People (women, mostly) ask me all the time:
Things were going so well and then I just never heard from him again, what do you think went wrong?
Should I text first after a first date, or play hard to get?
If I’m too available to him, will he lose interest? Men like the thrill of the chase don’t they?
He never called me after our first date, should I call/text/rock up on his doorstep and demand to know why?
Should you have sex on the first date? My mother always told me “why buy the milk when you can have the cow for free?”
And I have spent the last 2 years (backed up by a lifetime of dealing with men prior to this (and the countless “workshops” with friends and hot/cold “relationships” with guys I really liked, and failed dates with guys I definitely did not)) trying to work out the answers to these questions.
And the answer is WHO KNOWS? Who knows why men do the things they do. I don’t think they even know half the time. But no, all data I have gathered indicates, that on those rare occasions in life where we meet the right guys, I do not think it will matter if you text first or sleep with him “too” early in the “budding relationship” or make yourself “too available” to him.
The right guys being guys who are genuinely interested in you. Guys who you have connected with on some weird level whether you or indeed him, realise it. There is not a whole lot you can do to turn these guys off (DISCLAIMER: I am assuming you’re not a Class A Bunny Boiler).
EXHIBIT A: (Dad, I hope you’re not reading my blog – if you are, this is payback for the couple of times in the last few years where you’ve expressed some sort of sexual attraction towards our stepmother which is just plain gross and you need to stop)
I once got horrendously drunk at a wedding and slept with the MC (who by the way is still one of the best looking men I have ever seen in real life so despite the fact this still mortifies me on a daily basis, I try not to beat myself up about it too badly).
And partly because at this point in my life I was convinced that if girls slept with guys on the first night guys never called – because these are the horror stories I had heard. And partly because I felt so ashamed of what I’d done and felt the need to validate myself somehow – I contacted him to suggest we hang out again (despite the fact this guy lived in a different state to me). To my surprise he was up for it (mutual friends have even said somewhat excited by the idea). Job done. That was all I needed. I felt somewhat better about the situation and really didn’t need anything more from him at that point.
But it was at this point I started to question everything I thought I knew about the way men and women interact and where things go wrong in these interactions.
I slept with that guy on the first night. In rather public circumstances (read: at least half the wedding knew we’d spent the night together and the other half heard about it the next day). And he didn’t seem to be put off by it.
EXHIBIT B: The Four
In contrast, I once textbook dated a guy. This encounter should have ended in marriage, it was that far in favour. He wasn’t the best looking guy I had ever met – but something told me to give the guy a go. So there you go, the first thing is in my favour. I was better looking than him, more charismatic, more sucessful in my career blah blah (this is not obviously something I would say in real life but this is a blog – you need all the details to understand why this is a good example of why the dating fallacies are a load of rubbish). So I was a solid 7, he was a 4. Tick. This is low risk dating. A 4 generally wouldn’t stuff things up with a 7 if they actually liked each other.
So we started dating – wineries for lunch, cool CBD pubs for dinners after work, sharing our love of good reds and craft beer. He’d even drive me to the wineries, all I had to do was sit back and relax. He was the perfect Alpha Male. A gentleman but strong and capable of taking care of me – my inner feminist rolls her eyes at the stupid little girl who grew up in the country and can’t shake this attraction to these sorts of men.
To be honest it was heaven. Dating at it’s absolute best. One afternoon he even dropped me back to my car, jumped out and said “hold on”, he went inside to get some sort of magic tool, came back out and tightened the tow bar on my car because at lunch I had complained about a weird rattle and the fact I’d asked my Dad to take my tow bar off and he had declined because “it protects my car from idiots who can’t park” (to which this guy agreed). Dad would have loved him (because they were basically the same person): TICK (and a big un-tick there at the same time haha).
It never rattled again. And my ovaries were exploding at this point. I hadn’t had a man take care of me like this in a long time.
So he was appealing to all of my emotional needs. Without being overly emotional. Tick.
Textbook dating. We were playing by all the rules. Getting to know each other, enjoying each other’s company. Loads in common.
Then his friends start interacting with me on instagram. Tick. We start ganging up on him. Best friends and potential new girlfriend engaging in joint banter (which was very well received). Tick.
Then he goes away for a week with his friends – couldn’t have cared less and didn’t attempt to make contact unless he did. Tick.
He made contact. A lot. I was clearly on his mind. His friends also made contact. Tick.
Then about a couple of weeks after he got back, he started going cold on me. Backing out of plans we’d made. And it shortly fizzled out after that.
Do I know why? No. How could I? Was it something that I did? Highly unlikley. That was textbook dating. The guy was clearly into me. I was into him too.
Had he just got out of a long messy, relationship? I don’t know, I don’t usually ask those questions when I start dating someone because I don’t consider it any of my business! Was he stressed or under pressure at work? Was there someone else? Did he have plans to move interstate and I was potentially ruining them? Was he just not that into me? Who knows! But he still occassionally stalks my instagram stories (after many, many months of both of us avoiding each other) so this added to the data I was compiling on this particular interaction.
The interaction was good. I did everything right. Couldn’t pinpoint anything I had done wrong. And he still shows moderate signs of interest a year later. So I deduced from this that whatever happened was no personal reflection on me. It was acually none of my business what happened at his end. I could close that book and move on without worrying what I’d done to cause the issue.
So, combined with many, many other examples, here I start piecing it all together.
Sometimes you will do everything right and it doesn’t work. Sometimes you’ll do everything “wrong” and it still doesn’t seem to put them off. There is no rhyme or reason to dating. We’re dating individuals! They have sh*t going on. Too much to list (but trust me, their insecurities and their inability to deal with more than one big thing going on/blowing up in their life at once has a lot to do with it). Don’t ask questions. Of them or of yourself. Just pick yourself up, dust yourself off and move on. There are no lessons to be learnt here (other than the ones about not beating yourself up over things that are outside of your control and that all of those dating “rules” or theories are a load of cr*p). They fly out the window when you meet the right guys. And meeting the right guys is a timing issue. Not something you can influence in any way. So every time something doesn’t work out, be grateful that he took himself out of the game without you having to do it for him ( slash TO him because they sometimes don’t react well to that!) and opened the door for the next amazing guy who’s coming along.
Stay tuned for Exhibit C: The No Boxes Guy. This is probably one of the worst encounters I’ve had with a man lately but from it I have learned two of the most incredible lessons completely resolving two issues that had been bugging me all year…