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Lost In Fond
After six weeks of dating, the guy tells her he's fond of her and she's grown on him -- and it's a problem:

He’ll soon be moving across the country to his next three-month gig and wants me to come see him. Should I take the position that I’ll come when he sends me a plane ticket? I’m just trying to keep from investing myself in somebody who doesn’t value me. Am I expecting too much from a six-week relationship?

Here's my answer from the Advice Goddess column I just posted:

Ovaries suddenly shouting “last call”? Biological clock not just ticking but wired to plastic explosive?

This is the real world, not a $3 paperback. Sure, if you were the girl in the corset who gets bent backward by the guy in the pirate suit, he’d already be carrying you over the threshold of your two-drawbridge starter castle. But, here you are feeling romantically ripped off because a guy who’s known you for six weeks announced he’s fond of you and you’ve grown on him -- and he probably doesn’t mean like back hair or a precancerous lesion.

Maybe fonder feelings will come, or maybe this will turn out to be a “time and place” thing -- like an airplane flight where you and your seatmate have some magical connection for five hours and 22 minutes, then collect your luggage, walk out of the airport, and never see each other again. Of course, even if this guy does feel more than “fond,” he might be wary of saying so, since many women see any declaration of feelings as a sort of promissory note, auto-translating a guy’s “I love you” into “You owe me.” (Not to worry, Dude, a bunch of carats will do.)

It also pays to remember that men aren’t exactly the gushy sex. Compared to women, their brain structure and hormonal makeup leave them less able to store and process emotion. They typically aren’t so hot at talking about it, either. Perhaps this is understandable, considering that brain scans generally reveal women using both halves of their brain while speaking and men only using one half. This doesn’t mean men are dumb. In emotional expressiveness, they’re like my “Historical Dictionary of American Slang,” which stops at the letter “O” because the publisher ran out of money. If I need something from “P” through “Z,” I’ll probably have to go to the library and root it out myself.

If you want more than “fond,” all you can do is wait for the guy to show it to you. That’s how men express their feelings; they don’t sit around chattering about them like schoolgirls. Avoid getting all pissy about plane tickets or coming on like he’s your one final chance not to be a spinster -- even if he is. He did tell you he was there on a temporary work contract, which meant he’d probably be moving on when it ended, not moving into a kneeling position with Barry Manilow in the background. Maybe the question you most need to ask is whether you really want him or you just want him to want you. After all, while he isn’t exactly cribbing sweet nothings from some bodice-ripper, you merely say you “like him” and “get along well” -- as a prelude to a litany of complaints about how he’s a messy, under-expressive right-winger who eats badly.

The entire thing is here.

Posted by aalkon at July 6, 2006 9:12 AM

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Comments

Great one. As years go by, flyby attachments like that seem ever-less likely to end with warmth. (Or maybe it's not that old age, I just piss women off.)

Women should try to understand about that other 50% of feelings talk. To men, it doesn't bring 50% more insight, or clarity, or affection. It's just 50% more talk. ("Um, Honey. we've already covered this...") You can call it a masculine deficiency if you want, but the feminine mind sometimes appears to be stuck on a hamster wheel, gratified by motion without progress.

No analogy can express how weird this seems to a young man in the first occurence. (Schoolboy crushing and other pre-coital flirtations don't count, because many conversational investments are simply written off as the cost of doing business.) There comes an hour when women's talk starts looping on vague themes without apparent purpose. And when you admire someone for being smart, it's even weirder. ("Montessori, Honor Society, MBA... She was fine an hour ago. What's the problem?")

Okay, here's a bad analogy: Imagine every time you got into your car with your S.O., they commented about how much they liked the paint job. *Every* time, that's twice each trip. Three sentences about the handsome shade of green. Each followed with a moment of lips-open, teeth-parted eye contact, inviting response.

"Yeah... It's nice."

Posted by: Crid at July 6, 2006 1:10 PM

PS-

> he’s a messy, under-expressive
> right-winger who eats badly.

Hey now!

Posted by: Crid at July 6, 2006 1:25 PM

I'm with Amy...think she's lukewarm on this guy at best. Why bother, especially once you have the long distance factor?

Posted by: deja pseu at July 6, 2006 1:45 PM

You're being kind. Male and female never have understood each other, never will.

The young man grew up in a sex which jumped on ( literally ) members who expressed their emotions openly. It was an excellent way of inviting violence upon oneself.

Compounding this are putative reports that males are unable to accurately assess females' intensity of emotion, especially anger. Instead, they orient on action-based assessments of a relationship.

For the lady looking for verbal endearments - he just doesn't get it. You both are in the position of flunking Mind Reading 101 - by design.

Posted by: opit at July 8, 2006 1:26 PM

On the contrary, I'm a woman and I understand men quite well - because my understanding of them is not just intuitive, but based in data and biology. In other words, I have a rational, objective understanding - not one based on being wounded after having a series of bad dates or something like that. I just love all these idiots who whine on, for example, about how men "objectify" women. Guess what? Women objectify themselves, as in, when they see a porn film, they generally see themselves as the object -- the one who's being acted upon. Men see themselves as the actor. It's basic evolutionary biology. Read Don Symons, "The Evolution of Human Sexuality," for a more in-depth lesson.

Posted by: Amy Alkon at July 8, 2006 9:49 PM

Years ago, Prager pointed out that gays do the same things to other men in their porn. It's the nature of masculinity to objectify. Goils should understand that... It's nuthin' personal.

Posted by: Crid at July 9, 2006 5:47 PM

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