This is not a “I hate men” and “I’m so bitter” post. In fact, it’s quite the opposite. I love men. I have good men in my life. I grew up with a father who loved my sister and I, took us out on “Daddy-Daughter Dates” and let us eat salisbury steak TV dinners while watching The Muppet Show. He’s still a good man. He’s old-fashioned and opens doors for women. For the past 6 months, he helped take care of his grandson who underwent a successful bone marrow transplant; 3 of those months he and my mother spent living with him in relative isolation in a residency hotel near the hospital. I’ve seen him cry, laugh, hug, get angry, apologize, and empathize. I’ve watched him help take care of old people. And he does a damn good job of helping out around my house and doing yard work (though, his caulking expertise needs a little more improvement). Oh, and he’s a bad-ass. I mean, this guy was a Navy pilot and instructor at a POW camp. He showed the men how to cut out a rabbit’s eye and eat it for nutrition and hydration purposes.
I had a grandfather that made my sister and I buttermilk pancakes (still gooey inside because he used too much batter) when he babysat us in the early mornings while our mom worked first shift at the hospital and our dad was flying his UPS route between Louisville, KY and Decatur, IL for two weeks at a time. Grandpa also picked me up from junior high school when I was “sick” and bought me a Coke, a snack, and a magazine while I laid on the couch with a heating pad and he watched a baseball game on TV. He was the man who taught me how to hook a worm on my first fishing trip, and helped me scale and cut my first fish when I was old enough (yuck, never again). He was a fisherman, a hunter, an esteemed Mason of the first order. As a kid, I listened to stories of the years he worked as a milkman and later as a mailman. Later, I learned from my mother and aunts that he always provided for his family while enduring the onset of rheumatoid arthritis that later crippled his body but not his spirit.
My uncles are kind men and good providers, and my best friends’ husbands are solid family men who love their wives as well. So, I’m good. I’m confident. I celebrate real men because I know there are real men out there.
This post is an insight on how to identify “red tags” on broken men who are in the dating game, and are using it as their chance to unload their baggage at your doorstep on the first date. All this is based on the past three weeks’ “dating adventures”. These men are obstacle illusions: they look like the real thing, but fall short of their potential. This blog is for all you women out there who just recently got dumped via email (the qualms and rudeness that go along with today’s technology that has created, among many other ingenious things, that spider-web of on-line dating). It’s also for those of you who have a real man and need to be reminded of how lucky you are to have found him (and he to have found you, his caveman behavior and annoyances aside). And lastly, it’s for me, as a reminder to stay in the dating game and to keep my sights on getting the real man that I want and deserve.
“Don’t hate the player, hate the game.” (Total bullshit line, by the way. The game is fun. Players who don’t play by the rules are not.)
Description: Nice person. Well-established. Intelligent. Doesn’t share much of his personality, but asks good questions. Seems interested in what you have to say.
Red Flags: Comes across as wanting to date, but wants the work done for him. Disregards your request to not text as a way to ask you out or ask questions about planning the date. Also, mentions his ex-wife in the few phone conversations you have. It’s obvious that he’s not over her, and that she’s broken him. Uses work as an excuse to not get together until it is convenient for him. Doesn’t look anything like the pictures he posted on-line. Keeps talking about how nervous he is when you’re out on the date, and making excuses for his behavior and requests.
How to Deal with Him: Be yourself. Be polite. Stroke his ego a little bit to help him regain his confidence, but don’t settle for not getting any compliments or attention in return. Don’t feel sorry for him. He will be alright and fix himself in the end, or he will find an older woman who wants to boss him around and does it in a way that gives him guidelines to follow for an easy life with her. Say “No thank you” when he suddenly has more time in his schedule that evening when he realizes you’re not a threat to him.
Possible Side Effects & Antidotes: If you look him directly in the eyes and see that you’ve wounded him by saying “No thank you,” you may pull a “Chandler” and say “This was nice. Thanks. Well, stay in touch, maybe we’ll do it again sometime” when you really don’t mean it. (See “Friends” episode where Chandler dates and tries to break up with Rachel’s boss.) Look away quickly so you don’t feel sorry and want to deal with “stray cat” syndrome.
Description: On his profile he says he’s a “one woman” man. He’s good looking, has a good job, and rides a motorcycle. You have exchanged emails where he’s complimented you on your profession and holds you in high esteem.
Red Flags: He breaks your “no text” policy and texts you the following at 12:15 p.m. (2 days after you have called him and left a message): “Hey Megan”
How to Deal with Him: Do not respond to his two-word text message. Hold out for him to possibly get the hint that he needs to call. When he sends you another text at 4:15 p.m. that reads “Any plans?” do not respond until at least an hour later with something similar as: “I am traditional and would like to be asked out either in person or on the phone not via text message, please.” Wait and see if he calls. When he returns your text message 3 hours later with “Ok sorry” instead of calling you to ask you out, move on. There are no side effects or antidotes to combat this. You’ve dealt with him. No need to go on any further. Lazy is as lazy does.
3. The Latin Loveless
Description: Charming. Gregarious. Laughs a lot. Talks a lot. Has a limited view of the world, but pretends to be savvy and knowledgeable about every topic you mention or discuss.
Red Flags: Poor listener and asks you the same questions on the date as he did on the phone the night before. Talks a lot about himself. Touches your arm, laughs and says in a confidential manner things like, “Dating sucks, you know?” “Men are basic and we have basic needs. . .We just want to be admired, you know?” “I understand why Tony Parker cheated on Eva Longoria. Man has needs, you know?” and “I think Tina Fey is hot because she’s smart and funny” (then later backhand compliments you and tells you that you’re too “analytical” and “in your head” when you make a funny, intelligent joke using cultural references).
How to Deal with Him: Make farting noises when he tries to justify cheating (even if it’s while discussing celebrities’ lives), when he tries to tell you he knows a lot about how relationships work, and when he acts misogynistic and tells you that Saudia Arabia, Kuwait & Dubai are the trendiest, coolest countries for vacationing. (Do a super-duper fart noise after you mention that it’s hard to get a tan while wearing a burkha.) Do a lot of head shaking and pay attention to his words versus his body language: words will be trying to tear away your self-confidence while body language will be trying to get frisky with you in hopes that you’ll feel bad about yourself enough to sleep with him. Also, show him a video clip of your father and nephew playing in Christmas wrapping paper to prove to him that you didn’t lack for affection while growing up because your dad treated you in this tender way as well.
Possible Side Effects & Antidotes: You may want to kick yourself in the ass for not getting out of the date earlier, or for not throwing your drink in his face when he began to subtly insult you after the first hour of realizing you were too much of a challenge for him. You may walk to your car (to which he did not escort you because he had enough of you) wondering what you did during the date to make him act the way he did. Do NOT second guess yourself. Simply realize that with the exception of “play-ahs”, unicorns, and the Loch Ness Monster, real men do exist. You know because you have always had them in your life. You just need to keep searching until the right one discovers you.