That’s what he said.
Oh god! I didn’t mean for that to slip out. That’s what he said! Wait, no – that went down fast – THAT’S WHAT HE SAID – AAAAAAAGGGGGHHHHHH.
Sorry, readers. I can’t help myself, it just keeps popping up – THAT’S WHAT…erm, yeah.
I think I got it out of my system. I’ve been laughing out loud to myself for about 15 minutes. To the point of tears. Call me juvenile (okay, don’t, please call me Kelsey) but I literally never tire of “that’s what she said” jokes. Thank you, Michael Scott.
But tonight, we’re talking about what HE said. Or didn’t say. Or will NEVER say. I’ve recently finishing reading He’s Just Not That Into You* and I’m walking away from it going through the 5-ish stages of post-HJNTIY emotion (for the record, they warn you about this). Currently I’m in the struggling stage. Probably they call it something else but I already forgot and I’m too lazy to look it up. But I’m struggling because the book’s author and predominant voice, Greg, allows for absolutely no leeway in relationships! No extenuating circumstances! No advice on what the HELL you’re supposed to do when – IF – the guy you actually want to call you actually DOES it! Frankly most of us (us = single women who are “dating” in some capacity or another) are so used to bad dates, bad excuses, no excuses, lame phone calls, no phone calls, stalker phone calls (depending on how bad it is, sometimes these are better than nothing) and/or awkward situations** that it’s almost impossible to think that there’s more to dating than all of THIS (charming as it is).
*Male readers, just simmer down: I am NOT interested in your judgment. Also if you’re frustrated with dating it wouldn’t hurt you to give it a once-over. Single female readers: You should probably pick this up if you recently wore out a phone battery checking your voicemail for a call that never came. Married female readers: You already read this book, didn’t you?
**I.e., like when a guy sweetly invites you over for a homemade dinner on a Friday night and you arrive to find his slightly androgynous best friend in the living room, who sits next to you on the couch (yes, the couch is where you eat dinner – he has a dining room table) and stays for dinner, drinks the wine and dry humps your date (who doesn’t protest) on the way out the door to go to a bar that your date says (in front of you) he’ll meet him up at “in about an hour”. (Yes, this actually happened to me.)
Oh, so let me back up. If you didn’t read the book (I assume you’re a man, you’re married or you’re staging some sort of ineffectual one-woman protest if you didn’t) the short of it is that if he’s (he = guy you’re interested in) not calling you/not sleeping with you/not meeting your parents/not marrying you/seeing someone else while dating you and/or breaking up with you, he’s…. (drumroll)
JUST. NOT. THAT. INTO. YOU.
Yeah, that sucks. And Greg (author Greg, former dating schmuck and non-caller, now happily married to the woman he evidently couldn’t WAIT to spend the rest of his life with) is absolutely convinced that the above litany of transgressions by men in dating relationships is ALWAYS true, in all scenarios. WHAT? you say. No, my guy’s TOTALLY leaving his wife for me…any day now. (Greg shakes his head sadly.) And when you look at the list (and this isn’t even all of it), it makes sense. I mean, really – who wants to be dating a guy who’s already married? Or who isn’t sleeping with you? (Um, hel-LO – what a waste!) But when your head is clouded by whatever apparent charms you’ve found in the person you’re into, it’s really hard to not to find ways to justify the fact that somewhere along the line, he’s just not giving you what you need.
And so, on behalf of all of us who are in the struggling stage, we have the voice of co-author Liz, who doesn’t waste time refuting Greg’s irritatingly logical reasons why we should break up with losers, but instead tells us that she hears us. She gets that it’s tough to stop seeing someone who only calls when it’s convenient for him…but at least he does, right? Or that it’s not easy to look past the superficial part of a relationship because it fills a superficial need of yours…even though you realize you have nothing to talk about, and even worse, that’s he’s not asking.
Anyway, so this post is my Liz version of “Here’s Why This One Is Hard” – in regard to the book in general. Here’s why it’s hard to believe that you should reject every guy who doesn’t give you exactly what you want or need, all the time:
-Because I believe that you have to KNOW what you want or need in order to be picky enough to reject it. And how do you know when you know? What if I’m wrong, and I let the right one go?
-Because I believe that I WILL meet someone organically, and because I WANT to meet someone organically, but I also know that the guy + girl meet in bar & live happily ever after story rarely happens.
-Because when I ask myself how long I’m willing to wait, I realize that being single for the next 20 years (well, what if it takes that long?) isn’t all that appealing. I know that 20 years of being with the wrong person is infinitely less appealing, but that’s hard to see in the moment.
-And because being so clear about my needs in a relationship – in such a way that it makes or breaks the union altogether – means that I have to be equally as clear about what I’m willing to give to my significant other. Which frankly feels like a lot of energy.
And damn it all if I can’t hear Greg telling me that it shouldn’t BE so much energy, that when I find the person who complements me in a relationship, it won’t feel like work to be with them in return. And he’s right. But I haven’t yet met that person, so at the moment, this “love” business feels a little like smoke in mirrors. At the end of the day, I believe that relationships are a compromise, and for the most part, love and support should be overwhelmingly present. I don’t have delusions of grandeur about a perfect union between two people, or traditional romantic fairy tales of undying devotion a la Romeo & Juliet, but I believe that two people who are in the right place emotionally may eventually find each other and work together to have a beautiful life. Romance exists in the every day, in little ways, and for people who commit to each other and their lives together, it will be the way they choose to tell their love story.
I take a moment to read this list of “why this is hard” back to myself, and realize that it’s not hard at all.
And that’s what she said.