Wednesday, April 14, 2010

The texting guy from yesterday texted me to ask me out again for this weekend.

Which makes it a total of three times I've had to tell him that I'm too busy. Because I am. Party on Saturday night with my club friend (where I get to sit him down again and tell him again that I am not interested in him as more than a good friend, and also, while we're on the topic, I found out that he's an insane playboy with loads more sexual experience than I have, at least in certain areas, so why is he emotionally attaching to me when he knows better?), Saturday day is a lapdance class with a friend, Sunday is my mother's birthday, an all day event.

I'm oddly not busy on Friday night. I'm not sure what to make of that. If I didn't have to be up early for the class on Sunday morning, I'd hit a club. I still might, if I'm in the mood. I'm all for wiping myself out.

But enough about my plans.

I've had two particular questions asked of me that I should probably address.

The first was by Phoenixism who wanted to know if I had a special magnetism for attracting socially inept men.

Yes. Yes, I do.

But since I can't see myself, I'm just going to go off of theory.

The initial approach is appearance. I'm pretty. I'm not gorgeous, I'm not beautiful, I'm approachably pretty. I am accessible, so those men who would be chased off of a girl because they feel she's above their "level" come to me.

When it comes to wardrobe, I'm also accessible. I am not showing the Los Angeles mass that I believe I am high status in my presentation. I don't overdo it, I keep things very mellow, well-fitting, and casual. I don't walk outside for day explorations with a second skin of make-up. I wear dark-framed glasses, but not in that indie-scenster kinda way, but in the "I'm a librarian and I'm studying you" kinda way.

Socially, if I'm just out and going about my day, I'm by myself as often as I can manage. This makes me even more approachable, as I'm not with a group of my nearest and dearest girlfriends. And when I saw I'm out alone, I don't mean I'm simply grocery shopping. I mean that if I don't have plans with someone, I will grab a book, go catch a movie, then maybe do a little shopping and sit at a nice little restaurant and enjoy a meal and my novel... and then maybe I'll wander around the city, poking my nose into whatever looks interesting.

-Girl who is approachably pretty, check.
-Girl who is not flashing high-status unapproachable via her presentation, check.
-Girl who is wearing glasses that add a little something, check.
-Girl who is reading a book, making opening even easier, check.
-Girl who is alone and infinitely more likely to be approached because of accessibility, check.

So that's just the simple initial information gathering pre-approach.

Then we talk and, holy crap, I'm not a moron. These shy, nerdy guys who are getting out there socially are startled and pleased. The older men that walk up to me expecting god knows what realize that there's a conversation partner beneath these boobs.

And I get the nerd jokes. I read so much, I play console and computer games, I've watched way too many Mutant Enemy productions, I know the internet memes, I can quote RvB, I can discuss anime and World of Warcraft without hesitating. I'm not going to judge them, and I'm going to understand their humor.

In a world of women that while never understand their nerdy male pursuits, I'm right in there enjoying those pursuits with them.

And since they usually aren't out there meeting women, they think this is incredibly rare. Which causes a sort of desperation fixation. I'm the only girl they're ever going to meet that will understand them, so they must make sure to win me over any way possible.

As for the older men, I can keep up with them, and usually overshoot them. It's not an awkward, stilted conversation that trails off into... bleh. Which maybe they'd like, I really don't know. I'm able to manage topic flow and conversation focus, which is so nice for both of us.

Which, really, if you look at it a certain way, is inconsequential.

My primary failing is that I like meeting people, like learning about people, and I'm never intentionally rude without someone first passing a boundary... and my social morals that allow me to engage in rude behavior so far out there that I rarely get to unleash my inner-bitch on people.

If I continue talking with them, they, being inexperienced and unable to read into our conversation or my body language, will assume that it means I'm interested. That my attention could only be of romantic or sexual intent, as why else would I be talking to them?

Because I am unwilling to immediately shut down these guys, because I can get along with them and maintain the conversation because I'm interested in what they have to say and who they are, awkward situations ensue.

But what am I supposed to say?

"I don't mean to interrupt you, but I just wanted you to know that I'm talking to you because I find you interesting and have absolutely no desire for you, so keep it in your pants, buddy."

"Before you take this the wrong way, you're really not my type, but I'm digging hearing about your theory on the best way to play Young Link in SSBB, so don't take my fascination on this topic as fascination with you."

"You see how I just deflected that somewhat subtle innuendo you tossed out there? Yes, that means I'm not interested. It was cute, but, really, no."

