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Posts Tagged ‘why didn’t he call’

The girl sitting across from me on the subway was an exact replica of me at fourteen years old: chubby face, disobediently curly hair, a slim body struggling to develop and a slightly rowdy innocence that would one day cause some trouble. She looked so much like me I had to do a double take, convinced a miniaturized version of me was within arm’s reach.

I may have gone on without giving the matter much thought, except that there was something even more me-ish about the girl than her plump cheeks. She was pining away over a boy who apparently was giving her the run around. Moreover, she was testing the limits of friendship by giving the pal next to her every minute detail of their last conversation.

Me much?

The boy had told the girl to stop calling him. He didn’t want to talk to anyone right now. He wasn’t replying to any of her texts or returning her calls. Every so often, she’d call late, sometimes after midnight, and was surprised when he wasn’t home.

Fourteen-Year-Old Me was confused. Older Me knew there were only a few causes for such behavior and they all revolved around other girls, lack of interest and overall jerkiness.

“He says he can’t handle a relationship right now,” the girl told her friend. “He’s worried about his mom and he has to get a job.”

The girl lifted her chest and proudly said, “And I was like, ‘you expect me to wait for you?’”

Older Me hoped either the guy fell to her feet in tears or she gave him the grand heave ho.

“’He told me, ‘no.’ So I asked, ‘do you want me to?’”

It took everything in me not to take the girl by the shoulders and shake her senseless. “Get some strength in those knees and stiffen that spine. You cave to this creep and you’ve got years of male crap to put up with. Get out now!”

“Honestly, Mary, I don’t know,” the girl continued. “I was like, ‘I can be your girlfriend and support you through this.’”

No, you can’t, I thought, trying to use mental telepathy to communicate with her. You can’t because he doesn’t want you to. Or someone else is his support. Or he doesn’t have a problem, he’s just making up bull malarkey because he’s afraid to cut the cord.

“I was like, ‘I’ll be waiting for your call.’ He didn’t call me, so I called him.”

You just earned another year of lessons from the Relationship School from Hell.

“He was on the phone with his cousin.”

Yeah, right.

“He kept crying and crying and I was like, ‘I’m right here for you.’”

Man, was this girl tugging at my heart strings. How many times have I begged some big wounded boy to let me love him? In fact, nearly every female I know has blubbered to me about some damaged soul who won’t let her heal his pain. Few things are as confusing to women as men who turn away love and support.

I wasn’t angry at the apple of Fourteen-Year-Old Me’s eye. Sure, guys like him can be selfish and plain mean. But they’re just snot-nosed little boys and it’s up to the women who adore them to cut their losses when the writing’s on the wall.

Unfortunately, it can take decades before a woman learns to stop hanging on to dead end love. I’m embarrassed to admit how long it took me, but will confess to making tons of stupid decisions, dating scads of nincompoops and coming face to face with lots of not so pretty truths about my own inner workings. Most importantly, it took the real love of a couple good men to show me true connection isn’t something you have to beg someone to share with you.

I wanted to tell Fourteen-Year-Old Me to let this cad go and avoid love she has to wrestle to the ground. Spare her the agony of heartbreak or an on/off affair with someone who only kinda likes her. But like every hard lesson, you’ve got to learn it on your own.

All I could do was give her a smile that said, ‘you’ve got a long, hard journey ahead. But you’ll get there.’

She probably didn’t grasp my message. But maybe she will in twenty years, when her own Mini Me sits across from her on a train.

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A good friend in college once admitted to feeling miffed when we were together in public because men sometimes checked me out instead of her.  Apparently, she was attempting to build trust by revealing these monstrous feelings and I was supposed to be touched.

I won’t pretend to have been a saint at the time, somehow immune to male attention.  But the last line of attack I’d have considered for securing guys’ interest was scorning my friends for taking it from me.

Still, like lotsa gals, much of my twenties was spent hoping guys liked me.  A cute one would come ‘round and I’d feel pressured to become a sexier, smarter, sassier version of myself, all smirky and eyelashes aflutter.  When dudes weren’t around, I was relaxed and keeping it real, praying for the day I’d be freed from stressing about being a hit with the boys.

I used to be afraid that day would never come.  But yes, Virginia, there is a Santa Claus.

