Tuesday, January 23, 2007

The Final Straw

Can I first tell you how awesome it is having my love life focus-grouped by a group as smart and kind as y'all? If I'd had this blog for longer I might have avoided some pretty heinous romantic disasters. (But then what would I have to write about?)

Anyhow, after reading your thoughts on The Charmer, I was leaning toward cutting my losses and cutting him loose. Truth be told, it became less and less about The Herp (which research and your insight have shown to be a pretty small and manageable risk, given the circumstances), and more and more about the self-absorption, lack of deeper desires, and mediocre sex. But still -- he's a nice guy, sexy as hell, smart, and more honest than most. The temptation of the bird in the hand remained.

And then this afternoon I got an email from him. Mind you this is Tuesday, our date was on Friday, during which we had sex for the first time and it was so rushed he had to apologize afterward. And this is the very first communication I've received from him.

And what was it? A group invitation to go see a burlesque show. Meaning, I was included on a list of his friends. To go as a group to see a burlesque show. One he has not previously mentioned to me. Nor has he any idea of how I feel about burlesque, nor do I have any clue the context in which he enjoys/consumes it.

For the record, I feel about burlesque the same way I feel about most kinds of commercialized sexual expression, which is that some of it is hot and powerful and some of it is misogynist and exploitative and some of it is somewhere inbetween. It depends on a lot of factors. Which is why you don't just casually mass email some chick you just slept with for the first time an invitation to go see it with your buddies. Especially when you haven't spoken or written a word to her in the four days since you kissed her goodnight. No matter how pretty your penis is.

In other words: NEXT.


Ciera said...

On to better and more complimentary things, I say.

Roy said...

Yeah, no doubt.

That's... just weird. I mean, I readily admit that I'm a bit hopeless when it comes to the rules of dating ("I can't call a girl for how many days after getting her number? Why? Well, that's just stupid..."), but, if I'd been intimate with someone and had things end... hrm... a little faster than either of us would have liked, I think I might have called a day or two later to see if "Hey, maybe you'd like have dinner again?"

Next, indeed.

ruby said...

bummer. i was pulling for one more chance for the charmer, but i gotta say: nope!

can we talk a little bit about the not-heard-from-him-for-four-days thing, though? among het folks and those who engage in het activities, this expectation that the boy is going to call/e-mail the girl after dates/intimacy is one of the last vestiges of rigidly gendered dating rules that persists even among feminists and other folks who explicitly reject all of those other rules. and i feel *very* strongly that we have to stamp that out. really! it drives me crazy.

i am not commenting on this specific situation when i say what i am about to say, ladyred, because i think there are a few real reasons why the charmer should have called you. but it drives me batty--i mean stick-a-fork-in-my-own-eye bat-shit peeved--when my female friends complain about "he hasn't called me yet," or "it took him X number of days to call."

hellooooooo! have your fingers lost their dialing/typing function? i personally get a lot of pleasure out of sending sweet morning-after e-mails, and i think it's a good thing for *everyone* to do. if you find that you are always the one making that gesture, sure, that's something to nudge an ongoing date about. and, of course, not hearing *back* from your call or e-mail in a timely manner is a legitimate problem. but...really, where is it written that girls can't make that initial move?

the notion that the boy calls the girl is built on a fallacious and completely sexist foundation: the idea that sex is something women yield to men--that women are losing something by it and men are gaining--or that it's a favor that women extend to men in order to get other, more "romantic" kinds of attention. and that, as i think we would all agree here, is bullshit. and i'm invested in the larger culture recognizing that it's bullshit, too. and that means talking about how bullshit it is, and also acting in a different way.

furthermore, one of the main reasons why we all like to be called or e-mailed the next day (ok, one of the reasons *i* like to have that contact, and maybe it's not generalizable; y'all can tell me) is that we want to be reassured that the other person had a good time, too, or still feels the same way s/he did the night before, or whatever--basically, that our date still wants to be our date; being left hanging can be pretty insecurity-provoking. and even though they're not supposed to admit it, because it's so unmanly, men get nervous and insecure, too, and (like the men gain and women lose form sex thang) when we don't work to expose the fallacy of that, we're falling down on the feminist job.

wow, didn't quite mean to go off on such a rant, esp this early in the morning (pacific time, people!!). but...well, i feel very strongly about all this. as you can all tell.

jeff said...

I'd have to side with ruby on this one--yes, he probably should be kicked to the curb at this point, but why didn't you call him?

