Friday, March 5, 2010

Man Monday on a Friday

I recently received an email from a reader who has just moved to Cleveland and is trying to navigate the (online) singles scene.

(Don't worry... he said I could publish his questions here.)

Anyhow, below is the series of questions he posed, along with my answers. But I'm sure he'd love to hear what you ladies (and gents) think too!

(Because, as you know, I have been writing a blog about being single for more than a year now. So, you know. I don't exactly have the best track record/resume for dating rules.)

Here goes...

Are all of the women 23-34 in Cleveland really sports nuts or are they just saying that? Out-of-town friends claim that they're just saying that because it's what guys want to hear, I'm not so convinced (and it's certainly not what this guy wants to hear). I find it shocking -- especially in a city with the gems that Cleveland has -- that nearly every profile professes a deep love for the Cavs, Indians, or Browns and completely ignores the museum of art, orchestra, Playhouse Square, etc.

Well, Lincoln, I think there are probably a couple of things at play here. First, Clevelanders love Cleveland! (Just check out this Web site if you don't agree.) So just the mere fact that the girls are Clevelanders means that they also likely support its sports teams. (Plus, even if you don't like the sport itself, games are just generally fun to go to!) Second, I would guess that there are probably not many guys who enjoy some of the "finer things" that you spelled out, and I wonder if girls are maybe afraid to put those in their profiles for fear of scaring the guys away? See how it's such a twisted circle of he likes/she likes?!?
Why do women proclaim "Let's do this again" at the end of the first date then either fall completely off the face of the earth (4 of past 6 "good" dates) or declare that "we should never see each other again" (2 of those 6 -- the two that I actually felt best about at the time) when I go to followup? If you aren't interested why not just say so at the end of the date? If I did/didn't do/said/didn't say something to offend I'd love to know so that I can avoid making the mistake in the future (we can't learn unless we know!)

Hmmm... this is a tough one, since I almost never say that unless I mean it. (And, BTW... guys do the SAME EXACT thing to girls... so don't feel too badly.) I suppose that's just part of the whole dating game. Plus, I would guess it's hard to look someone in the eye and tell him that you should never hang out again (particularly if there's nothing necessarily wrong with the guy... it's just that it's not a good fit), but that it's probably easier to do via email/phone after the fact.
Why are women after "instant chemistry"? I know there are some people you meet where it's obviously a bad idea (like the [sober] chick who decided to slide her hands down my pants while screaming her phone number and "I best not forget it") but if the conversation has been decent and you're reasonably sure the person's not a serial killer why not give things at least two dates, especially if you ended the first one with "Let's do this again"?

Another toughie, Lincoln. Geez. I'm not Dr. Phil! :) But I guess what I'd say to this one is that sometimes it does take a while to warm up to someone. (Several of my best friends married guys they "weren't sure about" when they first started dating.) But it took me a couple of years to learn that, so maybe the girls you're encountering just haven't gotten there yet? However, I will say that I'm probably not going to go out with a guy again if I can't imagine possibly kissing him someday. There has to be at least the *idea* that you'd want to make out eventually. And then some. (Sorry, blogdad.) So I do think there's something to be said for chemistry, but it doesn't always surface entirely on a first date.

What do you guys think? Do you have better advice for Lincoln than I did?

Oh, and P.S. to Lincoln: So did you remember that crotch grabber's phone number? ;)

19 comments:

heisschic said...

i have some input to leave for lincoln's second question.. the "we should do this again" --- then avoidance dance that women seem to do.

a friend of mine has been going on a series of first dates-- he'll say they all went well, looking forward to seeing her again, she felt the same way, blah blah blah post date.

then he'll text her that night- again saying he had a good time. he'll text her the next morning- saying he'd like to see her again. he'll then call her the next night- to see when she wants to go out again.

so he'll send 2 texts and have serious delays in a response (if one comes at all)- then leave a voicemail... and wonder why- if she had such a great time, why'd she blow him off?

too. eager. it's scary. it comes off as creepy and desperate.


lincoln? you sound like a smart guy- so i hope it's safe to assume you aren't making those same mistakes. i just wanted to pass along one possible reason behind the otherwise baffling female behavior.

welcome to the CLE and best of luck!

