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Wednesday, June 29, 2011

The Bachelorettes Are Not Alright

Bachelorette Ashley has fallen for Mr. Wrong.
Mr. Wrong describes himself as "a 30 year old child". Coincidentally, he also has a child of his own.

I have never watched the Bachelorette before but I can tell you right away that the premise is wrong. Women can not court men. However, she can make herself available and allow him to sweep her off her feet. I imagine that is how the show would work if The Bachelorette had met The Rules. Instead, we have the following mistakes made by an otherwise capable women.

The Bachelorette allowed herself to become emotionally involved in a man she just met, who did not care for her.Ashley mentions Mr. Wrong's name so often that I was tempted to invent a drinking game where I take a shot of alcohol everytime I hear her moan it plaintively to the full moon. "Mr. Wrong, come back to me..." This is the equivalent of laying down in the street and wondering why your clothes are dirty. Stand up, shut up and let him come to you. If she hadn't tried so hard to engage him, he may actually have tried to win her. This is a saying "men want what they can not have". No, we all want what we can not have. It's how emotionally immature people meet and marry to breed more emotionally immature people. Stop the cycle. In truth, she probably was more hung up on him because he was running away from her. Do not get bitter; just smarten up and stop being such an emotional train wreck because you are wasting precious time.

The Bachelorette asked overly personal questions before it was polite to do so.
Hear Ye, All Women! You are not in position to demand answers on everything when you just meet a man. You have secrets and so does he. Questions like "What is the hardest thing you have ever lived through?" and "Tell me about your divorce" are not first date conversation. Neither is asking about a man's child. Children and family are off limits unless volunteered. You are entitled to the truth upon making a new acquaintance, not a CSI profile.

The Bachelorette volunteered far too much, far too soon.
Do not answer questions you have not been asked. Do not treat your boyfriend like your sister. Think your thoughts rather than saying them for a change. Extreme details are something all single girls should get out of the habit of sharing with strangers or new friends. No one really likes that much honesty. Telling a group of men who are vying for your attention that you are broken-hearted over the recently departed Mr. Wrong is a sure-fire way to over-share and make yourself look silly. This brings me to my final point...

The Bachelorette does not love those who love her.
If I had 7 eligible bachelors and only room for one husband, I would be looking for reasons to disqualify them. Allowing a man to take the lead and disqualify himself would be a blessing rather than a curse. Mooning after Mr. Wrong long after he has flown the coop is a classic case of crying over a door closing and not noticing the 7 doors still open. A Rules girl knows better. A Rules girl knows in her heart that she is a blessing to any relationship, but only one lucky guy will get her. When The Bachelorette revealed too much, the men reacted in anger (read: jealousy). She damaged her image in front of them. They did not value her honesty because it flew in the face of how much she valued them. If you care about a relationship, you do not throw out emotional bombshells "just because". They could have gone on merrily never knowing that she almost threw them over for a total jerk. No harm done.
But now she has a need to tell eligible men about it?! WHY?
They were concerned that she was just a silly child and antics like that indicate she is.
If you need to vent, Single Girl, write in your journal. If you have a secret to share, call your sister. Unless he wants to be your boyfriend, then he is not interested or entitled to your baggage.

A Brief Note on Statements as Questions
My suspicion is that single girls volunteer too much, too soon because they are clouding questions as statements. Saying a statement like "I was really in love with Mr. Wrong" is a weak attempt at getting a man to declare his feelings for you. Statements as questions always back-fire. We do it because we are scared, and we always hear the wrong thing as a result. Instead of hearing, "he was a jerk" and "I would never do that to you" - which is what The Bachelorette was hoping to hear - the men reacted in a jealous rage and one silly fool gave her an ultimatum. She was right to call his bluff and load him on the boat, but she could really have avoided all that drama by keeping her insecurities to herself.

Thursday, June 16, 2011

The Rules Put All Men on an Even Playing Field

The Rules say "We only love those who love ourselves".
This means that among the many thousands of men out there, a girl does not need to exhaust herself wondering who likes her since there are quantifiable milestones against which to measure a man's interest. His actions speak loudest. The man who walks across a room to talk to you, who buys you a drink and asks for your number is the man who likes you. The others just aren't that into you. The End.

By that rationale, any man in the world has a shot at any woman in the world.
If he behaves decently and clearly, then every Rules girl will sit up and take notice. She will not be chasing other men in the room or trying to catch someone else's eye when you are talking to her. She will not blow off your planned date at the last minute for someone else. She will not burden you with a bunch of personal nonsense before you are ready.