"Since I think I'm just the hottest piece of ass out there and you obviously must want me due to that fact, I wanted to let you know that before this conversation goes any further, you're soooooo not alpha enough for me, so please don't even dream that I would have any interest in you. Thanks."

"Okay, I'm going to bring up sex now because it is relevant to our discussion. This. Does. Not. Mean. I. Want. To. Bone. You. Continuing..."

I've found that my hints, the cues that I would pick up if someone was having a discussion with me and I was testing the waters like these men do and was being rejected, don't work with most of these guys.

Some I have flat out told I have a boyfriend or I wasn't interested in dating right now or I wasn't emotionally available or I was too busy for a relationship.

Random excuses that were all semi-true to completely true.

But it does not deter them.

So why do I attract these guys? I'm visually approachable, physically accessible (no, not in that way, you jerk), and I'm friendly.

I do not have disgust or hatred for these guys. I don't find them annoying or pathetic. I think it's wonderful that the nerd guys are getting out of their comfort zone and meeting women. I think it's flattering when the older men try to pick up on me, and very entertaining when they realize I'm not an airhead.

But there is that learning curve of figuring out how to attract what you want and reading the signs that tell you that your target is not interested. And then respecting that lack of interest, or at least adjusting your game to hopefully generate interest.

If it doesn't work, though, move on. Don't make it awkward, don't be pushy, don't make a scene.

So that was the first question.

The second question has been asked a couple times, especially of late due to all my bitching about men I'm not interested in not getting the hint and my platonic guy friends trying to shift themselves into relationships or booty calls.

Why do I have such a hard time rejecting men?

I have issue with rejection in general. I know what it's like to go through it and I know it's a major blow to the ego for most of us. I also know it's part of life and something we're all going to experience if we put ourselves out there and we need to learn to accept that.

I try to cushion it. Because I'm too nice.

And I don't mean "too nice" like, awww, I'm such a sweetie, I care about everyone's feelings because I'm such a great, kind-hearted person (that was written in my head with a nasally, syrup-dripping voice, by the by).

No, I'm a pussy. I'm a little too empathetic to rejection, I think, and it makes me cringe and then I feel guilty and I hate feeling guilty so I do my best to avoid rejecting people so I don't have to feel guilty about it later.

That sort of "too nice". Stupid "too nice". Avoidant "too nice".

And one would think I would have learned by now how to manage this unwanted male interest.

Quite obviously, that's incorrect.

What I have learned is that if you tell someone flat out that you aren't interested, they have to know why.

They will demand an explanation.

And you might be reading this going, "Well, they can demand all they want, but you don't have to give it to them."

This is true.

However, they storm off all butthurt and never speak to you again. And I like my guyfriends. Most of this will happen within the first month or two of a budding platonic relationship with a guyfriend. You want to be able to salvage the friendship and their ego.

Why should you salvage the friendship?

I don't know about you, but I like having friends. I like having a variety of friends across the board that I can hang out with and learn from and just have a good time.

So, if you give them the explanation they are demanding in their fit of anger at your rejection (which is just a cover up for the insecurities you've just produced/exacerbated in them), then they have to argue that explanation.

Which means you are sitting there for god knows how long trying to explain not only why you don't want them, why they are still great guys (just not your type), but also why it is okay for you not to want them.

In the end, they'll:

A: Get butthurt to cover their embarrassment and storm off, never to be seen again, which makes you wonder if the only reason they were around was to get into your pants or if they're just that hurt by it (common).
B: Get butthurt to cover their embarrassment and storm off, but come back later, ease into friendship again and have a solid thing going for the both of you (rare).
C. Tell you they understand, that they're okay being friends, but then they'll try to Nice Guy you for some time until there's an explosion and you kick them out of your life (I've had this happen, it is so not fun).
D. Tell you they understand, and then they respect your boundaries and the two of you frolic in happy sunshine friendship meadows with pink marshmellow unicorns and fluffy purple bunnies. (This never happens.)

So that's the direct approach that everyone tells me to take, that I have taken and have had miserable experiences with.

Or you can make up excuses as to why you can't date them in an effort to save their ego and your friendship:

1. You have a boyfriend. (Lying isn't my thing)
2. You're emotionally unavailable. (Refer back to demanding an explanation)
3. You've just had your heartbroken and aren't ready for another man in your life. (And... here comes Mr. Nice Guy again!)
4. You're much too busy right now for a relationship. (They'll try anyway.)
5. Your grandmother is on fire. (I've tried this, it only works for so long.)

The problem I've found with this sort of set up is that they'll either hang around, making contact, waiting for the "problem" to go away, or they'll check in with you every few weeks to see if the "problem" has resolved itself.

