Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Dudefile #53- What Are The Rules These Days?

Hi DW,

First of all, thanks for taking the time to read my email. I know by now you must be in more demand than ever, so thank you for this selfless duty you do for smart, yet helpless women everywhere. Second, any chance we might soon see something in print?

Ok, so here's my situation. In the 5 years that I've been out of college, I was with a guy for nearly the first 4 of them. Our relationship was very easy...we dated for about a month before we were exclusive, moved in together after just half a year, and spent another 3 years together before breaking up on mutual and friendly terms.

That was about a year ago, and since then I have been dating frequently, but nothing that has surpassed the 2nd or 3rd date mark. I have now been dating a guy for about 2 weeks, and I'm really, really into him.

Here's how that story unfolds: We "met" on about 3+ weeks ago. He emailed me before leaving on a 10 day boys trip to Hawaii, we exchanged emails for everyday that he was there, and when he got back, we arranged a date for 3 days later on a Wednesday. The first date went well and was immediate followed by a second date the next night. Before the date ended, he asked me for a 3rd date for the following Wednesday, but then asked me the Sunday prior to come over and watch a DVD. Heavy kissing, but no major action while we watched the movie.

By Wednesday (our 4th "date"), we hooked up...3rd base, no penetration...and he asked to see me the coming Monday (I hope I'm not making this too confusing to follow). We caught a movie 2 hours later than planned and then I called it a night since he had to be up for work in 4 hours. Before the night was over, he asked when I was available this week, to which I answered Friday, and we set what would have been our 6th date in 2.5 weeks.

The next day, he texts me to say that he has to cancel on our date because his friend is moving to SF on Saturday, and Friday is the only night she is available to be seen before she takes off due to other farewell dinners with friends. I said I understood, to which he said "Thank you :p", but no offer of a rescheduling. He always makes sure to schedule our next date before the last one has ended, and this is the first time he's ever cancelled, and he's doing so 4 days in advance. All in all, the chemistry and compatibility seem to be great. Following all the "rules", I haven't brought any attention to his intermittent contact, been "too" available or pursue him, never nag about where we stand or are headed....all that stuff, blah blah blah.

Now, from start to finish and being generous by including our email exchanges as part of the courting stage, we're talking about just over 3 weeks of interaction. He's only ever called me once in the 2 weeks he's had my phone number, preferring to text me only. When asked why he was still single and on Match, he answered that girls and friends call him difficult because of his need for independence and autonomy and that most girls can't handle it. He's an only child and has never lived in a house with roommates. I know he likes his personal time and space.

Now, I've read all the books...He's Just Not That Into You, two books from the Venus/Mars collection, and at least 3 other carbon copies of the former...but I can't figure out what's going on here?

Is he just "not that into me"? After a few months of using Match in 2 attempts (split up when he met girls the more conventional ways and dated them for no longer than 5 weeks), he closed his account the morning after our latest date...the same day he cancels on me. Do I read this as him thinking he's found someone worth dating regularly? Or as him giving up on this as a medium for finding eligible dates? He did mention prior that he would be closing it soon, so it didn't come as a surprise. Is him cancelling on me without rescheduling his gutless way of hoping I'll "get the hint"?

Or, is this the way normal and healthy relationships tend to progress? What's the protocol these days? Most examples I have of couples are those that met while in college, or those that developed something after a randomly hooking up at a bar/party. We haven't slept together, but he's seen me naked. I know it's not the "performance" itself that would push him away...maybe that I was willing to "perform" by date 4. Date 5 was great, I thought anyway. He was affectionate and exhibited PDA and all the signs that he's into me.

I don't know. I have no clue what's going on. My guy friends say that guys move sloooow and that it's way too early to expect more than he's given me. But my experience the last few years is that when a guy is into me, he's calling, making plans, and really trying to win me over. So what am I supposed to think about this situation?

Please help!! Thanks so much!!


Hi KR,

So, the most fascinating thing to the DW about Jersey Shore is the weird understood code of ethics among Snooki and the gang. They have very specific ideas about what's “classy”, what is acceptable in the proximity of a “female”, how much boob is properly displayed by a corset inspired club dress. And although the criteria for these judgments are utterly lost on the DW and the rest of civilization, they police everything from diet to hair gel usage and essentially the show becomes this strangely confining and puritanical dance of manners. You know, in between folks punching each other in the face and stuff.

Now, the DW isn't suggesting that the rules you want to learn will lead to a Groundhog Day cycle of Gym, Tan, Laundry. But the parallel universe of the Shore is a cautionary tale about what happens when you get too focused on games and rituals and rules instead of stepping outside The Situation, er, the situation, and being the one to say, “You know, today is the day I put my foot down and refuse to get sh&tfaced at Karma and troll for dudes on steroids.”

In other words, the DW's general position on How The Game Is Played is this. Who cares? You don't have time to be held down by The Man, dig? The current protocol for when to return a call or which number of dates before you go for under the shirt boob or whatever is arbitrary and changes all the time, anyway. Why turn romance into a to-do list? To-do lists are for stuff like scooping the cat litter and vacuuming the couch, not how to be funny on a date or deciding if it's time to be exclusive.

Make your own rules about whether or not you and the dude are being decent and fair. Is he being a nice dude? Is he acting the way you, KR, would act towards someone you liked and respected?

In those terms, this dude seems pretty okay, right? Emailing you every day on vacation with the dudes in Hawaii is good. 6 dates in 2 and a half weeks is a healthy amount. Dude plans ahead for you which shows consideration. It's a compatible pace right now with the Journey to the Center of No Pants. And hey, if a dude opens a Match account the day he cancels a date with you, that's when you get worried, not when he closes one. (Most women who write the DW have exactly the opposite problem.)

So the dude canceled a date. It happens. If only we were all informed about canceled dates with four days warning and a perfectly legitimate excuse what a wonderful world it would be. This ain't exactly Pauly D you're mixed up with right now, y'know?

Hey, maybe this works out long term, maybe he is a precious only child type and it doesn't. But this isn't the moment that is going to tell you one way or the other.

Deep breath, babycakes. It's been 6 dates. That's reeeeallly early. After six dates the Wifey still had her profile up and half the DW's friends had no idea he was seeing someone.

You'll go out again. Enjoy the date, judge by your own rules, take it from there.

the DW

(PS- Thanks for the nice words! No set plans for anything in print just yet, but the DW is certainly taking all offers for spreading the genius.)


Anonymous said...

Seriously, KR, don't read the books.

Anonymous said...

DW is right. screw the rules. so you haven't called him? you're just waiting for him to call you? and as DW said, tell yourself “you know, today is the day I put my foot down." (not sure about the refusing to get sh&tfaced at karma and troll for dudes on steroids part, but you probably shouldn't do that either.) stop waiting for him to call you. stop waiting for him to set the dates. put your foot down. call him. make plans. it's empowering.