* I dedicate this post to two young ladies who told me they were fans of my blog, and to all the young people of this generation who must carve out a path in this new, unchartered dating world. Although this blog post focuses mainly on women, my observations can be applied to both sexes.
To say that the dating world has changed in the past 2 decades is quite an understatement. With texting, social media, online and app dating, my generation must navigate through a confusing and frustrating dating structure where new rules, guidelines and even vocabulary have been established. Even though the way we meet people has changed and expanded, what’s really changed are people’s expectations and standards. Specifically, I think the expectations and standards for many women have changed. Actually, I don’t think many women have even set specific standards for themselves when it comes to their romantic interests.
Let’s face it, women have the control, whether they are aware of this or not, it’s a fact. Women set the bar for which men will rise to. If there is no bar, or no understanding of what it is that they want or expect from men, then nothing will be given in return. Now when I talk about expectations, I’m not referring to a man’s financial and social status. I’m not talking about, materialistically, what a woman can get from a man. I’m simply talking about the way in which women allow themselves to be treated by the opposite sex. I’m talking about an acceptance of mediocrity where demanding any type of reciprocity or high level treatment is considered strange or needy and opposes the power shift that is clearly happening.
It’s story time folks…this time it’s a personal one:
In April, I met this guy — we’ll call him Michael — at a fancy awards luncheon in downtown L.A. Michael and his friend — we’ll call him Ben — approached and engaged me in idle chit-chat. They harped on how nice I looked along with other inquiries about who I was. Ben suggested that we should all hang out some time of which I agreed, and Ben and I exchanged numbers. Even though I had wished that Michael asked for my number, I wasn’t opposed to Ben and I staying in contact because he seemed like a cool guy that I could be friends with. Ben texted me that afternoon saying how it was nice to meet me and that we should stay in touch. I told him it was nice meeting him as well and that we should definitely stay connected. I told him to tell Michael to stay in touch as well.
Fast forward 3 months later…it’s the 4th of July. I get a text from a number I don’t recognize and ask who it is. It was Michael. Needless to say, I had completely forgotten about him and was surprised to hear from him. He asked me what I was doing for the holiday and vice versa. The conversation was short and light. I didn’t expect to hear from Michael again, nor did I really care. But he texted me about every 2-3 weeks since the 4th of July, and the convos were always short and light. Our texting didn’t bother me, however I began to ask myself “What does he want?”….”Why does he continue to randomly hit me up?” So when he texted me recently I decided to ask him.
Michael texted me on Thursday morning at 2:34 a.m. — highly questionable hours, I know. Being that he texted so late, or early, I should say, I didn’t respond until I woke up and was leaving for work. But what was even more random was the fact that he texted me a link to a song on Sound Cloud…(??) He didn’t preface his text with a greeting; he didn’t ask how I was…he literally just sent me the link. Trying to gain some clarity, I asked him if he made music, and he said no, but that he had made a playlist — again, random. So I responded to Michael:
Me: You know Michael, there’s been a question I’ve been meaning to ask you…don’t get offended. But what exactly do you want from me?
Michael: Not sure how to answer
Me: No worries. Don’t take this the wrong way, but since there’s nothing you want there’s really no need to hit me up until you know.
With my last text, I thought I had ended our communication – said goodbye to him and his confusion. I was wrong. Michael texted me back at 9:55 pm …nearly 13 hrs later lol and this is what he said:
Michael: Why do I have to want anything in particular?
Michael had no idea of the jewel he had just given me. Within his question lies one of the many issues that comes with our current dating situation. People don’t want anything in particular. Men, specifically, have been given the option to interact with women without wanting any meaningful connection or having any genuine interest, even if the woman they’re interacting with does.
But why do women allow this?
What is the point in entertaining someone that simply doesn’t care enough?
What’s the point?
I responded to Michael. Since our convo was via text, I had to condense my words and cut to the point, but here I can give you my response in its entirety:
Me: “Why do you have to want anything in particular?”
Really? Because you should, Michael. You should want SOMETHING.
Do you want to be acquaintances? Friends? Date? Do you just want to talk? Do you want to get to know me? Do you simply want attention? What is it exactly? You see, there are intentions/reasons behind our actions whether we are aware of them or not, no matter how big or small the action. So my question to you is what are your intentions with me? As a matter of fact, let’s back track.
Michael: Let’s not, Beth relax.
Me: I’m not mad Michael, honestly. Just confused. You hit me up months after we first meet, and, since then, you’ve texted me every couple of weeks or as soon as I’ve forgotten about you. We have yet to talk on the phone and have a real conversation, there has been no plans to meet up face-to-face, and our texting is short and basic. Frankly, Michael, there is nothing that you want from me; you’re actions make that clear. And I have no personal issue with you, I’m not upset at all. I just don’t have time for people who don’t want anything from me and who add nothing to my life.
If you were interested, your actions would’ve shown that. But all your actions have shown, thus far, is that I’m an afterthought – someone to reach out to when you’re bored, and honestly, who has time for that?? We’re too old for this, don’t you think?
If you want friendship – cool. But until you know what you want, there’s no point in randomly texting me every couple of weeks. Don’t mistake this text for anger, I just had to let you know.
Goodnight Michael. I wish you well.
I don’t think you’re a bad guy, you’re just one of many guys who have been allowed by women to unapologetically loiter in their space and, as you put it, “not want anything in particular”.
Friends, it felt good to be so direct and honest. It felt good to set both myself and Michael free from his pointless, aimless pacing back and forth within my personal turf, because it was becoming annoying.
Look Ladies, I’ve said it once and I’ll say it again: if a guy is interested in talking to you, going out on a date, etc. he will let you know. There is no guessing involved. Unless you don’t mind it, you don’t have to engage with anyone whose feelings towards you are neutral and aren’t moving in any direction at all. It seems like a waste of time to me. You don’t have to hold on for fear of not gaining something else, of not meeting someone better, because you will. Don’t accept just any ole thang!
Don’t be afraid to set the bar…there’s someone out there who will rise to the occasion.