I Got Fluffed

Patience or denial? Um, that would be denial. I got fluffed. Played like a banjo.

I saved a low-level of optimism that that Sunday’s tentative wine-tasting date with Mr. Perfect would come together. After all, his efforts of pursuit had increased after Wednesday’s date, so there was hope he was “getting it”. On the flip side, I knew his company was firing a key executive on Friday, and that meant the likelihood that he’d have to work all weekend at about 99%. I didn’t care, this would be the test.

And of course, on Sunday, I was blown-off. I called in the morning to confirm plans, no return call. In the afternoon, I realized – ironically, before my blog was posted and Josh made his (psychic or experienced?) prediction – that eventually I would have to call his bluff. So I did.

The email I sent (after careful review by trusted friends), was simple and sincere. No drama, no psycho chick shit, just pointed, with a touch of warmth but clearly conveying – I was frustrated and ready to walk away. The essence was – you’re not being respectful of my time and interest, being busy is not a sufficient excuse, and it’s telling me that you’re just not that interested. In a different time and place I would have welcome a casual/whatever relationship, but now I was looking for something that has at least a chance of progressing forward. Even tentative plans deserve at least a “hey, can’t make it.” Period. So I left it in his court – if he thought we could work it out, I’d welcome the call. If not, best wishes, was nice to meet you.

It’s important to note that normally I would have ignored him and send him back to Doggy Training School, where silence says more than words. But I knew I had to test his oh-so-perfect words of Wed night about working things out instead of playing games. More than that, I keep getting advice to give men a chance and say how I feel, which is very, very, very hard for me to do. I sent the email to his personal address, and a note to his work email saying I had sent a message.

I got an immediate response – I mean, in seconds. He said he was slammed at work (surprise), but would check his personal email. Then, less than a minute later, a response: “Did we make plans for today??”

I laughed out loud. True, drink-induced date planning was probably not a great idea. Assuming we were on for Sunday instead on confirming, another mistake. Was he simply playing dumb? Or had I assumed friendly intoxicated banter meant a Sunday date? I wish I had posted my blogs in real-time, because then I would have known (based on the feedback) that he was playing dumb.

Can you hear the banjo music?

I didn’t mean to let him off the hook, but I think I sort of did. I communicate most things with humor, and in my reply (aka, “LOL, I guess drink induced date planning is not a good idea”), I inadvertently made it sound like it was no big deal.

It really doesn’t matter. A normal person with a functioning sensitivity chip would have at least called to say, “oops, sorry for the confusion.” The lack of a phone call told me everything I needed to know. This guy was a self-absorbed asshole or he just wasn’t that into me. Either way I lose. And more importantly, either way, I was a fool.

The realization should have been like a crisp and clear slap in the face, but honestly, it crept in slowly. I just couldn’t believe I got fluffed by this guy. I’m a reformed game player, skeptical, burned hard in the past, and as a result, slow to believe a single word that comes out of a man’s mouth. But somehow, I had allowed myself to believe – the connection, in every way, felt real. Conversation you can manipulate, but the unique physical chemistry too? Why invest in 4-6 hr dates with a woman you’re not really into? Why share embarrassing confessions or intimate details about the insecurities in your life with a woman you might toss away at any moment (that’s risky, we do crazy shit when we’re pissed and want revenge)? It just didn’t make sense.

But within a day or two, I realized none of it ever made sense. Again, props to our reader, Josh (who should start his own Relationship Crime Scene Investigation service) carefully picked out the inconsistencies from blog #1 on this. You know what the real mystery is? How the HELL did I fall for this BS? How did I let myself believe in anything this early? I KNOW better. Am I so desperate to believe in men and relationships again that I was willing to let it ride, even in the face of obvious and consistent red flags?

Oh, I talked to my guy friends and assured them this is EXACTLY why I don’t take men seriously and that I am going back to game-playing and using sexual appeal as a weapon. That I’m never going to tell men how I really feel because it’s always a big fucking waste of my time, and that the next time I sense an inkling, a sliver, a micron of taking me for granted I’m going MIA and that’s that. I told my girlfriends that I hope for his sake he never contacts me again or he’ll understand what it really means to be played, ‘cause I have all the time on my hands in the world to teach him what it feels like to feel stupid, that I’ll show him what being gamed really looks like.

That was just pain talking. Here’s the truth. My fear of being a bitter, man-hating woman is bigger than my fear of being duped or hurt. The truth is I realized through this that I am surrounded by a small army of wonderful friends who love me and are adamant I deserve better, cheering me on to keep trying and making plans to kick this guy in the balls if they ever see him. In all my stupidity and denial, I feel even more loved and valued by the people who know me.

