Thursday, July 06, 2006

Dating Dilemma: Update

So, my friend J. contacted the feral apostrophe guy--without addressing why she'd not responded earlier--and, she reports, they went out for lunch. She really enjoyed his company; he was funny, relaxing to be around, smart.

Then, at parting, he said something like "Well, I go out to lunch a lot; email me if you're available some time." Which she did not understand as expressing real interest--although, now that I think about it, the disinterested posture might have been a way for him to salvage pride. Anyway, strike one.

A couple of days later, he sent her a short email: "Hi, how r u?"

I don't have the feeling that this is really going to work out for her.

22 Comments:

Anonymous teofilo:

I don't really get why she didn't understand what he said as expressing real interest. That's totally the kind of thing I would say to casually indicate interest.

7/06/2006 10:34:00 PM  
Blogger Jackmormon:

I tried to say something similar to her, especially when she told me about his emailing her a few days later. But her dating goals and ideas are rather different from mine. She's from the South, which if I understand correctly, has a more formal guy-pursues-girl understanding, and, again, if I understand correctly, she really wants to meet somebody to commit to and settle down with.

I'm advocating full-bore hedonism in our conversations since I think she needs encouragement in the "just have a good time" department.

7/06/2006 11:21:00 PM  
Anonymous teofilo:

Yeah, he seems really into her; the e-mail seals it. How did she react to it?

7/07/2006 12:13:00 AM  
Blogger Jackmormon:

She hasn't replied yet. She's been very busy, and she's a little weirded out by casualness of the IM language. There is something disconcerting about this combination of all the signs of vigorous interest with the carelessness of the emails' writing. He cares! Just not enough to spell out "you"!

But then, I'm pretty convinced both of us are behind the generation gap on this.

7/07/2006 06:09:00 AM  
Anonymous I don't pay:

I've been in his corner up until now. I hope she's sending enough signals so that he should pick up on it. If she would only write warmly but correctly, then she'd be entitled to hope he'd pick it up.

As of now, she's running a risk of sending unpleasantly mixed signals that undermine and in fact make a mockery of her values, in context.

7/07/2006 10:23:00 AM  
Anonymous John Thullen:

This has the makings of a mini-series.

I wonder what sort of signals she is sending. What do we know? She is looking for commitment, she has doubts about his entire value structure based on some wandering apostrophes and perhaps a generational habit of composing e-mail like a 13-year-old, but she finds him funny over lunch.

One wonders (hey, we could all show up at the cafe where they eat and sit at other tables wearing shades and reading bulky novels while tapping out text messages to each other about their encounter on our Blackberries. Well, I would have to purchase a Blackberry and then blow my cover by asking one of you to show me how to work it... anyway) how these conflicting views of hers translate to him.

So, maybe he's thinking "I like her, but I can't quite make out what she's thinking about me" Which might explain the nature of his lunch invitation, sort of a non-committal, hey, we both EAT lunch, right, so what would happen if we both once again, accidentally mind you, sat at the same table more or less facing each other and kind of on purpose, but without having children or obtaining a mortgage, eat lunch, you know, like spies passing along coded messages?

As to the Hallmark-style "How R U", it's hard to tell. If he said this in person (can you say R and U?), in a baby voice, well, folks, end of mini-series. On the other hand, I would never want to serve on a U-boat, because it is unclear what "U" stands for (Gary Farber will justifiably tell me to "Google it", but I would never date a person or marry one who used google as a verb, or a noun. I'd think, what the heck? ;)) It probably stands for "Underwater" but why would someone deliberately get on a boat that immediately and purposely sank.

I'm thinking this is generational. Once at the library, I queued up for a computer on which the teenage girl ahead of me was emailing, and spying over her shoulder, I noticed NO punctuation or capitalization or paragraghing in the book she was writing to someone else. That's bad, I thought. Wait, maybe she's quoting "Finnegan's Wake" at length. That's good. But since she was probably, 16, and I was whatever I am and married, who's going to ask?

I never eat lunch anyway.

7/07/2006 02:49:00 PM  
Anonymous eb:

He should look for someone else.

7/07/2006 03:21:00 PM  
Anonymous John Thullen:

"He should look for someone else"?

Yes, I expect so. But what about us who are left hanging like that? Are we supposed to just go on with our lives like nothing happened?
Without even a by-your-leave!

At this point, the ending of this dalliance would be for the viewer and the sponsers like the entire cast of "The Sopranos", including the extras, getting whacked in the second episode.

If he gives up, I demand that Jackmormon get the scoop on the next potential boyfriend AND get to know this first guy well enough so that he will divulge the details of his next dalliance.

This is much more interesting than all the boring bad stuff in the world. Honestly.

7/07/2006 03:50:00 PM  
Blogger Jackmormon:

When I need a ghost-writer for my autobiography, I'm going to contact John Thullen.

But I'm leaning towards eb's interpretation.

7/07/2006 04:34:00 PM  
Anonymous John Thullen:

O.K., but I think what we need here is a kiss and a lengthy and breathless analysis of it -- it's efficacy, its manner, its passion, its mutual tactile give, its kind of experimental and essential human taste ...

Is it a kiss or is it a ki's's?

Because if we stop at the wandering apostrophe, we really don't know anything yet, and neither does she. But who cares about her or him because it is we who have become irreversibly engaged and invested in this lovely balancing moment.

