Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Red Light, Green Light, No Lights?

Like any smart person dating or living, I have certain non-negotiables when it comes to men: He must do what he says he will do (have follow-through). He must have initiative (put as much time and energy into planning, talking, and general effort). He must have manners (ack rite, be a gentleman, and know how to hold a fork correctly). He must have self-confidence (sexy). He must love watching football as much as I do and drink PBR (because if you can't agree on your teams or your brews, what in life can you agree on?!). This is like the Holy Grail. I get that every other female on the face of the Earth is looking for this dude; here's hoping I'm just more tenacious in finding him.

And I'm getting closer, what with all these relationship lifestyle changes. For possibly the first time in my life, a guy other than my father or a very platonic male friend is treating me like a princess-- but one in a glass tower, wearing a chastity belt. It's quite possible I'm just hornier and used to taking the bull by the horns (or other things,) and just jumping into bed with it. This would not be a shocking world revelation. As the past has shown, this isn't always the best decision and doesn't tend to lead to being treated like anything more special then a really great lay, which is why strides are being made to Do The Right Thing Here and Play The Game. But it does bring up some questions, other than "Are you even attracted to me? And if not, then why do you guys do all of this?"

But I am not a man. Obviously. And sometimes, when playing with new men, I feel extremely out of my comfort zone. There are things that I know what they mean coming from a woman, but coming from a man, I am completely lost in translation. And when I get lost, I get, well...masculine. Instead of the sweet, flirty, lovable girl I want to be around the men I'd consider letting through the Pearly Gates, my masculinity comes out to play at the wrong time to take charge! and Just Do It. (Obviously, that one's trademarked by Nike.) But despite the gender-bending overtures, I'm still no closer to getting any of this, and I AM attracted! What gives?!

So, today, male readers, you get to do ME a solid and help me decode dude behavior and figure this out. Listed below are some standard actions of men currently engaged in the early stages of getting to know a woman. Preceding them are icons-- a G for if women interpret this behavior as "all systems go!", a ? if we're completely baffled by if this is a good or bad sign, and a R if we take this to be a complete failure in the interest of ever getting it on. Your job is to correct me if I've got the wrong end of the stick on any of this. And ladies, you're not left out of the game, either-- What are some other completely baffling men dating behaviors? Let's sort this the hell out!

[G] If he talks to you every day-- either via in person if it's possible, phone, text, chat, etc.
[?] If he talks about other women who were flirting with him. On one hand, maybe he's trying to feel out how you feel about him by seeing if you're jealous. On the other hand, maybe he wants help in picking them up. I have no idea how to feel about this one.
[R] If he brings up his past relationships. Dudes-- Unless you are asked, point-blank, to discuss your exes or another girl you had a "thing" with, or unless something pertinent happened with them which goes to explain a point in your current relationship-- it is bad form to bring up another woman while talking to a woman. Especially in bed. Don't laugh. That's happened to me, more than once.
[G] If he asks you about your sex life. Then he's thinking about your sex life. (Caveat: Some men are dogs and just want to inappropriately ask you about your sex life with no reason, and no groundwork beforehand. Consider them like hand grenades-- volatile, and apt to destroy with reckless abandon.)
[G] If he tries to validate himself to you as someone awesome-- bragging about prowess, financial status, work, school, or sport accomplishments, etc.
[G] If he initiates contact more than 50% of the time, and makes the plans. What a keeper.
[G] If he tells you flat-out that he wants to do things for you. (I think it's acceptable to take people on their word.)
[?] If he tells you what's wrong with him-- i.e: doesn't consider dating a priority, has anger issues, has mommy issues, has had trouble in the past keeping it between you and him and in his pants, etc. We call this the Lemon Law: Most guys will tell you within two weeks what's wrong with them, or what challenges you're going to face in dealing with them. The good news is, he knows what his issues are, and he's telling them to you. The bad news is, he's normally not so up-front about it-- it'll be snuck into conversation, so you have to be on toes about looking for it and/or noticing it. So, is this enlightenment, or something to fall back on later when he can look at you and say, "I told you I have issues with commitment"?
[R] If he admittedly is not on good speaking terms with his ex, other women he's been involved with, or a majority of people who used to be friends. How he treats or treated them is a great preview into how he'll end up treating you.