Anything Fits a Naked Man said...

First off, thank you for proclaiming how much Clevelanders love their town! I think it's so funny how other cities don't get this (nor do they get "fan loyalty!").

Secondly, I agree with ALL your advice!

Lincoln said...

AAB - Thanks for posting my questions and your thoughts...nice to get a perspective from the other side of the fence.

The crotch-grabber left me a little shell-shocked and aside from the numbers 695 I've managed to block most of the incident...But I don't feel particularly bad about that.

I didn't intend to come off as a sports-hating tyrant; at the game atmosphere is fun once in a while, I've just never understood the appeal of watching on TV.

The most annoying part is I know I'm doing something or many things wrong but no one will tell me what.

Any addtional advice is certainly welcome...

MG said...

Per the saying “we should do this again” comment, I’m going to be a chauvinist pig for a minute and just say, 1. ignore what women say in these types of situation. Literally, take it all with a grain of salt and just watch behavior- women have a different view on what their “word” means and it makes them no better or worse than men, just different. Regardless, women say stuff all the time and you’ll find that by occasionally ignoring the feminist revolution and not taking what they say as meaning much but their actions do, you’re actually being more traditionally masculine which will most likely be more positively reinforced by them anyway- there is a crises of masculinity in this generation and if you’ve completely bought into the notion that you need to be like caring, attentive, and considerate all the time then you’ll be great husband material, but that won’t do much good when the dating world is the jungle and the meek get eaten alive by the pack. Women want men that can be men and flex that manly power of metaphorically demanding respect, if not literally (pick your battles though)They also want men who can.will call them/ make plans/decisions, etc. etc. So ignore it and do what YOU want to do, you’ll feel better regardless.

2. Going along with this ignoring thing, if I didn’t comment on AAB’s entry “Cult of Personality” I thought this and then forgot to comment but: ultimately being self-absorbed in the early stages of courtship pays off- after a first date, the only thing that should matter to you is what YOU want/think. If AAB didn’t want another date from that guy, then she should perceive that a 2nd date didn’t occur 100% because she didn’t want one and his not calling is merely perhaps his recognizing she didn’t…or really, it doesn’t matter cuz she wouldn’t have said yes. So yeah, ignore what she says, just watch her behavior and non-verbals and then just do what you want.

And if I seem like a jerk saying the above- 1. It’s the truth, deal with it. 2. I’ve been blown off only a few times in my life and guess when it happened? When I was trying to be like the nice guy- ya get no respect…

MG said...

Per the saying “we should do this again” comment, I’m going to be a chauvinist pig for a minute and just say, 1. ignore what women say in these types of situation. Literally, take it all with a grain of salt and just watch behavior- women have a different view on what their “word” means and it makes them no better or worse than men, just different. Regardless, women say stuff all the time and you’ll find that by occasionally ignoring the feminist revolution and not taking what they say as meaning much but their actions do, you’re actually being more traditionally masculine which will most likely be more positively reinforced by them anyway- there is a crises of masculinity in this generation and if you’ve completely bought into the notion that you need to be like caring, attentive, and considerate all the time then you’ll be great husband material, but that won’t do much good when the dating world is the jungle and the meek get eaten alive by the pack. Women want men that can be men and flex that manly power of metaphorically demanding respect, if not literally (pick your battles though)They also want men who can.will call them/ make plans/decisions, etc. etc. So ignore it and do what YOU want to do, you’ll feel better regardless.

2. Going along with this ignoring thing, if I didn’t comment on AAB’s entry “Cult of Personality” I thought this and then forgot to comment but: ultimately being self-absorbed in the early stages of courtship pays off- after a first date, the only thing that should matter to you is what YOU want/think. If AAB didn’t want another date from that guy, then she should perceive that a 2nd date didn’t occur 100% because she didn’t want one and his not calling is merely perhaps his recognizing she didn’t…or really, it doesn’t matter cuz she wouldn’t have said yes. So yeah, ignore what she says, just watch her behavior and non-verbals and then just do what you want.

