Monday, August 04, 2008

What is the answer?


Tell the truth, I've never met a 'boyfriend' in a bar or a club or a pub . . . my few romances have been with friends of friends. I've had three meaningful relationships. One I met through a friend and was strategically placed opposite him at the old Pig and Whistle during a birthday celebration. We just gelled and despite an ugly end was my first serious relationship.

The other, I met at a party, fancy dress of course, maybe the pink harem girl outfit made the ice easy to break (c'mon I was 21 and gorgeous in those days!) Sadly it was a four-year long- distance relationship doomed to failure.

The last, well I worked hard. We had met on a number of occasions but conversation was polite and friendly. The clincher was at a wedding where I was actually seated 'next' to him, the intention, that as a single on a table full of singles and odd bods, I might get on with the bloke opposite. I ended up talking to the man next to me, we danced, we kissed and I married him 15 months later! What attracted me . . . he talked, no he didn't just talk, he conversed, he listened, he laughed, . . he was honest . . he didn't show off . . .he was courteous, he poured my drinks, he smiled . . a lot . . we shared much in common and many differences and of course those lovely baby teeth and twinkly blue eyes. And frankly, he was a dead nice bloke, not a great looker but soft and sweet. I knew that night that something special had begun. But enough about me . . .

I empathise with young men when it comes to the awesome pluck it takes to actually ask someone out. It is 'he' that is generally expected to make the first move. When we have the 20 somethings around, I see the girlys, flirting and flinging, talking and posing, giggling and faux laughter at a touch or a tickle, a prod or a joke but men so often just 'don't get it' they're not great at reading the signs. For most, it's a tough call to actually make the move . . . for some it's easy, they have the bravado, confidence or gift of the gab, the one liners, the ability to flirt back and finally make their move but I suspect, for most, it's a case of eyeing the girl of their choice across the room, feeling flush and nervous, building scenarios, wanting to move but feeling leaden . . . fearing rejection . . or even fearing acceptance because that burdens them with the next level . . what do do now! He's like a wheel-chasing collie wondering what he'll do when he finally bites the tyre.

How do I know? Besides the amazing frankness of my own progeny? I can't tell you the number of times I've lain in bed and a little enclave of girls, boys or a meld of both have been chatting on the verandah outside my bedroom window oblivious to the fact that I'm lying there, awake and listening (not through some voyeuristic need but because I've left, I'm tired and the doof doof of the sub woofer won't allow me the refuge of sleep). They think they are alone, in a quiet place and their conversations betray their desires. (As do girls going to the bathroom thinking that their shrill analyses are heard only by the walls.)

She says "Why doesn't he talk to me . ." I hear boys saying "She's hot but she'd never go for me."

BoobyGirl at work confessed to me the other day that she has a number of male friends to whom girls are particularly vitriolic. (She and her com padre's are 21-23) Maybe they don't fit the dress code, the look, or perhaps they're just a little off kilter with the flirtation. They're nice guys but when they start to chat a girl up, receive some really horrible recriminations. I mean really catty rebuttals. I was surprised, seriously, at how cruel some young women can be . . . It's not hard to say . . "No thank you" or make something up "Sorry, my boyfriend will be picking me up soon." or "Thanks for your offer but, right now I'm happy as I am . . " Let 'em down gently chicky babes!

Hey, my advice - Is that the sort of girl you want to take out anyway? One who tells you to take a hike or is rude? (Spoken by a woman who once told a man that she was 'busy' that night even though he hadn't even stipulated which night he'd like to take her out.)

So, how does a boy ask a girl out without the terrible pain of rejection. Frankly. I don't think it's possible. I guess they just have to bite the bullet and strike up a conversation . .yeh . . . remember that? Actually talk to each other and suss each other out without the full-on flirt or insinuation that the night might end up in the sack? She may say no . . and if she does . . move along, move right along. It's just a word. Yep, it's a totally shitty word. A crushing word. A bloody annoying word. But it's just a word. Get up, dust yourself off and move right along! Take it from a long time wallflower . . .it's no worse than not being asked out or being used to make your girlfriend jealous . . oh yeah! That's happened!

So, what are the ground rules for asking someone out. I don't mean picking up for casual sex or a quick pub pash before you go your separate ways. I mean for someone who would like a girlfriend, wants a relationship and of course all the good bits (and the bad bits) that come with it. How do you steel yourself for the approach, the pickup and the follow through. It's sort of sad that it has to be so preconceived, contrived . . there's something to be said for wielding a club, grabbing her by the hair and retreating to your cave!

