23 March, 2012

The Trouble With Men Is...

(ha! Thought that would get you!)

I play a unique role in the world of the men in my life. I’ve always been one of the guys. My dad had football (American-style) chalk-talks with me during summer vacations in Junior High – that kind of “one of the guys”. But I realized what makes my “one of the guys” different from most women’s “I’m one of the guys” is the boarding school factor. Seriously, that one factor seems to have colored the person I am more than anything else. Forget about the school, whether I liked it/them or not, whether I fit in or not, let’s think socially.

It might be an old-fashioned notion these days.

First: Dining. If you live at home, then regardless of the gender of your closest school friends, you eat with your nuclear family –
well okay, when I was a kid, people ate with their families. But away at school, eating in a dining hall, you eat with your friends. So the half-dozen guys I hung out with and maybe my roommate would share a table.  

Second: Evenings. If you live at home, when the extracurricular activities are over, you eventually come home to siblings and some type of parental unit. At the school I eventually graduated from, we had mandatory “study hours” when students were to be in their rooms and quiet – hopefully studying – for an hour and a half.

If you made the honor roll one semester, you were exempt from study hours for the next semester. It took me one semester to become free of study hours forever because they didn’t accept my honor roll from my previous school. After that, although not allowed inside the dorm of the opposite sex during study hours, my friends and I would gather at the gym to play cards for the time. (I found out at a high school reunion that one guy worked really hard to get off study hours so he could spend that time with me. AWWW!)

Third: Sunday afternoons.
In America, this is football time.

I am a fan. I spent my Sundays hanging in the guys’ dorm lounge watching games and giving the occasional back-rub, while the girls’ dorm played some silly chick-flick. After football season, I’d be downstairs in the guys’ dorm shooting pool, or out on the quad with the skaters.

In all that time, I apparently absorbed some “male” tendencies. I’m not saying I scratch myself in public (Ash), but while in college, a roommate once accused me of “thinking like a guy”. I don’t remember what about – priorities, movies, manicures? Anyway, I get men. I really understand where you’re coming from most of the time, and I can empathize!

Except when it comes to relationships. Thing is, I hung out with the guys. I really didn’t do much dating. Relationships with boyfriends were relatively short-lived, because it was just too weird! Here’s this guy who taught me to shoot pool, who was Dungeon Master of our D&D game (yeah, I was THAT KIND of nerd), and suddenly our whole interaction is supposed to change? Don’t get me wrong, I didn’t mind all of it, but it was the girly-stuff you guys expect of a girlfriend that was a big-time FAIL for me. I don’t know that emotional stuff.

Nowadays, I seem to be a kind of touchstone for male friends of mine when their relationships fail. 

Case in point A: Guy I knew in PA. We were in a play together and became friends. Turned out he lived nearby. I went to his movie nights and other parties. We had a good time…actually there’s a funny story in here about how he thought we were dating, but I didn’t get it, but that’s beside the point of today’s post. Eventually he married a former flame from high school who was recently divorced. Fast forward a few years, and my phone rings. It’s him, telling me she asked for a divorce. We talked off and on for months until he started dating someone again. (I get it: most women are very suspicious of a platonic relationship their man has with another woman.)

Case in Point B: Another guy from PA who calls me very randomly, always between girlfriends. Finally I have stopped answering his calls because he seems to only be able to talk about movies or theatre, and I just think there’s more to life than that. …and it’s always a long conversation. …and he’s usually drunk, apparently. A two-hour drunk dial? I think not.

Case in Point C: Old friend from the Chicago days got in touch with me a few years ago. This guy is, on paper, perfect for me. It never worked for us in Chicago because he loved to push my buttons and I have no tolerance for that. Now we live a continent apart. We get on great over the phone. When he was back in Chicago visiting family, twice it worked out that I could be there simultaneously. Good fun. But that’s all. Old friends.

I finally figured it out. When a relationship fails,

girls collect with their girlfriends and analyze what happened (I think). But maybe guys just want to be reassured that there is at least one, eligible, available woman who has characteristics that are desirable! (We were friends for a reason, after all, even if it went nowhere else.) Does this sound on track, guys? (I really want to know.) Or am I completely blind and these guys are hoping I’ll be the next in line for them? (Not inconceivable.)