Eventually, the former may turn into an unsteady friendship, while the latter will just get frustrated and disappear.

So those are the basic verbal communicators.

Then we drop down into other categories.

Such as the slightly extreme: "making out with someone else in front of them". I've tried this. It doesn't always work. In fact, it seems to drive the nutty ones even nuttier.

You might think, "Well, you don't want the nutty ones for friends anyway", but I actually love being friends with nuts. Except pecans. Pecans are bitches.


There's the easy, Level One, "play stupid" when they hit on you. This is stuff that involves messing with words, pretending to mishear, pretending to think they're joking.

Level One also includes avoiding physical contact and moving out of the way if at all possible, as well as avoiding any flirting or innuendos.

Then there's the stereotypical: "oh, I'm so glad we're friends, I couldn't take it if another guy was interested in me right now" or "I'm so glad you don't want to date me, I can just relax around you" type comments.

There's the Level Two casual drops about guys you find attractive, guys that you're thinking of going out with.

Which can be escalated to Level Three conversation drops where you are really thrilled to be going out with this guy again, he's so good in bed, he's so cute, hold on, he's texting me, give me just a sec and I'll get back to you. (This is mildly difficult for me, as most of my guyfriends know that I when I date, I date multiple men and take a couple lovers until someone comes in and pulls me off the market entirely.)

Level Three conversation drops may be accompanied by Level Three physical withdrawal, which involves leaping away from any physical contact and running into the night shouting over your shoulder, "Is that the Bat Signal? Gordon needs me!" (I promise this is perfectly acceptable.)

And you might be thinking, "Christ, what's with the game playing? This is too annoying/difficult, this isn't worth it, is she nuts??"

But it's a preservation of their ego. This is me trying to send out as many signs as I possibly can to my friend (or my potential friend) that indicate that it is nothing to do with him. My lack of interest is not a failure on his part, but to do with my own life and attentions.

Because I want those friendships. They're important to me.

And not all of my guyfriends are like this. Most of them got the message early on, or had no observable interest in the first place (or had a girlfriend).

These guys that don't get the message are the ones that are a little awkward, or are just your general horndog. I make friends with all sorts of people, and some of them require this type of management. Sometimes it works, sometimes it goes down in flames.

I do my best, I think.

And, yes, I'll kick myself at times, thinking I should be rougher or more direct with some. But when you've had the experiences that I've had... I try to communicate thoroughly and honestly at all times. Playing these sort of dancing games is not my cup of tea. It's not enjoyable. I don't want to be doing this. I wish I could wave a magic wand and have them realize that my lack of desire for them has nothing to do with their value as a person, that I still have value for them, just not a need to get into their pants.

I'm told, and I can see, that it's wasting their time, to a degree.

But this is social interaction. This is learning to read body language and subtle cues that tell you what you are and are not doing right. If every approach failure was considered a waste of time, that would indicate that the approacher had learned nothing.

Even if you learn nothing, it's still good to approach, it's still good to steel yourself and get used to interacting with complete strangers as you attempt this mating dance.

And I am educational. I will, upon occasion, tell the guys that approach me better lines to use, or how to stand to present themselves better, or how to adjust their word choice to sound more attractive. If they listen to me or not, I don't know. But I am a girl they found attractive enough to approach, which means I am desirable, which means they should probably listen to my advice because I am telling them what I find desirable so they can use it on future women that are like me.

Even if they do not "score" with me, I have many female friends. Some guys look so into the immediate, they don't understand the value of leapfrogging and building social networks. If they come off as courteous and respectful, I will bring them into my various social circles, I will introduce them to my female friends and talk them up.

So is it a waste of time? At best, it's a wading pool of potential poon. At worst, it's practice.

Guys make it difficult to reject them, uncomfortable to reject them. I'm sure girls do it too, but since I'm fairly straight, that's all I have to tell them. They won't react poorly because my sexual orientation does not reject them, it simply excludes them. It's not personal.

Poor reactions based on insecurities.

This is why I have issues rejecting men and handling interest from my male friends.


  1. I've been one of those guys. I have a lot of empathy for you.

    The shitty part is there's nothing you CAN do. Even if you wanted to help--and it sounds like you do--it's completely outside your control. It's a drag they are making it your problem.