And if I seem like a jerk saying the above- 1. It’s the truth, deal with it. 2. I’ve been blown off only a few times in my life and guess when it happened? When I was trying to be like the nice guy- ya get no respect…

MG said...

Lincoln-

I feel like I like you and in some ways I feel you're pain being a non Sports fan- let me remind you that many problems with dating can be attributed to population demographics.

Here's the deal on Cleveland- it's surprisingly complicated for its size! Think of how varied and diverse NYC is and then take into account it's gross population- Cleveland has those pockets but all are very shrunk comparatively.

It's a historically blue collar town that is arguably trying to change a bit and get with the times, but that's occurring really only with the less than majority educated population or artistic community for which the educational level can vary. The educated class of Cleveland is smaller proportionately than nearly all major cities. This is NOT a city like on the Eastern Seaboard of educated, go-getter, young professionals. There are those types, but they’re a only a minor school of fish in the pond.
That being said, the sports thing is easy*...look at the history of organized sports...it started with literally a "our town/country/linguistic group/tribe vs. yours/theirs" mentality and has always been a working-class endeavour, with some sampling of the upper class of course- who historically have preferred the art museums, operas, etc. Of course, there's also been economic barriers to working class people seeing the opera vs. the neighborhood football game.

* but I think there is indeed some faking too...what could be more mid-western than a girl trying to accomodate interest from a guy who likes beer and sports so in turn he likes her and they can get married and be all midwestern together?
Nowadays players have little loyalty to anything but the $ and people come and go and are recruited, etc. but it used to literally be the BEST guys actually from Cleveland vs. the best guys from Pittsburgh on the field- a true similar cities sibling rivalry. So here in Cle you have that rabid, working-class loyalty to our teams...call it what you will whether a sign that we're behind the times here (big affluent cities are fair-weather fans because when a team sucks, they have better things to to do then) or an enviable and adorable puppy-dog-like love for our teams. You'd see the same if you went to industrial cities in England like Leeds, Manchester, Birmingham, etc. In fact, Cleveland's love of its teams is far more reminiscent of the rabid loyalty to ones actual city football club in Europe than you see in American cities like Miami, Atlanta, etc. Again, this a historically working class thing.

MG said...

Moving on, I don’t think it’s just women who want instant chemistry, cuz I do too, and I need mega-like boiling chemistry to be motivated for much more than a half-assed attempt, if anything at all. I can’t explain anything about what’s going on in women’s mind as I’m not one but I cant help feel like based on being on both sides of that before, the notion is, if you didn’t do it for me right away, why WOULD/SHOULD I make time for a second date?

Recall that our brains are these highly developed organs but our sex drives and impulses are still pretty lizard and all of this dating stuff is either about reproduction or finding someone you can spend your life with- and those don’t always match. Evidence suggests that who you want to sleep with isn’t always good for you to be with. I’m sure on some deep biological level a lack of chemistry means your potential offspring wouldn’t be as strong because they’ve found “chemistry” is in itself sort of a recognition of how two people’s genes would come together in reproduction (and good chemistry doesn’t necessarily mean a good relationship either). Genes seek to balance each other out and promote strength….weird little things like our personal smells tell us if we’re so similar we’d have sickly kids or that we’d balance each other out and really compliment each other…if so, evidence suggests you get a lil high/buzz off each other…I wouldn’t dwell on someone maybe not wanting to see you again if you did though.


So I need to conclude this quick cuz this is far too long but back to my comment about population demographics: there are less single women in Cleveland than most major cities- many get married in their mid 20’s and the male to female ratio here is closer to 1:1 than in many other cities as well. The fact is, you’re just going to meet less available women in general and then with layer over that the whole city’s vibe and cultural, etc., even less proportionally may be interested in what you’re into, unless of course, you get very good at sticking specifically or “getting in with” folks in your areas of interest. But then, give a girl a chance to try something new… I’m probably no one to be giving advice but I’d say stay sharp and be prepared to take action when it arises, but don’t be too aggressive either- this isn’t NYC where you may never see someone again, it’s a small city.

