Subscribe to Become So Very Clever
What I SAID
Monthly Archives: April 2012
Hmmm. This is a statement- well, the crux of an email sent to me last night. It sounded great in theory, I mean, who doesn’t want to be with someone who “gets them”. After more thought, I realized, how can anyone get anyone else if there are no shared interests? If we simply get together and talk “at” each other and anxiously wait for the other person to finish speaking so we can redirect to something WE are interested in- how much progress have we made?
Is it possible, if a man and woman have similar experiences, they will have a more productive conversation? Most likely. Even if the shared experiences are not positive, it gives way to interesting exchanges and the possibility for growth.
Sadly, I ended up on a date with a friend- she didn’t want to meet this guy alone, and their best friends thought they would really hit it off. We’d done the requisite internet stalking- he was attractive, purported a wide range of interests (most of which she categorically rejected, but we can discuss that later), and wanted to meet her (i assume he did the same internet “check” and found her perceived value to be up to par).
I imagine he was surprised to see me on his date, but he was kind enough not to make a big deal. We explained I was wasting time before meeting some other friends- blah, blah, blah- made up, lie, made up and he knew it. What became evident really quickly was neither of their best friends had ever met them because they had absolutely nothing in common. He apologized for being a few minutes late- he was packing for a trip to the deer lease. We both saw her visibly stiffen- at which point he quickly explained he wasn’t a hunter, he just went to shoot his guns. GUNS?!? GUNS?!?
I closed my eyes and tried to will myself, well, anywhere. Outer Mongolia would have been splendid at this time of year. His declaration was met with great fervor, but it wasn’t so much enthusiasm as the intense passion one who abhors guns would unleash. Several minutes into her diatribe, he held up his hands (i saw him mentally fast forwarding to being late without calling).
”Have you ever fired a handgun?” he asked.
”What?” Aghast. “Why would I?” And yes, she even had a hand poised at her chest.
”Well, I collect and fire them for sport, because I like to. I grew up on a lot of land, my dad and I used to shoot skeet.”
”What does that have to do with me firing a hand gun?”
”I just thought if you had, you might have more perspective than a bunch of pre-digested rhetoric you heard on CNN.”
”You are taking a lot for granted!”
”No. You are. There is very little risk associated with the sport of shooting.”
”Tell that to Dick Cheney!”
”They were hunting. I already said I don’t hunt.” He threw me an exhausted gaze that clearly said, “can i go now?”. I nodded. He got up, thanked us both for meeting him, said he needed to finish packing and left an appalled girl staring after him.
”He left? He left? Why did he leave? Obviously has a problem with strong women!” I grimaced.
I know her and know most of what she said was someone else’s rhetoric. Her mother’s. That isn’t the point, however. I see two major errors here.
1) No arguing. Especially not on a first date. No place really on any date. A spirited debate is one thing- an all out lecture is not acceptable. I can’t think of anyone who appreciates being told their hobbies or interests are wrong, or unethical (unless they are illegal), or a waste of time. Even in a debate, you need to be open to the other person’s opinions and give those opinions the courtesy of weight. If you are not interested in what HE (who ever HE is) has to say, why are you in a conversation anyway- or worse yet, on a date?
2) He had a valid point. How can you emphatically reject something you have never done, tried or experienced hands on? You never know. So, my point is … all that to say this-
How can a girl “get” a guy, if she has never invested in any of his interests- or any male interests at all? How can any two people have a reasonable interaction if they have no intersecting points?
So, I invited my friend to go shooting with me the next day- which she declined, after training an eye upon me as if I’d asked her to visit a crack house in downtown Detroit. It’s fun, I told her. Crack house. You might like it. Crack house. He seemed like a nice guy. Crack house.
Unwilling to experience new things. I wasn’t excited to shoot a hand gun myself, but as soon as I did- I was hooked. It could happen to you.
