Friday, May 29, 2009

Dudefile #48 - The Emotional Distance Dude

Hi Dude,
So I've been dating this guy for almost a year now, and still never had "the talk" to put labels on or discuss where we're going.  Having come out of a very bad relationship before (that was abusive in every way possible), I was not ready to discuss things being "official" or for an actual relationship (no matter how great the guy) so although we have been in a relationship for a very long time, the fact that we had never discussed it made me feel like i was in a "safe zone" so to speak.  

Anyways, after Labor Day weekend we had our first minor disagreement, and the end result of that was that he said he wanted to spend more time together, spend whole weekends together, and really be more a part of each other's lives.  So now we are in full swing, many times he comes to the city Friday til sunday, and then week nights I take the hour train to his place 1 to 2 times a week.  Our friends have been integrated with each other, and we are invited to things as a couple now.  A lot of his friends, guys and girls, at separate times have told me in private that "he really likes you" and one guy even referred to him as my boyfriend a few times. 

But WE have still never had the "talk" or acknowledged what we are or what we are doing.  AND, he has still occasionally logged into match throughout the past year.  So last week things came to a head when I finally came to the point that I'm ready to let my guard down and actually DO this, and try a real relationship and see where it goes, no more dating at an emotional distance with my guard up.  So after seeing him log on match once more, I unleashed the beast on him, a year's worth of frustration and build-up, all the things he does that upset me, all the reasons why i'm frustrated, reasons why i'm unhappy and dont feel like myself in this relationship, and basically "what is going on, what is this and what are we doing?"  

A lot of my frustration and unhappiness stems from this being undefined, and so i felt like i couldnt let my guard down and be myself, if i was upset abt something, i would internalize it instead of talk to him, which is out of my nature, and also, w/out this being defined, i was holding back on who i really am in a relationship.  In a relationship, i like to leave cute notes, or cute cards, or do affectionate things, little surprises, but without ever feeling secure in what we were and where this was headed, I was only giving 65% of myself.  

The conversation that ensued was very difficult for him, he proceeded to tell me that "communicating" and being "open" are things that are very very difficult for him and things that he doesnt feel comfortable doing.  He said that he has had alot of loss in his life (lots of family members and friends have passed away), and his last relationship did a number on him, and basically he doesnt like dealing with emotions, and in fact, tries to "not feel emotions at all"...his exact words.  

He said over the past year its gotten worse.  He admitted that I'm the first girl he has dated seriously in 3 years and in the past, he dated a month or two here and there, but whenever the girl pushed for things to be more serious, he pulled away and ran.  In fact, he just overall is used to girls just wanting to be his girlfriend right away, so the fact that i wasnt ready for a relationship and never pressured or pushed him and made him feel like he was sort of "chasing me" a bit at the sametime, is a big reason why this lasted so long and he didnt pull away. 

I did some google searches on "emotional distance" and found several articles about fear of intimacy and overcoming it, I forwarded them to him, and he was very receptive to it and said he was interested in reading them.  Basically, the idea of having to be open and communicate his feelings makes him uncomfortable, and the idea of being emotionally vulnerable and dependent on someone else makes him uncomfortable.  And he even acknowledged that he knows we have both been dating each other with our guards up this entire time.   

End result of this conversation is that he acknowledged that he knows what he does and why he does it, but doesnt know if he can stop and open up and deal with emotions, etc. but that he wants to stay together and move forward and "try" to work on his issues.  He also said that he thinks there is the potential for a future for us, and that if he didnt, he wouldnt have dated me this entire past year.  I see the potential as well.  So we are moving forward together, taking baby steps, but putting labels on it seems to make him uncomfortable still even though he acknowledges this is a serious relationship.  

In regards to, he said he wasnt using it to date, he only logged in to clear out the system whenever he would get emails.  And that he had no idea you could even make your profile private, and he made it private the very next day.  In regards to posting new pictures way back when, and in general, he said he views the site sort of the same as a myspace or facebook page.  I take this with a grain of salt, back in May he may have been still dating other people, but I dont think he is now at all, so I'm okay with the explanation. 
Right now, i feel like i'm walking on eggshells. still, I know I should focus on the fact that..he hasnt dated anyone seriously in 3 years, he ran from any girl that tried to make him commit in the past, so the fact that we've reached that point, and he wants to make this work, and "try" and change and be more open should all make me feel great, but it doesnt. After my last bad relationship, i'm not really in the business of wanting to "fix" men or change them anymore.  

