Over here at Maura Kelly Headquarters, we've been alerted to the fact that there's A SERIOUS PROBLEM out there in The Dating World.
To wit: Women seem to think it's perfectly okay to completely blow off dudes who ask them on a second date.
And their lady friends do not call them out on this behavior (unless their lady friends happen to be myself).
Whereas if a male tried to pull anything like this, women everywhere would be up in arms, picketing outside the fellow's house, and writing to the International Association for Blowing the Whistle on Caddish Behavior, asking to have the guy in question put on the Annual List of Men Who Should Be Blackballed from Human Society.
Know what I mean?
And yet--despite the way we all feel when WE are ignored in some way by dudes--we seem to think it's perfectly okay to pull the silent treatment ourselves.
In fact, over the last couple of weeks, TWO of my female friends have called me up, groaning, saying, "Ugh, so yeah, that guy from the other night that I was soooo not into? Asked me out for another date, of course. I'm just going to ignore him and hope he goes away."
No, ladies, no!
I will admit that back when I was younger and much more foolish, I too could get all arrogant and aggravated if a guy I wasn't interested in followed up with me. I'd diss him completely or wait a week to call him back or whatever.
Which is to say: I'd engage in DISRESPECTFUL BEHAVIOR!
Rather than being guided by the simple golden rule, that most imperative of categorical imperatives--treat others as you'd like to be treated--I'd act like a real nincompoop.
Why did I think it was all right to do that?
Perhaps it was because the man's affections made me feel so regal--so sexier-than-thou--that I lost my head and became temporarily insane by reason of being an ego-maniac. Perhaps it was because I thought the dude had to be an idiotic knucklehead if he hadn't picked up on the fact that I JUST WASN'T THAT INTO HIM and therefore it was okay to treat him like a subaltern. Certainly it was because, for whatever reason, my empathetic powers--which I like to think are pretty good in most circumstances--failed me completely.
Since then--cue the angels--I have seen the light.
These days, I handle it a lot better if a guy I'm not that into asks me on a second date.
Here's what I do:
1) If he asks me in person--at the end of the first date--I DO NOT REFUSE HIM POINT-BLANK, FACE-TO-FACE. Too potentially painful and awkward for both of us. Instead, I hesitantly say, "Sure." I might also be unable to keep myself from grimacing a bit. Then I mention that I'm pretty busy and that we should email to make plans for the next time.
2) As soon as possible on the following day, I WRITE A POLITE NO-THANK-YOU NOTE, saying that while I enjoyed our time together--and while I think he is attractive, interesting, and all the rest--I just did not feel that elusive, ineffable chemistry thing.
3) Make an effort, in your note, to MENTION THE MAN'S GOOD POINTS. Come on--be the big person! What do you have to lose? And sure, in rare cases--as with that one dude went off about how all women are gold-diggers--there is really nothing positive worth saying. But most of the time, if you can't find something nice to say, the problem might be with you!
4) At the same time, BE FIRM. Don't say things like, "I'm too busy for a relationship right now, though you're totally great" or "I'm still hung up on some other guy" or whatever. Do not give him ANY reason to hope! Sever the ties cleanly and clearly.
In sum, let me just say to the chicks: Guys have feelings too! Why do we seem to forget--or willfully ignore--this at times? Please, be kind.
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Lovelies--ladies and gents--you with me on this?
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-dear J.V.: i think you should tell the girl that she knows where to find you if she wants to hang out again. then leave the ball in her court--and try to put her out of your mind. i'm sorry to say that i think it's not great that she's talking about her busy schedule when it's time for date #4. but hang in there, darling.
-babs: did you find the fan page on fbook? if so, thank you for joining! xxx
-mcgig: my friend D-Spech and I had a singles party somewhat similar to the one you suggest recently. it went really well! i'll blog about it sooner or later.
-and camerashy! please don't lose sympathy. i will talk more about me+second chances v. soon. like maybe tomorrow. and explain a little! but in the meantime, please remember that i went on a second date, very recently, with jacques manray. and despite my serious reservations, i gave barnaby jepperbook a fair shake. AND and and ... i have a second date with someone this weekend. so ... ? come on. i'm trying.
-cali: i agree with you; the internet dating can get kind of tiresome, because people look good "on paper" (or on the world wide web) and then in person just don't seem so scrumptious. sigh. c'est la online personals.
-hi edwinna! i know. i wasn't hasty with any of them, i promise.