« Previous | Home | Next »

Knight Lite

I’m 32, independent, accomplished, in shape, and considered pretty. I’d love to find a boyfriend, but I don’t NEED a boyfriend. A friend set me up with this guy -- brilliant, sexy, successful, and athletic (a former Big Ten college quarterback). We had a really fun, romantic date, and he said he'd call, but never did. Months later, he spotted me at a restaurant and sat down. We again had an amazing time, and obvious chemistry, and he again promised he’d call. Nope, just more accidental lunch dates! Worrying it was turning irreversibly platonic, I e-mailed him, “Why don't you ask me on a real date, and we can kiss at the end?” He replied that I had “courage” to say that, but he couldn’t get involved because he was afraid of getting hurt after his last relationship, and “who knows, maybe [he’s] gay.” “Maybe I’m gay” as a substitute for calling?! What gives?

--Led Balloon

Just when you least expect it, a man’s man turns out to be a bunny’s bunny. It’s like watching Clint Eastwood, all “Go ahead, make my day,” suddenly holster his piece, pull out a ball of yarn, plop down cross-legged, and start crocheting a potholder.

You don’t sound like the kind of girl who sits by the unrung phone speculating whether the guy’s in a coma, or…maybe, instead of raining cats and dogs, it rained farm implements, and a large scythe fell from the sky, severing his fingers and rendering him incapable of dialing. Assuming you aren’t reading “fun,” “romantic,” and “obvious chemistry” into a failure by your date to chisel out of the men’s room to freedom, it’s understandable you expected him to call. Understandable, but unwise.

Should you ever believe it when some date says he’ll call? Sure -- just wait until the phone rings and he’s on the other end. Until then, consider “I’ll call you” spoken-word parsley: conversational garnish meant to be discarded along with the fingertip you find in your mashed potatoes. Remember, it’s a lot easier to say than “You know, I’m kind of a toxic fellow, who really should blow you off after date one. But, chances are, I’ll lead you on for six months, giving you the impression I’m a viable candidate for a relationship, and, in the process, tear your ego into small pieces and feed it to the pigeons.”

Guys like this are to strong women what Attila and the Huns were to Western Europe. They don’t have what it takes to put out emotionally, but they camouflage it the best they can -- stringing you along and pulling away at the same time. Dalma Heyn writes about them in Drama Kings: The Men Who Drive Strong Women Crazy. What makes a “Drama King” seem attractive, Heyn says, is also what makes him poison: “…[H]is boyish charm is really arrested development…his refreshing laid-backness a lack of feeling and an inability to connect,” and his manly man front an “impenetrable wall.” And you’ll never guess who’s been cast as Humpty Dumpty.

The next time you come up against some quarterback who can’t make a pass, avoid any temptation to pull your girlfriends out of the workplace for long, teary afternoons of man-analysis. Not only is it a waste of time, if enough women do this, it could lead to a downturn in the GNP. Why a guy didn’t call isn’t the point. It’s recognizing that he didn’t. Repeatedly. Heartlessly. And reminding yourself that a woman who isn’t desperate for “You complete me” isn’t doing herself any favors chasing after “You deplete me” on all fours.

Posted by aalkon at June 29, 2006 8:04 AM

Trackback Pings

TrackBack URL for this entry:


Amen Amy. Same goes for guys who put up with the same shit from girls. At the end of last year, I got so many mixed signals from a girl, that my roommate and I dubbed her "purple light."* I decided, "F- it" and started dating someone else seriously. She was upset about it and asked me why I moved on. I told her she had months to stop giving the mixed signals thing, I gave her a chance, she dropped the ball and so I moved on. This is one thing guys and girls need to get better at. If you're getting mixed signals for a while, treat it as a no.

* As in, if you pulled up to an intersection and the signal is purple, rather than red or green, what do you do? Stop? Go? Yield?

Posted by: Mo at June 30, 2006 3:55 AM

I'm 35 and in the same position as the lady who posed the question...and desperation isn't flattering on ANYONE. My strategy--let him know I'm interested, and if he doesn't take the bait, I'm out the door. Nothing says "loser" like chasing after some guy who a) isn't interested, or b) too much of a pansy to take the lead. Keep in mind, I'm a former Army Officer, I don't have trouble taking charge or asserting myself...but there's taking charge, and then there's wasting time and pride points on someone who clearly doesn't deserve either.

