Friday, April 21, 2006

Those of you who have read this blog and its archives may have come to the conclusion that I have bad luck when it comes to women. That assumption is wrong. I have terrible luck with women. In fact, you could argue that my luck is worse than Marten's (although not quite as bad as Davan's). And sometimes it's enough to make want to toss in the towel and join a monastery. Sadly, every intense feeling is fleeting, and as wise as taking up the tonsure might be, given my record, I never seem to be able to keep myself from trying again.

I've come to realize that if I'm going to keep torturing myself, I might as well learn to find some humor in this. Dealing with rejection is a tricky issue. On the one hand, a rude or hurtful rejection inspires righteous anger and/or grief. On the other hand, girls just love to use a bitter response as an ex post facto rationalization of their refusal to go out with you in the first place. So it's better just to laugh at it. It usually makes the other person indignant, since you were supposed to be so heartbroken by their rejection as to be incapable of ever feeling joy again.

At some point I plan on publishing a book about my epic failures with girls. I'm still toying with titles, but so far "The (Un)Fairer Sex" is the best one I've come up with. And before you censure me for publishing it, consider the rash of boy-hating fads that have sprung up, including but not limited to such gems as this one. (Or if you've been reaing a lot of Andrea Dworkin and want to go all-out, this one.) As far as I'm concerned, such a book would merely serve to level the playing field. To paraphrase Kenny Rogers, "If you’re gonna play the game, girls, you gotta learn to play it right."

Here's a sample of what the book will cover in greater detail.

Every guy strikes out. Every single man born on this earth will at some point hear the dreaded words "I'm sorry, BUT..." from a girl. Part of being guy is knowing that you're probably going to hear those words more often than not. However, not all failures are created equal. Let's consider a few types, from the mildly insulting to the flat-out outrageous:

"I'm washing my hair." Most of the time you will not hear this exact phrase, unless you had the misfortune to ask out a woman who is either mind-numbingly stupid or heartbreakingly honest. Two common variations (there are way too many to list in detail here):
-"I've got too much homework." When was the last time you heard of a girl blowing off a date with a cute guy because she had a paper to write? If, in choosing between you and homework, she chooses homework, that's a pretty clear message; you're better off taking your lumps and moving on. If she's lying then you wouldn't want to date her anyway, because if she lied to once she'll lie to you again. If she's telling the truth, well, that's just creepy. Either way, you win. (Sort of. Might want to reconsider your taste in girls, though.)
-"I have a lot of things to do today." Not always a bad sign. Until you hear it for the fifth day running. When that happens, it's best to accept that "a lot of things" is probably not going to involve you, unless you enjoy stringing yourself along over a woman who can't bring herself to say "no, thank you."

"Is this a 'just friends' thing?" This is an example of what I call the Parametrization Complex. She's trying to nail down exactly what you want ahead of time so she can be exactly sure of what the future is going to bring. If this sort of reflexive anxiety tires you out, you can call it quits right there. However, if you're feeling creative and have some time on your hands, you can assure her that your intentions are honorable and present her with a Contract of Chastity to prove how dedicated you are to making her feel comfortable. If you really want to get fancy, have your roommate notarize it. Plus side: if she's got a sense of humor, she might actually find it funny. It may not improve your chances of dating her, but she may appreciate the joke. If not, well, it's not like you lost anything that you hadn't already.

"I'm really not looking for a relationship right now." Similar to the question above, except that it's slightly more arrogant. Instead of asking you about your intentions, it operates from an assumption of what you want. In this particular case, the assumption is faulty. Simply skimming through any Dave Barry book would assure that many guys aren't looking for a relationship. Many men approach women the way they approach dessert: "Same great taste, half the committment." To further reinforce this stereotype, a possible response to the above statement is a hopeful "...Well, how about a meaningless hookup instead? " Again, though, you have to deal with the consequences if she lacks a sense of humor.

"It's not you, it's me." Technically, this is a rationalization and not a rejection. However, you're going to hear it quite often immediately following a rejection. If the girl is making an attempt to let you down gently, this is a good indication that you've just been shot down. However, if she's taking a sledgehammer to your dreams of buying her dinner, this line might just be more icing on the cake. Although she might be saying this in good faith, it's somewhat annoying due to its tendency to sound like a lady protesting too much. Unless she says "It's not you, it's me--I'm a crazy bitch." In which case we can file it under a new category: "Honest Confessions."

