I developed a crush on Dinah in Los Angeles. She’s my type- dark, busty, funny, strange. We hung out, we went to party where I folded my arms around her waist and tried to kiss her. She wasn’t interested, but she didn’t push me away.
A week later I asked her out for dinner and drinks. She said yes.
At 6:00pm the day of, she texted me about the details. I told her to meet me at the Lush Lounge, a narrow, hi-ceilinged gay bar that straight couples favor. I memorized the address of the Korean restaurant we were going to. I wondered whether we should take a bus or a cab. I felt deliciously nervous, impatient. I ate ice cream and showered.
At 8:30 she calls, and says that she has to meet with her bandmates, that she was just called, and she feels she must go. She says we will meet for drinks afterwords. She says it won’t take long. The tension within me changes form; anticipation to a sort of hot regret. I wonder why I had gotten myself into this in the first place. I try to watch television but I can’t concentrate. I would characterize this time as a sort of tense boredom. I finally leave the house despite not hearing from her, bounding out in the middle of the episode. I decide to find a drink, but then think that I don’t want to sit in a bar by myself. I walk around. Waiting for the phone to ring.
Eventually it does; she tells me now that she and the others in Bridez are going to a noise-punk show at matador. I’ll meet her there. I call another friend and say that this date has totally aborted. I tell him I’m going to Matador just so things won’t be weird. Everyone in SF is really afraid of things getting weird, but it always is anyways.
Things get weirder. I arrive to find Dinah is there alone. Her bandmates had gone, and I wonder if this is some bizarro-land set up. My hopes buoy, but so does confusion. We talk a little; I buy her a drink when she tells me all she has is quarters. We make fun of the bartender. We watch the bands. They are from the circle of hell reserved for riot grrls. Mutual friends arrive. We split off from each other, hanging out with different people. It feels like a party. A friend of ours passes out vicodin.
An hour later the pills and liquor have kicked in. We decide (that is, the herd of us) to go hang out at a practice space. Dinah and I are drinking whiskey. I begin to wonder if things might work out after all.
Suddenly she begins to complain that she feels lightheaded and strange. A little farther and her large eyes get wider. We get to where we are going, and stand on the street. Suddenly she says “I feel sick. I have to go.” And she does. A few minutes later, stoned and frustrated I leave.
We continue to run into each other; one of the most brutal elements of dating in San Francisco is that the city is so small that you can’t avoid anyone. You have to be friends afterward. We never talked about that night, and we never re-scheduled, but it wasn’t awkward; it’s more like it never happened. A few weeks later I heard she was seeing some other guy. Questions are all that are left; did she know it was a date? Why did she say yes? How come neither of us proposed re-scheduling? What would have happened if we had gone to dinner? If I had picked Wednesday instead of Thursday? If she had not taken that vicodin? How much of dating is determined by chance?
She will read this article, so I suppose I might find out.
Dude, She’s Just Not That Into You.
Alain de Botton
i’m all for women’s rights, equal rights free speech, feminism, breaking the glass ceiling, etc. etc. etc…. but sometimes, once in awhile, i just wish a man would take me out to dinner, open my door, buy me something pretty, and tell me i’m amazing. is that so much to ask?
It’s not too much to ask, but do you know what you’re asking?
There’s an implied bargain behind those courtship rituals. Feminism, at its core, is equal rights and legal protection for women. Some of our traditional dating patterns cut against that goal. Why does the man take you out? (Financial inequity.) Open your door? (Women are dainty.) Buy you something pretty? (Favor exchange.) Tell you you’re amazing? (Flattery.) Those aren’t necessarily the motivations now, in 2010, but they stem from outdated customs where the implications were much more exploitative. I know it’s nice but it comes with strings, even if neither party are conscious of them.
Men don’t treat men in this way, women don’t treat women in this way and women don’t treat men in this way. So why is the male-to-female relationship unique? Of course, we all know the answer. So let’s not tiptoe around it.
no one wants to talk about this, but hello, when has that every stopped me from opening my big mouth. i’ve kept quiet as my friends have danced the dance of the searching singles, paired off, and recently, all married each other. this is not my issue. i’ve danced that dance too, and to be honest, i’m just not ready to leave the dance floor.
my issue lies in the couples club. the couples club is what exists when girls want to act like they’re grown. for some reason, we have it in our heads that double dates, and triple dates, and couples night out are the adult way to interact in society. it’s a natural progression. in college and right after, everyone hangs out in large groups. everyone is included and everyone usually has fun (sans the inevitable drama, but hey, that makes it interesting). for some reason, these all group hang outs are viewed as immature or juvenile, so the head lady in charge decided that it would be more appropriate to start organizing couple events.
now i’m not just another bitter single woman. i’ve experienced this first hand. as soon as i got a boyfriend, i was suddenly invited to events i didn’t even know existed. game nights, quadruple dates, weddings with a plus one. i’ve got to be honest, it was really fun to be a part of the couples club. i did feel more mature. it was fun to say “we” instead of “me”. but it was all a ruse because let’s be honest, i’m not, and will never be a “we”. inevitably, we broke up because we weren’t right for each other. guess what also ended after my break up? that’s right, my membership to the couples club was revoked.
i feel like i’ve gotten a inside peek into the secret world of the way women think and i’ve got to say, women are insecure. the guys couldn’t care less about double dating. the mentality of most men is “the more the merrier”. i’ve never had one of my friends husbands or boyfriends say i was a third wheel, or a plus one, or that it was awkward having me around. its girls that want to make themselves feel better by surrounding themselves with taken people to reinforce that the decisions that they made are the right ones, simply because the majority feels that way.
all this being said, a single woman is just that… single. being single doesn’t make me lonely or desperate or stupid or fragile or weak or jaded or bitter. having people define me by my relationship status does.
p.s. everyone is ALWAYS welcome at club jordy.
A lot of truth there*. But in my experience, it’s a bit less about maturity and a bit more about sex.
It’s true that there’s an element of lifestyle conformity, and once the couples start procreating, the logistics of children play a role. But Jordy’s chief insight is that the Couples Club is usually not a creation of couples. It’s rarely an organic thing where two or three couples coordinate events around mutual interests. Sometimes it seems that way from the outside, but it’s not. Jordy’s absolutely right to say the Couples Club is a fabrication of women. And I wonder if Jordy knows it’s much more excluding of single women than of single men.
Membership in the Couples Club is not necessarily revoked for a man once he breaks up with his significant other. He becomes an afterthought, but not a third wheel. If a newly-single man is—I want to say “tame”, but I guess “domesticated” is a better word—chances are he’s not specifically disinvited from certain events.
The same isn’t true for some single women. I’m speaking in broad generalities here, but many coupled women feel that single women are destabilizing. I’m not saying they’re right or wrong. But it often feels like these structured ”mature” play-dates specifically exclude that dynamic. And a Couples Night of Trivial Pursuit just feels a lot more sanitized than the exact same group of people finding themselves together playing a board game. One has hors d’ oeuvres and white wine and does not include Carol’s hot friend Denise. The other has beer.
Plus, a great way to make sure your male partner doesn’t become interested in other available women is to make sure he doesn’t meet any.
*None of this applies to you or your circle of friends, dear reader. This is about everyone else.