Also--and this isn't a defense, but a possible explanation--it's likely/possible he feels like a big dork given the mediocre sex; men are taught that we are all very, very sexual, and to be seen as lacking sexual skill is pretty much to lose a big part of what we're told ought to be central to our self-image. So he may be completely embarassed, and sees the group invite as a way of contacting you without having to face that embarassment (which he should face, of course; he should not be centering his self-concept on his ability to be compatible sexually with people, probably).

ladyred said...

ruby, I couldn't agree with you more. Generally, when I'm hesitant to call first it's just shyness and fear of rejection, but certainly not ever an expectation that he *should* call first.

In this case, though, I just wound up feeling like I was making ALL the moves -- I called him after the party to say we should see each other sometime, I did the first "had a great time" message after the first date, I've done all the complementing. I just wanted to wait and see what he would do if I didn't do anything for a change. And I'm glad I did b/c I got some very useful information.

ladyred said...

y'know, I've considered that he might feel bad after the sex, but then he needs to communicate that with me. And certainly, even if he thought the group invite was the best route to go, don't have your next invitation be to something so sexually and politically fraught as burlesque! Not without a conversation, or at the very least a note saying "don't know if you're into this kind of thing or not but figured I'd ask..."

To be clear: no one thing he's done or not done is a good enough reason to be done with him. But put 'em all together and I am SO done.

ruby said...

yes, if you were interested in pursuing this entanglement, then it would be worth talking to him about the fact that you would have appreciated a call, and gently exploring the possibillity that he was feeling all insecure and insufficiently manly.

but...i do agree with the overall assessment that it's time to move on.

i assume you'll post about how you tell him?

flavia said...

My first comment is to Roy: Amen on the can't-call-a-girl/guy-for-x-number-of-days being stupid! If you want to call, call! Arbitrary rules are both limiting and patronizing.

And ladyred: Bravo for cutting the Charmer loose now. If it were me, I suspect that I, wanting as I do to believe the best of people and ignore the worst, would have gotten sidetracked by having received an invitation and intrigued by the idea of burlesque, without stopping to consider the fact that 1)I didn't receive a personal invitation and 2)burlesque isn't something one just "throws out there" for a third (group) date. So good for you for seeing beyond an immediate emotional reaction and for not settling.

flavia said...

Okay, I know I'm going to catch holy hell for this, but I have to disagree a bit with ruby. Why is it that, whenever women expect decent behavior from men, many feminists have to get all "gender expectations" on your ass?

Yes, ladyred could have called him herself, and if she wanted to, she should have. Let me repeat--if she wanted to call, she should have. Why should she have called? Why should he? Because it's a decent, human thing to do. Sex is not everything, but sex is not NOTHING, either (much as the commercial sex industry likes to perpetual the fantasy of completely emotionless sex), and Lady and the Charmer had sex for the first time, shared an intimate experience, and somebody should be calling somebody the next day to reach out and say, "hey, I'm here, and you are a person deserving of respect." Suggesting that Ladyred should have had her feminist membership card revoked because she didn't call places the blame on HER, and apparently gives him a pass.

And, just to slide my boot into the pile of shit even deeper, I can think of a reason why, in fact, HE should have been the one to call. Despite the many ways in which gender discourse and cultural expectations interact with and sometimes distort the fact, men are more likely to be interested primarily (solely) in sex (sorry guys and gals, we can't entirely rise above our biology). So if you go on a couple of dates (or 1 or 5) and then have sex, it's nice to have the follow-up reassurance from the man that he was not just looking to get the woman in bed and then disappear. A phone call within 24 hours goes a long way to dispell any miscommunication on this point.

I realize that it's frightfully easy to come across as a reactionary and a prude on this medium, but I assure you I am neither. I just don't want people to place ideology above humanity.

ruby said...

flavia, i agree with you completely about the next-day call being basically good etiquette for any gender. that's exactly my point. women too often get upset when men don't call, while not considering that they could call, too.

i never said that it was unfeminist of ladyred not to call. in fact, i specifically said before i went off on my rant that i was not talking about this particular case, because i thought there were other circumstances (as ladyred pointed out, she had already made many of the first moves) that meant it was the charmer's turn to call.

the one thing i do disagree with you on, though--and very strongly--is that men are more likely to be solely interested in sex, and this likelihood is somehoe biologically rooted. that's a cultural myth that has done folks of all genders a whole mess of disservice.

Anonymous said...

On not calling after getting digits: A dating book I read a couple of years back mentioned two guys getting phone numbers on the same weekend, calling the women, getting turned down. One guy called the next day, so the woman concluded he was a desperate loser; the other guy waited three days, so his prospective date decided he wasn't interesting.

Which confirms my feeling dating works better if approached as improv than scripted