Monday, March 2, 2009

He's Just Too Into You??

I am writing this blog as the movie "He’s Just Not That Into You" is hot in the theaters. Every woman in New York now knows (as if they really didn’t know before) that if he’s not calling – or if he’s not calling with the courtesy of a few days advance notice to make plans – he’s just not where you want your guy to be. Women get that if the guy doesn’t call it’s because he simply doesn’t want to (just like if the girl doesn’t return the call, we all know it wasn’t because she was “so busy”). Whether actually it sinks in is another question…

But what about the opposite scenario … the scenario where the guy is saying all the things that the woman wants to hear and immediately doing all the things the woman wants him to do. Back in the day boys told girls that they really liked them, that they were really pretty, etc. to increase their chances of getting what they really wanted. At some point the women, having heard it all before, understood the dynamic and knew not to take anything said as anything other than what it was – not to be too cryptic, we’re all adults here after all. But when the sweet lies are so much more and touch a much deeper psyche, the stakes can be perilously high.

Let me explain. I knew a girl a few years ago who was somewhere between a friendly acquaintance and friend. One day “Natalie” (this one’s not a Jane) called me extremely excited about a guy with whom she had gone on three dates. That’s fine – I think we’ve established that it’s good to be excited. But when she told me that the guy had said that he loved her on the third date my role as the cheerleader stopped and I candidly took stock of the situation. I explained to Natalie that no normal guy would feel like he was actually in love on the third date but if he did feel that way he wouldn’t dare say it – the rules of normal guy conduct would prevent that from being uttered for many, many dates to come. In my most frank opinion, I told Natalie what I think is plainly obvious to most readers - I warned that she should be cautious about this one (inside I was thinking “run Natalie, run!” but I was trying to provide a semblance of support). Two weeks later, I was supposed to meet up with Natalie and her new beau in the Hamptons, however, she permanently blew me off in the coldest of ways an aquaintance/friend who doesn’t want to hear the voice of reason possibly can. Two years later I ran into Natalie out with mutual friends. Within minutes of reconnecting, she confided that I had been “right about that guy.” This I knew, but she clearly had to figure it out on her own.

Sometimes you hear a friend telling you a story about her latest love interest and you can’t help but think – “do you understand how insane this sounds?” The bubbly voice on the other end of the phone proudly uttering - “He wants 2.5 kids too, with me do you believe it? And he also wants to live in a Tudor house and have a granite kitchen counter top!” Ok, I exaggerate slightly – though oftentimes it’s worse. On the first date this knight in shining armor is telling a tale that every Cinderella wants to eat up with trusting enthusiasm. But that’s just the problem. It’s a fairy tale. And you have to wonder why grown women believe in it like they’re eight again. Most men are simply not talking or acting like this on the first date … or second … or third. There is standard guy conduct – guys from Mars behavior – and this isn’t it. Okay maybe one can argue it is, because there’s just enough of it out there to make it appear like the conduct of a Martian subspecies. Unike the guy who takes four months before he even feels comfortable writing "Love" before his name on your Christmas card, these aberrant men come on super strong, baring their inner most desires and transfering them recklessly to the smiling face across the table only to figure out several dates later that they never truly felt that way towards this particular woman in the first place. And of course, the women are left reeling four dates later after they’ve prematurely told all their friends and family this is “the One.” When the behavior comes from a guy of 18 you can cut him some slack – at 38 or 48 you have to wonder what is up with these men ... Is it simply that this guy who is way too into the woman, way too quicky is tired of the chase and overcompensating for a lifetime dedicated to his career (or friends) and now is far too eager to catch up to his married peers?

And of course, one must also consider the reasons underlying the willingness of the listener of these tales/promises/sweet nothings to believe in what they would otherwise greet with profound skepticism were they on the other end of the phone (the rational listening end). Can you possibly feel like someone is "the One" when you've only read his or her Match profile and spoken on the phone a few times (even if they're long conversations). Why is it that some women go on one date and in the taxi home they’re already planning their wedding and envisioning their lives with someone they’ve spent a total of 4 hours with? Is it that these women are simply searching for any reason to fall in love … obsessively, foolishly, head over heals in love? Are they being hopeless romantics or simply hopeless? Is it immaturity (despite their objective age) or amnesia as to what it truly means to love someone? And do these men seriously lack self-awareness or are they victims of that same romantic self-delusion? Guys, if there was ever a time to comment and shed some light here, this is one of them. Perhaps there’s a sequel "He’s Just Too Into You" being written somewhere …


  1. Lack of Awareness and victims of that same romantic self-delusion? A little of both. As 30 year old man I have in my mind what I am looking for. When I go on a date I take that romantic picture that is embedded in my brain housing group... As soon as the conversation begins she already has won me over, one, because of that picture that is my head of what I am looking for... This can be tragic because most of the time the girl is no where close to what I have in mind. This is when I start to say all of the right things, why? Well, because at the moment I do mean them, thus creating a snow ball effect. She likes what she hears and that is a good thing... She then starts to talk to her parents and friends about our date and etc. Then the second date comes around... At this point everyone is on cloud 9. We think we are a perfect match. The kind of match that Marni would arrange... But then it happens. You know the kind of thing that happened to Mellisa on the Bachelor. They both should have known better. You take a step back and realize that the picture you have of eachother is probably not accurate. There is nothing worse than going on a date and feeling reserved or afraid of having fun. Dates should be fun and exciting. When both are having the same amount of fun illusions start to develop. Its okay, its part of living and being human. Its when we forget its only an illusion that we get in trouble.

  2. Once again, point well made. But I suppose the question is why doesn't your (and when I say "your", I mean all the guilty parties!) internal regulating device stop you from allowing that person to morph into the "image" you have in your head - when that person clearly doesn't fit the bill (or might, but you can't know it yet). And the trouble you allude to can be truly detrimental to people as they allow things to snowball. Poor Melisa's heartbreak was so public, but many people out there have been similarly duped (by themselves AND the other party).