And then, there's a flip-side to everything. To make it all even more confusing, here's what it means when a woman does the same exact things. Guys, what you're looking at right here is what we ladies know. This is what we have to work with. So if something you're doing is getting lost in translation and interpreted entirely differently...here's why:

[?] If she talks to you every day-- either via phone, text, chat, or smoke signals, it either means one of two things: She likes you, or she's dependent on you. When women like someone, we want to talk with them, a lot, especially if there's physical distance between them and the other person-- say they don't live in the same town, or have conflicting schedules that makes hanging out difficult. I'm actually weird-- when I've got a crush on someone, I do want to talk with them every day, but after the initial honeymoon phase has worn off, every other day or every two days is enough space for me. However, I get highly dependent on the men in my life-- stopping talking to exes is extremely difficult for me to realign them as a major player in my life to a bench-warmer.
[G] If she talks about other men who were flirting with her. She's trying to make you jealous and see how you really feel about her. All the way. We do this purposefully, all the time, and unless you're the most platonic of our male friends or male coworkers, we're trying to feel you out if you're going to get all caveman on us and grunt, "No! You my woman! I make you mine!" and carry us back to the cave over your shoulder like we're hoping you will.
[R] If she brings up her past relationships. We're either not over it, or we're using it as a warning tale to you about what NOT to do, so, listen close, either way. Same rule applies: Unless he asks, leave it in the past.
[G] If she asks you about your sex life. She wants your bod. She wants you to do things to her no man has ever done before. She thinks you're Superman. Her body is a movie, and your penis is the star. (Thank you, The Sweetest Thing.)
[G] If she tries to validate herself to you as someone awesome-- she wants to show you how much better your life could be if she was in it, cooking you breakfast, helping you update your job resume, and making your buddies jealous you have such a smokin' and awesome girlfriend. Oh, yeah-- we think about. We want to make your friends as jealous as you do. Fact.
[R] If she initiates contact more than 50% of the time, and makes the plans. She's secretly a man. Or, at the very least, a severe micro-manager. And is more into it than you obviously are. Recognize it, and let her down gently. (Ladies-- don't lie-- we're liberated and if we can vote, we can sure as hell call him first, but we also know what it means when shit's going bad when you're the one hunting him down to talk more than half the time.)
[G] If she tells you flat-out that she wants to do things for you. She's a keeper. She's there to help. She really digs you, and she's willing to prove it. And if those "things" are sexual in nature-- never let her go.
[G] If she tells you what's wrong with her. Unless she's bat-shit crazy, a woman with issues knows that she's got them. I know mine-- see the note above about how I get masculine when intimidated by big, manly men, among many others. Best be sure I explain myself when it happens. If we're telling you what we get crazy-pants about, it's a good indicator that we're working on those issues, and want to forewarn and forearm you before the shit hits the fan and you're wondering what you ever did to deserve the way we're treating you out of the blue.
[R] If she admittedly is not on good speaking terms with her ex, other men she's been involved with, or a majority of people who used to be friends. Unless all these men and those friends were bastards (which, can be true,) she's a stark-raving psychopath. RUN AWAY, YOU DON'T NEED THIS TROUBLE IN YOUR LIFE. Even some of the most horrible break-ups can result in civil behavior or continued friendships and acquaintances. My most dastardly ex is still someone I spend time with. Granted, some of it is catty, sarcastic time, but we can be at the same place at the same time, nonetheless.

So, are we on the mark? Way off-center? Completely missing the point? Did you learn something? Can you teach me something? We'll all never know unless you tell! That's what that comment box is for.



  1. I think you're spot on.. definitely agree with everything in this post. Thanks!

  2. Glad you enjoyed, but if it's not too much of a stretch on your anonymity, can I at least know your gender so I can mark it down in the name of science and understanding between the sexes?

  3. I would like to know what sort of sources you have for the male point of view. Like are you just making this up based on past experiences or are you actually going out there and asking guys of their opinion on these points. Actually the same goes for the girls. Is this strictly your point of view or the point of view from a handful of girls you interviewed? For example, I am a female and I disagree on a couple of points. Like why is it bad for a guy to tell a girl whats wrong with him but it's all gravy when a girl spills her guts?

  4. In general, I get my ideas from either questions that get raised in my personal life, or questions that people come to me asking to investigate. This post compiled a few different questions, both mine, and other people's-- some of them being men. Once I have a question, I tend to talk to a handful of people from both sexes, to get the male opinion on it, and the female. Sometimes they're friends of mine, sometimes coworkers, sometimes classmates or professors, or sales associates, or the really out-going guy behind me at the Chinese take-out place-- I'm not shy.
    This isn't a conclusive black-and-white report on what's good and what's bad-- in fact, I asked for reader feedback to try and evolve the concept further, since so much can get lost in translation between the sexes. For example, a male coworker of mine made a point of stressing how the "crazy bitch" stereotype gets thrown around when a girl is sweet, sweet, sweet, and then all of a sudden blows up, hence why we reached the conclusion it's best to get all the quirks and flaws out there ASAP-- for BOTH sexes!
    What other points don't you agree with, and why? I'd love to have another perspective!