This weekend, a gal named Christina proved those days are long behind me.  We met at a two-day writing conference.  Christina was naughty librarian sexy with the kind of combustible “not quite sure who I am yet” energy that makes folks in their twenties both charming and exasperating.  At breakfast, Christina formed a friend crush on me and a regular old boy crush on Billy, a handsomely tortured grunge king who had all the girls at the workshop in a tizzy.  Ten years ago, I might have had eyes for Billy, too.  Now, I’m wise enough to know self-important hot guys usually have little to offer, especially if they’re flirting with everything in a bra.

Christina wasn’t as wise.  When Billy noticed her, she feigned indifference even though stars were shooting out of her eyes.  When he walked away, her entire being deflated like a popped balloon.  When Billy chose to spend his lunch sitting with a pretty blonde instead of us, Christina sat quietly seething as if plotting her next move.  On the conference’s second day, she showed up in a low-cut shirt and bright red lipstick.  Then she spent the day saying raunchy things super loudly and emanating a willful sexuality as if mind controlling the boy to come to her.

Christina didn’t seem smitten, she just seemed pissed.  I assumed she wasn’t as much interested in Billy as she was bothered he wasn’t noticing her.  Still, she didn’t care when I suggested the boy was obviously a player and not worth the effort.  She didn’t buy my theory that not being desired by every male on the planet was no big thang and that all a gal needed was one decent man to love her.  Ultimately, I stopped offering support altogether once the recurring question of the conference changed from “how can I be a better writer” to “why doesn’t Billy like me?”

Thank God I’m not there anymore.  Really, it’s been ages.  Sure, my relationships or attempts at entering into relationships haven’t always been smooth.  But I’ve been myself every step of the way and couldn’t care less about any man except the one who makes my heart go boom.  Even back in the day, when I was more concerned than I should’ve been about being the cat’s meow, I always knew there was more to life than boys.

However.

Not long ago I met a woman in her fifties who had recently ended a five-year romance.  The woman had no children and had never been married, though she’d had a bunch of boyfriends through the years.  She proudly announced herself finished with men, finished with the anxiety of trying to appeal to them, finished worrying about whether she’s desirable.

I could tell the woman meant it.  Like wives who finally divorce after decades in a rotten marriage, she looked forward to starting life on her own terms.  On one hand, I envied the inner peace she claimed to feel.  On the other hand, I was sad to imagine a life without love.

So, I’m glad to be way past the point of obsessing over boy love but pray I never arrive at the place where I’m glad to be out of the game completely.  I’m not positive how to avoid such a fate, but there’s one thing I know for sure.  Needing to be the prettiest girl in the room ain’t it.

 
[Image from vanityfair.com]

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What’s up with Duke University?  Seems every time there’s a scandal around sex, violence or sexual violence in academia, Duke’s the institution in question.  A mere month after the leak of Karen Owen’s thesis listing and rating the guys she’d slept with while a student at Duke, the university is once again playing shame-faced host to more sexual ridiculousness.

Apparently, a bunch of jackass frat boys sent three hundred girls Halloween party invitations that read, “Whether your [sic] dressing up as a slutty nurse, a slutty doctor, a slutty schoolgirl, or just a total slut, we invite you to find shelter in the confines of Partners D…come and show off the costumes you put more thought into than your major.”

Gee, I don’t know what’s more shocking: guys in fraternities spewing foul, misogynistic dribble while trying to score some tail or guys getting into Duke University without knowing the difference between “your” and “you’re.”

My college was one of those small, artsy fartsy places where the Greek system barely existed.  The biggest fraternity was made up of film students and future record label execs, not jocks or soon-to-be Fortune 500 suits.  Yet, at one of their parties, I overheard one frat bro say to another, “these girls are so drunk, they won’t even notice when we rape them.”

It was then I understood one of the great truths of American society: frat boys are meatheaded, beer-ponging idiots.  Their good looks, coupled with a childhood of popularity and privilege, fuel their hormones and turn them into Neanderthals.  This is why we should reprimand them for being pigs, but not waste any time wondering why they’re so darn piggy.  Not all of them, of course, but definitely the ones who keep getting into trouble.

Still, creepy as they are, these Halloween shindig hosts at Duke have a point.  What’s with all the “slutty,” “naughty” and/or “dirty” costumes?  It’s as if young females pick an occupation or personality, slap the word “slutty” on it, then consider themselves costumed.  Slutty pilgrim, slutty parking lot attendant, slutty pancake.  The possibilities are endless.

