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.
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?