Posted by: Kristen at June 30, 2006 9:13 AM

Very smart, Kristen. Truly strong women don't have to be the man in their relationship, and, in fact, want a vacation from being tough.

Posted by: Amy Alkon at June 30, 2006 9:42 AM

"but he couldn’t get involved because he was afraid of getting hurt after his last relationship" = a polite way of saying he really wasn't that interested in you.

I agree with Mo, this kind of thing is not limited to men. You just have to deal with it and go on to the next one.

Posted by: guy smiley at June 30, 2006 11:51 AM

Ms. Alkon,

Not only is your advice insightful, it's also hilarious because it's so true. Both sexes play different versions of the same game, whether it's "I'll call" or "Green light, red light, purple light." If a person is really interested, they'll make the effort to follow through on their words, and it's the effort that separates the pretenders from possible contenders. As they say in Missouri, "Show Me." While you wait, you can continue to check out the rest of the scenery.

Although the former Big 10 College Q-B is brilliant, sexy, successful, and athletic, he lacked the courage to admit he's not as interested as he appeared to be. Women can often get away with this game of cat and mouse, but in men, it's interpreted as a sign of weakness, especially by women who are confident in themselves and their abilities. It's entertaining to see a strong woman interact with a guy like this because it often takes her a while to figure out his charade. A heartbeat is usually sufficient.

Why tell someone you're going to call if you have no intention? I've never been a fan of spoken word parsley.

You're a riot. Keep up the good work!

Posted by: gw at July 1, 2006 7:46 PM

There's a hilarious book out there for stuff like this. It's called He's Just Not That Into You by Greg Behrendt and Liz Tucillo. A great little reality check guaranteed to prevent that downturn in the GNP. And yeah, Ms. Kristen sounds like she's got her shit together. Go Kristen!

Posted by: Little Shiva at July 3, 2006 12:40 PM

I know exactly what the problem is here. Led Balloon is shooting for a guy who's way out of her league. She's giving him signs that she's really, really interested and being a red-blooded male, he can't help but be a little intrigued. At the end of the day, though, he's decided that he can only juggle three or four woman at a time and sadly, there's no room on the depth chart for her.

Posted by: kevin_m at July 6, 2006 4:40 AM

This actually isn't just "not interested." There are guys out there who are simply incapable of having a relationshp, but pretend they're up for it - perhaps because they find the truth too humiilating to admit. They give the signs of being interested, then disappear. Ultimately, yes, you can call them "not interested," but the trick, for strong women who get drawn in by these guys, is to recognize the signs of a guy who decoys being up for something but really isn't.

Posted by: Amy Alkon at July 6, 2006 8:26 AM

I have done this, it has nothing to do with not being avaliable emotionally, or he is pretending to be up for it. He just wasn't into you. It has nothing to do with you being "strong" or whatever, there are so many different types of people out there. You probably came off as desperate, even saying you don't NEED a man and focusing on it early in your writing shows that neediness is something that is at the forefront of your mind.

Posted by: Jake at July 10, 2006 3:34 PM

bullseye, kevin_m! it's that simple...got nothing to do with the QB's "ability to put out emotionally".

"in shape, and considered pretty" means led balloon is about average looking, maybe slightly above. if this guy's all she says, he's got his pick of a dozen "independent, accomplished" women that also look like supermodels.

Posted by: orion4713 at July 15, 2006 9:03 AM

Wow, everybody's right on this one! I've met a few maddening women since my divorce that flirt their asses off, but then run like hell when you show a little interest. When women do this they're called "prick teasers".

What I hate is a corrolary to this, cowardly women who, when you ask them out, don't have the guts or the honesty to politely tell you "no thanks" or "sorry, you're not my type" and say "sure"- but whjen the date comes, they stand you up with some lame excuse. If you don't want to go out say so, what is so scary about that?

Posted by: steve at July 15, 2006 1:04 PM

Chicks do this WAAAAY more often than guys do, which is probably why this girl was surprised and confused by this QB acting this way.

Take it from a guy who is CONSTANTLY having women flirt with him and act very into him, only to stand him up and break off all communication a day or two later--anything like this means the other person does NOT like you and was only being "polite". In reality, they have no social skills and it would be much more polite for them to just tell you straight up that they're not interested of course, but they have no spine. He is a complete 100% LOSER (just like most women are--you probably are like this to guys all the time and don't realize it). Forget about this chump.

Posted by: j-rod at October 25, 2006 10:23 PM

Post a comment

Remember Me?

(you may use HTML tags for style)