I went out with some friends last Friday night and over the course of the evening 3 men bought me a drink. The first man was a very sweet older man. Not sure why I caught his attention but he sent a drink over and I thanked him graciously. The next man was a friend of a friend. He was very sweet and only spoke to me for a moment. He could be married, widowed or gay. I have no idea because a Rules girl does not quiz strangers on personal matters. Again, I thanked him warmly just once and when he left I went back to what I was doing. Finally, as I was walking out I ran into an old friend who is currently in an on again/ off again relationship of his own. He bought me a drink and we had a good conversation. That's it. Then I went home.

Compare these lovely men with a certain ladykiller (we will call him Johnny Utah) who I met the same night. While joining a friend outside while she smoked, I was introduced to Johnny Utah. I recognized his name because he had asked me to be his Facebook friend a while back but I (politely) declined because I do not allow strange men to get off on my page thank-you-very-much. Besides, his reputation already precedes him. I happen to know that he has a multitude of females he is currently seeing. One such female caused such a jealous ruckus the previous weekend that she had to be escorted outside to cool down. I do not need that kind of drama. This man - who was not really that good-looking - had all the confidence in the world and he knew that was attractive to women. This type of man is dangerous, Single Girl; Be Warned!

To recap, he did not walk over to talk to me in front of others, this man did not buy me a drink, he did not ask for my number. Instead, he bragged about how many ex-girlfriends he had, he spoke poorly about girls who made the mistake of falling for his charms and he spent a good amount of time leering down the top of my corset. He had the decency to tell me I looked beautiful - but really - I was already telling myself that so it was redundant. I casually looked around. He was pulling the whole James Dean-esque "I'm so unattainable" nonsense - in short, he was an asshole - and I realized that the other girls were eating this up! As a good Rules girl, I politely excused myself and went back to what I was doing.
First thing Monday morning, I received a message from him via Facebook.
"Hi Beautiful"
Let's analyze this, shall we? He didn't want anyone else to know he was sending private messages and he got around this by creeping me on Facebook. This isn't sweet, it's predatory. Furthermore, it's not a question, it's a statement. If he wanted an actual response, he would have send an actual message. He was trying to get something for nothing. He was trying to get me to waste my time tapping out a converation-starter while he masturbated in his parent's basement. I deleted it.
Then he he sent a Friend request.
I (politely) declined it.
Again.

Let's compare this to the message I received from the second man who actually bought me a drink.
First, he sent a Friend request. He did not wait until Monday to seem "cool". He sent it on Saturday. It was there when I woke up. After I accepted, he sent a little message saying that it was nice to meet me ...etc.
I waited 24 hours and responded a quick little note thanking him for the drink.
He followed up with a witty one-liner and I left it at that. If he wants to ask me out, he knows how. I don't need to hound him with silly text messages asking him "How was your day?" to remind him of my presence. That's annoying. It's also transparent. He knows what you are doing. It doesn't come off as sweet and genuinely interested like you were hoping, it comes off as needy.

Single Girl, the man who likes you and treats you like a lady may not be the most handsome guy in the room, but they call the others "ladykillers" for a reason. If you continue to become emotionally invested in men who are not that interested, then you will be old and bitter before your time. I have good dating karma because I do The Rules. Continue to look at the situation with clear eyes and full hearts and you can not lose.

MakeTheDevilPale

It was something of a surprise when the man showed up at the door.
If this was the same man, the same policeman, the boyfriend of the bridesmaid who had already pulled her aside during the extreme bridal shower and told her that she had cheated on her current boyfriend. Cheated when they were on a “break”. Cheated but he did not know it. He was still her boyfriend, after all. Today, here at the wedding, he was her boyfriend. But then there he was at the wedding, left alone at the crucial time between the church and the reception… and he was on the hunt. And she was alone because she was not a bridesmaid.

She did not know why she was not a bridesmaid. She suspected it was one of two reasons. One, there were already a perfect square of four girls and four boys available for her impeding nuptials. Or Two, - and this is the reason she believed in her heart, as if the first reason wasn’t bad enough – that she was bad luck, the black death of marriage. She had never herself been married. It was merely that she had been included in two weddings previously, as a maid of honour and a bridesmaid respectively, both of which had not gone forward. Two broken engagements with the only thing in common being she, herself, Elle. As such, she did not blame the current bride for not including her in the sacred bridal shower. She was delighted in her sad way to be asked to do a reading and nothing more was ever said of the fact.

