…or my (failed and flawed) foray into the world of romance!
I had an “interesting” April, I must say. After being single for some time (and quite happy being so), I went out for drinks for a Twitter friend’s birthday, and met a man who I found interesting, charming and attractive. For all intents and purposes, I was pretty sure he felt the same way about me, because he was attentive and warm and made sure I was looked after the entire night. We really hit it off, and to cut a long story short, we ended up at my place and got, well, jiggy with it.
Now I’m not adverse to the odd bit of casual sex here and there (I lived my 20s in the 80s, so it was sort of par for the course), so when we swapped mobile numbers as he left the next day, and he texted me from the taxi with a “thank you beautiful” I was surprised. I was even more surprised to get a text the next morning saying he was just about to board a plane for work (I knew he was flying out for four weeks on the Monday and I cheekily suggested an encore performance when he got back) and “thanking me again for a great Saturday night”. I thought, wow, this guy is keen. Cool! So I texted him back my email address in case he wanted to get in touch while he was away. And he did. Two days later.
And for the next four weeks we emailed and Twitter DMd. Everyday. Alot. I got quite flirty in my emails – hell, I’d slept with the man – so why not?! So I could be forgiven for thinking that this guy and I had a connection, right? Well, I was wrong.
When it came to actually wanting to see me when he got back, I got every excuse under the sun. From doctor’s appointments to haircuts to going out with his dad to his brother visiting from interstate in a few days. His plans didn’t include me and he was avoiding me like the plague. But, and here’s the interesting thing: he was still texting me! What the?!
Lucky for me, I have a very short attention span, and I got bored with the excuses and the texting. Give me a voice! Give me a face! Give me a real person! Apparently not, because it seemed that he preferred me as a penpal. So I told him in quite a classy, non-snippy way that I was done with that dance, and if he wanted to spend time with me, to call. I immediately got a text back saying that he was sorry I felt that way. Then that was it. Nothing to rectify the way I was feeling. No suggestion of a gap in his schedule and a rendezvous. Just a big fat silence*.
I found out later via my Twitter network that he was messaging and emailing another girl as constantly as he was me. And who knows how many more? This has led me to just one conclusion: that he was an attention-seeking dumb-arse who used women to stroke his ego. I could be wrong, but that’s how I see it.
However, and to be fair, I did get swept up in the romance and excitement and rush of it all. It’s been 5ish years since The Italian, and a couple of years since I thought about even hooking up with anyone, so I probably missed a few clues about his intentions. And had I been paying attention, there were signs along the way that all was not as it seemed. So I’m going to share these signs with you (more or less in order of appearance) in the hope that you learn something from my experience, and, more to the point, that I do too:
Sign #1 – “Don’t tweet about this” was what he said to me on the morning after the night before (I’m very active on Twitter). Steve Harvey (my hero and – note to self – I must reread his book) said that men who aren’t “kicking it” will proudly own/claim their woman. I honoured this no-tweet request because I thought it was about discretion. But clearly, he had no sense of ownership and was just kicking my tyres. Oh, and, as it turns out, hedging his bets.
Sign #2 – If you send links to your blog/s and he admits to not reading them, he’s not interested in you. At all. In the slightest. If he was, he would want to know all about you and what makes you tick. He would find out anything he could about you in order to understand you. And he would appreciate your sharing them with him just so he can have some insight into what makes you you.
Sign #3 – Quantity of communication does not translate into quality. I’ll admit that the constant stream of Twitter DMs was flattering, but any discourse analyst worth her salt will tell you that there was nothing meaningful in them. They consisted of a running commentary of his daily itinerary, apologies for not having “proper” contact (with the implied promise that there would be), and less than satisfactory responses to what I was saying. Ditto the emails. FYI when you tell a guy that you can’t wait to see him, or you flirt with him and you get nothing back, things are not looking good, even if the quantity of communication continues or is increased. PS in these sorts of circumstances, setting up push notifications on your Twitter DMs turns you into Pavlov’s dog. I would warn against it.
Sign #4 – As mentioned, I’m pretty active on Twitter. I respond to just about everything that anyone says to me. So I was surprised (and sometimes disappointed) that he often ignored my response to something he said in the public timeline, and chose to respond to others instead, often at length, and often with more information than I was getting. I would say that this is linked to Sign #1 but is worthy of its own category. Also, during this period, at no time did he respond publicly to anything I tweeted or facebooked in my timeline.
Sign #5 – If a man can’t tell you when he can see you, cut your losses, even if he is STILL texting you. I ran this particular scenario past a couple of male mates and they said that if they wanted to see a girl, they would make damn sure of it, no excuses. Lack of time, or being rushed is not a viable excuse. Only near death comes close. And my personal opinion is, that while feminism has blurred protocol, the boy should be making it really clear he wants to see the girl, rather than the other way around. I know that’s so 1950, but it’s probably one of the only ways you know he’s genuine. At the beginning anyway.
Sign #6 – I was on an emotional roller-coaster during those four weeks, and I admitted to a few people that the whole thing was doing my head in. I kept telling myself that I was an idiot for being doubtful, and he wasn’t doing anything to make me not trust him. All the while, my guts were churning and I flip-flopped between a sense of panic and relief. Given that all the signs were there, it’s no wonder my alarm bells were going off. My gut had worked out what was going on way ahead of my brain and hormones.
My final thoughts on this nonsense
It’s only with hindsight, though, that I am able to make sense out of the nonsense that presented itself to me. And on further analysis, this experience has nothing to do with casual sex, which is fine in and of itself as long as both parties know that that’s what it is. But once expectations (of perhaps a longer term situation) are established or communicated, that’s when the whole game changes because emotions and feelings become involved and boundaries are blurred by raised hopes. My thoughts? Keep casual sex casual and don’t establish any expectations of anything more. Ever. And if you meet someone you like who you could have feelings for, Steve Harvey says don’t give him any “benefits” for three months. Because everyone needs to have a probationary period before they get the goods.
* Interestingly, as soon as he was back on the ship he started texting me again. I ignored the first one, responded to the second (which firstly admonished me for deleting/blocking him on all social media, and then asked me how he could get a message to me. I responded with a “What did you expect?” and “You have my email address”). The third one was a text telling me how awazing and beautiful I was. Blah blah blah. I responded to that with a “Well, if I was that awesome you would have been banging down my door… I’m doing the math and this doesn’t add up”. Don’t think he’ll like the fact that I’m not stupid and I refuse to buy in to whatever game he is playing. And that should be the end of this story. And it was.