Always play by your own rules. And calendar.
“I’m kind of dating an Argentinian guy, Mia.. but I’m not sure what he wants. I’m not even sure if we are dating”.
This week, I received a few such messages from my female subscribers. Since I am supposedly an expert on the cultural aspect of dating or just have lots of experience being screwed over by foreign men, they assumed I would give them some useful pointers. But should you pursue a Dutch man just because they are known for being passive? Should you play the hot and cold game with the man just because he’s Argentinian?
Well, the short answer is – no you should not. You should have your own set of standards and not try to please him by adhering to his rules. No matter his culture. Because even though I think culture plays a large part in our dating ‘rules’, a man who is truly interested will invest genuine effort in pursuing you. Because a real man who truly wants to see you has to contact you. If not, he just won’t see you again.
No matter if they are Swedish, Japanese or Colombian.
Ironically, as I was receiving all of these messages I was going through a bit of an inner conflict of my own. It’s easy for me to tell you “Don’t call/text him. Don’t go home with him. Set standards” when I spent my own Monday morning with my head glued to the computer reading “The Rule of no Contact” – one of my most go-to sites about dating and one that I have referred to over and over again to remind myself I have standards.
So here is my own (relatively) short story. One that I’m sure many of you have experienced yourselves. The story itself – nothing earth-shattering. But one that really makes me feel united with my female readers: all of us girls who over-analyse, read into the situation, provide excuses for someone and forget our needs completely as we try to figure out what they want.
I met Marc at a language meet-up. I noticed him as I was walking into the bar since he was gigantically tall, big and slightly bearded. The last one did not appeal to me so much. The guy looked like a bit of a terrorist. And as it turned out part Egyptian. Sorry for the bad joke here.
I approached him and his two friends, striking a friendly conversation. His Canadian friend was the one that tried the hardest: poking me, leaning on me, being overly playful. But I wasn’t into him. You probably know I seem to always ignore the Canadian boys and go for the ‘other’. Feeling like the center of attention, I flirted with all three of them.
You know that moment when you feel everyone’s attention on you and you are your most fun self? The moment you are not yet invested? That’s the moment you are your most attractive self.
Marc (who was a mix of Polish and Egyptian) also flirted with me, but ended up leaving us as apparently it seemed like his best friend, the Canadian was ‘scoring’.
After they left, the Canadian tried to get my number but I gave him my Facebook. I wasn’t really interested. Truth be told, not one of them really interested me but I was slightly bored and tired of meeting men through online dating apps. I liked the spontaneity of meeting someone randomly. Something that doesn’t happen often when you live in Toronto.
As the Canadian added me the next day, mentioning how great it was to meet me last night, I did the not-so-nice thing and added his friend Marc on Facebook.
Instantly he messaged me and we began talking. Turned out he was sharing his condo with the Canadian five minutes away from me. We decided to grab a drink on a patio near my place.
Marc showed up looking very attractive in a collared shirt: tall and big, his face tanned and chiseled, all the waitresses making eyes at him. Right away I felt it – he’s not for me. And I’m not for him. I could picture him sipping martinis in a lounge with a made up, leggy blonde. I was not that type. And if I could describe my guy’s style it would be athletic/casual, relaxed and playful. Not that Marc wasn’t athletic – a former heavy-weight boxer he came to Toronto for Pan-Am games. From his Facebook photos, he used to be very built but now, due to a lack of real exercise he was getting kind of pudgy.
His eyes glowing a yellowish brown against the sun, Marc drank Caesars like they were water and really got into talking about himself. Sure, he would ask questions about me and even listen, but it wasn’t active listening. It was more like I-will-wait-for-her-to-finish-so-I-can-tell-my-own-story-about-that. I’m always the one that talks the most and sometimes it gets tiring, and I have to admit – I also get kind of impatient since just like him I have stories about everything! So, it was a strange feeling sitting there like a Japanese wife, my palm against my cheek, listening to his stories with a look of awe. If I got that bit of space to say something, I went bullet style feeling like he would interrupt me. It was actually kind a Speed Dating. From my side at least.
Yet, I was attracted to him. Shoot me, because it’s so hard for me to be drawn to someone but no matter all these warning signals, I still wanted him to like me. And I still wanted to kiss him.
“So why did you really approach us?” asked he, clearly fishing for a compliment.
“Are you trying to get a compliment?” I asked playfully.
“No, no” he denied.