    I really ought to write an article on this for the new site

  2. that would be great, dan. your insight is valuable. as i was reading this, i literally asked myself "what would dan say?"

    again i'm with the nerdy ideas, but i would love to see you print this post out, V, and hand it to the next person who awkwardly hits on you. it's unfair you end up thinking so much about how to compassionately reject someone (perhaps an oxymoron) while chances are they are thinking "hmm, maybe if i try even HARDER?"

    or when you first sense the incoming unwanted, change the conversation subject to "how you know you're being rejected." example:

    guy: so, what do you like doing for fun? (wink wink, suggestive leer)
    v: you know, i really like discussing with guys how to tell if a girl is actually interested. because i've witnessed a good chunk of my platonic guy friends awkwardly hit on myself or another woman, and i just keep thinking 'man, if only you knew.' you probably know i'm not romantically interested in you, right? but so many guys would miss it, even though i've (and then list off all the subtle cues you sent them).

    i find this topic fascinating, likely because i tend to fail at it. maybe i'll try the strategy, and let you know how it goes.

  3. Dan,

    I'm somewhat surprised that, having been one of those guys, you have empathy for my plight. I expected any one who had gone through the male portion of this post to have little or no sympathy for me, just writing me off as a stuck up drama queen.

    You know, if you ever want a writing partner for an article or three for your new blog, male and female perspective, lemme know...


    Maybe if I condensed it into a pamphlet format and kept a couple of copies in my purse with the pack of gold stars I picked up for people who are "awesome" (totally true).

    If it wasn't so uncomfortable for me, I'd think it comical. I do need to toughen up, I know. I need to focus on myself and stop whining about it. I'm not supposed to be a victim.

    And I nearly died laughing at work when I read your script. I may have to try that. You totally need to let me know if you go about this strategy. Maybe we could do it several times and consolidate our data.

  4. For a guy like me, it is nearly impossible to empathize with you.
    I rarely find myself in situations where a social and physical ingrate latches on to my presence with a manic viciousness and will not Release. So the true cost of me being friendly is quite low.

    Whereas you, Poetry, you express the vaguest sense of icy warmth and guys immediately think you wanna fuck them.

    At first, I thought socially inept was a strong term...then I thought maybe innacurate.

    Now I feel it is fitting because it describes a dynamic in which a man, though not shy or soft-spoken, injects way too many of his own desires into an interaction with an open female and his former dignified manner turns to shit in the matter of minutes.

    Maybe you are not the next Miss America, but your body (which is all I've ever seen) is curvy as hell and you have that contra-society intellectual cerebral sex-kitten look (I pieced that together based on your self-description) and there is no doubt you will appeal to the type of man who glorifies the mind over the ascetic, which more often than not is the "social erratic."

    Actually, there is a class of man lower than socially inept. The social escapists. We are out of the loop. The world chugs along and we haven't the slightest clue what's going on...

  5. Meh….. It is a difficult pool to swim through. Both for a woman and a man. No one wants to be ego crusher maximus. And no one wants to be crushed. The very act of approaching someone is putting the ego out on the line to some degree.

    At the same time it’s necessary. Social intelligence is one of those things that has to be cultivated in life. Literally, as if one has a square patch of dirt and one plants seeds and waters them and tends for them like small children until they grow.

    People often enough are not very hip on self cultivation, or self examination. Frankly I think it's a sexy trait. The self examination thing can be taken too far, of course... but it's probably better than being dense.

    I try to look at my reactions and the reactions of other people and learn from them. But it is a difficult art to cultivate, or at least can be for many people.

    For many men, rejection feels like a total rejection of their worth as men, as beings actually. In particular if the man in question has a history of rejection, it feels like a kick in the solar plexus, an indication of a basic unworthiness as a male adult being...

    But on the same token, people should just be able to get over certain things as part of maturing and growth. Some people learn how, others do not. Insecurity covers part of it but as a single word it doesn't fully express the emotional range...

    I think that escapism and insecurity are to some degrees forms of self indulgence, socially dangerous ones, and delusion. Having experienced these things in spades I have no problem pointing them out when I see them in other men.

    Rejection can teach someone many things, where there is no chemistry there is no chemistry. I just got a little rejection email from a girl I'd started to date a few times, it was one of those "there's just no chemistry here, hope you understand, maybe we can hang out in a dive bar somewhere" type of notes. It was a nice let down, I took it well, there was no leading each other on. It happened. There are other women who I find insane chemistry with. Such things happen.

    a man's ability to stand outside of his ego and look at himself, his faults, virtues, and being, and look at others, and try to see things like acceptance and rejection in a more objective like, is a hard won skill.

    I really think that women are more socially intelligent than men. For real. That said, I think basic socialization is also key. Many people spend a good part of their day interacting with machines, no wonder they are bloody weird. The times in my life in which I was socially weird were times that I spent waaaay too much time interacting with machines.

    There is something to this, in the ballad of man and woman, in our generation...