Btw, did you move from NYC? Your pic looks like you’re standing on a Chelsea rooftop looking uptown based on the size/placement of the ESB…

Anonymous said...

Regarding the third question:

Many of the people in Cleveland grew up here; if they're anything like me, they are surrounded by friends and family and can't go out without bumping into someone they know.

When I moved to the east coast and didn't know anyone, I was more likely to take a chance on new relationships (both platonic and romantic) because I felt the need to bond with people, and I got the same vibe from other people. In Cleveland, I have tons of great people already in my life, and so I'm less likely to spend my precious free time on you unless I'm really feeling sparks.


HG

Piper said...

Ohhh the Match dance. Okay, here's my take on it.
1. When I go on a first date I always make sure to talk on the phone first. That actually eliminates about 30-50% of the people I thought I might want to meet. If someone can't hold an interesting conversation on the phone, there's no way I'm going to ultimately get along with them b/c good conversational skills are important to me.
2. Assuming we make it to a first date, no, there doesn't have to be WAAAAY overboiling chemistry, but it is match.com. And it's hard to want to make the effort again for someone you only kind of maybe clicked with. In "real life" you have the advantage of getting to know someone slowly, and then often seeing past their flaws to who they really are. Match is (unfortunately) much more superficial. And then I'm actually going to agree with MG here that yeah, it becomes a very selfish game after that.
3. The "we should do this again" comment. I don't EVER say this unless I would actually want to get together with the guy again. I'm very blunt and to the point (as AAB might be able to attest to given some of my previous stories). But, I have gotten this from guys. My game plan in situations where I wasn't blown away but wasn't turned off is always "wait and see if they call". If they don't, I know they weren't into it enough to want to make an effort. If they do, bonus points, we're both mildly interested. To avoid this awkwardness with the most recent guy, before the end of the date we made plans for the next one (I sneakily roped it into a bet revolving around a bowling match... but it totally worked). If you're really trying to click with someone and think it has potential, maybe give something like that a shot? BUT, that thing hesschic said is true too--don't come off as scary/creepy.
4. A lot of my decisions about someone come once the date is done. I think about whether I'd want to see them again, if there were any deal breakers that came up in conversation, whether they made me laugh, did I actually like them or was it just the wine? So sometimes in the middle of "oh my gosh I'm on a date!" I think I like the guy, but when I've gotten home and taken off my cute shoes I all of a sudden realize that maybe there wasn't actually as much there as I thought. Also sometimes it's bad life timing--too much going on in school/work, just met someone else you actually want to give it a shot with. But I do think everyone should be more transparent, and we do each other a disservice to lie or try to sugar coat things.

Okay, way too long but... moral of the story is try not to take it all too personally, the dating scene here sucks, and I promise for every weird thing women do, guys do weird things too. Last suggestion b/c I think I've seen your profile on match.... pictures. Pictures of someone smiling directly into a camera are much more calming than artsy pictures where you could potentially be interpreted as a serial killer, or really anything. I hate when a guy has one half blurry picture of himself straight on, but all the others you can't quite make out what he looks like. At least that's my opinion.

I'm done!

PS- AAB, when are we going to hear about what's going on in YOUR love life? It sounds like something has been brewing and every time my Google reader says you posted something I hope maybe THIS will be the post you spill the beans...

Anonymous said...

MG, you are a world class douche bag. I hate that you post on here and I wish you would just go away.

AAB, I am a huge fan of yours, but the more MG posts on here, the more I question your sanity because you actually wanted to go out with this doucher.

Chuck said...

@Lincoln -

I'm with you on the third question. Instant chemistry happens so rarely that I'm never sure why ladies (and probably some dudes) are looking for it. I suppose it would be possible if you've known the person for a long time pre-dating, but even then the friendship to dating divide is big.

Since I've just moved I can't say whether the women in Austin are the same as the women in Cleveland, but I can say keep on trying.

Lincoln said...

@Heisschic - I guess the whole "when to followup" thing is a big part of my confusion. I'm really not sure what the window between "two eager" and "just playing games" is. Generally, I don't text but will send an email or call the next day, if I don't hear anything send an email 3 days later, and if still silent try one last email or call a few days after that.

