Monday, April 14, 2008

Enjoying the Dating Game: Help for Women

You have all heard guys say,"I don't like playing games. I want to know right where I stand." To that I say a big, "Whatever!" If you believe that, you'll also believe men prefer concave-chested, stringy haired girls shaped like a pile of mashed potatoes. Please.

Men love games. Oh yes, they do. They enjoy all games--from cards to football, hunting to X-Box, boxing to chess. They love games. More importantly, men like winning games. But here's the thing: Do they like beating an easy opponent? Not so much. It's called a "hollow victory". Consider the notion of a "worthy foe". Men want a challenge and the bigger the challenge they conquer, the more triumphant the victory. Most sporting chaps prefer to give the prey a sporting chance and enjoy the pursuit and the hunt. And yes, I'm mixing my sporting metaphors.

So, don't tell me that men don't like games. They thrive on games. Games energize them. And dating is just one more game. Guys don't turn off their natural constitution in the female arena. It's still there, ladies, and in order to succeed, you need to understand the game and follow some rules. Just by being a woman, you are a formidable match for a man. You are mysterious and different, unpredictable and confounding. That is definitely to your favor. But all the mystery can be undone and quite easily, too.

One of the most important things to understand is that your definition of winning may not be his definition of winning. In fact, I'm pretty sure it's not. His goal will include, um, "scoring". This does not mean that he is interested in anything more. Women mistakenly believe that if he's interested in sex, he's interested in you. Not necessarily. A willing and able partner can be just fine with him and nothing more needs to come of it. For a woman, this reality can be distressing.

Here is a secret: It has been my experience that a guy who really digs a girl will tend to not want to rush the physical as quickly. (Don't confuse this with the conqueror who prides himself on his ability to bag any babe. He will hold out just to say he's done what other men have been afraid or unable to do.) Women should be very wary of jumping into the sack too soon with a guy. Just don't do it. Game over.

If a woman wants a relationship, she will understand a man's mindset. The guys who are just out for sex won't take long before bailing. Let. It. Go. They are not worth your time, no matter how long it's been since you've had a hug or meaningful human interaction. Spending a little time together without introducing sex might also give you valuable information about the guy. You can save yourself the misery by finding out he's a jackass before the deed is done. Which, to remind you, will mean that the game is over.

There are other ways to end the game. For example, women who rush down the relationship road too soon before they even meet a guy. Let me get concrete. A friend of mine is doing the online dating thing. A woman he met who he's semi-interested in, have chatted a couple times. Well, she mentioned, thrice in the span of a one hour chat, that she had calculated the distance between their homes and they could meet in the middle. She has done a couple things wrong. First, if a guy likes you that much, he'll come to you--certainly on the first date. If he can't muster up that much effort the first time, why even bother. Second, it freaks a guy out when you're already doing any sort of mental calculations such as that. Third, even if you've done the mental calculations, you feel the vibe, and you really like him, don't say anything. Good gravy, breathe, woman. You've talked once. Hold onto those wedding invites.

In the dance, a girl shows interest. She makes eye contact. She leans in. She laughs at a joke. She IMs. She emails back. The guy is encouraged. Hey, this chick seems to dig me. He tries to get her to do something--dance, talk more, go on a date. She gives him more encouragement. He pushes a little further--another date, more time, maybe a make-out session. Now, this is where it gets dicey. Too often, a woman complies too much for fear that she'll lose this really great guy. Maybe he gives her his phone number or email. And she takes it as an invitation to actually call or write.


It's an invitation to wait. If he knows that you dig him--and he must, you talked, clicked, touched, connected--he will call. He has your number. He has your email. If he cares, he will call. Wait. If he has said he will call, wait. Let him do what says he was going to do. Do not, under any circumstances (unless your grandma got sick and you'll be out of town, or something equally disastrous) call him first. Just. Don't.

A guy who is totally into you will not let the ball drop. He won't. So, you wait.

But here's the thing: You don't wait by the phone. You go. You do. You live your life. You should be doing this anyway. It is pathetic to stop everything for one stupid guy who may or may not have his crap together. It will not kill him to get the answering machine. It will not destroy a potential relationship if it takes a day to get back to him. Have some faith. If he is into you, he will wait, too.

