“You have daughters.”
That’s what I said to him. Actually, it was more like, “You. Have. Daughters.” As in, “What the hell are you doing treating a woman (me!) like this?!?!”
It was definitely one of the quickest relationships in the history of relationships. Why? Because… wait for it… I am finally, FINALLY (thank you, God!), thinking like a man. And though that makes me savvy, even smart, it also makes me terribly sad. Sad that I must think this way in order to protect myself and sad that I’m beginning to no longer believe that there’s a man out there who will ever see me as anything beyond something (not even someone) to fuck.
Yeah, today’s the day. Today I’m calling it like it is or, I should say, how I see it. All of this… bullshit! I’m sick of the damaged guys. The ones whose ex-wives are a bunch of “cunts” or “bitches” (their words) who took half of their savings, their house, years of alimony and child support, their kids, and whatever else they could get their grubby hands on. Those women who, according to their exes, never worked, slept all day, and were all-around at best mediocre mothers.
In fairness, women are not any better. Tales of husbands who worked around the clock, neglected their wives, and took the kids away from Mommy, stepping on her toes as they did it.
Sadly, these stories are about as much the truth as they are lies. And we, the outsiders, the “date,” will likely never know which are which.
But we believe anyway. We trust the guys. We may say we don’t. But we do. And it’s not because we have to, but because we want to. We want so so badly to believe that this guy will be different from all the rest before him. We want to believe that this guy is the guy looking for the whole woman, and not only a body to keep him warm for, say, a night.
Our date was, by all accounts, a good one. Lively conversation. Chemistry. Not off the charts chemistry (I’ve experienced that before and this wasn’t it) but certainly more than enough to keep me interested, and certainly more than enough to move beyond a first date.
So when our Sunday six and a half hour date neared it’s end, after kisses were exchanged beginning midway through dinner, he asked what I was doing the rest of the week because he would love to have me to his house and cook me dinner.
Love the idea, only not for a second date. However, I didn’t flat out reject the concept, wanting time to think it over.
Immediately we threw around our parenting schedules. Between the two of us the only nights that worked were Monday night (the next night and less than 24 hours later) and Wednesday night. Otherwise, we would have to wait until the following week, which was fine with me. After all, what’s the rush?
Monday is always a crazy day for me, and I told him so. Besides that, I told him it was too soon. “Don’t you want time to… digest?” I playfully asked. He laughed, though I‘m not convinced he agreed.
Tuesday was off the table for me as well because of a previously scheduled commitment. Wednesday, though not great either, was a possibility, and I left off that I would try to secure a ride home for my daughter from her evening school activity.
He texted me late that night after our date to make sure I made it home safely and again the next day. After we exchanged a few texts, he called. Called! LOVING this guy. He’s doing everything right. In fact, we had already spoken on the phone a few times before our first date, he seeming to prefer calling to texting. Yes!
But when he called me Monday night, exactly one day since we saw each other, it somehow went to hell within minutes.
We asked about each other’s days. Exchanged a few tidbits. And then he asked whether Wednesday would work for dinner. I gently told him that a weeknight would be tricky, even with a ride for my daughter. He lives about an hour and a half away and though I don’t mind driving (I actually love to drive), it would be during rush hour and I do have to wake up early the next morning. But not wanting the same plan rescheduled for next week, I mentioned that I was also a tad bit uncomfortable with the venue for a second date.
He laughed and said he understood. But then added that he doesn’t like doing dinner over and over again when dating. Agreed. Nothing is worse than the never ending date relationship, the one in which there’s never a night of takeout and movie watching, a lazy Sunday reading the newspaper and watching football, or an impromptu night during the week of mind-blowing sex and a sleepover.
So as I was about to suggest an alternative, something in between a long-drawn-out dinner out and an intimate dinner in for which I was not yet ready (but already assumed I would be in the not so distant future), the phone cut out. Not an uncommon phenomenon in my house, and I immediately assumed the problem was on my end. I called back and went directly into voicemail. Perhaps he was trying me at the same time? I thought I’d better wait. But when he didn’t call me within the next couple of minutes, I tried two more times and still reached his voicemail. I next sent a text telling him the call had dropped and that my calls kept going into voicemail. Then, I waited.
The minutes passed. But my phone never rang. I was incredulous! Was it actually as it seemed? Had he really lost interest because I nixed dinner at his house?
“Please,” I thought, “let me be wrong.”
I’m not the type of woman who calls after a guy blows her off to ask what happened, to find out why he disappeared. The very fact that he did (luckily, those who have have been few and far between) has always been sufficient reason for me. Admittedly, I’ve done it to others. Though rejection never feels good, I know whatever I say isn’t going to change anyone’s mind nor would I want it to.
But that night I made an exception. Not because I wanted anything from him. He was already done in my eyes. But I wanted him to know that I know.
Thirty minutes later, when I knew it was clear I had been blown off, I picked up the phone.
“Are you really that guy?” I asked calmly, politely, poised.
Because… I know that guy. I dated that guy, though I never said so on the phone. That guy was a doctor who was more than a little perturbed that I wasn’t ready for an intimate night in on our Fourth of July second date a couple of summers back. According to my doctor friend, every restaurant in the area was closed for Independence Day so cooking for me in his house was the only logical choice. Say what? When I politely told this gentleman I wasn’t comfortable with that arrangement, he found a local restaurant that was open (surprise!) and basically spat nails through the entire meal, after which I never heard from him again.
Good call on the candlelight dinner, I guess. Better than a candlelight vigil the day after waiting for a call that would likely never come.
It’s important to note that just because a woman and a man have dinner together in either her home or his doesn’t automatically mean sex is the final course. But being in that intimate of a setting can make for an uncomfortable situation or one in which events simply get out of hand before either the man or woman want them to.
My new friend laughed at my insinuation. He explained that his phone had died for no apparent reason. It was obviously working again since he was on it, but still he hadn’t bothered to call back. At a minimum, that made him rude.
What I should have assumed, according to my friend, was that something horrible had happened to him (yes, he actually said this and then I was the one who was laughing, though I hardly found anything about this exchange funny), and that’s why he went MIA.
I patiently listened and afterward explained how the situation appeared from my side, and that leaving our conversation up in the air the way he had left me feeling miffed.
I wished him a good night, knowing full well I would never hear from him again.
And that was fine with me. Because by the time I put down the phone I realized that I had been mistaken. No, I wasn’t thinking like a man, whatever that may be. Not even close. I was thinking like a woman who values herself. Like a woman who loves herself. It has taken me nearly three years since my separation, if not my entire lifetime, to get here. And I’m not going anywhere I don’t want to be.
When is the last time you called somebody out?