Studies suggest people who have suffered severe trauma to the frontal lobe of their brains have trouble projecting into the future and making plans. These unfortunate folks are “trapped forever in a perpetual now, a world without end, a time without later.”*
If you were to go out with a person with a compromised anterior lobe, you shouldn’t be surprised when he or she neglects to phone you after a great date. Such is the case with Matt, the moody chef with whom I enjoyed two weeks of soul-mending emotional entanglement and erotic bliss, then didn’t hear from for…a year.
Our last date, on a Wednesday in February ‘08, ended with him feeling euphoric about our new love affair, and begging me to join him on a hike the following weekend. When I didn’t hear from Matt the next Friday, I assumed our hike would be postponed for Saturday. On Monday, I gave him the benefit of the doubt, then on Thursday waited patiently for a phone call and explanation.
But by Christmas I was starting to worry.
In truth, after ten days and a couple unreturned phone calls, I was certain Matt and me were kaput. But recently, a gal pal and I ran into him, prompting my friend to ask what had happened with Mr. Moody Chef. Thus, I was thrust back into that unanswerable why.
Why did Matt disappear?
My gal pal drew the usual conclusion – he had commitment issues and got scared. But to me the answer was much simpler: Matt was lobotomized as a child. Just a hunch, but my gut says he’s missing his frontal lobe.
Since the start of the Man Panel – a monthly series started by yours truly, where women ask men everything they want to know about relationships – the recurring question has been “why didn’t he call?” You could be talking about movies, tuna fish, the history of the glockenspiel, but all single women want to know is, “why do men withdraw?”
Last November, the panel of men offered clues:
· He liked you but his feelings changed
· He didn’t like you, or at least, not enough
· He liked you but then met someone he liked better
· He’s not over an ex
· He’s crazy about you but isn’t ready for a relationship
Furthermore, he didn’t call to tell you because, a) he thought you’d “go psycho,” b) he’s a wuss, or c) he didn’t want to hurt you. If he doesn’t tell you, y’see, he isn’t hurting you.
Men pursue women they want. They don’t pursue women they don’t want. No reason to ask the advice of your friends, scour self-help books or send the guy’s last text message to the FBI for decoding. It would be lovely of him to provide closure, but sometimes you just won’t know what went wrong. Doesn’t matter. Turn the page. Ouch.
As an old hat, I stay relatively calm while waiting for “the call.” Sure, if a call doesn’t come, I cry, I drink, I consider shaving my head and becoming a nun. But afterward, this ol’ gal moves on.
Thankfully, through scientific research, I now have more information. Instead of thinking a guy stopped calling because he lost interest, I’m just going to assume he’s suffering from severe head trauma. In fact, before I give any guy my number again, I’m gonna ask, “how’s your frontal lobe?”, and if he says, “cool,” then he has no excuse for not calling.
*Stumbling On Happiness, Daniel Gilbert