The cheating bridesmaid's boyfriend was handsome in a suit.  He complained that he had not even met his girlfriend’s parents. Elle silently nodded to herself. He mentioned that they had been dating two years and still no parents. He didn’t know it yet, but there would be no point in meeting her father. The girlfriends’ father was a Muslim man and expected his daughter to marry the same. The boyfriend started to ask what type of relationship disallowed meeting the girls’ parents, mystified, more talking to himself in the bright light of the wedding hall. Elle shook her head, still silent. When he asked her what kind of man she was interested in, she asked if he would like to sit down. Mostly to reduce the spectacle of this tall gorgeous man in a well cut suit talking with her. She couldn’t remember why she had started talking to him in the first place, except that he had looked lonely without his bridesmaid girlfriend busy doing sacred bridesmaid things. Now Elle felt she had overstepped some border and was deeply embarrassed. It was doubly ironic that they sat down next to her own mother who required an introduction. Now, he had effectively met Elle’s parents since her father was dead. In the space of a few minutes, she had exceeded the familiararity that the girlfriend and boyfriend had not been able to bridge in two years and the conversation lagged as her face turned red.

A month later, Elle was in the kitchen with a friend when the man knocked on the door. From the kitchen window she saw the broad shoulders, high and tight haircut and official-looking blue uniform of the tall man. Immediately she slid to the floor.
“Oh, shoot! It’s the guy from the wedding! Go answer the door”, she giggled.
“What? Why?”
“Just go answer the door,” she wheezed in desperation, “and if he asks for me, tell him I have moved away”.
Her friend angled her neck to get a view out the window, but started toward the door when the doorbell rang.
“Moved where?” said the friend. She knew this wouldn’t work.
“Tell him I enlisted in the Reserves and went to Afganistan” Elle shrieked as she raced upstairs.
The door opened and the man’s anxious eyes searched her face. He was much older than she had expected. Perhaps by as much as twenty years. Her throat tightened. Something was wrong here.
“Hello?” she said.
The man did not find in her face what he had been looking for and he straightened up. A veil fell over his face that made her friend want to run upstairs and grab Elle and drag her to the door, if only to ease his suffering.
“Hello. Is Elle here?” he wanted to say more but censored himself.
“No, I’m sorry, she moved away”
“Moved away?” he repeated and started looking at the house in total, above and to the sides, as thought there would be some sort of obvious structural reason for a move.
“Well, not moved away. Yes, she…enlisted in the Reserves and went to Afganistan”
This was a mistake immediately. This was an enormous mistake.
His face froze and looked stricken. He searched her eyes for truth but his eyes were glassy and not really looking at all.
She wanted to speak, to correct this lie but he was far too quick for her. He whispered a word of thanks and turned on his heel, beret in hand, and marched to his car.
From the bedroom, Elle heard the car. There was no mistaking it, the outrageous engine that sounded like a Harley. She rushed to the window but she didn’t catch a look at it. She stayed at the window for a moment, lost in thought. Thinking of him…
Elle came down stairs slowly and smiled at her friend. The friend smiled back.
“What did he say?” asked Elle lightly, her mind in the past, grateful to be rid of a potentially embarrassing situation in the here and now.
“Oh, nothing. He seemed surprised… but he just left”.
“Good.” said Elle.
It was not until later, after the friend had said her goodbyes and left, that her mind was called back to that moment when the man straightened up, when she noticed that his uniform, while official, was not a police officer’s uniform at all. That on his left breast, he had a small board of metals. He wore a beret, not a hat. That he was a soldier.

Monday, June 13, 2011

How Doing The Rules At Work ...Works!

This story is for all the gals who are dating men who are married or separated (note: they are still married!) or who make fools of themselves at work over otherwise attached and unavailable men. This story is also for every girl who is living with a man, without benefit of marriage.

Last summer, as I was bringing in the mail and going without pantyhose on a hot day, I walked past Reception where a young man was waiting for his interview/ first day on the job. He looked at me anxiously and I threw him a big smile while I breezed through the door. Well, it must have worked because the following Monday he was at the edge of my desk introducing himself and shaking my hand. The next day he was asking for a Kleenex and by the end of the week he was asking if he could charge his iPod at my desk. He was kind of a pain in the ass but I could tell he was trying to flirt with me. As a devoted Rules girl, I took a moment to breathe everytime he spoke to me and did not confuse his (annoying) requests with the beginning of a relationship. He did not ask me out and I did not get involved in a fantasy relationship.

No one else noticed his attentions and according to The Rules I did not breathe a word. Good thing, because when news about him began to spread it was learned that he lived with his girlfriend. Uh oh! I wondered to myself if I had mis-read what was happening, but then I shrugged my shoulders and ignored him and whatever else was said. He was clearly spoken for, I did not need to know anything else.