I was a teenage girl once.  Then I was a college chick and later a twentysomething woman.  So I know what it’s like to want to be smart, successful and accomplished, yet also wildly attractive to boys.  I wore low-cut shirts and talked openly about sex, both because it gave me a charge and because I thought men would be more intrigued.  And I was as excited by the men who thought I was sexy and someone worth getting to know, as I was confused by the guys who couldn’t take me seriously.

Now, I’m one of those wise women who watch younger generations of women stumble around bars in six-inch stilettos or shiver in the winter cold in their mini skirts and slinky tops.  I see them in clubs undulating against the crotches of men they don’t know.  I overhear them bragging about guys they got drunk with and screwed at parties only to wonder why they haven’t called the next day.

And this past Halloween, I saw legions of slutty witches, slutty pirates and slutty cheerleaders giddily heading to holiday parties.  I’m not sure if these girls do these things because they’re harboring a massive sexuality that still lacks the maturity to manage itself, or whether they’re following the lead of a Girls Gone Wild culture.  Either way, I want to pull these ladies aside and say, ‘he’s not gonna call after you bone him at a party then puke Woo Woo shots onto his bed.’  And, ‘sorry, doll, if your breasts are falling out of your shirt, that’s all homeboy’s gonna notice.’

It ain’t fair.  Some men haven’t gotten with the program and accepted women as their sexual equals.  But some women may need to start realizing being the hottest chick at the party is easy when you’re barely wearing anything.  Besides, being the hottest chick may get you laid, but not much else.  As the Duke boys so graciously revealed, even if the hottest chicks at the party are gifted young women, brilliant enough to get into one of the nation’s top universities, ‘we still think you’re dumb sluts.’

And that’s something no Naughty Girl Scout costume will ever change.

*Photo taken from azcentral.com.

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At a party weeks back, my friend Angela fell for a handsome Brit named Al after he charmed her with tales of his off-the-beaten track existence traveling the world. The next evening, they talked life and politics over a steak dinner then agreed to meet again.

Al charmed Angela even more the next afternoon when he canceled plans with his buddies to join her on a trip to Verizon to get her phone fixed. After spending the afternoon and subsequent evening together, Angela thought she’d finally met a mature, baggage-less man with whom she could have a relationship. If only she knew.

During a dinner party the following Friday night, Angela reached for her phone to discover Al had called. Six times. Though a bit ruffled, she decided to make her way to the bar where he was drinking with friends. When she arrived, Al was completely hammered, saying things like, “I shouldn’t have called you, are you angry? It’s just I couldn’t get through and I thought maybe you were avoiding me. You don’t like me, do you? I know you don’t, why would you? You’re too pretty for me and I’m shit as a boyfriend, absolute shit. I don’t want to mess this up with you. I won’t get attached, I won’t get attached!”

Y’know, the kinds of things some guys think but neeeeeeever actually say.

After some reassurance from Angela, Al nixed the heart-on-sleeve talk and continued to enjoy the IV of pilsner stuck into his veins. End of the night at his place, Angela’s attempts at being intimate were interrupted when Al declared, “you’re too sexy. I’m shit in bed, absolute shit,” then passed out. Angela fell asleep beside him and was getting some good REM sleep when the bed started shaking. She woke up, looked across the mattress and…

Al was picking his nose…and eating it…in his sleep.

Unfortunately, Angela was stuck since it was 5 am and she was on the other side of town. The next morning, she made a lame excuse then bolted to my place to tell me the whole story and see if there was any reason to salvage things. Together, we broke it down to what worked and what didn’t. Pros: when he’s sober, he’s smart, funny and kind. Cons: he eats his own snot.

In the midst of our analysis, Al called and said, “I thought maybe you’d like to come over.”

“I’m with my friend,” Angela told him.

“But I thought it’d be nice if you came over.”

“My friend’s not feeling well,” Angela lied. “I should stay with her.”

“Look,” he said angrily. “Are we seeing each other or not?”

But before she could answer, the call dropped.

“Okay,” Angela told me. “This is sooo finished.”

But she didn’t even get the chance to end things. Angela was the dumpee. Sunday morning, Al left a message saying, “hi, um, yesterday’s conversation was discouraging relationship-wise, but you know, it’s hard to find good conversation, so maybe we could stay friends, go for coffee and talk about bollocks, and you know, that would be nice, and, well I’m shit on answering machines, so I’m just going to say goodbye now, so, okay, well, take care.”

