Tuesday, August 3, 2010

A word or two on the lunacy of boys, girls, and their dating funny business

It’s time for a singles rant! These are the best kinds of rants I feel because I have many a single friend who can likely relate to the rants of a raving single (see: me)… particularly the raving Utah LDS Singles (an entirely different breed of single… believe me) and the very strange dynamics that is the Utah LDS Singles “scene.” I think I missed the role call for that “scene” by the way. Oh yes, checking acting roles… scroll scroll scroll… looks like I’m running the lights again. Alas!

A few things I find funny… and by funny I don’t mean haw haw… I mean strange, weird, irrational, or generally jsut slightly left of center (you picking up what I'm putting down?). Funny business! That's what I mean. There are a few things I find “funny business” about the Utah LDS Singles scene. I’ve been reading a book by one Alisa Goodwin Snell entitled Dating Game Secrets for Marrying a Good Man (Official Play Books) (what? It’s really good! You’re single too so maybe you should find yourself a copy instead of scoffing at ME!... it'll do ya some good!) and have gotten some really valuable insights into this world of dating and singledom and the strange “funny business” dynamic being a Utah LDS Single adds to the whole shi-bang. It’s been enlightening. It really has. And the enlightenment resides not in the “here’s what you do to trick someone into loving you” but rather, “here’s how you learn to love yourself, and then others will love you too…” How very existentialist of me. We could all be a little more existentialist, couldn't we? Rainbows.

 On to the rant!

 Some categories I find “funny business” about the Utah LDS Singles Dating Scene (hereafter ULDSSDS… cause phew!) are as follows:

 1. Why girls date jerks and subsequently, why dudes date… er… what’s a good clean non-swear I can use to convey the female version of “jerks” – femme-jerks? Okay, shore. Femme-jerks. Or in other words, why do nice girls and nice guys date jerks and femme-jerks? This is a big conundrum to me… one I’ve been victim of just as much as the next fool.

 I’ve taken it upon myself to try and figure out this rather strange dynamic and though it clearly has universal applicability, I find it’s prevalence in the ULDSSDS (...) happenings rather staggering. Perhaps I’m just friends with really nice people who are subsequently, really huge suckers, and thus see them getting smashed by the meanys more than the average person. Or maybe because all us Mormys (mormy?) are just plain nice people in general and so we’re an easy target for the mean folks. Eh? Clearly there is a myriad of reasoning why nice people date mean people… or attempt to date mean people… or for some reason tend to find the one person who treats them like a big pile of poo to give their affections to. I’ve done it. You’ve done it. Why do we do it? I’d like to focus on one of these reasons… my own little theory.

Theory: We date meanys and jerks and femme-jerks because we want what we can’t have. Now, I’m going to go a little “gender-bias” here and say that this is a very large MALE problem here in a state positively BRIMMING (BRIMMING I tell you!) with flouncing LDS single women. Many of my good (emphasis on good meaning awesome and great) male friends tend to date huge femme-jerks. In every Singles’ Ward I’ve been in, women outnumber men (at minimum) 2 to 1. In my current singles ward, we have 3… 3 Relief Societies and no, I don’t attend the BYU 562nd Ward. It’s starting to happen all over this Mormonly populated state, the inordinate amount of single females to males ratio, and I feel this is the reason why some (majority of) Mormon fella’s tend to be more significantly attracted to the ones who, quite basically and realistically, don’t want them and randomly spit in their direction for good measure – the girls who are “just not that into it.” Have some pride, man! She spit at you! Sp-it. Give up.

 Ladies – it’s about reinforcement. Dudes around these parts are being constantly reinforced to date mean girls. What? Yeah, we do play a role in this strange occurrence; a large role I’d say. Many single chaps in the ULDSSDS..S…M…X..P… whatever... are used to being a hot commodity! The bees knees! The cats Meeeee-ow! I mean two girls for every one guy? It’s modern “singleness polygamy” (now there’s a great oxymoron) at its most treacherous! And ladies, we propagate it by throwing ourselves at the feet of any Tom, Dick, or Harry (alright… more like Jared, Alex, or Matt) who gives us one up and down glance. We reinforce minimal effort by giving immediate maximum output. We've made ourselves emotional slu... er flooseys. This ought not to BE! Desperation, even if we ARE desperate, is not attractive in any form and should be avoided at all costs. So why do dudes like mean girls? Cause they’re too used to being treated like a King when they’ve not invested any time, energy, or interest in being treated that way by their Harem of 50 willing mistresses so eager to please. Why buy a Popsicle when you’re giving the ice cream truck for free (cite: Never Been Kissed – GREAT film)? Thus, when one femme-jerk shows a hint of disinterest or no interest what so ever, it’s intriguing. It’s finally a challenge! It’s something to work for! And good (emphasis on good meaning awesome and great) men work for what they want. Not so good men don’t… and not so interested in you men don’t either. They (the good ones) WANT to work for you… but if we as ladies don’t let them… well where’s the investment? Where’s the earning potential? Where’s the challenge? Where’s the sacrifice? It's lieing in a pile of poo created by a femme-jerk.

