Provocative opinions aired on the clothes line of life.

Sunday, 19 December 2010

A Fling Is For Christmas Not For Life

Men. They're just so flinging flanging hard to open.

Contrary to popular belief, most men are decent people. No really, they are. On the whole they're polite, kind and moral human beings. They dutifully pay their taxes, chivalrously hold doors open for others and generously help their landlady take out her rubbish. So, it often comes as a surprise to women when these decent men inevitably disappoint them by breaking their promises. It just seems so atypical of a person who is so virtuous in most other aspects of their daily lives. When actually what you'll find is this behaviour is very typical of these men, purely for the reason that they are so nice and decent.

You see when it comes to women, most men don't enjoy saying things which they don't mean - they just feel obligated to. Because they're cowards and they'd rather give you something to desperately cling on to as opposed to the actual truth. The truth being that there's something about you which they fundamentally don't like and on account of this they don't want you to be their girlfriend. Ouch. So, you can see why their words and actions rarely have a positive correlation. What man who values his life and genitalia would tell you that?

Of course, men aren't stupid. They realise that by flat out lying to you there will be consequences and they don't want to be held responsible for their actions and risk being accused of leading you on.

Men really don't like that happening.

After all a tarnished image is problematic when attracting women they're actually interested in (and also being confronted by the jilted lover's irate friends in public is such a nuisance). No, what they'll do instead is serve you up a compliment cleverly laced with an insult. They're not really aware it's an insult, as they don't give it too much thought. They just want you to construe it as nice and encouraging without having you read too much into it.

They do this because they don't want a woman they've slept with more than once to over-analyse the situation. I mean they enjoy the sex, naturally - and why wouldn't they? (You're probably very good in bed). Something which they would like to continue to benefit from, while at the same time knowing that this can't and won't last. Because after a while women start to expect commitment from them and they're not prepared to give that to a woman they've comparmentalised as a fling. It's very rare for a woman to transcend the fling / potential girlfriend boundaries which a man has set for them. Almost non-existent actually, so please don't think you're in the minority. Because you're not.

Take the following example, which you've probably been on the receiving end of at least once:

A friend of mine recently committed the ultimate dating cliche i.e. he met a girl in a bar and within a matter of hours swiftly found himself being invited back to her flat. The classic one-night stand, nothing out of the ordinary there. However, he didn't actually end up going home until 4pm the following day, which is a little unusual. They spent the day in bed, presumably kissing, cuddling and chatting. Which could mean that he viewed her as potentially more than a one-night stand? I thought so. It definitely showed promise right?

These were his exact words to me:  

"She had a really fit body (thin with boobs - win) and she was really lovely as well. Very easy to get on with and we talked for hours. She's not really the type of girl I usually go for though. She's into her fake tan and she has tattoos. Which I didn't mind. But ultimately, she's a bit of a chav and I'm not going to meet up with her sober. I wouldn't say no to her if we found ourselves in the same situation again though."

N.B That isn't to say that this certain je ne sais quoi which they don't like about you is perceived as negative by everyone. You shouldn't have to dramatically tailor your personality to suit someone else. Because even if you did, it wouldn't last and surely you want to find someone who will appreciate the subtle intricacies about you instead of wanting to change them? And if you don't, then you certainly deserve it. Don't sell yourself short.

(Of course it is important to note that women can also demonstrate the aforementioned behaviour. It isn't just limited to men). 

Which is clearly depicted in an episode of the IT Crowd (the scene is15 minutes in) where Jen ends her brief relationship with Michael the Magnificent purely because she believes him to resemble that of a stereotypical magician. And when he asks her what it is about him that causes her to think it, she simply answers, "It's everything! Just everything about you. I mean, don't you wake up in the morning and think to yourself wow I look like a magician?! Because I would if I was a weirdy-beardy-magiciany-man." He then goes on to reason with her and offers to learn some magic tricks in an attempt to make the relationship work. Jen replies that he would actually have to become a full-time magician in order to pull it off and questions whether he'd be willing to make that kind of commitment. The final scene of the episode shows Michael dressed in traditional magician attire haplessly failing to impress Jen with a card trick, and ends with him running out of the office crying.

(So, moral of the story: don't try and change yourself to benefit someone else. Particularly if it's just a fling, as it will only end in tears. Which will probably be your own).

The duration of a fling can be difficult to determine, as it is based purely on what the person who is in control of it identifies as risky behaviour from the other person. And when I say risky behaviour, of course I mean actions which convey relationship progression  i.e. pushing for more commitment than the other person is willing to give. These come in a variety of shapes and sizes, but the two big hitters which women will nudge a new man in their life to comply with in order to acknowledge her are:
  1. Attendance at social events together.
  2. Introductions to her friends and family.
As soon as a man who isn't really interested in you realises this is where it's headed (and trust me he will) - watch him disappear from your life. It's brutal, but something which you can spot early on and prepare yourself for. Because if men can easily pick up on this risky behaviour from women who they don't want exhibiting it and run for the hills, so then can women train themselves to decipher whether they're viewed as just that.

Of course I can't hold your hand through every bump in the road, but in order to provide a guideline I can give you some real-life examples of what men have said when they regarded me as a fling.

(Note: I've changed their names. Although I doubt any of the following people even have a means in which to access the internet. Actually that's unkind. They probably do. On their phone).

