The Ambivalent Man

June 23, 2008

Have you ever pursued a man, a man who flirts with you for months, gives you all the right signals, and then as soon as you’ve gone on a couple of dates, this man starts acting weird? And I mean weird beyond not returning phone calls, but weird as if acting like you’ve got the plague and he really badly doesn’t want it?

Something happened to my friend Carla this weekend. A man who she started dating, who she bragged about to all of us, suddenly didn’t want anything to do with her. And Carla was crushed. Let me start at the beginning…

Carla works as a receptionist at a very important lawyer’s office in downtown Toronto, she sees her share of grumpy lawyers, angry clients, and, amidst them, some very cute guys. One of these very cute guys was a newer lawyer at the firm, who was trying to make it to partner by years end, and always took a minute out of his day (who are we kidding? like 20 minutes!) to joke, flirt, and talk with Carla.

We’ll call cute lawyer guy Adam. Adam and Carla even started doing lunch once a week, usually on Wednesdays when they both seemed to have more time. Adam was also a perfect gentleman who never insinuated any sexual feelings for Carla, never made her feel uncomfortable, and always complimented something about her – her hair, shoes, outfit, her eyes – and Carla loved it.

She became very infatuated with Adam, so much so that she would talk about him at lengths end whenever the girls got together. Everyone always told her to go out for dinner with him, ask him on a date, and she always blushed away and said she couldn’t because she didn’t want to start an office romance.

The romance had already started. Carla just didn’t want to risk putting herself out there and have him say no, she was secretly worried that he was gay because he had noticed her shoes on more than one occasion.

Quite a few months after they first started talking, Adam asked Carla on a “sort-of” date, the kind where someone’s having a party, and it’s going to be ‘all couples’ and he doesn’t want to look single. Carla said yes, but was still worried about the gay factor. After the party, Adam took Carla to a martini bar, walked her to her condo, and gave her a kiss in front of her doorman. Well, there goes the gay theory.

Carla re-lived that memory in her head over and over, and Adam didn’t stop by her desk for a week. Friday rolled around, and Adam stopped by about how busy his week was, Carla batted her eyelashes at him, and was pleased when he asked her to dinner a week and a half from that date.

I scolded Carla when she told me this – you never tell a guy that you’ll go out to dinner with him a WEEK AND A HALF from today – ever!! It makes you look SO available, seriously. But Carla was in la-la land.

Adam took Carla to a trendy sushi restaurant for dinner, he talked mainly about traveling to Italy, his love for black & white movies, and how much he wanted to become partner. Carla sat there nodding, mainly because she was in awe of him as much as she didn’t know anything about Italy, black & white movies, and she wasn’t a lawyer.

After dinner Adam took Carla to his place, and they had sex in so many positions that she lost count. The next morning they went out to breakfast at a local bakery, kissed over lattes and croissants, and Carla spent the rest of the day in a blissed out state while shopping for dresses she thought Adam would like.

Their third date happened two weeks later, again Adam was too busy and Carla was available, they went out to another dinner, another sex session, and another breakfast. It was like they were on a two-week schedule of sex and breakfast, and Carla was starting to think of the future, as many girls infatuated with their boyfriend do.

Carla started telling us girls about how she wanted to marry him, and that’s when I started to get worried about her. Because in between each date, those two weeks without him, she would do nothing. She always stayed at home, perfecting herself for the next date.

After 8 long months of this tumultous dating cycle, Carla started getting nervous. She started caling me up, asking me, “When is he going to get serious? When are we going to get engaged?” But there was nothing I could say to calm her. Really, she had showed him that she liked this relationship the way it was, so why should he offer her any more of him?

But Carla couldn’t stop worrying, she started bringing it up to him on their dates, talking about futures, and where they saw each other in a couple of years from now. They had a talk and Adam said something to her that calmed her right away and I didn’t hear any worries from her again.

Until he stopped coming by her desk altogether. In one month, she saw him twice, on their designated date nights, and she was starving for his attention. She was getting a little moody with him, asking him what was up, and his standard reply “I’m Busy” became not enough for her. They didn’t have sex that night

Then he cancelled their next date. And Carla snapped.

She called his cell phone constantly, trying to figure out what was going on.

And then she called his house phone. A woman answered the phone.

Carla asked to speak to Adam,  and the woman asked who she was.

“His girlfriend, Carla.” Silence. “Hello?”

“There must be some mistake, I’m his girlfriend. Nicole. Are you sure you have the right number?”

“Oh my god – I’m his girlfriend, is this some joke? Is he putting you up to this to break up with me? He can’t do it himself? Every two weeks we fucked in his apartment and now he can’t even break up with me in person? He told me – he told me he was going to marry me!”

Carla hung up. She was furious. She went on a five-day drinking bender, took two weeks off work, and I spent this time with her shopping, spa-ing, and crying with her.