 It’s the name of the game and ladies particularly, it’s time to cultivate a little (righteous) pride and know that if you think dudes only like mean girls and the Universe has created this conspiracy for your own personal annoyance and frustration just because you’re a nice, sweet, wonderful person and men are all idiots… well… try not being so readily completely and utterly available and maybe…. Just maybe… one guy will suddenly realize “Hey… I don’t need to date a bit…erp… girl who treats me like poo for a challenge, I can go for this very nice girl who still has the self-worth and confidence to know that she’s worth my attention without the well-intentioned freely given attention and affection I’ve not even remotely earned and thus now won’t value.” I’m sure that exact thought goes through his head… sure of it. But the point is – and this goes for ladies dating jerks as well – nice people can still be nice people without being desperate people. How much more will he (or she) value YOU if you are confident in yourself first, and also treat them not like the pile of poo they’re used to being treated like from the mean peoples, but like the great person that they are. Eh? Think about it.

 And for the dudes – girls date jerks because they don’t want to date wusses. It’s true. Ladies? Right? Sometimes if a guy is too nice (i.e. too accommodating, too available, too… affectionate right off the bat) it comes off as being a wuss-puss; which translates into – “would he be able to protect me and stand up for me if he’s too wussy?”; which is derived from the ancient, “can he fight that saber toothed tiger for the Woolly Mammoth meat so essential to our brood’s existence?”) It’s that simple. We’re all products of our Neandrathal ancestors; we just buy our mammoth meat pre-packaged now. We still want a man who can spear the boar! Go ahead and cross stitch that on something "I dig men who spear boars."

 And let it be known – that I do not function in extremes. You don’t have to be an a-hole or a total bag to the person you like (cause that doesn’t make sense either) – just don’t be desperate or wussy. That’s what I’m saying. Let him work for it (while being nice and open)… let her see you’re confident (as there’s a HUGE difference between confidence(good) and arrogance (bad))… and it will work out just fine. Just fine.

 2. The Games. In general. When do the games ever, EVER, ever stop? Well, they don’t. Not really. They… mature (???)… but they don’t stop. I’ve begrudgingly learned that you MUST play the game, be in the game, pick a team and start playing, if singleness is ever to become non-singleness. However, I do think that games can get too ridiculous when:

 a. They’re taken too far. Shore, it makes sense to play it cool… but one can play SO cool that the frosty breeze coming from you turns the person you’re trying to impress by not trying to impress them – off. It’s happened. It will happen again. This has happened to me. I thought a guy was “diggin” it and just playing it cool… but he was SO non-attentive, non-responsive, and trying so hard to make sure I knew he didn’t notice me – I figured he was most definitely not interested. I was surprised he even remembered my name I was so easily forgettable! I found out later that he was interested (or rumored to be anyway... who knows?), but by then, for me, the ship had sailed. Ironic, isn’t it? Left to float in his icy waters of coolness. Congrats. You're the ultimate (alone and cold) cool.

 b. It resembles the dating games of long ago Junior High games. What does this mean? Well, it’s the group hanging out. all. the. time. The strategic inviting and non-inviting and group texts and texts in general and just ridiculous fishing games…. Let ‘em go… then real ‘em in… then let ‘em go… then real ‘em in. Just… do or don’t. For heavens sake. I think this stems back to the confidence issue as well – the narcissistic jerks and femme-jerks; “I don’t’ want you. But no one else can have you either!” Which brings me too…

 c. The Great Harem Games. Insecure men and women create what I call harems. They surround themselves with suckers (usually very nice cool people with also rather low self-esteem) who will hinge on their every word, action, reaction, and minimal efforts because they’ve geniusly integrated them into their Harem of Those Who Love Me and I will never love them – but because I’m insecure – I like people that even I don’t want to want ME always (thunder clap! Sinster hand-wringing, Mwahaahahah!). Villains! That's what these types are. It’s a very self-centered attitude to wrangle individuals emotions just so YOU feel better about your own awesome coolness (or try and convince yourself of awesome coolness). The secret to detecting the harem recruiters and seperating them from those who are genuinely interested is this: if they’re “just friends” with A LOT of opposite gender people who they seem to loosely flirt with (tug on the line) but never really make any moves… with any of them… ever… and thus never actually date... anyone... ever...no even once... well… you may have yourself a Harem Recruiter. Watch out for these as they are very sly and apt to sucker almost anyone with their silver-tongued devilry! Run away!! Leave the hareming to the gaggles of gals or guys that make up their weekend entrouge of “awesome peeps.”