"Sorry, God says I can't date you." Every guy has his own story of That One Girl that just cut him off at the knees. Some guys' stories are more pathetic than others. Some sound like they came from movies. And others (such as this one, which I have actually heard) are just too good to be true. If a girl's religion gets in her way of dating you, then believe me when I say that you are at least 100% better off for not having the misfortune of getting into a relationship with her. The thing about this type of girl is that any comment you make regarding religion from that point on is taken as a mockery of her faith (though it's kind of hard to mock someone who can say the above quote to you with a straight face). If she follows it up with something like "...but I think you're a wonderful person," you might feel justified in asking her why God doesn't want her to date you if you're so wonderful. Just be prepared that she might actually tell you her reasons for thinking The Divine has an interest in you staying single.

In all of these situations, it's important to remember to keep your sense of humor. It's a sad fact that the person who gets angry first under these circumstances automatically loses whatever high ground they may have had. If you can remember to laugh (sometimes it's hard to recall what laughter feels like when you're so busy getting your guts stomped out), you'll be a lot better off than the guy who responds to failure in a bitter and vindictive fashion. All he's doing is justifying her imagined reasons for not wanting to date him. This isn't to say that you can't come up with a few good retorts. Just don't step too far over the line. Keep your responses lighthearted and whimsical. If she's got any class, she'll respond in kind and there will be few, if any, hard feelings over the whole affair. However, if she gets indignant with you, it probably meant that she wanted you to suffer more over your failure to win her affections.
Keeping calm and laughing at the situation allows you some detachment from the pain of being shot down--and it's usually the case that men who laugh at their misfortunes suffer less emotional and mental fallout as a result.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Gosh. You may be on to something here. I mean about being able to have a comeback that is humorous and not mean.

That takes some doing, though, when you're feeling like your dork horns are you have any specific things you say when you're shot down?

I mean, besides, "well, have a nice day" or "okey dokey. Good talking to ya." I've tried those and people point.

Maybe you could do a survey of what kind of things other guys say. I need to know before I even try this stuff again.


2:39 PM  
Blogger Gryffilion said...

It's definitely a good section for the book. Part of it is going to be venting combined with encouragement to guys who keep striking out (i.e., "You're not alone") and part of it is going to talk about how to deal with loss and rejection gracefully. We might not be able to stop getting shot down, but we may be able to destroy a few stereotypes about guy who *do* get shot down.

But yeah, it's definitely something I plan on addressing in a future post. Stay tuned.

4:16 PM  
Blogger ML said...

How about a chapter for women on how to turn down a date? I remember once being so shocked that someone I had no interest in asked me out I was at a loss for words. Maybe include how to tell a guy is thinking about asking you out so you can think of a way to gracefully decline and have it ready should you need it. Now I'm going to spend the rest of the day pondering polite rejections - something that contains surprise, thanks for the offer (a sense of being flattered to be asked) and something that conveys "let's not."

7:50 AM  
Blogger Gryffilion said...

I'm afraid I'm not much good at handling the turning down offers department, as it's rare for women to ask guys out and we've never professed excellence for refusing them anyway.

I think, on the whole, it's more likely that a guy will have to deal with rejection than have to mete it out.

6:37 PM  
Blogger ML said...

Yes, but could you suggest what you'd like to hear if someone is declining your offer of a date? I think "rejection" may be too harsh a word, it's just a "thanks but no thanks" to a suggestion.

10:04 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"Rejection" is too harsh? She wants euphemisms instead?

This person displays several common problems for women, which in turn becomes the man's problems:

first, her obvious ignorance about men so that she is "shocked" when some guy she finds unsuitable asks her out. What part of "guy" does she (and many of her sisters) fail to understand?

second, she wants to find some euphemism for "rejection" so she won't feel so bad.

third, she wants you to tell her something that will sugar-coat a painful situation.

Well, she certainly proved why this post is up here.

Do you think all women are this self-absorbed? I have a suspicion it might be the case...

12:16 PM  
Blogger ML said...

Wow, I guess I hit more than one nerve with that post. Maybe I should reply to these comments in order.

"first, her obvious ignorance about men so that she is "shocked" when some guy she finds unsuitable asks her out."

1. I wasn't always "shocked" when someone asked me out, but I wasn't pretty and didn't get asked much and I was definitely at a loss for words in this one instance. I was probably young and clueless (or ignorant, if you will) and missed the signals that he was interested. The point was to encourage Gryffilion to include some signals in one chapter so female readers could learn them.

"second, she wants to find some euphemism for "rejection" so she won't feel so bad."

2. Actually, I was trying suggest that asking someone out shouldn't be such a big deal that one feels rejected when the offer is declined. The attitude I had (yes, in my dating years I occasionally asked guys out) was if he accepts, cool, if not, oh well. Maybe I was unusually mellow for my age back then.

"she wants you to tell her something that will sugar-coat a painful situation"

3. Yes. Gryffilion has described many bad ways of saying "no thanks." Assuming there are no good ways, I'm asking if there are any less painful responses.

3:36 PM  

Post a Comment

Links to this post:

Create a Link

<< Home