To quote John Cleese in a completely different and much funnier context: "What about a kiss, boy? What's wrong with a simple kiss?"

Then again, she might look off into the distant sky after the kiss and remark to him, distractedly, "you know, that cloud over there looks exactly like a huge apostrophe."

He'll get it.

7/07/2006 08:57:00 PM  
Anonymous John Thullen:

To misquote Diane Keaton and Woody Allen, she, the friend, could say, "Would you like to perform a kiss with me?"

He could answer, "Well, I don't know that I'm up to a performance, but I would be happy to rehearse with you."

7/07/2006 09:14:00 PM  
Anonymous NeoDude:

It seems that many belles enjoy the fine art of the chase.

The dude she met sounds like fun, but doesn’t sound like “seduction” fun.

7/08/2006 08:44:00 PM  
Anonymous Tom Scudder:

1 - Well, the "give me a call any time you want to have lunch" thing totally makes me think the guy did want another date but didn't want to come over as all stalker-y and "too interested".

And on the im-style email, maybe he's just not a very text-centered person. I always find it disconcerting when people who are very witty and quick-thinking in conversation write emails like teenagers, but it happens all the time.

(Heck, I write my IMs with normal grammar & spelling as well, most of the time.)

7/09/2006 06:10:00 AM  
Anonymous NeoDude:

One does not spark the flames of passion with polite ambiguity.

(I know, I know)

7/09/2006 11:15:00 AM  
Anonymous NeoDude:

Then again, maybe he was ugly and she is using another excuse to stay distant.

7/09/2006 11:25:00 AM  
Anonymous John Thullen:

"the guy did want another date but didn't want to come over as all stalk-ery and 'too interested'."

AND

"One does not spark the flames of passion with polite ambiguity."

Aye, thar's the rub .... that gulf between lurking in the high grass like you've lost your car keys and leaping right out into the clearing and scurrying about while everyone, including the one for whom one is passionate, takes off in all directions, usually in Porsches.

But then I have a problem with referring to this preliminary minuet as "stalk-ery", though I realize that is the word used today. It implies menace when what it really is, speaking as a guy, is a ritual circling while one girds himself with the courage to withstand probable rejection and humiliation.

I prefer to call this "preliminary solo tangoing". Sounds better. Of course, what does one do if you are doing some casual, non-committal, solo tangoing and you are being observed and evaluated
for long-term commitment? There is something crosswise about all of that.

Can we please just eat lunch and then ask for the dessert menu and inquire about whether the joint is open for banquets?

I think my wife is upstairs balancing the checkbook. I'm thinking of making lunch for her. Is that too aggressive or too subtle? And why am I slicking my eyebrows as I pass the mirror in the living room? And what is that rose doing clenched between my teeth? What if she asks: "What's wrong with you?"

Help me.

7/09/2006 01:23:00 PM  
Anonymous NeoDude:

Aye, thar's the rub .... that gulf between lurking in the high grass like you've lost your car keys and leaping right out into the clearing and scurrying about while everyone, including the one for whom one is passionate, takes off in all directions, usually in Porsches.

That is classic.

7/09/2006 02:09:00 PM  
Blogger Jackmormon:

To answer you rather seriously, John, I went out on a date once with a serious random--a guy who picked me up while he was on a security detail (for the first female Muslim leading Friday prayers!). We talked on the phone, we went out on a very courteous date, we kissed on the doorstep of my building (I had pled work), then he called me an hour later to chat, and then every night thereafter until I stopped taking his calls.

Expressions of interest can overreach the limits of charming.

7/09/2006 08:36:00 PM  
Anonymous John Thullen:

Well, that's a good answer.

It's the process of figuring that out, for both parties, that is the endlessly interesting part, to my mind.

One doesn't know whether to have a strategy, which is not very charming, or to forsake strategy and embrace intuition, which doesn't work if one has no charm.

My point is, you don't know, until you know.

On NPR yesterday, a guy said his wife and he met in a gay bar. She picked him up. Now, you can think about how that happened given the venue, and it has nothing to do with the subject at hand, really, but HOW, exactly did that happen?

I don't know.

7/09/2006 09:49:00 PM  
Blogger Jackmormon:

Actually, I'll be honest: I kinda knew I wasn't into guy X even before I kissed him. The sensation of feeling crowded by him was really just an excuse.

I think he might have done everything okay, in a universe in which he was really into me and I was seriously considering him.

I hope I haven't given any men neurotic complexes by admitting this.

7/09/2006 10:42:00 PM  
Anonymous John Thullen:

No, my neurotic complexes were firmly established long ago and the ones related to this subject are kept on a shelf somewhere.

I take them down every once in a while and exercise them and talk to them. They're still in working order should I ever need them again. They admit to being jealous of the other complexes I use on a daily basis.

7/10/2006 10:55:00 AM  
Anonymous NeoDude:

There is something to be said about “chemistry” if that is not there, then all the little stuff begins to turn into BIG stuff.

If there is no chemistry, her pigeon toes become annoying, they way she does baby talk turns into nails on a chalkboard.

If there is chemistry, her pigeon-toes are absolutely cute, her baby talk makes me melt…so on and so forth.

But attempting to systematize “chemistry”….thar is the rub.

7/10/2006 02:23:00 PM  

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