Wednesday, January 02, 2008

Living in the Frog Pond

I was online today at work, checking on the markets (which tanked on the first trading day of the year, lovely) and ran across this article:

Trouble in the Frog Pond

DEAR MARGO: I know I'm not alone in being attractive, single, young, successful, fun and dateless. I know you have to kiss a lot of frogs before you find the prince, but it's a little depressing when not even the frogs are asking you out.
And how come when you're not even flirting with a guy and you're just having an everyday conversation, he suddenly turns all smug and acts like you're completely into him and are thinking of marriage? I cannot tell you how many times that has happened to me. It's discouraging.
What happened to guys being into girls, and possibly pursuing them? So, not only am I not getting asked out, I can barely talk to guys without it being a humiliating experience.
OK, I'm done. I just thought you and the world would like to know what it's like to be an attractive 24-year-old who's not putting out (so shoot me, I have standards) in 2007.


DEAR STUCK: I think you need to meet some new frogs, I mean, guys. However you do it, change the scenery and change your circle. I'm not sure why it is that you're seemingly finding all the egomaniacs in the world, but your experience is not reflective of all that's going on out there.
Try some new affinity groups or volunteer for something that interests you. (Or . . . go to a hardware store on a Friday night.) And I salute your having standards. Putting out is not the way to connect with a great guy.

Dear Margo is written by Margo Howard, Ann Landers' daughter.

Well, first I thought I had better let everyone know that it wasn't me who wrote that. It may, however, have been my alter ego, my undiscovered twin, or one of the many friends with whom I have had almost the exact same conversation. I know many a girl that has had the same lament as Miss Stuck.

I could expand on the poor girl's dilemma, but I will stop myself before I get up on my soapbox and start ranting. I will say just this to all the guys out there: girls want to be pursued, with honesty and integrity, and dare I say it, with passion.

Margo recommends a change in social circles, but I don't see that in my future, so I guess you'll find me at the hardware store Friday night.

Just kidding.


The_LoneTomato said...

reminds me of a joke I heard.

Q: How are single men and parking spots at the mall alike?

A: All the good ones are taken and the only ones left are handicapped.

dan said...

Thanks for the post, Rebecca. Honest and real. I've heard several women express similar sentiments, so I'm going to go ahead and say two things, the second one I've never really had the guts to say before, but here goes:

1) First of all, you are right, right, right. Guys need to take the risk and pursue with passion.

2) One possible way to help guys become the guy they need to be, is try to be very kind and respectful when rejecting a guy who is pursuing you whom you don't like. My own hunch is, when women say 'we want guys to pursue' what you really mean is 'we want the guy that we already like to pursue.' There's nothing wrong with this, but when guys do put themselves out there, and the girl is not into them, often what we get is either the 'freak out' (i.e. just stop being polite or civil to the guy), or the 'extremely indirect approach' (i.e. go out with him for a bit but be very reserved, just hoping he'll get the hint to not ask you out again without you having to say so). Both of these also generate a lot of ambiguity, and are real killers to a guy's confidence.

So at this point let me reiterate, that you're right. And dealing with the fear of rejection is part of what guys need to be willing to risk. But I'd also like to put out a plea for the art of the honest, respectful refusal. It may help the guy who you're not into today to be a little braver for the girl he might have a chance with next month.

Open to feedback on this . . .

rjgintrepid said...

Hey Dan-thanks for the comment

I wholeheartedly agree with you that women need to be more caring and honest in their communication with guys. It is a two way street. Ambiguity can be a real stressmaker for everyone.

I will say that when pursuit is done in a respectful way, it is okay when a guy that a girl is not necessarily interested in approaches her. As girls, we need to get our idea of the perfect guy (whoever he is) out of our heads and be willing to listen to sincere men. And if there truly is no attraction, we need to very calmly, very carefully explain that we appreciate the effort and wish you all the best.

I know that doesn't happen enough, and I am sorry for it. I think both genders could learn a lot about communicating in relationships. So thanks for sharing an honest perspective from the other side.

dan said...

Good points there--I can definitely think of some cases where the ambiguous response on the part of the woman was due in part to the rather ambiguous way that I went about starting to show interest. I think in general we like to hide behind ambiguity because it feels less risky, while in fact it's just creating greater problems in the long run. The more courageous we are and secure in ourselves, the more likely we are to be respectful to the other.