 3. Let’s just be friends. Bwahahahaha! Okay… this is a bit of funny business I’ve never been able to wrap my head around in the ULDSSDS. Maybe because by golly, we’re all buddies! Friends! Chums! Even if it’s solely electronic; thus "friends" is not really a special distinction that means anything but "hey, I know your first name... usually..." This is what modern society has turned friendship into - a click of a mouse. Sure. We're friends.... FB tells me so. I even have a list.

 I feel you have to be some sort of emotional masochist to attempt to be friends with someone you have been in love with or dating for awhile… at least… when you attempt this charade immediately following a break-up. I issue a call to all you schmucks who attempt to immediately be friends with someone with whom you’ve harbored rather strong (read L-O-V-E) feelings for who has subsequently DUMPED you thus NOT sharing that emotion and like a FOOL give into their request for “friendship.” I mean have you desired a friendship SO fervently than when you desire a friendship with someone you love and who doesn’t love you?  Be honest now – you’re only doing it to continue to be around them and foster a very self-destructive hope that someday… someday… it will work out. Guess what? Probably won’t. Might! But probably not. I think some people can do it, be friends immediately with an ex-love with no emotional attachment (hope counts) – a very FEW bit of people who probably didn’t REALLY love the person in the first place. But, I find it nigh IMPOSSIBLE myself to continue hanging out with, communicating with, and generally doing things you did while dating but without the physical lovins with this person and immediately switch your love knob to friendship upon request. I would wager one of your stronger personality qualities isn't "emotional depth" if you're so easily able to do that. It’s a pretty thought – but incredibly unrealistic in my scope of emotional switch-a-roos. I’m very hard put to believe someone can make the auto-switch from (genuine) love to friendship quickly and easily. It’s a self-destructive ruse. You’re lying to yourself. Here’s a good test – think of this person you claim you can "so totally be just friends with", dating and marrying someone else. Your heart just fell out your butt didn’t it? I rest my case.

 a. Exception? Once a good amount of time has passed and you’ve done some HONEST self-reflection (perhaps comparing this past wayward love to a current friend with whom you’ve had zero beyond friend feelings for and seeing how they match up… or as mentioned… picturing them loving someone else and your heart DOESN’T fall out your butt) and discover that your hope for their love has disappeared – THEN – THEN – you can consider friends. But let’s be honest – we’re not in the market for more friends, are we? Not really. ;) And FB "friends" at that point is good enough. That's how you know your emotionally capable. Otherwise, it's just a big old butt-heart mess.


Thems be my ULDSSDS rants for the day. You can tell I’ve thought on these things for a couple months; but mostly, much of those insights I got from Ms. Snell’s book as well as taking a step back and doing a little self-evaluation/reflection myself. It's an important exercise I think we'd all benefit from. What I found about my observations and myself, is that we could ALL do with a little more confidence in ourselves and our worth (as in worth good treatment... not pile of poo treatment), a little more kindness towards others (cause no one likes a meany... well not really), and a whole LOT less of the funny business.


joN. said...

haha, i'm in the acknowledgments of that book! still haven't landed a good man though...

Andrea Jolene said...

Don't give up hope Jon!

Craig Barlow B. said...

Hmmm, I don't know Andrea. I don't feel I really fall all that well into either the positive or negative categories of this assessment. Maybe you can give me a personal critical assessment on my problems another time.

However, I know two people who absolutely fall into these categories: Lana Lang and Chloe Sullivan from Smallville. Out of the two, Lana Lang totally sucks and Chloe Sullivan is a poor self-torturer. They could benefit from your tutelage.

Andrea Jolene said...

Oh Craig - your "problem" is you have none. Yep! One of those normal types! Way to go and make the rest of us look like weirdys...

jaime said...

So...a secret. I think the only reason Scott and I are still together is because I actually had to work to be with him and no else had ever made me work for it before. I don't consider myself a femme-jerk by any means, but after a couple months other guys were just own-able and boring. But Scotty had another girl vying for his affection, and to me that was game on! I still can't seem to own Scott like I did the others though...not that I want to...much :-)

I think you have it right about needing confidence and not throwing yourself at someone though. Show some interest and make them actually put forth an effort! Having to work for it is what people like about the jerks, but people stay with the ones who they had to work for that actually weren't jerks.

Andrea Jolene said...

Jamie- I love you and your words. :)

Andrea Jolene said...

And by Jamie I meant Jaime. But you knew that... ahem.

Nasher said...

I am pretty sure I am guilty of a couple of these things, and others not mentioned. Aside from guilt feelings, this may actually be the best blog post about dating that I have ever read. Well done.

Jeanette said...

Um, awesome. I completely relate/have experience with all things mentioned. I love your perspective (and wittiness!)