Tuesday, September 18, 2018

The Holiday Exam for Dating

by Jamie Lake (writer), Los Feliz/Hollywood, July 07, 2007

With the 4th and all the hype surrounding it finally over, relationship status answers have emerged. With Christmas and New Years I found the answer for Monty. Valentine’s and St. Paddy’s, Glenn made my answer clear. For Memorial Day it was Omar, and for the 4th, it was Logan’s turn. The classic test of “who am I going to celebrate the holiday with,” has proven to again provide an unsatisfactory answer, but an answer nonetheless. For all the daters out there who faced similar situations this past week, I suggest you pay attention. If you weren't invited to spend the holiday with the guy/girl you've been dating, you might want to consider moving along. For whatever reason, they aren’t over their ex, they think your love for Paris overrated, your laugh is really annoying, your breath smells all time etc.; they've decided you're not going to be moving forward with them, or included in their real life, but relegated to the "person I'm dating." Tucked into the neat little pocket of love life, not everyday existence. Not Jen, this great girl I can't wait for you guys to meet. Not Scott, the guy I really hope comes to the party. Nope. Strikeout. Unless they had to work or spend the day with their family, you have officially been given notice they're treading water or going ashore sometime soon. If you’re ready for Bon Voyage or are happy with the doggy-paddle, this test could provide confirmation. Accepting this sign as an actuality and not just one out of many possibilities will save you from the agonizing “what is going on with him,” does he want to get to know me better?” “Are they going to move from dating to relationship status anytime soon? Nope, and any hit otherwise is just a fly ball.

Now I should have accepted this lesson when my own 4th rolled around. Hints and mentions of not having plans, of not being sure what I was doing, of trying to figure out how I was going to spend my 4th, and not receiving an offer, is a pretty clear message. I had the case history of the past holidays to be prepared this time around. When I fed these feelers to my current guy, Logan, he didn't bite. In fact, an apology or excuse wasn't even offered to soothe my bruised ego. He's not stupid. Surely he knew what I was doing, and yet refused to play along. Sigh. You can't exactly play a game if your opponent won't engage.

As shameful as it is to admit, I did pull the favored jealousy card out of my arsenal in hopes to stay afloat. For those of you who also keep this little gem handy you know you’re venturing into the high stakes of overtime. I mentioned how an ex had invited me to the beach and professed his undying love. I told him how a co-worker with a crush wanted me to attend his BBQ. Now this is all true, I hate liars. However, exaggeration of my despair? Perhaps. I bemoaned the stickiness of both situations, and dramatically stated my desire for other options (It’s hard to rub the knight on the white horse mentality out of your head when raised on Disney). If you’ve been on the receiving end of these lines, then you know what a red flag they are, and the signal to let yourself swallow the worm, or swim deeper to avoid the lures. Now laughter is not a satisfactory response either. However LOL is what I received. One of my least favorite replies, and yet invariably is such a good standby. This was all over instant messenger you see in this sad day and age of electronic communication, and men’s inherent distaste for the telephone. If you know a male who loves to talk on the phone, odds are they’re gay or really, really lonely, and would prefer another form of communication but have accepted their defeat with the phone. When Logan didn't seem to see anything wrong with either of the options I provided, I was fed up and told him the mature response, “fine I'd go make-out with one of them since you think they’re so wonderful.” I was called a Pisces. Yes, I am a Pisces. Yes, we are emotional. However, this was frustration, not drama, however immature it might have been. Also, if you don’t know very much about astrology, using it in a tie game with one minute remaining puts you in a precarious position. It can come back and bite you in the ass. All my moves and strategies in my dating playbook were failing me completely. What had happened to these classic standbys? Perhaps an updated version needs to be released. So this annoyingly elusive conversation ended the afternoon of the 3rd with my telling Logan both my roommates were out of town, and if he wanted to come over in the next few days, I wouldn't mind the company. So basically I gave in and used the detestable sex strategy, an almost surefire guarantee of a response. I’m not saying to never throw this final card down, but you have to know this is the time for a call to be made, and the results might not be all you’ve dreamed.

Five hours later I was proven right when my phone rang, and Logan just happened to be right around the corner after having gone to see The Transformers for the second time with a friend. Now I knew what I was receiving was the consolation prize, and not the coveted first place ribbon that forever floats habitually beyond my reach. As long as you recognize this fact, you’re on safe ground. I was pathetically relieved to have received a prize at all, and celebrated with gusto.

When it was revealed some five hours after fooling around that his plans were work-related holiday schmoozing, my elation was hard to contain. What a wonderful reason to ignore his lack of an invite! How marvelous he wasn't blowing me off because he wasn't ready for me to meet his friends! Maybe there was a future here beyond the bedroom! Logan stayed over until noon, and said he'd call me later that night, and maybe he'd be done early. Interpret here: maybe we could get together again tonight. As I waved goodbye I felt satisfied with the night's events and morning's results, and didn't even care how the rest of the day was spent. Big mistake. Don’t ever celebrate a victory before the referee has raised his whistle. I should have remained wary and planned out a spectacular day of sunshine and fireworks. In the end I did some laundry, watched South Pacific, and lounged in bed. The night's activities had drained most of my energy, and the heat wasn't providing inspiration. I told myself he probably wouldn't call and not to expect him to call, however, when this proved to be the case, I couldn't help but be disappointed. I figured I'd hear from Logan the next day. Nope. Apparently I was back at bat instead of rounding for second. Somehow I'd missed the umpire call the last out.