“Ok, well…The truth is that I noticed you outside”
“Oh, you noticed me?” he perked up.
“Yes. And that’s why I came over. Happy you got your compliment?”
“Ah, ok then” he said, reassured I liked him and shifted in the chair contently.
Later on in the date, he began mentioning places and saying he would take me to them. Now that I recall, it came after the compliment was paid.
As we were saying our goodbyes, he seemed kind of shy, but I was two drinks in. At this point the world could come crashing down, but I had to kiss him. Who cared if he talked about himself? If I couldn’t see us together? I just wanted to be attracted to someone.
So, right after the drinks, we stood around talking about his old bike. Now I was grateful for him filling in the silence of what is the most awkward part of all. We did the French double kiss (helps immensely!) and then we were kissing.
As I was walking away, he told me to stay in touch, which disappointed me because that generally means – you do the work cause I won’t, but then mentioned he was free Friday, Saturday and Sunday.
The next morning he texted at 7am.
“Hm, I guess he liked me!” I thought contently as I was getting dressed for work.
He kept on texting the whole day: sending me photos of his work trip, making jokes… And I would wait a couple of hours before replying. Normally, I don’t care for these games, but I was wary of him. He looked too much like a douche-bag to be treated seriously. But when someone texts you so much and answers back immediately, without any games – you can’t help but lower your guard.
He invited me to come to his place since has having some friends over. The Canadian friend was gone to Florida but managed to ask me out again. Twice.
Sorry, I told Marc, I have other plans.
I didn’t want to be available two days in a row. I wanted to be seen as someone who had standards.
When he told me he would go out with his friends I told him to have fun.
Stay in touch, he wrote again.
And then he wrote early on the next day inviting me over again. Seemed he had an array of friends at his place the whole weekend. I was wary of being invited over instead of being asked out separately but I justified it as – he’s spontaneous, he has friends, he wants me to meet his friends (yes, after that one spectacular date! He probably loved my listening skills!) and of course – he’s French. They enjoy the group dating more than our North American official one-on-one.
I went on a boat ride with my friends and then ran off to his place. I dressed up in a tight black top and jeans as it was quite cool outside. He looked like he was on vacation in shorts and a polo. We kissed hello and he introduced me to his two French friends. I seemed to be the only girl he not only invited but introduced to his guy friends. Were we together? Again I felt like the center of attention with his guy friends asking me things and one of them even getting competitive with Marc, seeing as how I was with him. Marc made sure I was comfortable, and would touch me every time he walked by me.
Afterwards a few more people came up to the apartment. Two guys we ran into in the elevator. Two girls he met a day ago. Seemed like he was meeting people left and right and no one past a week. Was I one of the weekly specials? Or should I say weekend?
Everyone decided to go to a bar and as we went downstairs to wait for a cab, I told him it made absolutely no sense to drink at his place then go to a bar to drink again. We decided to go up to his place and watch a horror movie on his balcony. I wasn’t going to have sex. I simply wanted something romantic. I have started to miss the closeness of having someone near you, of cuddling, of being hugged. How sad, right?
So we put “The Ring” on, cuddled under a big blanket and lay on the couch on the balcony.
I loved how affectionate he was. Right away he enveloped me in his arms and I felt like a little girl with a big, strong man. A bear, as I called him. Then I caressed his hairy chest and said in a Borat voice:
“Persian carpet. How much?” which made him burst out laughing.
Not that I’m into a hairy chest or anything. I much prefer non-hairy.
It was exactly what I needed. I don’t remember the last time I really cuddled like I did with him. It didn’t feel like a prelude to sex. It felt more like affection and closeness. Or maybe that’s my naive self talking.
We stayed like this for a while and then transferred to a couch inside. Actually now that I am writing this, I remember it was his idea. He was suddenly cold under a blanket. Truthfully, I think he wanted to get me closer to his bed.
The kissing heated up. Yes, it was my fault. There is something really excitint about seeing a man turn into an animal as he gets excited. His breathing gets hotter and sharper, he begins kissing you more aggressively and in this case, holding me by my hair and my neck which is my weakness. I hate men who do not vary the rhythm when they kiss, or when nothing much changes as they get excited. When you want to ask – excuse me, suh, are you excited? In this case, that was not the problem. But I would go to the limit then stop and say ‘sorry…’ so yes, I was literally dangling raw meat in front of a bear. But he was a gentleman. He tried, yes, but would stop without complaining every single time.
