Famous Last Words

This seems to be the week for facing up to the ugly side of dating: Rejection. While I’ve never enjoyed receiving it or inflicting it, usually I get a bit of reprieve to build up courage and fortitude before I move on to the next round. Internet dating takes the “Dear John” letters (or emails) and awkward phone conversations to an entirely new level of stress, very much like the speed round of rejection. Sadly, the need to reject increases exponentially with the number of people you date; It’s a matter of simple statistics. I have briefly considered continuing to date people that I knew I wasn’t well-suited with, simply so I wouldn’t have to face the ordeal of telling them.

Of course, I always try to be gentle and kind and preserve ego. I even have a formula that I feel is pretty good: Express my thanks for their time and that I enjoyed meeting them. Compliment them on the qualities that I thought were special (i.e., you clearly are an attractive, intelligent, sweet, funny man). Then express my disappointment that despite their obvious charms (sometimes this is true!), I simply did not feel that we were well-suited romantically. It sounds good on paper…

Clearly, though, this is still going to smart a bit. I’ve certainly felt the sting of rejection, no matter how delicately phrased. Everyone chooses to handle this in different ways, yet lately I’m getting a crash course in dealing with ego.

So far this week I’ve been told by one incredibly ardent email suitor, who took rushing things to a new high, that my tagline should be “alluring, but aloof”. His parting shot was that he hoped I enjoyed the sweet and filling, yet ultimately unsatisfying “Twinkies” that I was currently seeing, as I clearly didn’t want to move toward anything more long-term. I reassured L, to whom I lamented about the written slam on my character and intentions, that I definitely put him more in the French pastry category, rather than highly processed and artificial junk food.

That was poetry compared to the “cold-hearted bitch” that I heard from someone else. One very sweet man told me that “if you don’t feel it, you shouldn’t be kissing someone”. When I reminded him that I kissed him on the cheek and he turned it into more, there was an admission that was truth. He followed it up with expressions of frustration that so many women seemed to only want to be friends. I felt it was the wrong time to comment that I hadn’t expressed a desire to be friends, merely a lack of desire to be lovers.

As I have never been one to take emotions, either mine or another’s, lightly, this has been somewhat exhausting. I have a date tonight, which I am looking forward to. Yet I find myself already cringing a bit at the possibility that next week or the week after, I will be writing another “Dear John” email.

Dating etiquette is also a bit murky to me. After a single date, are you required to tell the person by phone or face-to-face? Does an email suffice? Personally, I think that I would prefer to get an email after a single date than have to face the rejection in person. Still, it is a difficult judgment call to make sometimes.

I’m trying to keep my head and chin up and stay positive amidst the rush of negativity, yet this is simply one of the trials of this unnatural internet dating process that I’ve chosen to participate in.

Last words are never fun to hear, especially when they originate from a place of wounded pride and ego. I can only hope that the men with whom I am parting ways can hear the words and move on to the next experience, ego and heart intact.

Of course no parting words are quite so famous for me as a man with whom I had a brief and passionate month-long affair, which culminated with us in bed. After the disastrous attempt at a sex act was over and he had run rough-shod over my feelings (a story for another time) before the wet spot on the bed had even dried (Sadly, a wet spot CAN be produced within ninety seconds), I essentially asked him to leave. He awkwardly dressed and stood there for a moment before steeling his features into composure. Then he leaned over and kissed me briefly, then stood with what he considered great dignity. In a deep and regal voice he intoned:

“Usually, I am an Athenian, but tonight, I will leave like a Spartan!”

Indeed. May all of my rejected suitors be more Spartan-like in their response and less Athenian. Although I do have to wonder if this somewhat selfish desire makes me alluring and aloof and somewhat of a cold-hearted bitch…

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2 Responses to “Famous Last Words”

  1. Getting back into the dating world when you are in your mid-40’s is AWFUL. Confusing, dramatic, self doubt, and yes….rejection are some terms that come to mind. UGH is another one!

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