Guys don’t do phone calls, generally, or so they say. They’re practical and functional, so they wouldn’t call you just to say hello. Still, they have no problem calling while they’re pursuing you, so if the guy you’re sleeping with never calls or texts you (and you’re not already married to him), it probably means he’s not that into you, yes?

So I was ‘dating’ this guy once. Well, I thought I was dating him. He, on the other hand, was convinced that we were friends with yummy benefits. It’s a classic case of cross-purposes. I assumed that since we hang out every day, get along wonderfully, and talk about everything from money to shoes, we were ‘together’.

When he’d leave after a particularly good night and disappear for days, not taking calls or answering texts, I assumed he was naturally moody as well as shy. And when I asked about it, he said he needed space so he could stay objective. I soon realised that the more awesome the night, the longer he’d stay away, so maybe he was just really, really tired. Plus we were both on the rebound, so we were padding softly-softly around the matter. After all, we were consoling each other when we ended up together in the first place.

One night we’re talking, and he tells me about this girl he met at the club a few nights before. Incidentally, I was waiting for him on said night, and he was pulling the famous ‘tweeting but not replying texts’ move. The tweets suggested he was at a club surrounded by gorgeous babes.

In the end I got the hint, gave up waiting, and went to bed. A few days later, he said: ‘We need to talk,’ so I asked him over for  a cup of tea. He said the girl he met was pretty, smart, and charming. She spent all night buying him drinks, and he accepted, smiled, and played the gentleman. At the end of the night, he drove the girl home, and as he dropped her off, she said:

“She’s a really lucky girl.”


“Your girlfriend.”

“I don’t have a girlfriend.”


Of course I was blushing at that point, having jumped to the ridiculous conclusion that he was into me, and that was why he hadn’t hit on the girl. But he goes on with his story, wondering why the girl assumed he had a girlfriend. I told him if a hot girl buys you drinks all night and you don’t respond, she assumes you have a girl.

Or that you might be gay. And yes, I know that’s a double standard. Guys buy drinks for girls all the time, and it’s perfectly acceptable for the girl to take the drinks and ignore the interest. There’s no reason why it should be different when the roles are reversed. And yet … it is.

He remained puzzled, insisting that she hadn’t flirted with him all night, and that he had no idea she was interested. I asked why he wasn’t interested, and he said he had no clue. He said it wasn’t necessarily that he wasn’t interested. He just hadn’t known how to talk to her, or what to do. Oh, then he said our arrangement had to end. He wanted benefits from other people. I’m guessing she was included on the list.

I’ve always assumed that some boys are naturally shy, and that when you meet a boy like that, you need to help him out a little, give him a subtle nudge in the right direction. In my case, the nudge would come a little more overtly – I’d walk up to the guy and ask him out. I always wondered why he’d respond by smiling nervously, backing away, and avoiding me for the foreseeable future.

My friend didn’t articulate his problems in those exact terms, but I think maybe the girl buying him drinks got him intimidated. He wasn’t in control of the situation, and that made him lose interest. It made him self conscious, dented his ego, and messed with his confidence. But then again, he didn’t quite say how that saga ended, so it’s possible he got over it eventually.

It seems a man does need encouragement to actively pursue a girl, but the appropriate signal is to smile when you catch him watching you, or maybe flirt a little, lower your eyes, touch your neck, or toss your … um … hair. In the past I thought such moves were utterly silly. I mean, if you want the boy, just go over there and get him! But it only pushes them away.

I do seem to attract the wrong kind of guy, and it’s enough to make me give up on the male species entirely. Still, if you look at it statistically, there are 7 billion people in the world, and at least 3 billion are men. So If I meet, say 25 guys and they all don’t work out, that still leaves 2,999,975 options, though if you’ve been with 25 guys, they’ll probably have other names for you than just ‘girl’.

Speaking of girls and shy boys, I read an article a while back that made me smile. It’s called Never Date a Writer. It starts out like he’s whining that his ex wrote all the intimate details of their relationship, but ends up being his side of the story, the side she didn’t know, because he didn’t tell her. It made me sad, because a lot of pain comes from misunderstandings, assumptions, and things left unsaid, but it also made me mad because everything would work out if people would just say what they were thinking.

As a writer, a lot of my friends and loved ones get upset with me. They say I expose them to the public through my stories. I never intend to hurt anyone, and I try to protect their privacy, but they don’t always see it that way. I won’t really apologize, because this is who I am, and I guess anyone that wants to be with me has to be willing to take that risk. It’s an unfair thing to ask, but then again, love makes a lot unfair demands.

PS: Can you spot the difference? I can’t 🙁

I suppose it’s all in how you look at it. Take, for example, Taylor Swift. She’s known for writing songs about her love life. In one particular song, Forever and Always, she talks about how her ex broke up with her in 27 seconds. On her phone. My knee-jerk reaction was to call him an asshole. But I know I’ve done break-up texts. Twice. They had both refused to see me, take my calls or spend time with me for weeks. When I asked why, they both said they had a lot going on, (okay, one added that he’s not good at communicating, not even with his mother.) So I figured they were busy and gave them one less thing to do. I think the third break up was via email – I was tired of giving that pretty boy money.

I’ve also told someone that I would always love them, then walked away, and I often ask myself if my words had any merit. My only conclusion is that I meant it when I said it, but that sometimes, meaning what you say is not enough. Plus, in the case of Taylor’s song, the ex was Joe Jonas, who seems to be a really nice guy, and not a jerk at all. Still, I guess even nice guys do dumb things. Some interviews say he was flattered by the song, others say that he was deeply hurt. So maybe it depends on whose side you’re on. Also, is it wrong that I can’t tell Taylor Swift from Carrie Underwood?

Anyway, what’s a girl to do if she likes a shy boy? Be patient. Wait for him to gather his courage. Or let it go and find someone who’s  a little less reticent. Also, my favourite ex has a mantra: ‘The problem with relationship advice about men is that it’s all written by women.” So hey, don’t listen to me. What the hell do I know about the male psyche?

♫ Teardrops on my guitar ♫ Taylor Swift

14 thoughts on “Guys can be clueless too

  1. Some of us earnestly wish the roles were reversed. For once i could love a lady to walk up to me, ask me out and lead all the way. That does not hurt my ego, instead it makes me view the lady as a take charge go getter type of person!
    I want someone to buy me drinks, take me out to fancy dinners and treat me as I have been treating a few ladies. How I could love that!

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