Re: The Chemistry thing...maybe it's because physical attraction is a relatively small part of what makes me interested in a person but I have a hard time getting really excited about someone until I get to know their personality, but I don't get the "boiling chemistry" on a first date--is that not "normal"? Actually the only woman I've met that came even close is someone who I have a huge amount of personal and professional respect for, but she made it clear she had no interest.

Lincoln

Allison M. said...

His name is Lincoln?

hmmmmm....interesting

MG said...

@ Anon-

buahahaha. Yes I am! and ONLY because it's what seems to work! I didnt make the rules. but i do think that the fact you think I am kinda speaks to your understanding of how things really work in the world so I think you have some problems too. Also, you can just not read my comments.

@ Piper-

thanks. I think on paper it all comes off as a bit more harsh than it really is...all that "scheming" just comes off as being busy and having dignity when played out in reality...I went into that excruciating detail for Lincoln's sake.

@ Chuck, Lincoln-

it may or may not be normal, but I dont care- I do what's right for me. And I think this demand for chemistry is a manifested as a form of being picky. I'm in no hurry to settle down...i have lots of goals and aspirations, kinda two careers at once, always something to do, etc. etc. not to mention i'm 28 and am told i look like 23...theres no real benefit to settling down now unless i really just organically fall in love because the older I'll be, the more financially secure i'll be if i want kids (which are way expensive) and the more mature i'll hopefully be then too...i'm hoping for salt and pepper hair too- distinguished!

And why is it being so rare a bad thing (which, i'd half-agree it is rare and btw, chemistry isn't JUST physical)??? i mean, do you want to say you diligently held back, was selective, and went for the best and found a diamond in the rough or compromised on what you could get? I mean, what's your real goal here? just avodiing a bit a loneliness or really finding soemone special? I've had both and I prefer the romantically epic nature of the former, but i'm just a world-class douchebag so what do I know...

Lincoln said...

A further question for the ladies beyond the "when to followup", beyond the online thing, how do you feel about random public places? On one hand I go through the Severance Hall/Playhouse Square/Museuem of Art thing and think "Attractive Wom(an/en), Common Interest, maybe I should say Hi" on the other it just feels wierd hitting on someone in such neutral territory (I would probably be a little creeped out)-- it's expected at a bar, etc., but other public places?

@MG - Nope, originally from So. Cal., the Empire State Building was the view from my room at the Hilton NYC/Times Square when I was there for a week in January.

@Allison M - Yup. Lincoln is my first name (president, not car), I answer to "Linc", or "Hey You", and various profanities depending on my mood.

Anonymous said...

MG, you are a world class douche bag. I wish you would have your own blog so you can post your junk on there. Now that I think about it, I thought you did. what happened to it?
You also come off as a bigger doucher when you said, "I am 28 but I am told I look like 23". Only self centered douchers would ever repeat that. Please do the rest of us a favor and please stop commenting on here.

Anonymous said...

OMG

Can you say WAAAAAY to verbose?

I needed a snack and a nap to get through all this

Love,
Blogdad

MG said...

@ Anon-

hahahaha. whatever, so what if I am. Who cares? I'll live, you'll live, we'll all live...no one reading this will want date me due to stuff i post on-line. Big flippin' deal, i'm not looking in this venue.



p.s. as a further testament to my possible immaturity, the fact that some anonymous internet person is steaming over what I say is just too funny.

Well...that depends... said...

OK, I'm a little late to the game on this, so to speak, but the inquiry about all Cleveland women professing to love sports caught my eye. Now that someone mentioned it, it's true! All the women I've met do in fact seem to love the sports here. I moved here several months ago from Vegas via Chicago via New York. At 31, I'm the girl who doesn't even pretend to care about sports anymore. I save my annual jeans shopping for Super Bowl Sunday when I can have the dressing rooms to myself. BUT NOW I'm wondering if this is part of my problem in a city like Cleveland! Have I taken myself out of the game before it has even started? Do Cleveland guys only want a girl who can hang in the bleachers?