“I’m sorry” I told him yet again. “I have certain rules”
“I respect that” he told me. “So when would you be ready?”
“Not today” came my vague answer.
“Would you want to stay with me?”
“No, I’d rather go home”
“I wouldn’t try anything”
“Come on, Marc” I looked at him with a smile “I’m not a teenager. I know if I get into bed with you, a hairy man, I wouldn’t even trust myself.”
If this is the first story you read by me, wait until you say “Good for her! What solid rules she has” and refer to my older stories.
“What are you doing tomorrow” he asked.
I told him I didn’t know. I wasn’t going to see him yet again, but I didn’t have time to come up with anything. So he invited me to his house. Again. Is that the way it would go?
I kissed him goodbye and left. And as my friend later pointed out, he didn’t even walk me home. But I live in a gay neighborhood so it might have been more dangerous for him to walk back from my house.
The next day his first message came in at 5:30pm. Not that I was sitting at home waiting by the phone.. No, I went to the park and waited by the phone. And then when he texted me, I waited an hour before I texted back with a bit of a question.
And he didn’t text for two whole days.
At first I thought it was because he didn’t want to be texting too much.
Then I thought he was busy. Ah, busy. Don’t you love that excuse? Remember being so busy that you couldn’t pick up the phone and text two words? If you do, you probably work in the Canadian Tundra. As a pilot. Or possibly in the tunnels as a miner. I briefly dated a British Intelligence Agent and even he texted every day! (Yes, you can ask me about that one!)
When I saw he wrote about the state of French politics on his Facebook page, that thought quickly faded away. Not that I really believed in the first place.
By Monday I convinced myself it was fine to have some space. He clearly wanted to see that I was independent and non-clingy. Instead of working on my project, I spent my morning reading countless articles and watching Matthew Hussey discuss how high-value women should behave.
Then I was upset. I mean – what if there was something about me that turned him off. Was I too available? Should I not have come over? Should I not have stayed until 3 am kissing him on a couch? Did that mean I was too easy?
By Tuesday I was between pissed off and confused. How was it that someone who responded right away to every text I sent, was now gone? Maybe he didn’t actually receive the message? I googled tips on checking to see if your text is send to the other person and wished I talked to him through Whatsapp.
By Wednesday I thought “Screw it!” Even if he never received my message, he should have enough decency to inquire about me. Women ignore men all the time and still get pursued relentlessly. Then he texted.
Now I felt in control. Ha! I waited it out and it worked! Now I could it play it my way. I waited until the evening and texted back something neutral. Carefully going over the wording of course. He responded right after. According to his not so carefully constructed text message, he was going to the gym.
Again I felt like I lost. He never meant to ask me out or even really talk to me. This was a way to check in but not say anything meaningful. And the irony is – I didn’t even like him so much! And here I was obsessing over this person. The person who was not even right for me in the first place.
On Thursday he checked in again. I waited hours then sent over a short and flirty message. I wanted to remind him that I was a fun, exciting self but felt he wasn’t even giving me anything to work with. That weekend we started texting it felt natural because he was trying. Now, he was just sending over standard “how is your week” messages. When he only answered back on Friday and not even asked me out, I was done.
Saturday night he reappeared at 12 am to ask me how my weekend was going. This time I would finally leave him hanging.
I knew the truth – the guy was barely stringing me along so he could see who else was available. He just wanted fun. He was putting zero effort and wanted it to remain this way. And the most unforgiving thing of all – it was because of him I re-watched that horrible movie “Think Like a Man”.
My brother first laughed. Then he said “Come on. It’s obvious. The guy wanted to get laid. You were too much work. He was too lazy to lift a finger above getting drinks nearby and inviting you to his place.”
So the lesson here, girls is: do not become more invested in him than he is. I know most of you found me because you were googling “What do French/German/Italian etc. Guys like?” and I am not telling you to discontinue that. After all, I need my readers!
But before you do that, think about this – by forcing yourself to adhere to his rules, his standards, his type, you are really losing a part of the natural you. That part that maybe even attracted him to you initially. Your freedom, your sense of humour, your playfulness, your fearlessness – that moment before you become invested, before you began stalking his Facebook, overthinking the text messages, reading about his culture, and really trying to be liked by him instead of thinking “What has he done to make me like him?”
And just like that you go from the weekend girl, from the casual girl he flirts with, from the casual sex girl to the girl that has standards. And that’s the most attractive quality of all.
Or he disappears. But at least it was you who let him go.