I haven't got an answer for you paduans . .you'll have to make your own way.

Now I'm not a schmulzy romantic but this . . . is a love song . . . but then occasionally, very occasionally . . . I'm a little old fashioned. And, at the end of the day, isn't this what we all want.


21 comments:

Thriftcriminal said...

Young men of the world, power is not taken, it is given, while you chase skirt they are in charge. I say reverse it, withdraw your lusty thoughts and actions, let them do some bloody chasing for a change, see how they like it.

Failing that playing the numbers game (someone is bound to say yes) is effective, but in my experience the best bet is hang out with a bloke who is charming but no good at closing the deal, this guarantees a high density of chicks in your vicinity who are likely to settle for next best (worked for me loads of times).

That and in a loud disco if you say "Would you like to dance" and she looks at you like you are something she stepped in and says "Not with you, looser", reply "sorry, you mis-heard me, I said you look fat in those pants".

Oh and in 10 years time, all you blokes can stay the hell away from my daughters.

Excellent Adventures said...

Hmm. its a hard one. All I know is that I've never picked up as often or had long term commitment offers as I did when I acted not interested. Maybe its the chase, the wanting what you can't have, but as soon as I'm actually interested in a guy they aren't. I reckon the best way to pick up a girl is have something to say first. There's nothing worse than a guy coming up saying 'So, how you doin?" and then have no conversation to back it up. And something interesting, not 'So you come here often' or 'what do you do', something different, personal.

I reckon its a matter of odds, the more you do it, the better chance you have of finding one who'll say yes so keep at it!!!

Gledwood said...

I never knew that famous Kiss picture until I was about 19 and with my Gran and looking through some kind of giftshop and we came across dinner trays, one with The Kiss atop it, the other decorated with splashy floral Victoriana... I gravitated to the Kiss (what an amazing patchwork quilt!!!) whereas my Gran loved the Victoriana and thought the kiss picture beyond the pale in senseless modernity...

ANYWAY: as for meeting pardners: I used to meet tons of prospective ones when I was socializing on the club scene. The great thing about there was that as well as the deafening music, you got a chillout room where you could TALK and actually HEAR the answers! I'm such an old fogey when it comes to bars with loud music. CAN'T HEAR any conversation... and no proper room for dancing EITHER! WHAT IS THE POINT IN THAT???

And that was a highly perceptive post, BTW {;->...

laughingwolf said...

no easy answers, for anyone...

sarah is another canadian east coast gal, now living on our west coast....

Jefferson Davis said...

Fantastic post, Baino. And, point well taken. ;)

I saw Sarah McLachlan in concert almost a decade ago. She's a grand singer/songwriter. Very serious though. :)

@Thrifty "Young men of the world, power is not taken, it is given, while you chase skirt they are in charge." Ah yes, I learned that the hard way. :)

katesaid said...

Sigh. I dunno. I really, really don't want to end up back in the dating scene again, because I'm watching a number of people around me and it's just too much work. I'm prefering my own comfortable complacency. Not to mention I don't even own makeup. I'd have to meet someone at work... but, wait, I work with suicidal people. Not the best idea.

Crap.

Better stay married.

Baino said...

Thrifty you're right about power but it can be taken with one nasty rebuttal . . .I guess it is a numbers game. I don't think they're called 'disco's any more! Your poor daughters . . .and have you ever heard the saying, "A man chases a woman until she catches him . . "

Clare your perspective is important because you're of 'that age' And I agree with the 'conversation' aspect, your Dad was a great talker. Then you're no stranger to actually approaching guys either . . a new age woman you are!

Gleds, love the pic. Always thought it very romantic good old Gustav Klimt, knew how to portray a pash. I never understood how anyone could pick up in a club and yes, yer getting old twinkle toes.

LW I don't actually like her music but the lyric in the song makes me cry. Not to be confused with an Aussie of the same name doing quite well in the US at the moment!

JD ...keep trying, thick skin and all that.

Kate . .maybe that's one of the reasons I never remarried, getting back in the 'game' seemed so hard. I had a good one and nobody's come close since. (Paying for it now mind!)

Babysis said...

Well firstly
@ Thriftcriminal - love the chat up and escape line...very funny....

