurk to comment on this matter, but maybe, as I've long suspected, I really do have only four or five men in my readership. Maybe it's the girly pink flowers in my template. ;-)

3Cs--You do know I was kidding about the beating, right? (I suspect you do.) I believe the guy's exact words were "I'll give you a call this week." Regardless, waiting ten days is just plain rude and stupid, as far as I'm concerned. But I already said that, didn't I?

Darren--What's sad is the Swingers rule would actually be refreshing at this point. They waited only three days, after all. By the way, someone found my blog yesterday by Googling "Swingers three-day rule." Ha.

Liz--Word.

R--I think 3Cs is basing her opinion on something similar, as she's said she didn't immediately like her husband much either. So I totally get that. But I still think a little something has to be there to bother pursuing it.

LC said...

Stefanie,

I think that for me, even though that like you, I subconsciously believe I will be that one girl who never gets married because she is always finding something wrong about the guy he dates, I also think that it all sums up in the fact that, I only want to be treated in the same/similar way I treat someone.

That's why the ten day waiting period sounded off to me. I wouldn't do it, why let someone do that to me?

Although, I am certain that, like you, out of pure curiosity, I'd call back too.

Let us know how it goes!

p.s. I didn't even know about the existence of the three day rule until my now ex told me when he didn't call until after three days of our 'magical date'. I was so thrown off by it.

I don't think I like that rule at all.

We are in our thirties! I think honesty should be the rule by now, or at least that's how I roll.

Simone said...

ITA with Lizgwiz. I also loved this post!

3carnations said...

Yes I knew you were kidding. :)

I'm thinking that guy won't wait that long next time. I can just picture you after date #2:

Med: I'll call you sometime next week.

Mefanie (in a sweet but sarcastic voice): "Does 'next week' mean I won't hear from you for another week and a half?"

L Sass said...

I realize I am late to weigh in, but here are my two cents--

In general, I tend to be wary of a guy who is allegedly wooing you, but can't call in a timely manner.

HOWEVER, AS did take longer to call me than I though was appropriate (though nowhere near 10 days). And he did have a legitimate reason.

metalia said...

I'm so annoyed that I was AWOL and missed the informal vote...(though you can put me in the "heck, no" category.)

This was an amazing post.

steve said...

I, too, am late to this party, but also dug the post mightily.

And for the record, HELL NO. Unless he was kidnapped and stuffed in the trunk of a car for those 10 days (and can provide proof of such), he has no valid excuse. He's a tool.

3carnations said...

I guess the real question is - Now that he has had a day to return the call, has he returned it in a timely fashion?

Married Jen said...

Love this post. Dude where was blogging and all of you bloggers when I was single and dating (not very well, by the way)?

Anyway, I can't wait to hear if he does call again... and again, I think you've gotta bring it up and see what he says about it.

Hugs!

PS I passed a roller skating rink yesterday and thought of you!

Single Jen said...

There are too many people in this world that "settle" for less. That let their husbands/boyfriends take advantage of them. I applaud us single women for still being single. Especially into our 30's. If I would've been able to read your "show of hands" post the other day, I would've voted HECK NO. As you can see, Married Jen was on a different page than me. That's why she's married and I'm still single:-)

The more men I "go through" the more non-tolerant (is that a word?) I am of them. Why put up with the bullshit? I'd rather be alone than in a relationship where I'm fighting and unsure if it will even last. Waiting for a call.

F that. That's why I've got animals:-)

The Other Girl said...

I missed the vote too, but I'm on the fence anyway, so it hardly matters. I'm in favor of the second chance, as long as it's his last chance. He's starting off on the wrong foot, so he's going to have to be extra awesome this time around if he is to deserve your continued attention. No settling!

don't call me MA'AM said...

Gah! I hate missing my opportunity to vote!! It's like a civic blog responsibility or something, right?

But then again, I would probably be one of those who were "on the fence," so my vote wouldn't really matter, would it? ;-)

stefanie said...

LC--That is how I roll, too. I think it throws people off sometimes.

Simone--Liz is a wise woman, isn't she? ;-)

L Sass--More legitimate than "I've been sick and apparently couldn't reach my keyboard"? Well, that's good.

Metalia and Steve--Thanks on the post compliment, and sorry you missed the vote. (It's not often that skipping my blog for a day means you actually miss something, but I guess in this case I should have let a bit more time go between posts!)

3Cs--No. In all fairness to him, I did tell him on the voicemail I left that I'd be out on Wednesday (on a date with someone who didn't wait ten days to contact me--though I didn't tell him that part). ;-) It is now Thursday, however, and still no returned call. Honestly, I am actually hoping he doesn't call back at this point, because the more time that passes, the less I feel like going out with him again. (Why am I leaving a whole paragraph in my own comments??)

Married Jen--I have to admit that having a blog actually makes the whole online dating adventure a lot more amusing. And I love that you saw a roller rink and thought of me! :-)

Single Jen--You can say "Fuck" in my comments. I don't mind. :-) As for the first part of your comment, I actually tried to see if there was a trend between people who I know to be coupled voting one way and people I know to be single voting the other, and it was pretty evenly divided across both lists. So the difference in opinion among the Jens may not actually have anything to do with which one of you is single and which one isn't. (Whew.)

TOG--I'm not too convinced this guy has "extra awesome" in him. Oh well. Next! (No settling indeed.)

DCMM--Ha. I know what you mean. I missed a vote on R's blog last week, and I felt so very left out. Don't worry; you're still a fine, upstanding blog citizen as far as I'm concerned.

3carnations said...

Hmm...On the one hand, he could have totally called on Wednesday, KNOWING you wouldn't be there if it was a cop-out call, but he should definitely have called Thursday. If he doesn't call today, then he made all the people who wanted him to have a second chance look silly...Don't do that to all of us, Med...