Before I write this post I have to say that I’m about to go and have a really great day. So no one is allowed to feel sorry for me, because I don’t.
But I do want to give my inner baby girl self a big hug right now.
My inner three year old is throwing a tantrum.
And it’s over the word soon.
When a guy says he wants to do something with you soon, what I hear is that they vaguely in the back of their mind wouldn’t mind getting together, but don’t count on it….anytime, ha, soon.
How often do we say to people – yeah, we should get together soon? We mean it, kinda, but how often do we actually do it? And that’s with people we know we want to see. Friends. When I reconnected with Jackie, an old friend I’d lost track of, I was jumping up and down excited but nevertheless the reality of soon for us has turned into two lunches over a couple of years. And we used to live in each other’s pockets. Life is busy.
So soon for me is a pretty soft maybe. It’s a sort of keep your options open statement.
Friday, officially the next day, when I read the word soon in a texting exchange that I initiated, I wanted to throw my phone against the wall. So instead I said to Teresa, “OMFG, I’ve been sooned!”
Teresa is great because she’s partnered up and has some kids. Most people in that situation cannot relate. They’re too busy trying to nap and get a minute to themselves to even begin to understand why one word has you goin’ all gremlin. They tend to say things like, “Oh you’re such a great person. Some guy is going to be really lucky to find you.” Not Teresa. She said something like, “Well that’s f*cked.”
There is some pretty rigid, standard dating dogma that says that a guy who’s fully interested nails down a second date pretty quickly. The way it’s done is either before you end the first date or sometime the next day you make plans to see each other again – barring any travel or extenuating circumstances. Within a week is the norm, but it could be even two or three weeks out. The point is you call dibs on some date in the future.
Then, because you have plans, you are tucked in, looking forward to it, and you go about your wonderful, full life with your psyche intact and your mental health in tip top form.
But when someone says soon it’s a whole different ball that starts rolling downhill. It’s a big boulder that gathers steam until it crashes. At least it is for me.
I know I’m not alone in this. I’ve consulted Google and several trusted friends – on several different occasions I might add. Everyone agrees that waiting to see about a next date with someone you actually like is the worst.
I screenshot this really funny reddit thread from a woman who wanted to know the customary length of time between what seemed like a great initial meeting to a next date. I’m gonna try and sneak it in here
So it’s a universally accepted truth that if you like someone and they don’t nail your ass down with a date almost immediately, it’s a very bad sign. It makes the woman crazy and crazy women act and feel like crazy women and nothing pisses off our inner Katherine Hepburn more than trying to contain the crazy that some random dude stirred up when he decided to go vague.
I can’t tell my mother about this because she has her own dating story and she whips it out anytime you bringing up some dating drama and it goes like this.
When she met her husband, it was through a dating service. She’d been suffering some dating injustices and sat through some fairly awful dates. When she met Colin he said, “I’d really like to see you again.” And my mom pulled out her appointment calendar, because this was back in the day, and she (God I love this woman) said, “OK, when.”
Feel free to steal that one. My mom said she wasn’t about to wait around for some guy to call her so she just said when and also didn’t date anyone without six figures, their own home, a decent wardrobe and a car in working order. My mom doesn’t fool around.
Suffice it to say she’s been a bit dismayed by some of my dating choices. She always says, “Maria, you need a man who will make things easier for you, not harder.” I don’t disagree one bit with that statement.
Getting back to what I should have said, if I hadn’t been such a girl…I should have been a woman and replied to the soon comment – great, let’s make plans. I have some time this weekend or next week. What works….?
But I read the word soon and turned into a superfreak and here’s why. When we were hanging out it was easy like Sunday morning and in no way did I ever think I’d be sooned. I didn’t have my armor on and I wasn’t prepared for soon because we talked about festivals and hiking with the kids and he mentioned he had Saturday off and we even kinda were talking about making dinner but got distracted by something else. But the point is he seemed like someone who would just call me up and say, ok Saturday, or Monday or whatever. I didn’t even think about it. I kinda thought I’d see him Saturday. That’s what I got outa the situation, anyway.