So thank you friends, for keeping it real and not letting me wallow in self-pity. You’ve all convinced me I shouldn’t say no to the gamble, even if it doesn’t turn out the way it should.  It’s funny, I’ve been thinking a lot about my favorite game in Vegas, Let It Ride. Even when you’re dealt shitty cards, you can pull back your bet a little but never fold entirely. And those of you who have played with me know I always put $1 on the side bet – sure, it’s against the odds, but when you win, you win big. So I’m staying at the dating table, putting a $1 on the side bet to boot, and when I have a hand I think might win, I’m not going to pull back my bet, I’m going to let it ride.

So screw you Mr. Perfect Date.  The pain of losing this round will fade fast as a new set of cards are dealt.


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Comments

This makes me so sad and angry at the same time. Why, why, why, why, why are men like this? Serendipity, my heart just aches for you. The same thing just happened to me. I am TIRED TIRED TIRED of being a “bench warmer” while the guys I date interview starting quarterbacks and come back to me if nothing else pans out. It fucking pisses me off. Dating in the bay area is so hard. It is telling that the ONLY boyfriend I’ve had in the last 7 years I met in Southern California. All the men here are looking for greener grass. You sound like a cool chick. I’m sure he won’t find it.

I’m sorry that he didn’t work out, but glad that you figured it out quickly.

Again, thanks for the kind comments. I should say though, that I am definitely not experienced (I’m pretty much the opposite of that), and not psychic (my gf will attest to that). I’m very normal, boring-normal, and just saying what any real man knows. It’s a bit sad that common sense is in such short supply these days. Do you have a not-insane brother or a father whom you can talk to about these things? They’ll tell it to you straight. Barring that, a platonic male friend? Men know how other men think (or how they SHOULD think, anyways). Just find a decent man who seems to have it together, and ask him.

Self-pity is allowed. We aren’t machines. Be sad/angry/morose for a day, maybe two. Find friends and just dive into their smothering love. Then shake it off and cheer up, and TAKE CONTROL. I don’t think “Let it ride” is exactly the best dating strategy. There is luck and timing in relationships, but that doesn’t mean there isn’t judgment and maturity. Guys aren’t random face-down cards that you need to flip-over one-at-a-time to see if they are Kings or Jokers. It’s not random chance. You can make your own luck.

How? This is a long conversation (perhaps a guest post?), but just the basics:

1. Date the hard way. Be more involved with friends, family, church, schools, or volunteer organizations. Get introduced to other people. This way, people who are on your side, your friends, your family, can see and observe the prospect. They are doing a lot of the screening for you. And, if you do get into a relationship, you have a ready-made group of friends who are looking out for the health of the relationship.

2. Be realistic. The perfect guys who were emotionally mature in their 20s aren’t single in their 30s. You can aim for the infinitesimally small fraction of guys who weren’t mature in their 20s, but have magically become so in their 30s. But it’s much more likely that the guys who are ready-to-marry aren’t perfect, and the perfect ones (at least on paper), are planning on getting married. You’ve got to prioritize what you really want, and go for that.

This sounds harsh, but sometimes we make bad decisions willingly, because we’d rather stay in our illusions and fail rather than face reality and succeed. Only in Hugh Grant movies and Disney cartoons does the perfect person fall into our lap with zero effort. Step away from the stranger-dating lottery, and date the hard way. My guess is most of your married friends found each other the hard way.

Correction: The sentence should read “But it’s much more likely that the guys who are ready-to-marry aren’t perfect, and the perfect ones (at least on paper), aren’t planning on getting married.”

Thanks Miss Shell for your kind words! Josh – great advice as usual, I hope you try out being a guest blogger on this site. It’s interesting a few of my guy friends said I was getting fluffed from the beginning, a few pleaded with me to give him a chance (they feel I am too quick to judge and run away).

In theory I agree with you about the “old fashioned” way of meeting compatible people, but here’s the catch. I hang out with people my age, a little older and a little younger. With VERY few one-off exceptions, 100% of the men, AND their male friends, are dating women 22-28 yrs old. I have seriously thought about making new friends in the 45-55 yr old range just to find that “community” group where I can meet a 40ish guy who wants to date a 38-yr old woman and is done with dating chicks 10-15 yrs younger. It’s not that I can’t compete with a 20-something, it’s just that usually the type of man who wants that is not the right guy for me anyway. So, I meet great guys through friends all the time, but they are still busy playing the field with the young set, and have no desire to settle down until about 45. The rest of ‘em, as you guessed, have already married. This age is limbo-land, I’m too old for the 30-something guys and the 50-something guys are too old for me.