At this point, women reading this blog may feel a little persecuted, as if I have a “male” agenda. I deny any such agenda. My AGENDA is clear. I want to empower women- to give them enough confidence to try new things (which they might not enjoy, but at least they tried- and imparting the effort gives them perspective for a debate or even material to engage the ultra hot guy at the gym who reads “Handgunner” on the treadmill). Sometimes, if you know a little bit about a subject, it’s less intimidating to try for the first time.
I promise, any girl can unload her moniker “buzz kill” (and yes, they call you that behind your back) and become the cool chick who is INVITED to watch a game with the guys. I know, you don’t WANT to watch the game- you HATE football. But do you? Do you really hate it? If so, why?
Let’s break old habits and records of the past and start anew. All you have to do is try …
So there I was at Kenny’s Italian Kitchen (and yes, I go there a lot because it is simply fantastic) and was being driven mad by a table of cackling women on the FAR side of the restaurant. This is not a small place and I was poised at the bar working.
My glass of chianti was being soured by my environment and I was growing frustrated. I gazed at those around me and wondered if I was the only person becoming annoyed.
Fact of the matter is- there is something called a sense of occasion, and I find more often than not people do not have it. Let me elucidate.
To have a sense of occasion is to be aware of your environment and how you can not only blend seamlessly with it- but behave appropriately. My mother taught me to have a sense of occasion early in life. My brother Dave missed the boat on this lesson as he never did realize that the “F” word at extended family functions fell on the ears of elders like, well, the “F” word.
So, the lesson- you go to a hockey game and even if it’s your first time, you dress comfortably (it is a sporting event and not a fashion show- unless you are in Dallas and then frankly, you can’t overdress- HOWEVER, the further you are from the glass- the more likely you are to appear an escort and not a “fan”), observe discretely and enjoy yourself. If you go to a fine dining establishment, dress appropriately and conduct yourself with dignity- this is different behavior than one might demonstrate at, let’s say, a cookout. Even if you are underdressed (gasp)- grace and poise can make up for it.
I observed the intrusive women- and they were cute, various ages, dressed to impress- but the attention in their direction was all negative. Why? Because their behavior was offensive. It was articulated perfectly by the handsome and So Very Clever gentleman next to me who muttered loudly, “It’s a wine bar, not a kegger, ladies.” I was dangerously close to aspirating my sip of wine and thought- he could not have summed it up more perfectly. When I caught his eye he said- “Not sure ‘ladies’ was the right word.” I smiled.
I’m not saying you have to be sedate- but, as I pointed out in a previous post called “Tone it Down”- be considerate of others. I have often thought the volume at which one speaks seems a direct reflection of one’s self- importance. If you can not get attention without nearly “yelling” in a quiet restaurant- you need to invest some time in this blog. The woman who does this will likely follow it up with the inevitable “throwing the head back and letting out a far too loud laugh she thinks is the pinnacle of sexy”- oh, and the requisite hair toss.
Here is a tip- demure works just as well as obnoxious. Hell, I even advocate coy over brazen. Another post I did sighting some of this objectionable behavior was “When did Women become So Very Gross?”
I decided to put this to the test and compare this table with another full of women. At this point after a couple bottles of wine, the aforementioned were rather insufferable and the other was a table of equally well appointed late thirty-somethings. The latter women were speaking in hushed tones and laughing bashfully into their hands, eyes fluttering around as if they were fearful of raising a ruckus. It was rather charming and it wasn’t long before gentlemen started drifting over and inquiring as to what was soooo sensitive it must be whispered.
The women enjoyed the attention and in one case invited a man to sit with them for a moment. There was polite conversation and laughing. He didn’t over stay his welcome or act a reprobate. After a while, he meandered back to the bar- I couldn’t help noticing one of the ladies slide her business card to him. Good for her. Love seeing So Very Clever and fearless women who don’t accept the card of a man- after all, it’s nice to place the contact in the hands of the man (see post “Why Didn’t He Call- He’s Not Interested”).
So, all this to say- there is a time and a place for everything- knowing where, when, how and why makes you So Very Clever. It’s an art form and part of being Clever is being Artful- so, let’s pay attention, shall we?