BUT, I see massive potential with this guy, all the stars are aligning in terms of us being a great match, but with his fear of intimacy and openness and emotions, its hard to strengthen that connection.  I want to help him, but not sure how to.  My friends are telling me to be patient because to them its so obvious how much he cares for me and he's trying to be what I need to make me happy.  But without having the "girlfriend" label, I still feel a tad insecure.  He is my boyfriend in every way, is respectful, caring, dependable.  He bought my best friend a present on her birthday in October and totally took me by surprise.  And i'm trying to understand his perspective of feeling uncomfortable being emotionally vulnerable and open to someone else, but I can't.  Because i'm the complete opposite, I'm SUPER open and affectionate, and emotional, and wear my heart on my sleeve, and say how i feel, and I wouldnt have it any other way.  

My other girlfriend described the bf/gf labels thing as...its like having a marc jacobs bag, just b/c it doesnt say MARC JACOBS in huge block letters on the outside of the bag, doesnt mean its not a marc jacobs bag...which i guess is a good way of looking at it.  So I guess my question is, what is your take on all this and any suggestions or outsider perspective? 

He's So Not Emotional 


So the Dude Whisperer looked up a couple Marc Jacobs thingies after your note just out of curiosity since, you know, the DW's fashion knowledge doesn't go much further than names like Chuck Taylor and Fruit of the Loom and it's fun to see what the beautiful fashionable people are up to from time to time. He was a little disappointed, actually, that Marc Jacobs bags don't say MARC JACOBS on the side in huge letters, although these crazy sunglasses come close. Oh wait, this bag really does have the name in all caps. You stay classy, Marc Jacobs. 

Anyway, the DW likes your friend's Marc Jacobs, er, MARC JACOBS analogy, but doesnt quite agree. And here's why. While the DW does not consider himself a traditionalist, and is also one of those simple sorts who does not see any value in a 100 dollar t-shirt whether it says Von Dutch or Ed Hardy or Von Hardy Dutch Doo Da, he thinks there absolutely some value in labels like 'girlfriend' or 'boyfriend' or 'husband' or 'wife' or whatever the case may be because they are a public statement of accountability. They say to everyone, including the other half of the relationship, "This is what's up- we're committed. We mean it. That's the deal. Now you all know." Unwillingness to accept a label of some sort, and any label counts from 'gf" to the slightly businesslike 'partner' to the slightly TMI sounding 'lover' to whatever it is you choose, always makes the DW wonder- why not? What do you lose by committing to a name? Unless you're an exceptionally idealistic libertarian who simply can't be held down by The Man and His Naming Conventions you lose nothing...except other romantic options. 

So there's that. On the other hand, though, the DW can't help but notice that as much as you have now decided it's time for the label, the first paragraph of your note decribed how for quite a while you weren't ready to talk about things being "official" and that, actually, not talking about it put you in a "safe zone". In other words, given that you and dude have been operating one way for almost a year- and a year is a pretty long time to develop habits and ways of interacting and stuff, right?- and hadn't had much of a conversation about "girlfriend" and "boyfriend" until you got all medieval on his ass, it's not likely dude is gonna catch up to your way of thinking, like,  immediately. It would take any dude a moment to recalibrate.

But really, here's the thing about dude that it sounds like you're going to have to make a decision about. We'll give nervous Mr. Skitterpants the benefit of the doubt and assume he's not full of sh&t and just dicking you around. A year of his time and integration of friends seems to give credence to that assumption. However, this 'emotional distance' thing or wafflyness or intimacy p^ssyness, whatever you want to call it, is unlikely to fundamentally change. 

