The User’s Manual

I recently had a friend tell me it was too much asking a man over for chinese food and a basketball game.  Watching, not playing.  This is a guy, the intended victim not Dear Abbey, who I’ve known for 2 plus years, who we’ve played flirty, after drinking kissy stuff off and on for 2 years. This guy is who I go to the movies with, the occasional dinner, in short just pals with attraction. But the last time I saw him was hand holding and arms around each other so it sort-of, maybe, possibly shifted from just silly attraction to something sweet, and therefore, now, the invite for food and couch potatoing was too much.  And  then, this other guy, Ann Landers, said in the same breath, maybe you’re not emotionally available, putting yourself out there so a guy knows you’re interested.  Well which is it? Too much or not enough?  Threatening or cold? Coldly threatening? 

I’m totally lost.   I need a user’s manual and I think each guy should come with one. Just a piece of parchment taped to his chest or tattooed onto his back.  I used to work for a recreational industry (no, I wasn’t a hooker….the pay would have been better though) and you got always the same questions. “where you from”,  “where’ve you been…” etc. I thought I’d make up a tee-shirt with the 10 top answers and just wear it, and I think guys need to elucidate their 10 top issues and then just wear them; would save so much time.  Women, they would probably need a bigger shirt and use the front and the back and possibly need to continue onto their skirts, so I’m not sure that works both ways, but men – they are self admittedly – so simple.

Take for example the whole who’s paying thing.  It used to be so simple, men paid.  Was it fair? Well, back in the day when they made the salaries, yes it was. Then women had to come along and start to earn their own wages (albeit less pay for the same work, but let’s not go there right now) so the whole paying thing got murky. 

I base my observations below partly on a 60 year old, sexy Latino man who, in a woman’s seminar, said if a woman ever paid for the first meeting drink he’d assume she never wanted to see him again.  It just wasn’t done.  Except that it is.

I will, of course, provide examples:

I once met a guy, walked 2 blocks in a driving sleet, snowy, slush up to your ankles kind of day, for a drink.  At the end of  it we split the tab for the $5 happy hour martinis and as he got into his car parked right outside he waved goodbye as I walked into a slush puddle on my way home.  I thought, wow, in all that fascinating talk about how he trained his dog with a clicker, I must have said something offensive. (And I swear at the time I wasn’t making killing my dog jokes, for those of you who just said, ’Yeah I’ll bet’.) But no, he called a few days later to go out again. I mean a woman who pays her own way AND doesn’t mind soaking wet feet, she’s gotta be a keeper!

Or the guy who as he’s breaking up with you after2 drinks and 1 dinner date says, well you never offered to pay for dinner.  What? When you said, can I take you to dinner I didn’t realise that meant choking up 10$ for the chicken pad thai.  I gladly would but I thought you’d be put off.  Or if I’d have known you wanted me to pay I would have ordered something I really wanted instead of trying to be price-considerate. (Like ordering spaghetti when you’re eating with a stranger, ordering anything pricey has always been on my no-no list.) Where’s your shirt with the instructions on it?

Of course, there’s the flip side of that. I was once talking to a guy on the phone, meet and greet pre-lim, and he said, look after 3 dates I’ve paid for the information I want, who you are and if we click and then I want to know if we’re going to be compatible in bed, so if after that if you don’t want to sleep with me, that’s fine but those dates are on you.  I’ve paid for the information I want. 


Really? Do you work for the CIA?

I guess you might as well put that out there on the first phone call and save yourself that $10 on some pad thai because if I’m going to be selling my “information” it’s going to be the tasting menu at Per Se, buck-o. 

The same goes for etiquette. I like when a man opens a door for me, or holds a chair or my coat.  I like that some men like to walk on the street side of the sidewalk.  It’s not necessary. We both know I can open my own door, but it’s a nice gesture and it makes them feel good so why would I not? I had to learn that about 2 years ago, so for you younger readers, trust me on this one. I don’t need a man to buckle my seatbelt, as one tried to, I mean I’m not a complete drooling child, but opening a door is nice.  (To clarify: He was European, I won’t mention the country because it would lead to unnecessary jokes and even he admitted that was probably over the top.)

The problem is some do, some don’t.  I went out with a guy for a while who always opened doors for me.  It was nice. I got used to it. Then I was out with someone else and I got to the door and just paused.  The guy nearly plowed into me from behind (because they like to walk behind not to be polite but so they can check out your behind, but ok, no system is perfect). So there I am standing at the door and feeling like a moron, but quickly recovered and opened it myself.  At least in a car you can let the guy get out first and then pretend to drop something (like your IQ) and if by the time you haven’t “picked it up” he hasn’t opened the door, you’re good to go without looking like a high maintenance moron. Or a girl who’s used to men opening doors for her.  Or making them feel like they’ve come up short on something.  Yes, that’s the best spin. You can just let yourself out without sitting there looking like my dog does when she sees you in the room but she’s behind her gate and is just waiting to be let out. At least when the door is sprung I don’t run around in circles excitedly and rub my face on the pavement (and what IS that all about with dogs?)

If anyone has any guidelines or owns a tee-shirt factory….call me.

And gentlemen, if your confused, so are we. General Tso’s chicken and the Knicks be damned.  



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