« Previous | Home | Next »

It’s Hard Out Here For A Wimp

The day of my third date with this wonderful girl I learned that a close friend had committed suicide. I was overcome with grief, but so afraid the news would turn her off, I made up a story to cover why I had to break plans. She believed it, and things went well for a while, but I couldn’t keep up the façade and eventually said a bunch of stupid things. I later left a message on her machine, not only to apologize but to tell her the truth. It came out all wrong. I wrote her a letter, but again failed to explain. I tried a third time, with a letter including my phone number, in hopes I could tell it to her straight. She then complained to our college dean. I still see her at school and feel horrible that I was never able to come clean. Don’t I at least owe her an explanation?

--She Hates Me

You never know when a girl is a member of that group, Girls Who Don’t Like People Who Know People Who Die.

Chances are, however, this girl’s a member of a much larger group, Women Who Like Men Who Appear To Have Emotions, Plus The Guts To Reveal Them From Time To Time. Emotional expressiveness is measured on a scale from emotionally vacant to emotionally available (the ideal) to the emotional equivalent of 26 illegal immigrants packed into an 8 by 10 studio apartment with one semi-functional toilet in the hall. In general, no woman worth having wants some wet dishrag of a man who cries himself to sleep whenever his neighbor gets a parking ticket -- or, at the other extreme, a man who reacts to the death of a friend with all the heart and soul of a baked potato.

If you want women to flock to you, hand out money. Even the worst guy in the world can get a girlfriend who rents by the hour. Of course, your shapeshifting attempts are a version of what those girls do, but instead of strutting your stuff in fuchsia platforms and a miniskirt the size of a paper cut, you’re unstrutting your stuff -- not selling yourself, just selling yourself out. This isn’t to say you should start first dates with “Hi, my name is Joey, I’m an alcoholic.” But, perhaps you heard wrong way back when: It’s “every girl wants a pony,” not a phony.

Everybody makes mistakes. What separates the men from the poodles is how they clean them up. Let’s just say your efforts to “tell it to her straight” weren’t exactly John Cusack/”Say Anything” moments. For the uninitiated, Cusack’s character tries to win his girl back by standing under her window in the middle of the night holding his boom box over his head and blasting Peter Gabriel’s “In Your Eyes.” And then there’s you, the anti-Cusack, leaving all those cryptic notes and meandering phone messages. That’s kind of like e-mailing the girl to ask her to download the song -- after upgrading to a new operating system, which should only take about 14 hours on the phone with tech support in Calcutta.

Forget trying to “come clean” (any further mousy yet stalkerish attempts to get her back) and focus on coming into some self-acceptance. Without it, girls won’t like you or respect you, and neither will you. Once you’re cool with who you are, all that matters is giving a relationship your best shot -- even if the response from the girl in the window is “Romeo, Romeo…wouldya turn that damn thing down?!”

Posted by aalkon at November 21, 2006 9:04 PM

Trackback Pings

TrackBack URL for this entry:


Chalk it up to experience. Every guy's been there. (Well, not ME, but at least a lot of my friends). You're a little needy or you're going through something big, and you come off as a creep. What's more, your efforts not to seem like a creep make you seem all the creepier.

It's like that scene in Swingers, where Jon Favereau calls up a girl he just met at a bar at two in the morning. And then keeps calling and calling her, just digging the hole deeper. Happens to everyone (except me, of course). Just learn from your mistake and move on.

Posted by: kevin_m at November 26, 2006 7:00 AM

You have to write that one off. There's nothing that you can personally do or say to her because you won't get past the barrier you have created. You'll never forget her either: she's one of life's miserable moments that will haunt you in the small hours for the rest of your life. And you'll play a similar role for her.

The only way it might possibly resolve is through a third party. I could imagine her friend telling her a story about this awful mix-up she'd heard about, and your friend realising that it was actually her own story, from a different viewpoint than she was used to. Then she could see she had been unjust and would fly to your arms and you would live hapily ever after.

Wake up! It's not going to happen. She's moving on, so should you.

Posted by: Norman at November 26, 2006 9:24 AM

Love it!

Posted by: awesomegoddess at November 27, 2006 10:26 PM

Love the comments on this one.

Posted by: Nora at November 30, 2006 4:22 PM

I'm new to this website so this message is late and probably won't be seen, but here it is anyway: I'm not sure this fellow's "inability to explain" is limited to his communication with the girl. I don't understand his reason for not telling the girl right off, "My friend just died and I just can't go out tonight, I hope you understand." But let's assume he was really afraid of frightening her -- OK, but what's with these multiple failed attempts to "explain?" He's leaving something -- probably a lot of things -- out of the story. I can't imagine someone complaining to the dean just because she got a couple of rambling telephone messages. I do think he should definitely leave the girl completely alone. I also think he might want to look into counseling, at a minimum to deal with his grief, and possibly to readjust his perspectives regarding his interaction with women.

Posted by: Donna at January 20, 2007 11:20 PM

Post a comment

Remember Me?

(you may use HTML tags for style)