So he calls. He asks you to do something and you already have plans for that day. What to do? Dumb women cancel plans. Smart women keep their plans, explain it to the guy and then say, "I would love to do something on this day......" Now, the guy will be disappointed, naturally. He will also be spurred on to try harder--if he digs you. If he doesn't really, a small disappointment will put him off. Fine. You've just learned something you needed to know. A guy who can't deal with a plan if it isn't exactly his way is a pain in the ass. Let. It. Go. A guy who digs you will be okay and suggest something else.

Women, why does every guy have to dig you?

Let's face it. We all want everyone to like us, but the reality is that there are just going to be people who we don't really like and who don't really like us. So what? Move along. There is a vast people ocean out there. One dud fish does not a disaster make. When there is pressure to turn every interaction into something meaningful, it smacks of desperation. This is a game, remember? Giving the ball to the opponent tends to lose the game. And women do this all the time even with men they don't like very much because they view a not-happening thing with a guy as rejection. It is not always going to happen. In fact, in shouldn't always happen. Working yourself into a pretzel isn't going to "make" it happen, but you might hurt your back, your dignity and your chances.

At the other extreme...there is the woman who only plays defense. She's the girl who "doesn't need a man to be happy". She is distant and busy and guys wonder if she even really likes men at all. This lady needs to realize that the game is give and take. You can't win the game playing defense non-stop. You have to make points and making points means proactively interacting. So when a guy does ask you out, and you want to go and you're interested, there's no crime in acting excited and interested. You're fueling the interaction a bit and encouraging the guy to give back. An indifferent attitude conveys a lack of caring and discourages even the most persistent fellows. These women should not wonder why they're alone. Thaw a bit, ice princess and you might meet your prince.

Some women complain about the game. They don't like what feels like goofing around when the desire is to just get to relationship. The relationship part won't come, though, if you're not willing to play the game and enjoy it, too. Patience, woman. Have some faith. If it is meant to happen, it will.

Rather than make this go on forever, I'll conclude tomorrow. The topic will be about continuing the game even when in a relationship. Play on!


Sister Honey Bunch said...

Amen sister. I am a success story.

We took the whole "getting to know you" over the phone and email thing slowly.

Then when my (now) husband asked me out for the first time, I stood him up. Oh yes I did. But he was persistent.

Looking forward to the conclusion. I love reading about the dating game. I did it for so freaking long myself.

alexcurylo said...

So, don't tell me that men don't like games. They thrive on games. Games energize them. And dating is just one more game...

Actually, what a guy generally means when he says "I don't like playing games" is something along the lines of


They'd be perfectly happy to treat dating as a game if women didn't generally act as if the game was Calvinball.

That's my impression of most men's opinion, anyways. I'm not a relationship person, myself, so this whole problem pretty much evades me.

Anonymous said...

I'm a straight male, and I really don't like games. But then I'm told by women that I'm unusual for a straight man, in ways they like and in ways they don't like. (For one thing the whole sports-jock thing.) Plus I'm a writer nad writers are just plain different. It may be my lack of interest in games that makes dating so distasteful to me. I avoid dating the way most men (according to comedians and TV sitcoms) avoid taking out the garbage. (no pun intended.) I'm kind of like comedian Norm MacDonald, who says that he doesn't "get" dating. He says something like, "Women want you to say things like, 'Do you want to go out for dinner?' But I don't like going out for dinner. I do like having sex. So I'd rather just ask women, 'How about having sex?' But women don't seem to respond well to that." I'm just a bit more gentlemanly than MacDonald.

Melissa Clouthier said...

Anon 10:58,

Maybe you should view dinner as foreplay and then you'd like it. Just sayin'.

Anonymous said...

A college friend once advised that if you're really in love with a woman, DON'T TELL HER until you've accomplished some sort of sexual contact with her...not necessarily intercourse, but at least some heavy making-out. His idea was that if you are too early with the "I love you," the woman will regard you as desperate, or at least "easy."



Anonymous said...

Fred, I got the same essential advice from a woman, with much more sexual experience than I will ever have if I live to be 100, who was my mentor on matters female. She also told me, "Sexual intercourse on the first date if you can, but making-out at the very least." She said that I was nice guy who would call the next day, so she felt justified in giving me this advice, since I tend to err on the side of caution.

Melissa Clouthier said...


Well, I don't think saying "I love you" too soon is ever a good idea. Makes a person question the intelligence of the confessor. How can a guy know so soon?

Anonymous said...

These women should not wonder why they're alone. Thaw a bit, ice princess and you might meet your prince.

Speaking as a guy, there's also a big boost when YOU are the only one that can thaw the Ice Princess. When YOU are the only one she will thaw for.

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