Friday, August 29, 2008

How To Emergency Exit Unworthy Datees

If you read my “Hiding from the Exes” entry, you may recall that I was about as mature as a twelve year old when it came to ending relationships. Feigning illness, moving to Angola, and performing Houdini disappearing acts were not beneath me. Now, with (slightly) more maturity on my side I decided that I would much better in relationships—from start to finish. Because stepping out of Datus Hiatus would be risky, I decided to put some rules in place to mitigate my usual pitfalls.

Rule #1: Do not get involved unless there is clear cut potential (No more aspiring Italian movie stars)
Navigating my 19 fantasy crushes became much easier with Rule #1. Most of the men I safely had teenage crushes on were no more fit for a relationship than a pet hamster. I can now easily make crushes go away by having my men act in fake situations created in my head:

Having dinner with my business associates. This safely nixes the screen print T shirt wearing bohemian artists. While they may be engaging at a CD release party, business dinners are a horror. You cannot invite someone who thinks the stock market is where you buy prosciutto.

2. Meeting my Grandmother. This safely ensures I don’t fall for the successful playboys that seem to dominate the city. This isn’t because my Granny is sweet….she’d insist they shoot whiskey and play cards with her…but she can sure see through any poker face. And a man that can rival my Granny's hand is a keeper.

3. Participating in a morning run. Now they don’t have to qualify for the Boston marathon…but if they wheeze and fall over after half a mile…well…what would that say for their cardiovascular ability for “other” types of marathons? Strength outdoors means strength indoors.

Rule #2 As soon as realize potential is waning exit gracefully with poise.
Exiting relationships is never easy…especially if guy is great but for some unknown reason not straddle worthy. If having sex with a stalk of celery is more appealing than it’s time to say Sayonara. Gracefully. This is easier said than done. Saying goodbye is painful and racked with guilt.

How to have the difficult conversation?
1. Phone from a friend’s house: Mazz came over to my house to make the “I cannot see you anymore” phone call. The guy was nice and witty, just about as passionate as a dead fish. It was time to cast him back into the ocean. Mazz at first wanted to avoid making the uncomfortable call, but I invited her over to do it chez moi while I poured her a drink. Making the call from a friend’s house has multiple advantages. Number one, your friend will ensure you step up and actually do it. (In fact I think I may have dialed the number). Number two, once it’s over you have friends to commiserate with and comfort you. Number three, calling from a place that is not your own makes the experience more surreal, and somehow easier….especially when said friends are pouring you cocktails and making funny faces at you from the other room while you deliver the news.

2. In person: If the relationship has lasted more than a month a conversation in person is warranted. I usually do this over dinner. I pick a casual spot, talk about the weather for the first course, and then somewhere between the main and dessert spill my guts about how I am not ready for a relationship, we seem to have different interests anyway and the ultimate line "it's actually you, not me." I then insist on picking up the tab. “No PLEASE allow me to get it.” For some reason this makes me feel better....and at least the guy gets a free meal out of the evening. It's far from perfect but much better than telling them I need to spend the next three weeks in the ER.

3. Fizzle/Ignore. This is reserved for the short term date encounters. Alexis had finally made her choice. Passion had edged ahead over stability. Band boy was in…Excel Man was out. Now how to let him know? Since Excel Man and Alexis hadn’t really made it past the text messaging stage it was easy to let a few “hey, how’s it going” texts go by….and then some more. I am of the mindset that texts never really deserve much of an answer anyway and they are so easy to accidentally erase. Death by delete.

Rule #3: If the shoe fits, wear it.

If you actually, lo and behold, like the man so much that you find yourself humming "It's a wonderful world" when it's raining out or feel an earthquake every time he steps into the room, then we need to safely monitor. No self sabotage. (This is my usual routine....'Hmmm I cannot date him because his car didn't have a ski rack.' OR 'I would date him again but he didn't know who Wilco was,' etc). No no, those days are over. For the rest of the year there will be no premature exits as a pre-caution from all the horrors from our past. Alexis, Mazz, and I determined to hold on once the roller coaster starts.....once we meet someone that passes the first two rules anyway.


Anonymous said...

I would like to get a guy's opinion on the proper way they want to be "exited." My girlfriends and I always debate the fizzle/ignore approach, vs telling them in a straightforward way. Which is better? And even if we take the straightforward approach, it's not like we're going to be 100% brutally honest. You wouldn't ever tell a guy that you just don't find him attractive enough, or accomplished enough, or whatever one of the reasons may be. So which is better???

TheBlonderTheBetter said...

Well, this was years ago (as now I am an old married person), but I even had standards for going out on date #1:

1. Must drink beer. Men who don't drink beer are just not my type. I'm not interested in som eout-of-touch wino ("this pinot is so complex") or some wimpy sweet cocktail drinker ("I'll have the Fuzzy Navel, please. I just don't like the taste of alcohol.")

2. Must know how to drive a stick shift car. To me, this is just a critical "Yes, I am a man" trait and means they are resourceful, prepared. I can drive one, and my potential date had to too.

3. Must drink coffee. No, I'm not interested in "tea drinkers" or "caffeine makes me edgy" guys. Give me someone that can handle and enjoy the little pick me up.

That's it. Now, that's for date #1 only. To get beyond that, there's a whole other list.... : )

P.S. Yes, my husband met all the criteria.

Anonymous said...


Totally and completely agree with your criteria. I would add a 4th: Must Eat Sushi. Guys who can't use chopsticks = total turnoff.


Mazz said...

Oh, and another (no, I am not THAT high maintenance). Must Know How to Start a Real Fire.

TheBlonderTheBetter said...


I think we both know someone who fits your criteria. ; )