Wednesday, February 22, 2006

Rejection Junction, What's Your Function?

If there is one thing I have learned over the past year, it’s that you need thick skin when it comes to dating. No, I'm not claiming that is a profound and unique realization. But will you let me get away with it for just this one post? Because I think I am toughening up now. Why, I think I might be almost reptilian now. OK, the sun damage I endured last summer may have a little bit to do with it. But underneath the pebbled leather - not really, am creamy milky white now with freckles all over my chest - but that is from childhood actually - so underneath is calcium-fortified bones, a rock-hard soul, and an unpenetrable heart.

I joke! Because...not really. I am still the mush I was before. (And that is not just because "you are what you eat", in which my case, it would be mashed potatoes). BUT, I am learning to not have any expectations whatsoever. I now want to be caught off guard – pleasantly off-guard, that is. Prove me wrong Romeos, Don Juans, and Napoleans. I want a jack-in-the-box who will just "pop! up" and knock me on my ass. Jacks, why are you hiding in your boxes?


But really I am toughening up. Are you surprised? I'm reminded of this quote: "For a man to truly understand rejection, he must first be ignored by a cat." Well, I have faced rejection - by cats and other miscellany - and I continue to endure it on an almost daily basis. It's dating and it's inevitable.

Yes, today, we - the collective "I" - are riding the wave of rejection. Yes, re-jec-tion. Um, nobody likes it, right? Well, I have come to find the humor in it on one hand. And on the other, well, it is just not going to get me down anymore. I've hardened my ways. Let's take a closer look at the two scenarios.

First, I ask you Married and Single People, how would you feel to get rejected by short, squat bald guys? Yeah, the plural is intentional - short squat bald guySSSS. Five to be exact, if one were counting. (And if you are a guy, let's say the equivalent is 6'6" body builder she-man just for purposes of making an - admittedly - extreme comparison because I want the boys to participate in the dialogue here. So you can pick your own imagery even.) Would that kind of rejection hurt your ego? Would you crawl under a rock? Would you yank your profile down? Would you write a seething blog post about it - possibly "naming" said little bald man rejector? Here is what I do: I do pick myself up off the floor - because that is where my jaw is. Then I stitch up my sides - because of the fully belly laugh that ensued. My friend, that is when rejection takes a turn into....Funny Town. Clowns are not necessary.

(Footnote: I have nothing against short squat bald guys. Apparantly I have dated a few - bald ones that is but not short squat. Remember they are rejecting me. This blog - although not a dating blog! - is most definitely woe-is-me - sometimes at the expense of others. Sorry if you feel used and abused short squat bald guys. Please don't send me hate mail. You are already rejecting me. Stop the hurt.)

To explain - I am doing the unthinkable eharmony thing [shudders] and let me just say, all my friends were right, it sucks! Big time. That is $60 I could have spent on 60 baked potatoes (you know, if I was doing a "fast food" 99 cents commercial).

Here is why I hate eharmony. First, one has no control in the “matching” process. The system spits back "matches" based on some - they say - scientific and/or? psychological profile. When really, they just match up any two people who live in the same geographic area who call themself human because I think there is a box to check: human or alien. For the record, short squat bald guys are not alien - so I can be matched up with one. Second, the profiles have the most arbitrary of questions. For example: “three things you are grateful for”; the generic “what do you like to do”; or “what do you wish people knew about you but don’t”. You can tell so much about someone who is grateful for God, a roof over his head, and his family and friends. So much. Tell me more. Seriously, tell me more. Third, there are "stages of communication” and only after you pass go and get out of jail a couple times and buy Boardwalk for $60 - then - you can have “open communication” – i.e., emailing! Oh yeah, time for our own words and our own thoughts. Some people have them and then you can't be all "the computer made me say it." Proceed at your own risk. So at the end of the run around, I have lost patience and three weeks later I still don't know anything about the guy I am " electronically harmonizing" with. Which reminds me, I think I owe him an email now.