Nicole was Adam’s girlfriend for two years now. It turned out that Nicole was in some type of work that forced her to travel to the New York office every other weekend. Every two weeks. Just like Adam & Carla’s dating schedule. And that was Nicole’s apartment that Adam had been fucking Carla in.

Carla still hasn’t gone on a single date for the past six months. Adam had found himself homeless. Nicole found herself a man who had his own apartment.

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The Big Question

May 31, 2008

This big question comes up in everyone’s life at least once. I’m not talking about ‘Which SATC character are you?’, I’m talkin the BIG question. Marriage.

It seems there are three types of guys out there for marriage.

There’s the Wants-to-get-Married Guy – who inevitably wants to marry anyone he feels a connection with, will ask many times which also chases the girls away, and will end up with a girl who became infatuated with the idea of getting married. This guy often gets divorced because he usually ends up picking the wrong girl – ie. any girl. I’ve met a few of these guys, one really cute guy, who I’ve known for years and finally hooked up with once, who right after sex asked me to marry him. Now, had I been ultimately desperate, I would most likely had said yes. Pros – he’s good looking, has a car, dresses alright. Cons – he’s stupid, crazy, desperate. I mean, seriously, I never called him again, he kept calling for a month until he got the hint. He saw me a while later and told me how hurt he was because he thought I was the one – let me remind you, we went out on ONE date!

Then there’s the Practical-Relationship-to-Marriage Guy. You know this guy, and most likely he’s the male in the couple who’s been together for a while, then got married, the way life should be, traditionally. I may have met this guy in the past, but they’re so practical, so boring, so… predictable. I’m not a boring type of girl, I need excitement in my life. Many of my friends are married to this guy, who they’ve been with for over 5 years, they got married, are either pregnant, trying to be, or just content with their huge houses and pets (cats AND dogs). This is the safe guy, the one your mom wants you to be with, the one your dad most likely loves. I’m not with this guy.

Here’s my guy. Commitment-Phobic-Wants-To-Be-A-Bachelor-Guy. That’s a mouthful, ain’t it? Of course, have a conversation with this guy about marriage and a million things will come out of his mouth. Sure, he wants to get married – one day, sure he says. But weddings are a huge waste of money, think of the life you’ll be throwing away (the drinking, the partying, late nights with the guys), and he’ll eventually say that he’s just too young to get married – regardless of the fact that many of his friends his age or younger are married. This is my guy. He’ll get romantic occasionally, talking about marriage, a life together – but then it’s like the switch flips and he’s back to trying to be look like a player, a bachelor, despite the fact that he’s been living with his girlfriend for four years, and he’s also a father to a two-year-old.

I understand the whole not wanting to rush into anything, but it’s been 5 years. I can understand the whole we’re too young thing, but we’re not anymore. Then there’s the ‘we don’t want to wreck anything by changing anything’ – but my thinking is if we can’t survive one change then how strong is our relationship to begin with? If anything, changes make a relationship stronger, right?

You’ve probably guessed by now that I’m Wants-To-Get-Married Girl. I thoroughly admit it. I’ve been looking at bridal magazines since I’ve been 16. And it’s not that I want to get married tomorrow, I don’t even pressure him into it, I try not to bring it up too often because in the back of my mind I believe that it will happen. And when it does happen I think I know how I want it to be done. But then sometimes he’ll say something spiteful like ‘I never want to get married’, just to piss me off, and he does. I try not to let it show, but he knows.

I’m not even going to pull the ‘if you don’t pop the question by the end of the year we’re off’ threat, because for one, I wouldn’t want to force a guy into marriage (do you really think that’ll work out?), and two, he will most likely not regard this threat as anything scary because deep down he knows I won’t leave him. Who are we kidding? I’m not going to leave because he won’t marry me by a deadline.

Sometimes I think, maybe we won’t marry for a while. A long while. Maybe we’ll get married next year, but would it really be so bad if we don’t get married? Deep down I know I don’t NEED to get married. I know that. I think I just really want it. I want my day in a gorgeous ivory or blush pink gown, a magazine quality photospread, all my friends and family with me celebrating our love together.

I love love. I love being in love. I love romance. So really, a wedding, for me at least, would be a perfect ending and beginning for love.

By the way, there is another category of guys for marriage, there is the Got-Drunk-Got-Pregnant-Lost-Bet Guy who gets married and usually annuls it faster than you can say Britney Spears. But we won’t get into that.

I love love. I also love books. I started reading Why Men Marry Bitches, and it’s chockful of tips on how to get your man to marry you. And not in a The Rules-kind of way. It’s a way to change your behaviour, especially if your behaviour makes you look like a crazy, desperate, money-hungry girl – even if deep down you’re not her – you really don’t want your guy to think you’re like that.

So right down to it. I love love. I love weddings. And if being in love means waiting for that day, and waiting for him to pop the question, then I’m pretty sure I can wait.

Also, just in case you were wondering, I’m a Carrie.