The other day I was on the phone with a girlfriend, dissecting an argument she’d just had with her man, when it occurred to me that though I’m certain her boyfriend wasn’t happy about their fight, I highly doubted he was giving his bestie the play-by-play. In fact, I doubt he mentioned it to anyone. He was probably just hanging out, drinking a beer, waiting for it to blow over.
And really, is that so wrong? It occurred to me that though men do have their faults, they occasionally have the right idea …Analyze This
When the aforementioned friend, Jennifer, repeated a particularly vile remark her latest beau had thrown her way, I was shocked she hadn’t dumped him on the spot. “I figured out he said that because he’s deeply insecure and I make more money than him,” she informed me.
While it’s true that she does make more money than him, she’s also cuter, smarter and funnier than him. So what? And why were we wasting valuable lady hours trying to figure out why her boyfriend was being a tool? Did it make his words one bit less offensive?
With rare exception, the post-game analysis is a girl thing. If you’re nasty to a guy, he just thinks you’re being bitchy. Maybe he’ll blame it on your period, but that’s about as deep as he goes. Which is just fine, because the whys of bad behavior don’t matter.
The Confidence Game
There are plenty of women with healthy egos, brimming with confidence, but as NYU professor Clay Shirky recently blogged in a very controversial essay, “not enough women have what it takes to behave like arrogant self-aggrandizing jerks.”
The piece was called “A Rant About Women,” and while nobody (including Shirky) is advising anyone to turn into a pompous windbag, many of us ladies do fall short in the self-assuredness department. He was writing about business, but I called Shirky to get his take on the importance of confidence as it pertains to dating. “That’s the thing about confidence,” he tells me. “It matters a lot less whether you’re a confident person than you behave like a confident person.”
So basically, fake it ‘til you make it.
Back when I was younger, malleable, and some might argue, more pleasant, I had a bad habit of going along with whatever my man of the hour felt like doing, because I was afraid he’d like me less if I showed off my backbone. One time I even pretended to be a vegetarian! (In my defense, at least I didn’t go the whole nine and give up my precious cheeseburgers).
Much to my current boyfriend’s occasional chagrin, I’ve learned that agreeing to plans I have no interest in isn’t any fun. Shirky agrees. “When you say, I don’t want to do things I like, I want to do things he likes—well, you play that out to 40 years of marriage, and it’s a big lose.”
So the next time he wants to stay home and cuddle while you’ve got your heart set on the monster truck rally, go! Or at least work out a mutually agreed-upon middle ground.
Have you ever watched a George Costanza type hit on a lady who looked like she slid off the pages of an Agent Provocateur catalog? I have. And while these dudes generally get shot down (unless they’re named Weinstein), one of the other things men have going for them is that they’re not afraid to make asses of themselves by shooting far above what common sense would dictate they’re entitled to.
Shirky points out, “You don’t know you’re going far enough until you’ve gone too far.” And really, what’s the worst thing that could happen if you ask someone out and they say no? You might blush and feel a little embarrassed. Oooh, scary!
Besides, remember, there’s always the chance he’ll say yes.