I remember a time when meeting someone who was just as damaged was a bit of a relief. Everyone walking…
She stared at me with contempt. Furrowed brow, pursed lips, squinting eyes. It wasn’t playful. It wasn’t endearing or adorable, it was pure venom. I expected her to shove the table of drinks at me and storm off but she didn’t she sat there fuming. And that told me everything. It told me that what I had just said hit her in such a way that she felt compelled to see how this would turn out. I was harsh, bordering on rude but I knew it was a lost cause. A failed date that went down in flames just minutes beforehand and there was no saving it. Not that I would have wanted to. But I figured I would leave her with a thought. Something that might help her in the end.
When I first came across her profile I figured it was fake. One of those profiles porn sites use to lure people into a conversation then responding on the fourth email exchange, “Hey, you should chat with me on this other site. It’s free to sign up and your credit card won’t be charged!” Those bait and switch profiles are easy to spot because they use fitness and runway models in their pictures. Women so impossibly gorgeous few people would actually believe they would be online looking for dates – until we began emailing and I figured that she was actually who she said she was. Well, I was like 80% sure until I saw her walk through the door of the bar where we agreed to meet.
She was absolutely physically flawless. Long red hair, fit and toned with all the right curves. The kind of woman people put on posters. But her profile stunk of entitlement. Filled with demands about the gifts she will expect, the flowers, the little things, the education, a certain level of fitness, income, height – she had an entire paragraph of deal-breakers and absolutely nothing about what she had to offer outside of her exquisite physique and her love of Dane Cook. Whenever someone writes a dating profile with a list of demands and doesn’t follow it up with a list of what they can offer – run. It is a red flag of selfishness and there are literally millions of options out there and you do not need to invite an obvious problem into your life. But I was a curious and slightly masochist guy who wanted to see if she was as stubborn and beautiful in real life. Oh, how right I was.
The first few words out of her mouth were, “I thought you would be taller.” Not that I haven’t heard that more than a few times in my life, but my stats were clearly and honestly labeled on the side bar of my profile.
“Um, you know that information is listed on the side of the profile, right?” I said, in a sarcastic tone.
“Yeah, well. You just looked taller in your pictures.” She said with a snide look around the room.
“I mean, was there a ruler or something next to me?” I tried to lighten the mood.
“Ew, this place advertises that they have Old Style. What kind of bar did you take me to?”
The next 20 minutes were filled with painful conversation where I would ask her an opened ended question like, “Tell me about your hometown,” or “Oh, what did you do for the summer in Greece?” and she would somehow find a way to answer in one or two sentences.
Eventually, my patience ran thin and my crass sense of curiosity came out.
“So explain to me why you decided to show up tonight?”
“Look, it has been obvious that you didn’t want to be here since the moment you walked through the door. I just want to know why you agreed to meet.”
“This is just,” she looked around the room then back at me with a disapproving scowl, “isn’t what I was expecting.”
“And what were you expecting?” I said.
“I don’t know!” She shouted. Her voice becoming more and more agitated.
I figured I would take an educated guess and put my tools to work, “Let me guess. You’re disappointed that I don’t fit your exact specifications that you listed on your profile?”
I waited for a response and she just gave a childish shrug of her shoulders and said, “I just can’t find a good guy.”
I breathed in deep as if to absorb the impact. The punch of “you’re not good enough” never is easy to take, even if it was from a stuck up jerk. I paused to allow the warmth of the anger wash over and off me, smiled and said, “You know, it’s funny how entitled women are always the ones complaining about how they can’t find a good guy and yet they’re unwilling to be a good woman.”
She perked up in her seat, “Are you trying to say that I’m not a good person?”
I gave a smirk and shrugged my shoulders in a recognizable manner.
“You’re an asshole.”
“Maybe so,” I said, “But the reality is, you’re here for a reason. You thought I might measure up to your list without even taking the time to read my profile or look at my stats. That tells me a lot about you. And also, you are going about this using all the wrong tactics.”
“And what the fuck does that mean?” She said, folding her arms across her chest.
“Well let’s assume that you’re a well-adjusted and kind-hearted person.” I said with a scoff, “You are going about expecting respect in the wrong way. You can’t just demand things of a person and believe that somehow has any baring on true compatibility. I mean, shit. I want to date a woman with a million dollars and a Ferrari but I also know that if I found that, I would have just as much of a chance of being compatible with her as I would the barista who hands me my latte.”
“I just know what I want.” She said, “I’m just picky.”
“You are not picky. You’re just shallow and misguided.”
And that was the moment I expected the table of drinks on my lap.
She sat quietly but breathing heavy and I could see her eyes trying to decide whether to slap me in the face or call me names and run away. But she sat, thinking. Waiting for me to continue.
“The problem is, if you expect a man to subjugate to your whims as in paying for everything, doing what you want all the time, and bending to your demands, he makes it impossible for you to respect him and you can’t fall in love with someone you don’t respect.”
Her posture relaxed but she still sat quietly, like she was taking a punishment she knew she deserved.
“Have you ever known anyone to truly fall in love with someone who has no backbone? So wouldn’t it be counterintuitive and self-defeating of you go out intentionally looking for a man who will grovel at your feet and give in to every demand?
“I don’t want that.”
“Maybe not, but that’s the impression you give off. From your profile to your posture, everything about you says, ‘You owe me. Prove to me that you’re worthy’. And I can guarantee I am not the only one who sees it.” I said, “You are sabotaging your own happiness.”
Her eyes drilled daggers into my face and she sat taking a few breaths and said in a snarky tone, “So go on. What else do you know about me?”
She knew I was right and it hurt. Because no one wants to be called out, especially by an abrasive know-it-all. I could tell she wanted to know. I told her that I could sit there all night telling her my thoughts but it wouldn’t change her. She was who she was and she could only alter her behavior so much. I was just there to give her perspective. I don’t know if she was hurt or scared to be vulnerable or that she never learned how. I don’t know if she was truly a warm and wonderful woman on the inside or simply a vapid sociopath. But what I did know was that I wasn’t ready to take on her problems, issues, and insecurities. I had enough of my own and as an adult, my plate was full. I told her that while we were clearly not compatible I still wanted her to be happy one day and the only way that was going to happen was if and when she decided to allow herself to be happy. And the only way I knew how to go about that was to make things fair. Give just as much as you expect. That is how you earn respect and happiness, which are the essential building blocks to a successful relationship. In the end, she gave me a hug and she walked her way and I walked mine and I never heard from her again.