Yes, this dude may commit at some point. He may accept a label such as 'boyfriend' or 'my one and only honeypie'. But he is always going to be, at his essence, more skittish than you, more reserved than you, less open than you, etc. etc. Sure, you might be able to coax him into leaving cutesy notes the way you like to just as the wifey has somehow trained the DW to not to wear his favorite hoodie in public anymore because it is allegedly "kinda disgusting", but all the little behaviors in the world will not change The Type Of Dude He Is. Extroverts don't become introverts, Yankee fans don't switch to the Red Sox, gay men don't learn to love tittyf*cking, the DW will not stop loving his "kinda disgusting" hoodie, you are never going to stop being SUPER open and affectionate and emotional and wearing your heart on your sleeve, and this dude is never gonna be a  mushy demonstrative bearhuggin' softy of a fella. 

This is who you are and who the dude is. If you can live with that, great. Accept it, understand it will always and forever be part of an "opposites attract" and have excellent "opposite bone sessions" thing, as Carrie Prejean might say, and onward you go. If you can't live with his reserved nature, (and the DW would say the same to dude about your wide open nature) you should stop the car, cut the engine, toss the keys, and get out now. Trying to fundamentally change a dude will not work and will not end well. Know how crazy it's made you to hold back? He'll go just as batsh*t buts trying to summon the energy to emote all the time.

So, in that sense, forget about thinking in terms of 'potential'.  You've had a year to see this dude as he is. Use reality as your guide. On the one hand, he sounds like a pretty nice dude. On the other, that walkin' on eggshells feeling you get with him doesn't sound so nice. You have to figure out if the real, actual dude, warts and all, is what you want or not.

Best of luck with the dude,
the DW 

PS- As a final side note, HSNE, the DW would like to remind you and all the other readers to become a fan of the DW on Facebook here and follow his Twitter feed here. These are crucial steps to making this, and any other, relationship with a dude run more smoothly. A little dose of unmitigated genius in your day can only be good. 

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Dudefile #47 - The Dreamboat

Most Triumphant Dude Whisperer,

Although the events I am about to share are a couple of months in the past, I still see this dude quite often, and am ever so curious as to what our friendship means to him.

I met this dude in a neighborhood establishment and he is a dreamboat in purest form. His eyes glisten, but his body beneath his clothing I have yet to lay my eyes on. We talked of music and the quirkiness of life; we shared stories and cigarettes; we embarked on child-like adventures - think shadow puppets, dance offs and tree forts. We were nothing more than platonic in our actions. But underneath all of these things we did together there was a thick, thick layer of awkwardness.

There was a week where we saw each other every day - the seven days which have lead me to write you.

During this week he would say things like, "You forgot your left-overs here." I apologized for leaving my mess in his kitchen and he told me as long as it was my mess he could never care. This dreamboat's statements are usually ambiguous in their friendliness levels.

So here is where I break it down for you Dude Whisperer:

We had this week. We complimented each other about our respective awesomeness and then whatever possible vibes I thought he may have been throwing my way completely stopped after one particular see-you-later-hug that may have had a hand in a more personal place on my back. I see this dude all of the time, but only when our mutual group hangs or I bump into him and chat for a while in our hood. We are always happy to see each other, always talk about the happenings in our life and contemplate them thoughtfully, but I consistently get the urge to knock down this ever existing wall.

Do I bring this strange week of our past up to him now simply to conclude this confusion I have had? I mean, do dudes get creeped out by these sort of things?

Thanks Dude Whisperer - I think what you do is just extraordinary!


Blinded by the Dreamboat of Ambiguity

Hi there BDA,

Hope you and all the other fantastic readers out there had a fun long weekend full of sunshine and hot BBQ action. The DW went to a Giants game, hung out on the beach, tended to the vegetable garden, and ate so much tandoori chicken that the wifey was starting to get a little concerned about how his next poo might go.

Things the DW did not do this weekend included make shadow puppets, make a tree fort, or tell a gal he was honored to have her leftovers make a mess of his apartment. Your Dreamboat Dude probably didn’t either. See, this simply isn’t the kind of stuff dudes find themselves doing unless they are with a lady they are smitten with and/or would like to introduce to a certain special dingdong. Dreamboat Dude has never said to a dude friend, “Hey, I know we were gonna have some beers and watch Lakers/Nuggets tonight, but I was thinking- why not mix it up a little, right? So, how about we bust out the EZ-Bake and make some cupcakes decorated like jungle animals?"