...secondly I can only give advice on the meeting of my hubby....he combined charm with wit and yet showed a literary side ....we met over a book about instantaneous combustion and 20 years of marriage later, it must have been just that!!!! Love Ya Twon!

Good luck boyos...humour is your best friend!!!

steph said...

Baino,

I met the man I've been sleeping with for a very long time, through having a common interest - sailing. The chemistry was instant between us but it was our shared sport that truly cemented the relationship.

Whenever someone comes to me bemoaning the lack of a partner, I always suggest they get more involved in a leisure activity where there's likely to be a social scene attached with plenty of like-minded people.

Me and yer man are still enjoying sailing as well as 'the other' after all these years.

I don't think I could hack having to get back in the 'game' at this stage. Imagine having to be on best behaviour 24/7!!!

K8 the Gr8 said...

I think it's down to the click.

When you're with someone who's not quite right, you're aware of having difficulty asking awqward questions. If you're with someone and you feel the click, it just sortof... all flows naturally after that, and awqwardness flies out the window.

kj said...

baino, i wss drawn to your comment on melissa's blog. my "girl" is now 31 and i still miss her every day. BUT it's nice to be FREE! too.

i admire your sympathy and balance in this post. it got me thinking that girls can/should do the asking too, and guys can be ruthless when they say they'll call and never too. it's tough out there!

last, beautiful song, one of my favorite singers. i love to sing along with "in the arms of the angel".

:)

Megan said...

Good stuff, B. Thought provoking.

Quickroute said...

I almost always played the 'waiting game' often with a long wait! - finally payed of though!

Baino said...

Was that instantaneous combustion or spontaneous combustion!

Steph, Yep, getting out and about will do it I guess . . .wonder where all the youngling's comments are?

K8 you have a point but then, some click without actually making anything of it, platonic best friends or "I love you but not in that way". . .although I know what you mean about awkwardness, I think young men often avoid contact just because they're shy and awkward. Must admit, me and my man 'clicked' but only after an awful lot of not so chance encounteres. I worked my buns of to get him!

Hi kj, ah I have my moments, I'm missing her a lot this week for some reason. She'll be home in December and I can't wait . . .

Thanks Megan but I was sort of hoping some of the younger readers might chime in with their tips as well

The Benchwarmer is recently loved up, Ryan's done a runner and Ropi's in Cos! Ebony where are you?

Quicky I've seen some of your 21st photos, that's what happens when you wear your jeans on your scone!

Thriftcriminal said...

I reckon Steph has the right idea. Before I met my other half I was being much more relaxed about the whole thing. So much so that a female friend (who introduced me to the missus) commented:

"It's all very well being laid back, but at the moment you are just 'back', as in not laid"

Baino said...

Thrifty . .you're a funny fecker for an Engineer (and believe me I know a few!)

Jay said...

Oh, Lord, do I remember those days!! In particular two guys I was nuts about. Now, remember we were very, very young and this was waay back. The first, we got as far as smoochy dancing and I was in heaven, but neither of us knew how to go on from there. Looking back, he was even more shy than I was, and I really didn't make it easy for him, so he must have just thought I wasn't really interested. What a waste!!

The second - we met at an overnight party (yeah, my Mum thought I was staying with friends) and we talked and got along so well. He took the trouble to accompany me to the railway station next day and chatted until the train came but there were many awkward pauses and I thought he wasn't really interested (D'uh!) and he never did pluck up the courage to ask for my number or anything. Little did he know how happy I'd have been if he had!

Bottom line is that when you're very young, neither of you can read the other very well.

I met my husband while dating someone else, at a residential course, and we became 'friends'. Parents, beware of your daughters telling you 'he's just a friend'. ROFL!

Baino said...

Ah Jay, if we could only go back with 20/20 . .I'd have gone out with the Vet instead of being too shallow to ride in his uncool car . .I'd have stayed with the young lawyer who wrote me soppy love letters even though he had a funny name and drove an ice cream van at the time! And I'd have asked Rob Carey out because he never asked me!

Ropi said...

Well, my love career is not so long. Well honestly, you could write the shortest book ever about it. I am Mr. Loveless. That's all. I don't say it is bad but I don't know how good it would be with a girlfriend.

Niall & Gaye said...

MMMM Klimt, love his work!

laughingwolf said...

i'm no fan, either... my daughters are....