This is someone that I can’t even use the word date with with a straight face. We know each other and he’s just a person. I’ve always liked him and never felt uncomfortable or anything but straight up regular with him. Always thought he was cute. Never crushed on him. In fact, actually thought he’d make a great friend.
So what does a superfreak do? She lets the guy have his soon and goes (tiny giggly voice) “OK” and pretty soon everything feels all weird and bleh.
Why not OK?
Well because women have been around the block enough to know that soon might as well mean never.
We used to trust guys with their soons. It still wasn’t as good as making actual plans, but we started out as little dating embryos going – oh, soon ok well fine – and it was no big deal. We had stuff to do.
Then we experienced the dark side of soon. The guy who you’d bet your life was gonna be in touch any minute would just never call you. And you’d kind of deflate, very slowly wondering what the hell was up with that. Honestly, there is no sadder dating detritus than the slow fade to nothing but crickets. It’s sad because it takes a good two weeks, in really bad cases as long as a month, to really understand that this person is never going to call you. And your friends are going just as crazy as you are because you won’t shut up about it.
I still remember when Danny from the coast guard did that. We were actually dating regularly and he just quit calling and I was flabbergasted because he was SO into me and so sweet. Finally I called him at the base and that’s when he told me he had gotten married and he didn’t want to hurt me. I mean, it’s a great story and it does summarize men in a few choice words. Cowards. No actually that’s not it. Even when they are leaving us, they want to make us happy. They always want to make us happy so they do really stupid shit like not come clean. Because they don’t want to hurt us.
Then there’s the modern dating ghosting thing. I don’t know if you know this but ghosting is now perfectly acceptable. The magazine articles (ok internet, this is the 21st century) used to talk about how rude ghosting was. Now they talk about when it is and isn’t ok to ghost. Miss Manners would be rolling in her grave.
Let’s not forget- in this discussion of why I’m such a stickler for plans – my dear live-in live-out boyfriend of almost six years who was so bad at breaking up with me that he ghosted me, blocked me, erased me from every social media anything, and married another woman four months after he did all that. It doesn’t matter that it’s all gone pretty south for him (bad marriage) – I’m over him. But I’m not over it. I’ll never be totally over the way he did it. The worst part about it is it made me psycho and then I had to wonder if blocking a psycho person wasn’t a sane thing to do except I wasn’t psycho until he blocked me. The problem with this dynamic is the crazy kinda snowballs. I think it peaked when I scaled his apartment fence (it was super high like the one in Bridesmaids) and knocked on his door and said – you can’t just block me after all this. That was perhaps the most spectacular crazy girl thing I’ve ever done. I should feel embarrassment but I actually feel intense Kristen Wiig/Tina Fey pride.
And no worries, I’m not a boil the bunny kind of girl. I went to Catholic schools. I wore uniforms.
Somewhere along the way we develop into women who know and can feel when we’re tucked in and…when we aren’t. Like, I can be with someone who’s gone all the time and rarely is in touch, but if I know that every Wednesday night we’re gonna catch up, I’m off on my own all week. But if I don’t know when I’m going to talk to someone next, and when I don’t feel comfortable picking up the phone, then I’m an unglued mess.
I’m talking about actual boyfriends now, not friends or a new acquaintance (that I kissed).
But meeting someone, you kinda want the kind of attention that tucks you in.
So I said to Teresa, ooh, I’m gonna blow this ship up, you watch. I knew I was entering crazy lady territory when I read soon. And she knew I was seriously gonna go rogue. We agreed that maybe I should just let it rest and try not blowing something up for once. We agreed but then I burst out laughing and said – Teresa, this is me we’re talking about. You know I’m gonna lose my shit.
Because what I do when someone is vague with me is that I knock on the door to see if they’re home. I get anxious. Then I decide that I don’t really like them anyway. Everything that was making me swoon sort of goes dark and not the same.