This is all coming up because of my impending departure. I met this guy by being cast opposite him in a play. Twice. He’s a good guy, and I was urged for a long time to date him. I don’t know if he was urged similarly. It never happened. But we’ve stayed friends and are in occasional contact . Well I ran into him in the grocery store recently and told him I’m moving to Indiana.
His response? I love Indiana! Indiana’s great – I get there two or three times a year!
Why is he telling me he visits Indiana? Does he expect us to get together there, when we didn't while we live near each other? My guess is that he doesn’t want to lose his single-girl touchstone.

I’ve gotten a few “You can’t leave!”s from various guys I know in the area, who I’ve either dated non-seriously, or not at all. I assume they’re just being polite. I don’t know what they could expect me to stay for. If they need a between-relationship-female-perspective, I’ll still be reachable.

Now that you know the whole spiel, am I smoking crack? The "female touchstone" idea is the only theory that makes any sense to me, because clearly there is no interest in a relationship coming from these guys. I’m so confused.

So I guess, “the trouble with men is...” that I’m confused. Help me out, if you can!

Today’s reason to Celebrate (thank you, Cranky&Difficult):
On this date in 1775, Patrick Henry (An American Patriot, for my non-US readers) made his “give me liberty or give me death” speech. Rock on! Sounds like a reason to toast the man.


  1. Awwww. I love that you unknowingly helped a guy be a better student just so he could be near you. You're like The Unintentional Tutor.

    Yes, that's what I took from all of this . . . what?

    I don't have an answer because I'm not a man. I also am not very girly and have had a lot of guy friends growing up. Some turned into more, some not. Your theory may have merit. I will be curious to see they guys weigh in.

    1. I know! The guy totally nerded out for me, even to the point of joining in the role playing games. Not that I knew it at the time.

      He played defensive tackle on the football team, and I was team statistician. I was not a really popular person, but never really rejected, just sort of not there. Apparently this HUGE defensive tackle made sure nobody said mean things about me or to me...at least that's what I assume, now that I know.

  2. MALE PERSPECTIVE: I have nothing.

    Speaking for myself and not men in general, I don't know. My friends are my friends regardless of the relationship I am in or not in. Some of them are guys and some of them are girls. Of course, when single there is more free time to spend with other people, but the friendship didn't get cut off in the meantime.

    I am sure some guys would call up a girl after becoming single again to see where it goes or even just to have female companionship. I could see either of those.

    I will agree that we often make no sense and I'm one of them.

    1. I just realized I never responded here. (So many emails I forget where I am.)

      The one exception to the "never calling while he's in a relationship" rule was my Jim. I mentioned him in an early post, and was friends with him for some 3 years before he met the girl who became his wife. Amy was fine with having me around, although I never hung out with just her.

  3. Oh my. Men are tricksy. Who knows what goes on in those noggins?

    Actually, I think the answer is that what is going on probably isn't as complicated as we (women) make it out to be. But I'm not a dude, so I could be totally wrong.

    Do you think the 'one of the guys' thing throws them off? As in, they aren't sure where they stand with you, and therefore are reluctant to let you know what they think/want? After all, guys are more sensitive than we think, and don't want to be rejected. If that's the case, then perhaps just asking what's up is the thing to do?

    1. I've often thought that, Vesta. But I can't do anything about it. I've said it before, I'll say it again: I can be no other than I am.

      You may have hit the nail on the head. But who wants to ask what's up and admit to cluelessness?

  4. Hmmmm without knowing what I'm talking about (which is my usual state of being) I think you're theory is pretty good.

    I would say that nature has built it into our systems to crave the opposite sex - and even if our logical mind knows that we're just friends, and doesn't see it any other way, there's a bit of carnal instinct going on without our realizing it. Maybe it's this carnal instinct which pushes them to call you until they find someone else? Oh how I love theorizing lol...