Maurice, who I'd met in a bar (naturally) and been on a few dates with decided this was appropriate pillow talk:
  • "I haven't come like that in a while."
 You think: I must be a really good lay.
What it really means: I'm restricting my compliments to sex because you're not worth enough to me for anything else.

I realise now that we were coming to the end of the casual period and he felt obligated to say something vaguely positive to me, which would hopefully keep me blissfully unaware that he wasn't interested in a relationship for another week or so. Thankfully even then, I knew something wasn't right. If a man ever feels the need to clarify that your vagina gives him a more intense experience than that of his hand then it's time to get out. And as he described the period as 'a while' I can only assume he meant that the environment I'd provided wasn't as hospitable as previous girls. I distinctly remember putting my clothes on and leaving the room without so much as a word. I think in therapy they call that the break-through.

Chester took me on only two excursions in the entire time we were seeing each other (which was approximately three months). Chester, you cheap bastard.
  • "Oh, please stay. You're the most beautiful girl I've ever had naked in my bed."
You think: I'm the best thing that's ever happened to him.
What it really means: I'm never taking you anywhere beyond these four walls.

While that may well have been the case, my name isn't Rapunzel. I don't enjoy being confined to a tower with nowhere to go. But what an accolade! I'm a gold medallist. Finally. Where's Miss Silver and Bronze? Let's get a podium set up so I can really rub it in their faces.

You should be very wary of the man who will only agree to see you if it's conveniently located in his bedroom. Because 'hanging out' is not a date. Oh sure, eating a takeaway in front of the television while in bed seems very romantic. And I am partial to it, now and again. But I also like to do other things where sex isn't so readily available and there are other things on the menu. Like going outside. You know in public? Among other people who are also living their lives and enjoying each others company. Because that's what people want to do when they're in a relationship. Complex? No, not at all.

The following is one that I get rather a lot. And while I don't tolerate it I'm certainly prepared for it.  
  • "Your tits are amazing."
You think: He must really fancy me and therefore like me.
What it really means: I have nothing else to compliment you on.

I have rather an impressive rack, this much is true. I appreciate positive feedback as much as the next person and yes, I'm partial to a bit of playful banter. But when this is the only thing they have to compliment me on or in some cases even talk to me about - I pull the plug. And I mean that literally. Because this conversation more often than not occurs online (men tend to think they can get away with more if their words are confined to a screen). And there's no use in playing along with them in the hopes that you'll eventually meet in person. Because you won't.

I don't really have to tell you that a man who fixates on a part of your body which isn't your brain is not the sort of man you want to project a fantasy onto do I? Do you know what you are to him? You're his porn. Happy with being an online hobby are you? No, didn't think so. Delete. Reboot. Start again.

Adrienne Mole and I never saw each other with a level head.
  • "I really need to see you when I'm sober."
You think: The relationship is progressing.
What it really means: He said this while drunk and "won't remember".

That's a terrific idea. But that was precisely the problem, Adrienne Mole only contacted me when he was drunk or when I was drunk or when we were both drunk. He text me most nights. Always late. Always under the influence. This is how we would typically interact with each other: he would contact me purely because he was intoxicated and then I would bring it to his attention the next day because he couldn't remember. "I text you last night?" He should have written a book: 'How to offend a woman in five words or less'. As you can see, an immensely satisfying relationship.

Alcohol is an essential precursor with which to break the ice and anyone who knows me won't be shy in telling you that I enjoy more than my fair share on a regular basis. But you can't rely on these altered states to form the basis of a relationship. It just doesn't work like that. Sure, a few drinks enables you to relax and encourages a more chatty side of you. But total inebriation whenever you're together is a barometer for what's really going on. Which is a whole lot of nothing. Being drunk with someone you like is great. Do you know what's even better? Being with someone you like when you're aware of all of your senses. And if indulging in their illicit hobbies is all they want to do, then you may never know what their priorities are, but you can be certain that you'll never be one of them.

If his parting words are any variation of the following:
  •  "Take it easy / Stay cool / You're swell"
You think: He's saying goodbye.
What it really means:  Yes he is. Forever.

You need to do one of two things. Either slam the door shut. Or delete his phone number. In some cases you may need to do both.

Men don't tell women they're infatuated with to "take it easy." They say "goodbye" or "goodnight" or something equally appropriately normal.  

"You're swell" is a slip of the tongue (no one means that to be taken seriously) and they've said it because they're uncomfortable with the manner in which they're leaving. It's probably in the morning and they're feeling awkward about telling you they'll text you later or add you on Facebook, because in actual fact they're not going to do either of those things.

And if anyone has the nerve to tell you to "stay cool" they're an imbecile and have wasted your time. The fact that this even happened to me has left me convinced that I murdered a child in a previous life.


Deep down, you already knew all of those things. You just didn't want to admit it to yourself. Because when you meet someone new, you want to make allowances for them and not punish them for someone elses mistakes. You accept that people will disappoint you, after all no one's perfect right?

No they're not. But don't allow them to make you feel as though you shouldn't be valued as much as you deserve to be. And often the decisions you make are not even about the other person. They're about you being honest with yourself.  

Because being alone is a daunting prospect, but sometimes it's a preferable one.