OK, so I get a semi-frantic call the other night from one of my closest friends (like since-the-FIRST-era-of-halter-tops-bell-bottoms-and-lava-lamps close.) She is a currently unmarried friend and her semi-frantic call was regarding ... let's see if you can guess ... a man. I know. It's inconceivable. (Side note before we go any further, let me say that I love men. So though this post may read like an anti-guy rant sporadically - it's not, mmmkay?)
Now it's important for you to know that this friend is like my sistah. I'm totally in her corner - that's just how I roll - but reality is calling. So to say that she has trouble with relationships is like saying the Titanic had trouble with cold water.
Anyhow, she and this guy (we'll call him Atty) have dated on and off for around a year and with regard to their relationship, she's suddenly starting to feel a bit of pressure to either do something or get off the proverbial pot. (I think the pressure is coming from that nagging little 'you're not getting any younger' voice in her head.) But at this point, we are not sure that Atty even wants a committed relationship with her. So her concerns - which I would optimistically refer to as RED FLAGS THE SIZE OF TEXAS - may be irrelevant anyway.
I tell her that whenever I'm feeling pressure to take action, I take that old tried and true approach - the Pro & Con List - and I suggest she start by trying that. Everything gets quiet for a few seconds while she's thinking. Then she begins to rattle off a few of the reasons that she believes any type of exclusivity with Atty could actually be harmful to her health (as in she could stab him, be convicted, go to prison - unhealthy).
Here are a few of her concerns:
1) Atty is super stingy with his cash and rarely pays for her food/drinks/discount movie tickets (he even pulls that lamest of caveman lines, "Oh no. I musta forgotten my wallet. So-rrrry.")
2) Atty places his kids above her on his list of priorities (hey - his children have their own mortgages now)
3) Atty places his three dogs above her on his list of priorities ("can you take your own car - I'm bringing Hewie, Dewie and Lewie in mine"...)
4) Atty never cares if they wake up together, and has even indicated that it's ssso much 'easier' if they don't. (he probably leaves his socks on)
5) Atty makes little effort to initiate getting together or dates (what do you even call that? lazy? brilliant?)
6) Atty runs and hides in the closet when talk turns to their relationship or any associated feelings (he fidgets, whines and eventually doubles over in pain if the word 'love' looms - clearly not a chartered part of his vocab)
7) Atty never sends her anything (no sweet emails, no funny cards, has never sent even one flower (really? this guy is from which century? which planet?)
Ahem. Ahhhh-HHHHEM. Are you kidding me! I'd fall over and look like a flounder if I subjected myself to so much lop-sided action.
Ok, it would seem stunningly obvious that this guy is just not that into her. But did I mention that when they are together, he parades her around his friends, business associates and family, and is the king of the PDA? Yeah, so there's that. And then there are the numerous times she has tried to finally classify this farce as a failed launch attempt and move on. When that happens, Atty has a fit and emphatically begs her not to do it. He never makes her any promises of change, he just sits up and begs like a poodle. And she sits down and buckles. Like a noodle.
I know. This whole thing is nuts. Hell yeah, I wanna slap her but she's bigger than me. (Plus she'd probably scream like a girl.)
Let us repeat: GIANT RED FLAGS. TEXAS. Times seven. Scratching my head. I ask her, "So is there an up-side to your relationship with this guy?"
She responds, "Yes there is. I really like him." (OK. This is good. That little 'like factor' will come in handy when the Depends show up.) She adds, "He's tall and fit - like me, he's good-looking and we dance well together. He's successful, he has a cabin on a lake, and we laugh a lot." (OK, I totally get that one, too. Lots of laughter in any relationship can extend it's shelf life and trump almost anything - especially if you're stuck in a cabin on a lake. But note that I said 'almost'.)
You see, there seems to be an underlying 'but there's something MAJOR missing' in her tone. So next I ask what she feels she is bringing to the loveseat or why he should want to commit to her. She then launches into (dare I say... yeah - it totally was...) a frightening little diatribe about what a great catch she is. She says he doesn't know how good he's got it with her. I asked for some examples.
1) I am an off-the-hook, amazing cook (this I know to be fact - truer words were never spoken)
2) he would never have to clean his house again (... k... but wait... isn't that why God made Merry Maids?)
3) I have terrific friends which he enjoys (nice. but will not increase his life expectancy)
4) I will perform any sex act he wants (waitwaitwait. stop the car. really? any sex act? my, that's quite the little bonus item. you swear?)
5) well, I will perform almost any sex act as long as I'm in the mood. (truth comes out)
6) the sex is fantastic, so I really wish he wanted to do it more often. (hmmm. me thinks there's a pesky little contradiction in there somewhere)
At the end of her spew I offer a few words of 'me-wisdom' (which, truth be told, has resulted in more than one trip to the ER - this one may be for me) and I am SO hoping that afterward, the proverbial rays of light will shine down on her from the heavens and the angels will joyfully sing, "ah - AHHHHH!"
While she's regrouping, I see an opportunity to say, "Pick your poison, Cupcake. Either accept the crap and enjoy the good stuff, or split that atom, fling open the door to your lab and yell, "NEXT!"
I remind her of our buddy, Jeff, and his fav t-shirt which reads All of the perfect and available men are GAY... Yay!
I took a breath, allowing her to get a word in edgewise. Nothing. Good. "As I was saying, do you really think that a man is looking for a relationship that will clean house or cook? Seems to me that any man that you would want, would want an interesting, reasonably independent woman who can have fun, is low maintenance, and will never, ev-ER corner him to talk about 'feelings'."
I added, "Do you really want to keep searching/dating (something that she is not all that great at - so I'm hopeful that this long overdue convo will carry on peacefully and end well) or do you feel that the pros with Mr. Atty - he's an attorney in case you hadn't guessed - outweigh the cons? If not, then have him draw up a restraining order and present it to him."
Then there's dead silence. Uh-oh.
"So whadaya think?"
"Are you still there?"
"You. did. not."
Damnnnnit! She did. She went and hung up on my advice.
(I'll let you know what happens when she calls me back - in a year or two.)
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