So I get a little more anxious, text, write, do my life, and I try to hang on to something positive and normal about the person. Lighten the fuck up, as it were.
Wait I want to take a break and tell you that we’re talking about 48 hours here. That’s what a freak I am – 48 hours after a meeting and I’m losing my shit because I don’t have a secured next meet-up in place. But before you have me committed I’m going to tell you that common dating knowledge is that once you hit the 48 hour mark without a second date, the chance of ever seeing this person again drops into the single digits.
So I’m not really as crazy as I feel.
Here’s what happens next. I’m a freak and text, he uses the word soon again in a sort of charming way until I sit on it for ten minutes and realize that he’s done it again and I’m in the soon zone!
So I went to The Starry Plough, had two beers and the best burger, listened to some bad funk and texted him that I could smell patchouli (which I could all of a sudden) and why weren’t we out on Saturday night and I might have said I hated him or something.
And that’s it. I’m done.
I’m not waiting for some soon to come.
The kisses that were fresh and exciting a couple of days ago have lost their luster and shine.
Matthew Hussey (my guilty pleasure..he’s the dating guru who likes women) says that you don’t need to get all huffy, just show your worth and let them do the work, like it barely registers on your radar, because you’re so busy with your fabulous life.
Well I am busy with my fabulous life, but I am emotionally a little fragile. My kids have just gone, I’m struggling to feel a sense of home and belonging. Weeks are a breeze for me. I’m super happy and love my job and everything I’m doing.
Weekends are harder. I forget to make plans, or often don’t want to make plans, because sometimes I really need to just rest. We’ve gone over this before, but there are some issues here that I just need to get through. I just need to sit here, or get up, and do my best until things come together differently. You can’t rush a total life makeover just because you’re ready to be there, already.
So, I’m not that tough when it comes to getting strung out over a kiss. I wouldn’t mind a place to rest my head a bit. There is some far off notion that maybe there’s a best friend out there for me and at this point I’m not sure if it even needs to be a man. Maybe I’ll go all Frankie and Grace with a great friend.
I’m not overthinking anything, really, because I know everyone is just doing their own thing. What I’m doing is telling you that I have to manage a lot of discomfort when a person is vague with me. I like yes, and I’ll take no, but the in between is just a puddle of sad for me.
I have to tell you about this retched little bulldog rescue, Zoe. She has horrible breath, is blind in one eye and can barely breathe. She guards me like a vault full of diamonds and anytime I get in bed she starts licking me furiously with her big stinky bulldog tongue. She loves me. She wants to have me for dinner, in a good way.
I push her away and she keeps right on showing the love. She feels it, and out comes the tongue.
I was feeling kind of ridiculous and then I decided that if Zoe can survive all she’s been through and still come back with love in her beat up bully heart, then so can I.
I started this post this morning and had a great lunch with Martha and Julien just past Fairfax. I rolled the windows down and blasted Freebird over the Richmond Bridge.
I thought about moving and where my life might end up.
Now I’m back and it’s ballet, then I have a newborn to visit at home – a tiny Ava.
Then I might go back to the Starry Plough later because I have been meaning to catch their Irish jam sessions and I might even try ceili dancing tomorrow night. Tomorrow’s a holiday, whoop!
I asked myself if I was sorry that I can’t chill with soon and I decided that no, I am not sorry. I ran the specifics of my panties being in a bunch past a few trusted neutral sorts – both male and female – and I got the thumbs up for giving this situation the thumbs down.
You can open a window, but that doesn’t mean anyone is going to climb through it, or even should. One thing I’ve learned is sometimes you want to do something but life stops you because it isn’t the right thing to do.
I still want to ride the ride, don’t get me wrong, but when you open window and a fresh breeze blows in, that’s just going to have to be enough.
That and those big puffy white clouds that the sky is rocking today. It’s beautiful out.