Also, Mr. Fluffer emailed me today. It’s clear to me now that he thought my last email reply equaled “everything is cool”, and he’s proceeding business as usual. I have not replied.

God! I’m only 37. My parents are in their 50s. This is so disturbing. I guess I should just hang it up for a few years so the men in their 50s who are DESPERATE to date me are more age appropriate.

Or…better yet…JUST KILL ME NOW!

Yes, I guess this is where the usefulness of my advice stops – I’m male, and, er…under 30. Which limits my perspective.

I can’t offer advice to what you’ve said – it’s a bad deal. I can only sympathize.

Biology is unfair, and the pull of a fertile young woman with firm skin is undeniable. But we are people, not animals, and we can rise above our base instincts. But I understand the temptation – dating became MUCH easier after college. After spending high-school and college at the feet of women, it has all just become much easier. I could easily see how some guys could just coast through their 20s and 30s, enjoying how dating becomes easier and easier. But I don’t want that.

My group of friends are going through the Great Sort right now. Those of us with steady, long-term relationships, moving towards marriage – and those who are players still playing. So I know the type of person you’re dealing with. They’re not bad people, they just don’t really feel the need for emotional intimacy. They like their life and don’t really want to change. And I don’t know what you could say to change them.

Like you said, the “great” guys are still playing – because they’re great, obviously – which makes them not-so-great for you. So prioritize – what’s actually important? For example, women like tall guys. Great for me, but short guys get shafted. Could you live with someone who was shorter than you?

This bland rhetoric is probably pretty un-comforting, even annoying, coming from a idiot who isn’t even 30. But perhaps these two last thoughts will cheer you up. One – I have a close friend, greatest guy in the world, who is dating someone 6 years older then him. He’s totally confident and fearless when it comes to dating. He knows what he wants. Two – people in arranged marriages are just as happy as those who marry for love. So maybe it matters less who you marry, and more how you maintain and cherish relationships.

I’m sorry that you got fluffed. Not all guys are like that. The bottom line for men who fluff is that they don’t know what they want.

Michael

Oh man, I’m so relieved to see that this situation happens to someone else. I can seriously empathize with you on this one. In fact, did we go out with the same guy? Is there some tutorial out there for guys who want to date like this, that women should be aware of? Keep looking straight ahead and don’t give up.

Thanks Michael, yep, this guy doesn’t know what he wants at all. He reached out a few days later, but my heart wasn’t into it. I got back to him about a week later, it was a rather brutal reply. That seemed to stir his interest again which would have been somewhat fulfilling if I wasn’t too old to play these games. cPink, appreciate the empathy, sorry to hear you had a similar experience – the hot and cold thing makes no sense and it’s making me second guess everything now. Last week at a random outing a great guy struck up a conversation and tried really hard to keep my interest, but I just said “I’ll be back” and walked away. What was I thinking? I was thinking, whatever, he’s just fluffing me. Great guy, normally would have been very receptive, but I couldn’t find my mojo to take a chance, full of doubt about what’s real interest and what’s a game. Ugh.

WOW…you just described my summer! I met him in May…was going to be FWB/casual thing. Once a week….just for fun – nothing serious (cant have that, now can we?).

Well, as of mid July, we wound up getting together twice. So much for once a week. I have never been treated so bad, by such a “nice guy”. He sounded nice – he seemed sincere. Certainly a hard working guy. Just got out of a relationship of 8 years.

Everytime we scheduled a date, he would cancel. Usually that day. His excuses ranged from work (owned his own business – I have to stop dating these types of guys), to an ex g/f stalking, to his own illness (twice)….AND HE WOULD NEVER RESCHEDULE. That was what was really pi**ing me off.

When I finally saw him again (took 5 weeks), it was late (after 10) and he was exhausted from working outside all day. I constantly had to keep myself on his radar. It was becoming a one way street, He didnt seem to care about all the canceled dates in June that he left in his wake and all the “I owe you one” text msgs he sent me.

Talk is cheap. Keep you word and show up at my door, for a change. It is hard to understand. I can appreciate someone being busy, but at some point – you make a choice about who you spend your free time with. The worst part? If he contacted me today, I would still see him.

But, I now know what this is called.

I love this site, btw. Good stuff!

wow…I’m a female and think your e-mail was a bit harsh and you sent TWO? That is classic “stupid girl” thing to do. Send a personal e-mail and then send one to his BUSINESS stating you sent him a personal e-mail? You are the one with the problem. You already stated you KNEW the man had a very serious work issue coming up but that was not good enough for you. You still wanted to be his center of attention.

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