No Connection

Do men care about connection?

I ask the question because I just got home from a date. An excruciatingly dull date. I know. I’m a bad person. But I’m a good date. I asked questions about his life, was attentive when he responded, nodded and smiled and genuinely tried to connect. I filled in the awkward silences. And believe me, there were quite a few.

I ask the question because after a meal full of those awkward silences and a whole lot of staring at my plate, he didn’t want the date to end. I suggested we go for spiked milkshakes. Sitting at the bar, slurping on our shakes, the moments of silence felt like forever. I was having a hard time not running for the door. Instead I insisted on paying for our drinks, a move which usually telegraphs “The chances of romance are zero.”

He can’t have been riveted by my conversation. He interrupted what few stories I attempted to tell, mostly with complete non-sequitors. I thought maybe he was fucking with me. But he was a genuinely nice guy. Nice. And dull.

The deepest things got was when he said something about being ready for a relationship again. “I’m not looking for someone perfect,” he said. I interpreting that as a signal that he recognized there would be no relationship between us, I replied, “I’d rather be alone than with someone who wasn’t perfect. For me, I mean.” He mumbled, “Good luck with that,” in what sounded more sad than snappy. Uh-oh.

When we parted — and not a moment too soon — he was saying, “So, do you want to get together again?” I couldn’t contain my grimace and strained to make it seem like I was mulling it over. “Um, well…” I stammered. How could he want to see me again? Had he actually enjoyed himself? I sputtered something about the possibility of maybe seeing a friend’s band.

Less than an hour later, probably the second he got home, he sent me an email: Hey Abby, Thanks for the company let me know if you’d like to go out again maybe catch a shower something?

I’ll assume he meant “show or something.” But, really? Not only was there no chemistry, there wasn’t even enough commonality on which to base a friendship. There wasn’t much of…anything. Why in the world would he possibly want to see me again? Maybe the question should be, what DO men care about? I want to respond to his email and ask him. How to do that without sounding like a total bitch? Cause it sure didn’t feel like the best date ever on my end.

2 responses to “No Connection

  1. Not all men care about the same things. You would have to ask each man what they cared about and the answers should be different every time.

    The way you wrote that he sounded like he was lonely to me, wanted company but maybe didn’t really know what to say, awkward with words perhaps, he mentioned being ready for a relationship again, perhaps he had been in a relationship for a real long time and simply didn’t know how to act. Thinking about it I think I would have this problem had I have to date again if my missus and I split up, ive been with her so long I don’t think I would truly know what to do, I am not much of a conversationalist and I recognise that if I were in that situation then things may become awkward… maybe.

    His email to you was “thanks for the company” again that to me says that he is lonely and wants company, someone to spend some time with. Of course I could have all that entirely wrong lol.

    What I care about? I couldn’t answer that right now, sometimes my mood is such that I care about little, other times I care about a lot and have an opinion on most things. That’s no answer though really is it 🙂

  2. Here are some friends’ responses from Facebook. And my responses to them:

    Elaine M. Stinger Eno: Maybe he was trying to tell you thy you need to bathe more often.

    Editrix Abby: ? Is that a reason to see me again? Cause it’s certainly true!

    Ken Ågain: Yes Abby, men care about connecting.

    Editrix Abby: I sure HOPE so!

    Christopher Hardwick: Maybe it was you!

    Editrix Abby: Well of course it was me. But it was also him and me together. It just wasn’t a good fit. I am merely boggled that he didn’t recognize that.

    Karen Tarapata: Maybe he is super shy.

    Editrix Abby: He wasn’t at all shy. He had bursts of conversation. There was just no spark. No fun or easy back and forth at all.

    Karen Heimann: People have varied social intelligence. Some people just don’t get it. At least you got a milkshake out of it.

    Editrix Abby: I paid for the milkshake…I at least got a nice meal but I would rather eat alone that need to work that hard. I’ve had plenty of dates that weren’t raging successes but there was at least some lively conversation. This was the first time I’ve ever experienced such awkwardness. And HE wasn’t particularly awkward. It was the rapport. Hmm, perhaps the blog post should’ve been “No Rapport.”

    Orion Keyser: People get trapped in their heads, which they then refuse to use, because thinking is too hard, which becomes an ever shrinking cage. It sounds like he was happy to have the company, but his inner monologue must be pretty loud, or he’s just used to tuning it out when females chat away.. I just thought of this, but have you ever considered slowing the tempo of your stories? I’ve certainly caught myself listening to my girlfriend when she gets carried away by what she is saying without listening to what she was saying but just the rhythms and the pitches, I caught myself thinking “what are these little chirpy noises she is making…” I think that men are by and large less verbal than women, and this probably gets worse over time if they never get any practice at talking, maybe there’s not talking involved in their job, or they don’t force themselves to socialize because it’s easier just to watch tv or something. Maybe the problem is that you have a lively mind, but many people who have similarly lively minds are academics who are mostly interested in very boring things? I have to agree with him on the perfection point, nobody is perfect, and even great friendships, where you have great rapport and really egg each other on, are at best episodic, and sometimes there is a lot of time in between.

    Editrix Abby: I wasn’t telling long stories. I would just start a conversation topic and he would interrupt with something about his kids or whatever. It was strange. I guess he wanted company and must’ve enjoyed mine to a certain extent. Which I find somewhat sad, BECAUSE it felt so strained. In other words, if THAT was “good company” for him, he needs to date more or get out more or something. And no, no one is perfect. But you can find someone who is at least closet to perfect FOR YOU. And if I can’t, as I said to him, I’d rather be alone. I have a very full life. I just miss the sex. : ( Perhaps it’s time to just put a fuck-buddy ad on Craigslist…

    Amy Shapiro: Orion, you are very wise. I wanted to say that it is possible that he was just extremely nervous, afraid of saying the wrong thing and so opting for saying nothing, nonsequitors, and the can I see you again question. He may not be ready to date, even if he said he was. I am reading your blog regularly and it does seem baffling to me that you of all people are not easily matched. You are extremely social and cute and interesting. I believe that as unique and unconventional you may be that there is a man out there who is looking for you. I want to see you find that perfect match.

    Editrix Abby: He wasn’t shy or nervous at all, from what I could tell. Being social means I’m (somewhat) easy to talk to and usually find it easy to talk to others. I’m hoping that I’ll eventually find that perfect match, Amy, and thank you for wanting that for me! Look how long it took you to find Carl! I do worry that I’ve used up all my “relationship karma” and really blew my wad with Eric. But I remain, at least thus far, optimistic.

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