The worst part for Angela was getting dumped by a neurotic booze hound who ate his own bodily fluids. The best part was she no longer had to date a neurotic booze hound who ate his own bodily fluids.

In the end, we hoped that Al, as friendly as he was, as funny and generous, wasn’t as much of a neurotic nosepicker as he seemed. In fact, we imagined it was all a game, a bet he made with friends to see who could self-sabotage himself out of a decent relationship in the shortest amount of time:

He’s an illustrator from London who enjoys hiking and badminton, his hobbies include using his inner demons to back himself out of relationships with pretty women and eating boogers. He’s got enough intimacy issues to sink a Russian sea liner, he’s Al, ladies and gentlemen, give him a hand.

Anyway, I’m fairly certain he won.

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Months back, my friend Corey got a peculiar email from a woman with whom he’d gone on one date.  The email included an invitation to a second meeting, a string of compliments…and a picture of the girl buck naked.

Corey spent the next several days titillated and curious, but mostly confused. What did the Naked Girl, as we named her, hope to achieve with such a move?  If she was offering herself up as a booty call, should he dial her digits?  If she was a damaged soul, how could he make a clean break?  Ultimately, Corey was convinced to put an end to the madness.

I checked in with Corey about the Naked Girl the other day.  He’s still seeing her.

And how ‘bout this?  My friend Tommy introduced me to his pretty, sweet, kinda quirky new girlfriend at a gritty downtown pub.  We were sharing a plate of nachos when a glob of sour cream plopped onto the table.  Tommy’s girl plunged her finger into the glob then sucked the cream off it.  She ate food off the table. Did Tommy blush or chide her under his breath?  Nope.  He lovingly rolled his eyes then kissed her on the forehead.

Then there’s Jay who just caught his girl lying about dating other dudes online.  A few months before, she’d come home with an STD.  Jay was a wreck last week when I spoke to him about these recent events.  This week?  They’re working it out.

One more.  A chick who works with a friend of mine had a whirlwind, week-long romance with a guy visiting from out of town.  After the week was over, she “surprised” him by showing up at his apartment half-way across the country.  Although the act freaked him out big time, the gal continued to call constantly, send obsessive emails and make surprise visits.  You’d think the guy would move to Mars to avoid such insanity.  But he didn’t.  A few weeks later, he asked her to move in with him.

Boggles the mind.

I feel sorry for all the kind, stable, lovely single gals I know still struggling to find a partner.  The kind of gals who offer humor rather than nudie pics, wit rather than venereal disease.  These are women who don’t have to follow some arbitrary set of rules to land a man, they’re decent people so know them already: be considerate, give a man space if he needs it and love when he’s ready, be yourself but don’t be afraid to be a little dazzling and feminine.

Certainly, everyone deserves love, including the aforementioned females.  But how come so many gals who break every rule in the book are walking hand-in-hand with the apples of their eyes, while ladies with their act together stay solo?  I believe when someone feels a connection, nothing his or her partner does is wrong, including eating nachos off a table.  But I also wonder how many odd situations come together simply because people don’t want to be alone.

Regardless, I’m changing my tune as far as doling out romantic advice goes.  Screw the rules, I say.  Be a slob!  Be a psycho!  Give ‘im the Clap!

Worse case scenario, you suffer some embarrassment.  Best case?  You fall in love.

Want to know how Corey and the Naked Girl first met?  Check out “The Naked Girl.”

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Jack and I had our first romantic interlude on the 4th of July.  Back in college, going out with someone usually meant deciding to end up in the same place, so I wouldn’t have called it a proper date.  We met at Boston’s Charles River Esplanade, watched a couple bands and some fireworks, then Jack leaned over and said, “I dig you.”  The rest was history.

Over the years, I’ve come to believe relationships are meant to teach us how to relate authentically yet continue to be our most genuine selves.  Some folks need to learn selflessness, others intimacy, and some just need to learn to put the toilet seat down.

Kicking off my relationship life on Independence Day with Jack was hardly an insignificant twist of fate.  This first real love set me off on an endless quest to learn the meaning of freedom.  See, Jack already had a girlfriend.  Thus, our year-long liaison was an education in giving someone the space to have his own life outside of our shared life together.  However, I was too naïve to realize “space” might include time with the boys and creative pursuits, but probably shouldn’t include other girlfriends.

After Jack came a mostly happy marriage, until I discovered I’d built my world around someone else.  The whole enchilada was sure to crumble unless I made life more my own.  But the more fulfilled I became as an individual the less this particular person seemed to fit me.  Much as I loved my guy, I had to break free to survive.

