Lots of guys I meet seem intimidated by the fact that I write a Dating Column. I guess after Taylor Swift made that hit song about what a dirtbag John Mayer is, men have become more gun-shy about dating a girl who can communicate across various social and pop culture mediums.
In theory, I get their fear. In real life, I don’t. Correct me if I’m wrong, real life friends, but do I look/act/talk like a real man-eater? I may play up the role now and then and even go out with smoking black makeup on my eyes, but spend two minutes with me and you’ll see that I’m just a goofball walking around in man-eater shoes….
One guy I talked to about my dating column refused to read it. He didn’t want to know what was in store for him. He was expecting the worst. I figured it was like going to the dentist: you don’t really want to know all of the gory details, just that you’ll get all numbed up and suffer through it until you get a little pat on the knee and hear, “OK we’re all done.” Great, dating me is like going to the dentist.
He was so nervous about it, I felt like we were playing a game of True Confession. Every other sentence that came out of his mouth was like truth-turrets. Just picture this:
Me: So, do you like ice cream?
Him: Yeah. I like ice cream. Vanilla. And I still live with my parents.
Me: Oh. I like Mint Chocolate Chip.
He kept saying things like, “This will probably end up in your column, but…” and “I want to make sure I see the look on your face when I tell you this…” Neither one of those lines are good to hear on a first date.
I could tell he was nervous and my heart is not made completely of stone (just a large portion of it…) so I threw him a bone. I told him he didn’t have anything to worry about that my “Dating Column” read more like Craigslist Missed Connections than Carrie Bradshaw’s Sex and the City. I described to him my first few articles and told him I would just send him the link so he could check them out himself.
This is what he writes back: “I read half the article. Despite it’s very well written, it’s just not my thing. I hope not to offend, it’s just that I’m a little simple I guess. It’s not my kind of reading.”
In the spirit of giving love a chance, I decided to ignore the ego bruise of him not liking my article. I also decided to ignore the fact that he only read half of a 650 word article. Also, I tried really, really hard to overlook the fact that he called himself “simple.”
I wrote back that I was sorry he didn’t enjoy reading my articles, but I hoped he could at least see that I wasn’t a crazy man-eater about things.
He replied, “I specifically didn’t want to say that I didn’t like the article. As I said, it was very well written. I read a lot more of it than I would have if it wasn’t written well and with personality. It’s just not my topic of interest to read about. I’m sure if I wrote the best possible article on underwater basket weaving you would only read the gist of it yourself. In short, I really don’t want to write or say anything to hurt your feelings. The article is great. Just not my kind of read. I apologize if I had written anything to upset you. There are people I would like to upset. You’re not one of them.”
OK, I get what he is saying. Unfortunately, I’m a Leo and a lot of my identity is tied up with my ego – which happens to best be expressed in my writing. It was difficult to let it roll off my shoulders, but I decided I could put that aside for a bit. After all, I still consider myself a hack writer, so it’s not like he has to read what I write – of course, wouldn’t anyone interested in me be interested in reading things I write?
I tried to clear things up with him.
I wrote back, “I’m certainly not mad or anything that you didn’t enjoy reading the article. I understand it’s not your thing. If it sounds like I was taking it personally, it’s just because writing is the way I express myself. I don’t paint or draw or play music – I write. But it doesn’t hurt my feelings that you are not going to be one of my “readers” or anything. I just felt like you were nervous when we went out that I would write about the intimate details you shared with me about yourself and I wanted you to see that I don’t write a trashy gossip column – it’s funny and lighthearted and not to be taken seriously.”
Then, I really started thinking about it – I would read a book on underwater basket weaving – especially if it is the best one on the market. I believe in expanding my interests through reading diverse things. Hell, I recently discovered that I really really enjoy reading a certain webcomic and everything written by this man.
I started picking apart other things he had written. What is the deal with that part about “There are people I would like to upset” anyway?
I could tell I would be ruling that guy out quickly. It boiled down to him not knowing how to be interested in me. I might be a hack writer, but I pour my soul into it. I may not be published and my talent might be teetering on the brink of mediocre, but I’ll always be the little girl who had ink stains under her fingernails and who would scribble poems in the margins of her math notes. I’ll always write cards and letters and post-it notes. I’ll carry little notebooks in my purse and scribble things on napkins at restaurants. I’ll write my to-do list on my hand and my secrets in my heart. I’ll keep old journals and old letters and pressed flowers with little cards. I’ll always feel more comfortable writing than speaking. I’ll lose sleep to write. Precious beauty sleep, sacrificed at the glowing alter of my keyboard.
I’m not expecting to find someone who really gets all of that, but I need someone who gets it enough to know that if you want to know me, you have to read what I write – whether it is the type of stuff you normally read or not.
We are nothing more than our thoughts and feelings manifesting in a physical being with varying degrees of control over those thoughts/feelings. I express what I think and feel by writing. I am what I write. And tonight, I write myself single once again because I can’t abide a man who won’t take the time to read me.