I went on a date last weekend. It's been a while, since before the trip with my mom, and I'd forgotten some of the dynamics involved. Of course, I've had a few reminders because my roommate has been seeing a wonderful man (Hi, my roomie's gentleman friend!) for a few months, so I've been able to do a little observing. It's been nice seeing how well he treats her, so my protective instincts haven't been needed at all.
Men, in general, like to talk about how women, in general, play games when it comes to dating and relationships. We have a bad reputation in the eyes of the opposite sex, who conveniently forget all about their favorite Post-First Date Game. I'm in the middle of that one right now.
The PFD Game doesn't get played every time, to be honest. One time I went on a first date with a guy I knew from the Singles group I attended. We went out for dinner and a movie and had a great time, but we both knew it wasn't going to go anywhere. There wasn't any chemistry. He didn't call me back for another date, for which I was thankful. And we continued to be friends without any awkwardness at all.
In contrast, there was another first date I had with a man I didn't really know very well but who, in the course of conversation, said he was a Christian. He brought me flowers and took me to a nice restaurant and let me know that he was hoping I would go away with him on weekends to the different resorts owned by the company he worked for.
Ummm.... No. I told him there was no way that would happen. He called me later that week, which I didn't want him to do, and I told him nicely at first that I wasn't what he was looking for. When he didn't get the message, I said point-blank that I didn't want to see him anymore. After the phone call, I felt such great relief that I didn't have to go through that again.
And then he called again the next week! And I had to go through the agony of telling him all over again, because he didn't understand me any better the second time than he had the first. He finally stopped calling, but I was afraid to go out with anyone for a long time after that.
There's a message I tried to drum into my girls (my daughter and the two of her friends who each lived with us for a while): If a man will pressure you to give him what he wants before marriage, he's not the right man. The kind of man who will put his own desires ahead of your best interest before marriage is the kind of man who will put his own desires ahead of yours and the kids' best interest after marriage. You must read that kind of relentless pressure as a giant red flag and RUN, not walk, away from the relationship.
But, of course, you should never bring up that or any remotely related topics on the first date. Which I somehow managed to do last week.
I knew this guy before he asked me out about as well as I knew the first guy I mentioned above. He's a very nice man, and we went to a restaurant. I won't go into detail. Suffice it to say that I said something that might have been OK, except that the conversation just kept going into the Territory That Must Not Be Discussed On A First Date. And all those things that your mother or grandmother or favorite aunt (or The Rules, if you didn't have a maternal-type to explain this) told you not to bring up, I said those things. And he was really sweet, but my goodness! I stuck my foot in my mouth so far, it came out my ears.
As we parted (again, no details), he kicked off the PFD Game: He said, "I'll call you."
The Game has rules that women aren't privy to and usually only learn the hard way. When he says he'll call, he does NOT mean tomorrow. Or the next day. Or the next. He means not before Wednesday at the absolute soonest.
It's a test. You. Must. Not. Call. Him.
If you call him, you lose. Game over. Buh bye.
You must wait. Longer than you can stand, and then wait some more. And the whole time, you're wondering if you said something stupid (OK, I'm not wondering that - I did say it) that turned him off or if there was some deal-breaker that flashed like a neon sign in his mind, and you alternate between feeling defeated because he's not going to call and trying to convince yourself that he really will call just as soon as whatever is keeping him busy gets cleared up.
But what keeps him from calling usually isn't what you said. It's the Cave Time portion of the Game. This begins the moment he finishes saying he'll call.
Cave Time is something men need that women can't comprehend. Men withdraw into their cave to process what just happened. They don't talk things through with their friends the way women do. He'll stay in his cave as long as he needs to, and when he's ready he'll come out and give you a call. Or not.
Where am I in the PFD Game? He hasn't called, so I'm alternating between being sure he saw some deal-breakers and trying to convince myself of the perfectly good reasons why I shouldn't expect a call before this coming week. I'm busy not getting my hopes up so I don't get disappointed too badly if he decides my foot-in-mouth condition is way too unattractive.
What I'm not doing is calling him. By not calling, the Game is still on. I still have that small shred of hope to hang onto, because it's not game over. Not yet.