After marriage, I wanted nothing even remotely close to a relationship.  I formed flimsy emotional bonds then backed out once things got too close.  To this day, I feel sorry for the poor fella who tried to hold my hand across the table on a dinner date only to have me freak out about feeling trapped.

Of course, I soon started wanting connection again but only came across sexy commitment phobes and men with life agendas that didn’t include me.  The subsequent disappointment always forced me back to self, where I had the choice between blubbering about lost love or making my own world even more interesting.  Choosing the latter may have been lonely.  But it also created a more enticing life for someone else to slip into or one to inhabit solo.

Maybe true love really is unconditional, maybe wanting someone to be fulfilled with or without you is the key.  If your woman or man needs to follow a path you’re not on, why not love ‘em anyway?  If love is real, you couldn’t stop anyway if you tried.  Nothing wrong with hoping the path leads back to you.

I’m thinking it’s not only me who needs to learn this lesson.  Maybe the next step we modern gals need to take is learning to balance drive and self-discovery with connection.  And maybe dudes need to learn to dig women’s independence.  Most importantly, we all have to learn to appreciate how much a relationship benefits from sharing it with someone who’s got a frickin’ life.

Happy Independence Day!

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So, my teacher friend Corey meets this woman named Michelle in a bar.  After a brief chat, the two exchange numbers and email addresses, then meet for drinks a week later.  Fireworks aren’t going off, though Corey finds Michelle attractive and worth a second date, which he lets her know as they part ways at evening’s end.

A couple days later, Corey gets an email from Michelle; she had a great time, he’s a fun guy, all that jazz.  Attached to the email is a photograph of Michelle looking wistfully out her bedroom window…

…naked.

According to Corey, the picture was tasteful, more soft core than Triple-X.  Still, he was baffled by this new development and couldn’t figure out why he wasn’t jumping at the chance to join Michelle at her bedroom window.  Though she may not have elicited the response she sought, Michelle was successful in dominating Corey and my conversations for the next week, thus becoming ‘The Naked Girl.’

“Did you respond to the Naked Girl yet?”  I asked him over drinks.

“I would if I knew what to say.”

Observing Corey navigate the realms of premature nudity was an education in the workings of the male mind.  His first instinct was to ask the gal if she’d seen that week’s episode of Lost without making any reference whatsoever to the photo; a glaring example of how men too often believe completely ignoring the big, naked elephant in the room is better than meeting it head on.  Corey’s avoidance was an attempt to be kind.  What a relief to discover evasion isn’t always a sign a man is a putz.  Made me feel lots better about the times I’ve sent “I love you” or “we really need to talk” texts and gotten messages like, “what did you have for lunch?” in return.

There seemed only two places from which Michelle’s sexy message could have come: either she was a ravenous sex machine who only wanted booty, thus sending the photo was simply cutting to the chase.  Otherwise, she was a psychological mess who, for whatever reason, thought the nude approach was the best way to endear herself to a potential mate.

The whole ordeal had my friend coming up against his own conscience.  Good Corey thought it wrong to take advantage of a woman in whom he had minimal romantic interest.  But Bad Corey wondered if her blatant overture permitted him to “’bleep’ her like the tramp she is.”

Really, the poor fella was at a loss.  If she was a nice but messy lady, he wanted to save her any embarrassment.  If she was hot to trot, he wouldn’t mind keeping the option open.  But if there was any chance of love blooming, he didn’t want this act to be the seed.

“Tell her the truth,” I suggested.

“I don’t know what the truth is,” he said.  “All I know is I’m uncomfortable and don’t know what this means.”

“Say that,” I told him.

Corey learned a lesson that day.  Rather than dodging or joking or disappearing all together, he expressed his true feelings.  What happened was a dialogue opened.  Maybe the whole relationship ends there, but at least they can walk away with their dignity in tact and without questions remaining unanswered.

I learned a lesson, too.  We ladies feel entitled to express in full everything we feel, both love and lust, our anger and overwhelming need.  But when you see it from a man’s perspective, you realize how coming on too strong brings nothing but forced obligation and loads of discomfort.

So maybe men could be a bit more direct and women could take a step back.  Or at least save the nudie pics for the second date.

Want to know what happened to Corey and the Naked Girl?  Check out Naked Girl II (or) Finding Your Soulmate.

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