Saturday, November 05, 2011

Games Men Play

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.


Christina said...

Oh my...I do NOT miss dating at all. It's a lot harder and a lot less fun than it looks!

I hope for your sake that he calls, because it sounds to me like you had a nice time (minus foot in mouth!) and would like to see where this leads.

Good luck!

SkyePuppy said...

Thanks, Christina! I'll post an update if/when he calls.

Bekah said...

Ohhhhhhh how much I loved this post. It's so true!!! I think they wait just to torture us. Makes me c.r.a.z.y.

I've been known to break the calling rule. And then I get mad at myself for doing it. See...if they woulnd't wait so long to call, I wouldn't have to cave to calling!

Anonymous said...

Dating for men can be like walking through a mine field, walking on sharp glass or over Hot Coals.

I believe that both sexes have a bad reputation in the eyes of the opposite sex about the Post-First-Date Game because the Signals, Boundaries, Expectations and Values were being sent as a lot of different signals. Men and women sometimes only receive the signals they want to receive and not are what is being sent.

While previous dates might seem to be good comparisons you should always start a new friendship or dating with a new clean slate of Signals, Boundaries, Expectations, and in keeping your Values.

Being a Christian is more than just saying you are a Christian. It is what you do that is important and this is for both men and women.

You say that one of the previous men you dated “Didn’t get the message”. Was it because the signal that was received prior to the date and on the date was something he did not understand or HIS EXPECTATION was something different then your expectation.

I believe that no women should ever do anything under pressure from a man. Once again was the pressure the result of Signals, Boundaries, Expectations and Values were not clearly understood from the very beginning of dating and any relationship.

Your comment about saying something that might have been OK is raising a Red Flag. Somehow the date took whatever you said and received the wrong Signal. Then you say it kept going into the Territory That Must Not Be Discussed On A First Date.

This is where you should have immediately mentioned the proper Signal, your Boundaries, Expectations and Values.

The date probably kept pressing because you allowed the conversation to keep going into that Territory. Is it possible that your expectations by going on the date were because of the Signals that he gave to you was not really received as to what his expectations were and you did not see that.

Sometimes men need to be given direction from a woman because we just do not understand the signals you are sending us and what your expectations are. Why he is not calling could be as simple as you have confused him. It could also be that he just plain lost your telephone number and is just too embarrassed. Yes he could be hibernating in his Cave trying to decide to call or not call. If he has not called within 4-5 days forget about him and when the next First Date happens make sure that you send the correct Signal, set the right Boundaries, Let him know what the expectations are for you on the date and always keep your Values.

SkyePuppy said...


It's interesting you mentioned a mine field, because I once sent an email to a friend about dating being a mine field as a spectator sport. Think of a sports arena with a giant boxing ring that's a mine field, and the poor woman (or man) must negotiate it safely while everyone they know is watching and probably betting too.

After I read your comment, I realized that I hadn't been clear enough in my intentional lack of clarity, and that gave the wrong impression of where the conversation went. What I talked about was my Boundaries, Expectations and Values (not so sure about the Signals), as in, "Ain't gonna happen outside of marriage, Pal." Of course, I didn't call him "Pal" or say it quite that way, but I was very clear about my values.

The problem with that is that a first date is supposed to be lighter, a getting to know each other without making any assumptions about where things may or may not go from there. If she feels the need to draw the line for him from the get-go, he may be offended that she expected the relationship to go far enough that a conversation like that was necessary. After all, that's his decision too, and if she's going to bring that up first thing, then maybe she's going to be too much trouble and he should think about finding someone else who isn't so demanding.

Also, on a first date, the woman must NEVER EVER say the "M" word (marriage) in any context whatsoever, for the same offensive-assumption reason. And she must never discuss past relationships, because this is about him, not those other guys. Unfortunately, I did all of that too. I'm pretty sure I blindsided him.

As for his not calling back within a week, his previous calls before the date were 2 - 3 weeks apart, for reasons it's not my place to say in a public forum, so that's why I'm giving him until next weekend before I give up.

And that other guy who didn't get the message, the only mixed signal I can think of is that I agreed to go out to dinner with him after I met him on the dance floor and had a conversation with him. Is that the sort of thing that signals to a man that a woman is the type who would go away with him for the weekend? If so, yes, I gave him the wrong signals. If not, then he was focusing only on his own hopes and expectations, and he didn't WANT to hear "No."

I'm so glad you posted a comment. It's nice to get a man's perspective on something like this.

SkyePuppy said...


He called last night. Cave Time: 3-1/2 weeks.

No further updates. :o)