Come Friday however, I was determined to derive an answer as to his intentions towards me, and our first actual date. Now I probably should have mentioned previously, that all the time we've spent together has involved cuddling and sex. Nothing wrong with either in my book obviously, but I was now needing some confirmation more than just home games were on Logan’s agenda. This probably sounds highly naive, as most know that relationships that start with sex have a much higher chance of failure. Okay, almost every time go nowhere. Not exactly a solid starting ground for respectability. I was hopeful however that I'd beat the odds, and my lusty nature hadn't overruled my good judgment once again. If you find yourself facing a similarly unlikely bet, remaining aware of the odds, and lining up a back-up plan is a solid idea.

When Logan popped online while I worked at home, and he remained at work, I seized the chance to find the answer I so desperately sought. I asked the perfunctory how was your day? How's work? What's going on? Are you working tomorrow? At this point I threw in my ballsy "well if you're not working tomorrow we should do something." Silence. Jesus, Mary and Joseph. I counted to ten, took some deep breaths and wondered how I'd ever moved beyond my fear of displaying my interest first, to being an aggressive date seeker on a mission (Now I’m not saying waiting around for a sign is the best policy, expressing interest does work with the insecure sort). After a few moments had passed without a word, and I'd cursed the internet's inability to provide the reason he remained mute, I added the "unless you're no longer interested, and if that's the case, you might as well let me know now so I'm not wasting your time or mine." Oh and I threw a joke in there too, but it really doesn't make any sense without giving a great deal of back-story, so I’m leaving it out of this retelling. The ideal situation is to be using this move on the phone, or even better in person. The immediate reaction is much easier to read, and their momentary distraction can provide the perfect opening for a skillful move. If this isn’t received as needy, congratulations! You’re straightforward approach has worked where others have failed in the face of adversity. Finally he wrote, and again I was met with an LOL, or perhaps it was a haha; either way, humor at my digging attempt, and a "Look, I told you I didn't have a great deal of free time." Yes, true, I know this to be the case. I'm not exactly sitting around with my thumb up my ass waiting for him to call. Keeping yourself busy when playing the waiting game is a satisfactory decision. Granted I could have a more active social life, but I happen to enjoy my alone time probably more than most. I countered his diversion with "yeah I know. I'm just looking for some clarification because you don't seem very interested, and if you're not, I'd rather know now." No response again. So I waited. Well, I worked and watched Court TV, and kept my messenger turned on. Now is it really too demanding or clingy to want to see someone you've been dating for a few weeks once in a weekend? Somehow this doesn't seem all that nervy of a request in my book, but for whatever reason this appeared to spook the male anyways.

Had Logan left his computer? Was he that busy with work? Or had he merely decided the clarification I needed could be found with not responding? Either way I was irritated. No, correction, I was pissed. Expressing this hostility is not a good idea however, and an obvious tell for the more discerning players of what you have left in your hand. After two hours and my work online finally completed, I sent a final message stating, "not sure what happened to you, but you know how to get a hold of me, good night." Nothing dramatic or harmful, just a casual whack of the ball into his court in case it had somehow bounced back over the net.

Saturday morning when I signed on (well noon isn't really the morning is it? But it was the time I awoke), Logan was online and active. As tempting as it was to send an IM, I restrained myself, and tried to remember the whole purpose of putting the ball in his court. This is part of keeping your plays close at hand, but not letting the other team know what a tug on the nose and two winks means to the pitcher. After about a half an hour of this waiting nonsense, he signed off. No response, no reaction, no apology, nothing but aggravation. I realized the desire to convince my optimistic side to join the pessimists slapping high fives was overwhelming. I was slowly recognizing this lack of an answer is the answer I was seeking all along without lengthy description. This is where we all need to acknowledge the test results have come in; the holiday has proven once again to know better than us what stage our dating life is in, no matter how vehemently it’s denied. We all know what no response means. The coward's way of avoiding being the rejecter and having the potential confrontation men abhor and women relish for closure.

It should be noted here that Logan is not my only option, as I have been trying to avoid the eggs all in one basket strategy I have a fondness for, and spread them out for better probability. Jason for example has been waiting in the wings due to illness and a surgery. David and Kirk all along have been asking to be brought off the bench, and given a chance to go to bat. I probably should grant them that chance before the last inning arrives. For those of you who prefer to keep your eggs together, your gambling is a risk, but certainly has a higher payoff in the end.

After having grown up in a sports-crazed family where games were played on the field and off, there's a part of me that hates the whole idea, and would love to show all my cards before the deck has even been cut. However, this is a disappointment to all the potential players at the table, and a sign of giving up - not victory by any means. You don't get a chance to prove your worth, and no one is able to even try to put one of their cards down, let alone show their hand. So I've given in, and will continue to add new moves to my playbook as the next player steps to the plate. If your playbook is feeling a little outdated, and your feelers turning into sinkers, this test could be your new winner. When Labor Day weekend comes around I plan on implementing and trusting this proven test, and ignore the fake-out the quarterback tries to throw, and find my own touchdown long before the bowls begin.

About the Writer

Jamie Lake is a writer for BrooWaha. For more information, visit the writer's website.
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1 comments on The Holiday Exam for Dating

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By LisaSmith on June 15, 2012 at 05:35 am

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