Nope, that stuff’s just for you and/or your special jungle cupcake of the underpants. The DW, for instance, did participate in a dance-off this weekend, but the rump shakin’ dirty dancin’ butterchurnin’ goodness was only at home, and only with the wifey. And the DW will not be going out of his way to tell his dude friends all about it. In fact, he’s already said far too much. Forget it came up.

Anyway, point is this. Dude is at least a little interested. No way around it unless there are some extenuating circumstances such as ‘he is gay’ or ‘you are such a troll with a third leg and second butt that you are utterly and completely unthreatening’. But something like that isn’t showing up in your letter, so let’s move on.

Next thing you need to understand about dudes is that there is no way in the Wide World of Sports that a dude stopped giving you vibes because of something like the placement of a hand during a hug. Dudes simply do not examine things like hugs or hellos or handshakes or comments or smalltalk in archaeological detail like that. The only thing dude might remember about your hug is how great your boobs felt pressed against his chest or something. So, although The Hug may have been some kind of turning point for you, the DW can say with approximately 912% surety that it was Not the same kind of turning point for Dreamboat.

Anyway, here’s what the DW thinks is going on. Dude just doesn’t know how to go ahead and plop his balls on the table and ask you out or smooch you or however this next step needs to happen. Honestly, the DW’s spidey-sense is saying that, in fact, this dude may feel like he's not sure he's getting good vibes back from you. He might be thinking- Hmm. Let’s see. I spend a Lot of time with her. I’m good about calling back and being decent. I do fun stuff she likes to do. I’m behaving myself and not trying to go real fast with physical stuff. I just wish she'd give me something back so I know she's into me, y'know? Sometimes I practically follow her around like a puppy and I still feel like if I asked her out on a date date it’s 50/50 I get the Heisman.

The DW advice for you, BDA, is to be more direct. Right now you have a big long narrative in your head about Dreamboat Dude and have no idea if one little bit of it is accurate. So move things along and see what’s going on in reality. Try a move like this- the Ask A Dude Out Without Asking A Dude Out. Say, “So, you ever think it’s funny how we’ve spent all this time together, but we’ve never actually gone out on a date? You know, like where you take me out to dinner and we see Angels and Demons and get a late drink and go home and get a serious buttbumpin’ on?”

Okay, so you could stop at “dinner”. Or figure out a better phrasing altogether. But you get the idea. Swing the door open. See if dude will walk through it. Maybe it would be ideal if dude would figure all this out on his own, but that’s not happening so far, so here is where we find ourselves.

One final note: You’re right to ask about whether or not to bring up The Week. As with Hug Hand Placement, it’s highly unlikely the dude would have the same conception of this slightly mythologized period of time. The Week to the dude is not so clearly defined. It just exists as part of a general youhangoutandgetalongreallywell kind of mush. Yes, BDA, in general, if it becomes clear to a dude that you have a much bigger story built around a set of circumstances than he does, it can be a little creepy. Or, at the very least make him feel under some pressure that will cause him to instinctively back away.

Hope this helps. Good luck with the Dreamboat.


the DW

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Poll Results #xb229

Well, hello there, good lookin' readers,

It's time to take a look at another set of Poll Results...

A poetic romantic dude makes me _______ .

melt  - 6%
suspicious  - 77%
uh, there are romantic poetic dudes? - 17%

Okay, so this one might have felt like a leading question because at the time, you may remember, we were examining The Poet in Dudefile #44 and The Poet was total 'suspicious' material. In love with being in love.  Flighty. Kind of a dipsh&t puppy dog. Etc. 

But, does it really seem right that 77% of you should be suspicious of any poetic romantic dude? Or that only 6% of you get all goofy squishy over one? How does this explain the explosive rate at which weaksauce jangly ballad songwriter dudes get laid? Again, maybe the numbers are just because the question seemed so leading. But if not, a lot of dudes are banging their heads on their laptops right now. 

