Sex and Miss Right

10 May 2006

"It’s a classic single-woman scenario: you really like this guy, but he’s giving mixed messages. You make excuses, decide he’s confused, afraid of commitment. Behrendt, a former executive story editor for Sex and the City —and a formerly single (now happily married) guy who knows all the excuses—provides a simple answer: he’s just not that into you. Stop kidding yourself, let go and look for someone else who will be."

- Publishers Weekly on the book He's Just Not That Into You: The No-Excuses Truth to Understanding Guys

While I became somewhat of an expert at predicting Mary’s patterns with the man-child types, she likewise over the years became a master at my own non-committal patterns.

But throughout the years we’ve known each other, she could point to three or four cases where my usual non-committal patterns did not apply. Those were the Miss Rights. When she sensed that I may have come close to a fifth one recently after a bit of a hiatus, we had long discussions about my own demons.

I guess it’s now time to take out Undercover Bother’s dirty laundry.

I always had the excuses. “I’m doing my own thing right now” or “She’s nice, but we want different things.” But as someone was recently pointing out to me: “Is it really that complicated?” She pointed to Greg Behrendt and Liz Tuccillo’s 2004 book He’s Just Not That Into You. In that book, they argue that despite the need for men to make themselves look complicated, we just really aren’t. They identify some of the following delusions that many women have when trying to figure out why the man they’re seeing is non-committal:

He''s afraid to get hurt again.
Maybe he doesn't want to ruin the friendship.
Maybe he's intimidated by me.
He just got out of a relationship.

Ladies, despite risking being a traitor to my own gender, I must advise you that if you’re not “Miss Right” in the eyes of a man but you are good enough to be “Miss Right Now”, he will try to keep you around by making sure you believe in one or all of the above-stated myths. In fact, one of my own favourite “stalling techniques” for the Miss Right Nows has been to bring out the “Ex Factor.” The Ex Factor always works great because you can always display your ability to be a loving and dedicated partner by recounting past experiences that don’t necessarily require immediate manifestation. If she can believe that you have it in you to be the man she needs, then you might have bought yourself a couple of months. Oh and if you really want an extension on the love lease, bring out how, despite the time that has passed since the Ex Factor, you are still struggling with the belief of whether or not you will find love again. If you’ve learned anything from Part I’s Sex and the Man-Child, women love nothing more than the challenge of making sure that next one you fall for, after you dust yourself from the ruins of your destroyed soul, is her.

I’m still working on getting that teardrop to fall down my cheek on cue though.

It’s not you, it’s me … and other dating lies

But lest we blame it all on men, let’s not forget the classic female non-committal lines: “I don’t know what I want right now”, or the truly pitiful “I have nothing to give right now” (that one means she ain’t giving you none). Isn’t it a pain in the neck though how it’s always the Ms Rights who feed you that line? Last but certainly not least, we can’t forget the gender neutral: “It’s not you, it’s me.”

Do people still use that antiquated “it’s not you it’s me” line? You’d be surprised at how many times this cop-out fib is used if you just take the time to eavesdrop into conversations at restaurants and cafes across the world where countless couples are having their last supper together. And like in the famous last supper, whoever the Judas is, he or she sure isn’t fooling the sacrificial one. The last supper is usually preceded with the proverbial “we need to talk” phone call.

I should probably be cutting somebody a cheque for quoting Seinfeld so much but who can forget that classic episode where George lashes back at getting fed that sorry line. “Don’t give me the it’s not you it’s me line. I invented it’s not you it’s me.” He finally gets the woman to admit that it is him.

I usually vary the slant of the overused ‘it’s not you it’s me” line by tying it to work or career. “There is so much passion to explore between us but the timing is all wrong. Work is a big part of my life right now.”

Trust me, people make time for the right person.

People will save a lot of time and heartache by realizing that with the prevalence of cell phones, e-mail, instant chat and all the rest these days, someone will contact you more than once a month if they are really interested.

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