    See, this gives room for them being "good guys" but also acting in a way that, in my opinion, isn't so cool. What do you think?

    1. That ties in with what Vesta said, too. You too must be better at this than I.

      And I note that the only man to weigh in is my internet fiance. Hmm... I think I just scared them all off, again. I was hoping to do the opposite. Story of my life!

    2. As long as it's only the other guys who are scared off - all is good. Actually, maybe Brett is sending them threatening messages about hanging around your site so much. Yes, that must be it...

    3. Yes. I have a very menacing presence.

    4. Probably why you so happily advertised (we'll pretend I didn't ask) your "perfect" height of 6'3"

    5. Dudes! Could you please embarrass me someplace other than my own blog? I was caught off guard. I'm paying for it now.

      I won't mention his gorgeous blue eyes...

    6. LOL. Again with making me laugh.

    7. Hey you two. I've got a lot on my mind these days - which made me feel little lonely I guess. Anyway, I couldn't sleep because of it - so I came back online and found you two happily commenting away. Seriously cheered me up! You guys really make me laugh - thanks! Now I'm going to go and attempt sleep again - hopefully this time it will work.

  5. I also have dude like tendencies. Though also very girly, I LOVE shoes, wearing skirts, doing my makeup and having my nails done. I also have this tendency of finding old male friends or even flames when a relationship goes south.
    I can honestly say what I am looking for is a comfort level that cannot be found in "someone new". After losing someone I care about, I crave being near someone who already knows me. I don't want to feel guarded and awkward. I may not even be looking for something romantic (though sometimes I am). More so, what I'm looking for is feeling attractive and maybe even wanted by someone who truly knows me. It's easy to be attractive to someone new. In the beginning, all of those little quirks and things haven't surfaced yet. But feeling wanted by someone who has seen me at my worst, well, that is a nice feeling when something has gone wrong someplace else.
    I am not saying this is a good thing. I hate it when I end up hurting someone. I can fully admit that has happened. I can also admit that the person hurt has also been me. But, this is how I came back together with my fiance. My marriage was over, I was seeking comfort and found my high school sweetheart. We started as friends, but after a year realized we didn't want to lose each other again. Fast forward to six years later and I am very glad that my baser instinct to seek comfort led me to the man I was made for all along.

    1. It's amazing that you found each other again. I met an old couple in a McDonald's a few months ago that had been high school sweethearts in the 60's. They went their separate ways when they graduated and went off to college. They each married other people.

      Forty years later, her husband had died and he had gotten divorced. They met again at their 40th high school reunion and picked up where they left off 4 decades before. They married the next year.

      Touching story.

    2. I haven't had many rough break-ups, but usually that makes me want to be totally alone more than with someone I know.

      I'm glad it worked out for you and your man, though!

  6. haha admittely not a whole heck of a lot goes on up there, but then again I guess it might. All depends on who/what/where I guess. But trying to narrow down minds as a whole for either sex is never going to work out well for all are different, best to narrow down the person first, then go from there.

    1. That's true. I guess I can see how one of the above mentioned guys (B) might have been "interested". Then again, I totally missed the clues from (A) the first time around. Maybe he was too.

      Mr. C kept playing the geography card, so I really don't know if he'd have had any interest if I lived closer to him. Why do people thing geography is insurmountable?

  7. I think your logic is pretty sound. But funnily enough, I've seen girls do this too. I had a girl I used to know who would get engaged (way too fast), would get dumped, and then I was literally the first person she would call. Every single time. And she always had a huge crush on me. I think she just wanted someone to express interest in her... which is odd, because I never expressed the slightest bit of interest in her.

    1. Hmm...I never thought of girls in that light. Then again, I'm not their go-to girl! And I only started understanding women when I got into retail some 14 years ago, so I'm kind of new at it.

      Probably her relationships kept failing because you were her ideal and nobody else could ever measure up. Hopefully she got over you! (most crushes die out eventually.)


I enjoy a good debate. Feel free to shake things up. Tell me I'm wrong. Ask me why I have such a weird opinion. ...or, just laugh and tell how this relates to you and your life.