They're thinking, "Wait- I thought I was supposed to be all sensitive and junk? You know, go to Hugh Jackman movies. Wear clean pants. Eat with a fork. But if poetic and romantic makes a woman suspicious maybe I'd do better just doing what comes naturally. Being an animal. Like Wolverine. But if I'm supposed to be an animal, how come my girlfriend insists that I don't fold the dishtowels properly. This is like the time circle in Terminator. My head hurts."

Look, the DW isn't trying to tell you what kind of dude to like. He's just pointing out, as s his wont from time to time, that all these confounding Dudefile dudes are just as confounded by you as you are by them. Which, as the DW has also said before, should actually be a comfort in some ways. They don't have any more of a f*ck of an idea what's going on than you do. You're on equal footing. You're driving, too. 

But enough about the Poll and back to Wolverine, or, rather, X-Men Origins: Wolverine for a second. The DW's impression? It was like 20th Century Fox doused his 10 dollars in kerosene and held it up to Logan's nubby cigar. The Wifey? Loved it.  What this adds up to is that, basically, the DW refuses to be critcized later in the summer when he suggests that Transformers 2: Michael Bay Craps Out Another Robot Car Chase Movie wasn't actually that bad even though it's patently obvious the only real reason why is because the DW's been blinded by 17 lingering shots of Megan Fox oiled up on all fours "fixing a motorcycle" with her antigravitational boobs in a halfshirt. Wolverine is mancandy fantasy, which the DW has not a single problem with, but you just can't pretend there's anything else to like about that warmed-over turdburger in a non-campy way. The DW will now stop typing or this will become a 7,000 word complaint that nobody wants to read.

And finally, a few reminders on how you can get the full DW experience on the rest of the interwebs. As you can see to your left on this page, the DW is, like, so 2009 he's on Twitter. Come on by and follow. Seriously, peeps, do you want to live in a world where Oprah and Jimmy Fallon can have a million followers, but the DW can't have a few thousand? Somebody think of the children! Same goes for the brand spankin' new DW page on Facebook. You're always wanted as a DW Facebook friend, as well, but if fandom is more your thing, come on by. The page should be set up to allow your comments and photos and whatever you feel like putting up. 


the DW

Monday, May 18, 2009

Dudefile #46 - He Won't Take Down His Profile

Dear DW,

First let me say, I really enjoy your insight (the “wifey” included) on why Dudes do what they do. Thank you.

I have an issue about online dating. I’ve been dating this dude for about two months. Two weeks into dating, we agreed to be exclusive (before we even had sex). My idea of exclusive is you are not dating anyone else at the same time.

I found out he has profiles on online-dating sites. I don’t have any online profiles on dating sites. He got defensive when I asked him about it, saying my friends shouldn’t meddle. That he does have profiles, but they have not been updated in 3 years and has not renewed the subscriptions. And he said he doesn’t respond to anyone contacting him. I asked him what if I had online profiles on dating sites. He said that he wouldn’t be bothered by it. He said if he wanted to date other people, then he would tell me and expected me to do the same.

The relationship was progressing nicely until this online dating situation came to my attention. I also know that there has been no current updates of new information or pictures to his profile since he has been with me. He is acting like a boyfriend, maybe a bit more aloof since I asked him about the profiles. If he just agreed to be exclusive to get in my hot pants, I think his actions would show. Now, I am second guessing what his intentions are. I told him that if he is still coming up in searches on these sites, and it is a date site, people think you are there to actually be available for dating. I know he is still logging on to the sites, but don’t know if he is actually crossing the line.

Is having an ‘active’ online profiles on dating sites while dating someone exclusively crossing the exclusive line?



Hi Crossed,

As you might already know from reading the blog, the DW met the wifey online. And what that meant, although the DW didn't know it at the time, was that at first he was essentially dating the wifey and all of her friends. Like the setup to a Kate Hudson-ish movie after which wacky female bonding hijinks might ensue, a whole slew of ladies had access to the DW's profile, read the emails, scouted the new matches. Now, when the relationship started to get serious, the wifey cut her friends off and things became strictly mano y hotstuffo, or so she says, but anyway- that's how it started. The DW suspects that he has never really stopped dating all the wifey's friends, but that's another story and things are going swimmingly in any case, so whatever.

