When he walked into the bar I was immediately disappointed.
His profile had said 5’11 and, yeah he was taller than me but, he was generous with those pictures in the weight category. His English accent was what it had promised after a three-hour phone conversation the night before—he’d read me William Blake’s “Tiger Tiger” and I was convinced he was my potential Prince Charming. After so many failed first dates I was sure this was one I could turn into…something.
Distraught, and immediately dismayed on all accounts, the only logical conclusion I could come up with was to get impossibly drunk. I mean, after all, he was paying for the wine so, why not have five (or six) glasses?
I felt that if this was going to end up being another failed date, another in a long line of disasters, why not just have fun and be crazy?
But, the thing was, after a few glasses of wine nothing seems too crazy. He seemed nice. And I do mean really nice. I didn’t care that he was chubby or that he had a laugh like a cartoon character. He was just a nice person. And he made me feel like something.
When I start to, as we Gen Yers call it, “brown out,” I tend to go into a kind of state. Close friends call it “robotic Gigi.” Life drains from my eyes and I become sort of impartial to everything around me. I was robotic after this date. The invitation to his apartment did not register and I guess I agreed. Suddenly, coming out of whatever haze I was in, I’m in an apartment I don’t recognize, kissing someone I don’t know. I freaked. I grabbed my sh*t and ran.
At home, I danced in my underwear until 4am, jamming shamelessly to Adele and Tegan and Sara, until I was so sore I collapsed into bed, completely wiped.
I guess I figured, “Okay, Gigi, you acted like a nutcase but it’s okay. You don’t care. It was just another bad date. The best is yet to come.”
But then, like some enigma, he texted. He wanted to see me again. WHAT?! Isn’t running away enough to be a sign that this-girl-isn’t-relationship-material? Guess not.
I was impressed. This sweet, British (gotta love an accent, right?) guy wanted to take me on another date DESPITE my acting completely whack. I had to hand it to him. That is was some impressive wooing. So, I accepted our second date.
Three dates later, I was actually hooked. I didn’t care about the superficial or the fact that he was smarter than me and reminded me, in the most not-cute way, of my eldest brother. I liked him. A lot. So much that I took two trains to SoHo just to drink wine with this kid.
On our fourth date, waxed and feeling confident, I let him have me. Amazing sex. I don’t like to say that because, let’s be honest, most sex is mediocre at best. Most of the time you have to fake an orgasm, but with this boy, I didn’t. Didn’t have to feel sorry I was taking too long and didn’t have to worry that it was or wasn’t good enough for him. He was lucky, wasn’t he? Wasn’t I lucky? Couldn’t this be something?
When I was leaving was when everything suddenly changed, when I was no longer in control of the situation or my emotions. He didn’t offer to walk to me to the train this time, even though he knew it made me afraid to walk alone (yes, even in SoHo). He didn’t pay for my cab. He let me walk out the door with barely a kiss goodbye. As I made my way down his pathetically narrow staircase wondering what his too (equally forgien) roommates must be thinking, I thought of what he said on our second (third?) date, “I love the chase.”
I felt alone in that moment, as I left his building, alone and confused. Why hadn’t he paid for a cab? Why did sleep with me and not pay for a cab? He didn’t even offer to walk to me to the train, even though it was merely a five-minute walk and I’d come so far just for this time. Why did I feel so angry?
And then I realized something I probably should have long ago: he can’t read my mind.
I got on the phone with my mother. She’s only one I can rant to without being second-guessed. She gave me her usual old-world wisdom.
She said, “A gentleman will pay for a cab.” And advised me never to see this British love-machine again. I couldn’t help but wonder, was she right or was she lost in some past time where chivalry wasn’t dead.
So many fights come out of the thought that we can read our partners minds. We tend to just expect them to know what’s wrong when we’re angry and to just be able to fix it. The truth is, they can’t read your mind. It’s not so much about chivalry because I strongly believe there are still gentleman out there who want to treat women well, but you have to be able to say what’s on your mind because, frankly, they aren’t going to just know something is wrong.
When you say, “I’m fine” when you really aren’t how is a guy supposed to know you aren’t actually fine?
How was this British guy to know I wanted him to give me cab fare if I said I didn’t want cab fair and just left his apartment and took myself home? I realized I didn’t have any right to be angry with him. Yes, maybe he should have thought to offer, but he wasn’t a mind reader.
It’s a lesson we ladies (and you gents too) are all going to have to learn. Maybe if we all decide to grow a pair and learn to have realistic expectations, maybe if we actually accept that the person we’re in a relationship with (or even just dating) is a human being we can actually find happiness.
You what else? You can’t read his mind either. I decided because the guy I was dating didn’t offer to pay for a cab that he wasn’t interested in me. I made this assumption and had absolutely no solid evidence to support my claim. He asked me out again. He was still interested. I’m no mind reader either.
No one is perfect and there probably isn’t some perfect guy who’s going to come along and somehow know you’re upset or want something. Honestly, if you were dating a guy who always somehow knew what you were thinking and did everything you wanted, don’t you think you’d end up being bored with that person? The surprise and excitement would completely disappear. That kind of relationship probably wouldn’t lead to happiness either.
There are ups and downs in every relationship. There are fights and ugly moments that can’t be avoided. The key is communication. If you don’t say what you want you can bet your life you’re probably not going to get it.
Try to see the situation from the other person’s perspective. They don’t know what’s going on inside that head of yours. And being passive aggressive does not good either. So, the only thing to do is grow a pair, say what you actually mean and ask for what you want and face the very true reality that you can’t read his mind.