Friday, July 16, 2010

"The Hang On Girl" or "Why I Hate Asterisks"

It's been a few days since I've updated you on the latest comings and goings of these (clears throat) "men" floating in and out of my life, so I thought I'd devote today's post to something a little less dramatic and just fill in the gaps.  I'm sure you've probably thought that I went back into my usual drought but there are some signs of life for my social calendar.  Now, I don't know that these signs of life are going to be sustaining or simply just blips on the monitor, but I haven't flat-lined yet.  Okay, let's see...

Mr. Too Many Words continues his odd, non-committal conversation of (ha!) words, but I'm pretty sure I've become The Hang On Girl.  The Hang On status is something that both men and women can easily become the victim of, both on and offline, but I think it's especially prevalent in the world of online dating.  If you are someone's Hang On Girl/Guy, you're the one that they're semi-interested in, but not really excited about, who they keep hanging on to, just in case things with the potential match they are excited about falls through.  I read an article about this from eHarmony.  Apparently, it's pretty much an American epidemic.  People, regardless of age, demographic or relationship status, will take this approach with significant others, family, friends, everybody, never committing to plans just in case something better comes along.  How many times have you done it unconsciously?  I know I'm a culprit. 

Friend:  "Hey, Melanie, you want to go to dinner and a movie on Friday night?"
Me:  (Oh gosh...I was thinking Random Other Friend might want to go do something...urgh, what now? What if Random Other Friend wants to go do something a bit more fun than dinner and a movie?  Oh good grief)  "Uh, well, maybe.  I don't know what's going on Friday yet."
Friend:  "Oh, well, just let me know."

Don't lie.  You've done it too.  We all have.  We don't have anything against the friend that's asking, we just think we're keeping our options open to get the most entertainment out of our free time as possible.  And we don't want to flat out say "no" to the friend that's asking.  What if Random Other Friend doesn't want to go do anything on Friday night?  We can't possibly (gasp!) not have plans for a Friday night!!  That would make us some kind of inferior, anti-social, friendless freak!  But, what we're really doing here is setting ourselves up to eventually stop getting requests like these from good friends who want to spend time with us.  We become the wishy-washy friend who never finalizes plans or who calls at the last minute to say "Yeah, sure, now that everybody else has been scratched off the list, I'm happy to hang out with you."  We make our friends who want to spend time with us feel inferior and inevitably lose those friends.  And, according to eHarmony, we're also missing out on opportunities to meet new people in the new social situations that friends can invite us to, new people such as new matches.  This is where I am with Mr. Too Many Words, I know it.  He won't cut me loose, but he won't commit to anything.  It's probably Karma's ironic revenge.

After telling him that he'd have to call me or ask me out to find out about the infamous relative in my genealogy, Mr. Too Many Words wrote back asking me where I'd like to meet.  I told him that I like a man who makes decisions, so he should tell me.  He replied with "Hooters."  Moving on...

Mr. Mardi Gras has literally fallen off the face of the earth.  He told me he was in Disney World all last week and that we'd touch base when he returned, but also sent me a new photo of himself and requested a new one of me.  I sent one where I looked especially fabulous (but still know where I stand on photo deception!), tan, great hair day, fantastic new dress.  Is is possible that Mr. Mardi Gras didn't appreciate my fabulousness?

What happened to Mr. Baggage, you ask?...Radio silence.  Pretty sure this will be my final mention of him.  R.I.P. Mr. Baggage.  Had you talked about something other than your ex-fiance or committed to something more than text messages, we might have had a good time.  Another reinforcement that I should be weary of redheaded men.  I usually find myself attracted to them, and it usually ends disastrously.  In this case, I'll take the fizzle-out version and learn my lesson.

Remember Mr. Italian?  I know, I almost forgot about him, too.  And by forgot, I mean wrote him off.  He came out of the gate like an online dating professional, as if he was getting paid on commission for email responses, and I would have happily encouraged whoever was paying him to include a bonus for creativity.  His emails were perfect, including and highlighting points in my profile, asking just the right amount of questions, being slightly flirtatious and leaving enough to the imagination to inspire a response from me.  Which I complied with willingly.  We spent about a week going back and forth and maintained a pretty incredible level of entertaining each other.  Then....nothing.  He left for what he told me was a week-long vacation that created an almost two-week long dead zone.  Happily, yesterday I heard from him.  He'd been to Cancun and (by his own admission) was still recovering from the hangover.  My kind of guy.  But, why do they all come with an asterisk?  Mr. Italian is a few years younger than me but has already experienced way more than I would have wanted to at such a young age:  marriage, offspring and now separation. 

The "s" word. Separation is a certain murkiness that I'm not sure I want to try to wade through.  I'm a girl that likes things to be clear cut.  Divorced? least there are court-approved, lawyer-reviewed documents terminating any legal ties and hopefully any emotional ones.  But, a separation...that has a LOT of potential risk factors.  Throw a young child in the mix and it's basically a ticking time bomb for drama.  What happens to me if, let's say, Mr. Italian and I hit it off over a bowl of linguini, and then his wife wants to try to work it out for the sake of their young child?  Commendable and possible.  What happens if we're finishing off a bottle of chianti one night and she comes banging on the door, accusing him of infidelity, and I end up testifying in court that it was just a couple of glasses while we exchanged our favorite lines from "The Godfather" trilogy?  Uncomfortable and possible.  All things to consider.

I'm a big fan of knowing what you're getting yourself into and considering extremes.  If I date someone at this point in my life, it's to find out if that person is my potential husband/father of my future children.  If I know going in that the likelihood of them fulfilling that role is slim, then why bother?  But, this guy is really cute...and witty, which instantly improves his Cuteness Factor.  Urgh.  I just want an asterisk-free guy.

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