As summer turned to fall and then fall into winter, he struck up a casual flirtation with a temp in our office. The sexual chemistry between the two was electric, and people began to talk. He may have been living with someone but he was not faithful. He is a womanizer. Again, I stayed quiet. This was none of my concern. The night of the Christmas party, the temp arrived to go in a cab with the young man but he jumped in a cab with me and two friends instead. He mumbled something about "keeping me warm" and I just smiled. It was clear that he was trying to make the temp jealous and it was clear the temp was falling for it by blowing up his phone but I did not need to get involved with his nonsense. As soon as we arrived I made a point of getting away from him and sat with my friends. In the middle of dinner, between courses, he got up and walked across the whole room to ask me for a lighter. I don't smoke. I smiled and shook my head. I was positive he was looking for reasons to talk to me. But here are the facts: he lives with another woman, he is flirting with the temp and he is all around trouble. As my mother would say, he is not housebroken. He is just a silly puppy bounding on everyone's leg. I did not want to lose my dignity - or my job - by encouraging him.

The night of the Christmas party, he slept with the temp. Ew! They were making out on the elevator and she promised a threesome. It did not materialize and the "relationship" faltered. In the new year, they could not stand to be anywhere near each other. The temp suddenly starting talking about a boyfriend in Kansas City and the young man did his best to keep a low profile. Winter passed by peacefully and into spring.

This June, a woman in the branch was having a birthday and invited us to a sports bar to watch the Cup final and to raise a glass with her. The young man asked if I was going to be there. When he spoke to me first, I took the opportunity to talk to the young man. He had worked at the office for a year and I had never actually spoken with him. He came across as decent and intelligent but truly insatiable when it came to women. He is always looking for a bigger, better deal. Since that's not my problem, since men never really change and since he was not asking my opinion, I did not comment on it. I ended the conversation first and went to talk to a different group, and then I went home.

Two days later I saw him in the staff room and he said "I really had a good time talking with you the other night".

The Moral of this Story
At every opportunity this man was looking for as much as he could get. Any conquest he made, he immediately told everyone he could about it. (How else do you think I came to know about it? Duh!) This man is bad news and he leaves female carnage in his wake. The temp got herself in involved in a fantasy relationship and she jeopardized her job as a result. This is stupid but it happens in offices every day. Do not allow yourself to be a cautionary tale, Single Girl.

Monday, June 6, 2011

A Tale of Two Texters

This week, a man asked for my number because we both like...camping...and he said he would take me on a camping date.  But he did not give me his name. So this week he has been texting, and not getting responses, but still texting;

Tuesday: "hi its Mauricio" (Since I literally had no idea who that was, I made a choice not to answer out of safety)
Wednesday: "hi its Mauricio from pof" (Okay. Now I know who you are. But why should I care?)
Thursday: "?". (me too Mauricio, me too...)
Friday: "Elle is something wrong? do I have the right number lol" (Is this funny Mauricio?)

Four days later...
This man actually called on a Tuesday night at 9:30!
He called... and sadly, he failed to complete the task he had set for himself which might have been ...actually talking to me...

He couldn't get my name right and was condescending when I corrected him. He asked how I was and then repeated my answer in a high falsetto like he was imitating my voice. I hung up.
He texted: What's wrong? I just want to be friends...
I am so grateful that I did not go to any effort to learn more about this guy.

The fact that he did not call me and act normally is evidence enough that he is not serious about this whole dating thing. The first rule of thumb is do not waste another person's time, and he was clearly wasting mine.
But...be cautious Single Girl!
The urge at this point might be to send your number out to one and all like so much bait and then see who reels you in.

No so! Just because texting is not the correct means to "get to know someone" does not mean that you can start breaking The Rules. You still only give your number out when you are asked directly. And "Do I have your number?" does not cut it.

Just to prove The Rules, I did the exact opposite of the above advice. On Monday I had 2 POF messages, both from interesting men. One man wrote that he wanted to take me out and named a place (but not a time! This is called "bookmarking") and the other asked if we could "chat". To the first man, I wrote that I accepted his "date" and gave my number. To the second, I waited 24 hours and then wrote back "Sadly, I do not chat on the internet" and no further details.

Pop quiz, Single Girl; which man am I still talking to?

If you guessed the man who mentioned a date, then you guessed wrong. The man who got my number without asking treated my number like something that was worthless and never called. He thought I gave it out to anyone. A phone number is an extention of yourself, take care of it. You are going to be crushed if you give your number out and no one calls. That's normal! So do not set yourself up for disaster.

The man who wanted to chat is not serious either but I still get the odd message from him. The point is, he has not lost interest. Why? Because I haven't burdened him with a bunch of nonsense. I haven't given my number to him without asking. I haven't made myself overly available, or inexplicably rigid. This feels a lot better than wondering why the guy didn't call, doesn't it?