The DW brings this up because while you were reading that first paragraph with your two best friends looking over your shoulder, all of you nodding at the monitor, mm-hmmm, thinking this is the most normal thing in the world, it might be helpful to know this. That same paragraph, at minimum, seriously offput every dude who read it. At maximum, it made them outright irate.

See, dudes have a hard enough time trying to figure out what you want without trying to date a committee meeting of the Sisterhood of the Traveling Wilburys Fried Tomato Club or whatever. If you turn your delicious little panty muffin from an already moving target and split it into eight more puzzle pieces all with separate opinions on the issues of the day and dudes just get all surly like confused drug-addled circus tigers trying to track all four legs of a stool while someone's cracking their ass with a switch. Seriously, if you ever want to see a dude get defensive and irrational, explain to him that you've decided he should wear/do/say/perform/recant something because your friends said so. Such bad times.

Anyway, this might seem like kind of an aside to your question, but understanding the notion of The Committee might help fill out the scene a little so you know what to make of the dude's reactions. As in, of course he got defensive. He probably feels like he's getting his chops busted for something he didn't really even do wrong and it all would have been fine Except For Those Meddling Kids!

But here's the thing. DW's sympathy with the dude's situation noted, there's no real reason for dude to leave the profile up. Fine, the dude gets a little aloof. He pouts. He says sh*t he doesn't mean like that nonsense about how he's fine with you dating other people when he's not. Whatever. But eventually, if he's being honest about being exclusive, he's gotta get over it and just go through the ritual of Taking Down The Profile already. The DW and the wifey had that moment. Every other couple who got serious had that moment. You have to Take Down The Profile or get off the pot. Plain and simple.

Because, at a certain point there's no excuse Not to take the profile down, right? You can still cruise other profiles and peep around and all that stuff while invisible. There's just no logical argument for a visible active profile other than stubbornness or wanting to keep your options open. And really, both of those should be unacceptable.

Ultimately, the DW suspects this dude really is into you and was maybe a little too sensitive about the "My friends said they saw you..." slant to things. Maybe you were a little too gotcha about it, maybe not. Who knows. Either way, though, perhaps this event is the test of how well you two can communicate. If you can find a way to talk to each other honestly and dude takes his profiles down, great. You learned something and onward you go. But if this really continues to be a problem, be wary. If you can't pretty quickly and amicably figure out how to resolve whether or not you're exclusive and what that means to the both of you, what happens when you throw family drama or assplay or pet allergies into the mix?

So. Let the dude cool off. Talk it out. Don't reference the opinions of your friends. See what you've got in this dude.


the DW

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Dude of the Week! (#13)

This week's not quite weekly Dude of the Week is- Wolverine!

Or, to be more accurate, this week's DOW is Hugh Jackman As Wolverine. See, separately, Hugh Jackman and Wolverine can be a little too Oklahoma! and a little too, well, just short and unappealing. But together? Well Hughjackmanwolverine makes just about every woman the DW knows a little weak in the knees, to put it politely. Especially the wifey. Last time the DW's saw the trailer with her he had to dab her forehead and offer her a cigarette which she could hardly smoke through sobs of joy.  Dear god I love that f*cking Wolverine, she said, a faraway look in her eyes. 

And somehow, dudes like the Hughjackmanwolverine, too, which is really quite a trick. This is not how it usually works. Really the only actual person to pull off the Dude Who Is Universally Appealing To Women Without Drawing Nutkicking Ire From Dudes is Will Smith, and even with him women aren't necessarily super swoony-swoon. Tom Cruise maybe had it before he went batsh&t nuts. Maybe George Clooney. Almost Brad Pitt, but not quite. Barack Obama maybe for left of center only. The more usual scenario is some dillweed like that vampire movie dude that women think is adorable and the DW wants to nutkick with great certitude and conviction for no real discernible reason. 

Anyway, the DW's heard the movie isn't all that great, but you can bet your sweet round rear end that he and the wifey will see it real soon. Maybe some kind of update will be in order.

Hughjackmanwolverine! You are the Dude of the Week!