Thursday, December 13, 2007

She just doesn't get it

I got an email from a longtime friend of mine. After updating me on her life, her kids, and her job, she had this to say:

I don't know how to approach this, so I am going to jump right in. An old friend of mine, with whom you corresponded briefly through (dating website) a few years ago, noticed your profile is still there. So Ezra contacted me and asked if you might be willing to give him another look.

Honestly, he is not gonna sweep you off your feet. And he definitely isn't a quick and easy thrill. But if you are willing to keep your britches on and not rush to judgment, he might be a good fit. He is bright, dry-witted, observant, and emotionally stable. He is serious about marriage and a family. (To refresh your memory, he is our age, divorced with three kids. His ex is a real piece of work, though, and I am sure the kids are a spoiled handful by this point). He is a good, honest, trust-worthy man, who earns a decent living, and isn't trying to hurt a soul. He asked what has been going on in your life, and I just said that it has been a rough couple of years, with grad school and some medical challenges.

I see on your blog how quickly you judge and reject the men who write you, and have no idea what you will think of Ezra. But if you are willing to give him another chance, let me know and I will pass that message along.

Ouch. This friend married her high school sweetheart, had a baby, divorced him, then married a great guy and had three more kids. So she hasn't had a whole lot of singlehood or dating time, even though she's been through some significantly difficult experiences. Still, they haven't been like my difficult dating experiences, which are a whole compendium of agony.

I waited until I felt calm, then wrote:

I've actually been corresponding with Ezra online, and he does seem like a nice guy. I got the sense he was interested in me, and I didn't dismiss that immediately. However, three kids is a lot to take on, on top of moving to a new city, where I have no friends or family and where I'd have to find a whole new set of doctors. And a difficult ex-wife in the bargain is also something to consider.

I'm actually quite hurt that you wrote, "I see on your blog how quickly you judge and reject the men who write you." For the record, I expect men who write to me to be polite and say a little something about why they're contacting me. That's not a lot to expect, and if they can't do that, even briefly -- even worse, if they react with hostility -- it's not a good sign. There's a definite etiquette to internet dating, and people who can't follow it usually don't have really functional social skills in the offline world. I say this not because I'm a psychologist but because of years of bitter experience, dating men who really shouldn't be let out of the house.

Women who date scores of men develop a sense of who's worth getting to know and who isn't. For years I went on dates that I suspected would not lead to anything, and most of them turned into dates from hell. Not because I wasn't being nice and wasn't trying to get to know them and be a good companion, but because there was something seriously wrong with them.

You don't have a lot of dating experience, so I suggest you think before judging us battle-scarred veterans of the dating wars. I try to keep an open mind about meeting men, but when they're rude and borderline illiterate upfront, and come with a ton of baggage (not that I don't have some of my own), I'm wary of trying to get to know them, because I don't think it will work out. Please trust me when I say that I tried, and tried, and TRIED in the past to work on getting to know some of these terrifying guys, and all it got me was misery and indigestion.

I realize that I should have pointed out that I'm not looking for a quick and easy thrill, nor to be swept off my feet, but she's started reading my blog again, so I hope she'll get the message. Perhaps it's implicit amid my measured and reasonable response.
Copyright (c) "Ayelet Survivor"

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