Which brings us around to tieing "rejection" "short squat bald guys" and "funny" into one point. If we were talking in secret code it might go like this: Ax SSBG lol. But if we are being literal: Y'all I have been rejected by about 5 short squat bald guys - ha ha ha. See, they send you a potential match - and it goes to both people - the SSBG and me. At this point, you can either: "Close them," which is basically telling them "no, thanks I never want to see your face again," because this option closes that person from communication forever, essentially you are sending them to the black hole of no-date-everland; or the proactive “start communication,” which starts you down the windy path of canned communication; or one can opt to put them "on hold”. Now, I don't know about you but to me, "closing" them seems like harsh and blatant....rejection. Thus, I opt for the “put on hold” option. It seems gentler - it kind of says, "I'm real busy right now, I'll call you later" even though you never intend on calling. Or do I have that backwards? Is the maybe-but-probably-not approach actually dishonest and subsequently more harsh than blatant rejection?

So while I am trying to let the boys down easily, the short squat baldies are beating me to the punch - they are "closing" all communication with me, right off the bat. And this is where I get very serious with you, dear reader. I am not joking about this. Five rejections by SSBGs in the past week! Sad, but funny. The funny kind of rejection that only a thick-skinned gal can handle, mind you.

So, I decided I’m pretty much a “match” girl. I won't lie, I would prefer "taken" girl, but I've got to troll the marketplace for that special guy. I'm cutting coupons, watching the specials, combing the aisles, and filling up my bonus card. (And that is pretty much what you feel like.) But on Match, you are in control of your matches, your words, your communication. The "rejection" that takes place here is you just don't email them back. (Except for ItalianSpice who said, "he won't give up" - that guy you got to spell out the words of r-e-j-e-c-t-i-o-n.) So I have to do some rejecting myself. I mentioned earlier I had 7 guys in the beginning, then I whittled it down to four within a few days, then this past week I whittled it down to three. Now after my two dates last week, I have whittled it down to two, because there is another date still pending with The Flirt. Then either of these two may have already decided to whittle me out themselves. You never know. Oh, whittle-dee-dee, whittle-dee-dah.

And this is the other side of the rejection coin. Because the thick skin comes in handy when it is no laughing matter - because it is some cutie who really should love you but actually might possibly be rejecting you. If I was God, he would love me. But he was almost too perfect. He is in the box. I want to be caught by surprise if he decides to "pop!" This laid-back there's-no-expectation approach comes only after I analyzed what his follow-up email on Monday said: "Thanks again for a great time.....Plan B was a stunning success....anyway, if you would be up for it, we should try and catch a show sometime soon.” That was no pop-up. To me, that says "you're cool, but there was no love connection - you're good for some live music." But he said "soon!" And he was feeling me out with "if you are up for it." But then again he mentioned only seeing some music and not the general idea of “I’d like to see you anywhere." Probably, gentle rejection. And that is okay. It's the thick skin that keeps me so level-headed and secure and detached from the situation. (Snark.)

But then there is the issue of the guy who asked to "reschedule" our date that was to take place tonight. I don't know he mentioned something about fighting a cold but still "really wants to meet me." Yeah? Well, I got thick skin, besides, I have my own sock drawer that needs re-arranging too. And now a loofah treatment to attend to. This thick skin is getting itchy.

But see? All this is the right kind of rejecting. There isn't any false hope. What we have here is a variation of the "put on hold" option. "You seem like a nice person but it's probably not going to happen" is what that is saying. Now I am trying to walk that fine line with my Sunday night date - The Sprite Drinker. I'd like to "put him on hold." Because you can't just ignore it and not do anything.

Because that is the worst type of rejection. I am talking about the kind of rejection that goes something like this: ---------. That was internet-speak for "silence" also known as "no words", "not facing the music", "avoidance", or "I am a pussy". Or to put it another way - fall off the face of the earth and avoid the person you want to break up with so that they have to file a missing persons report and feel shameful of the was-it-something-I-did kind. You get the picture.

This is the kind of rejection - the kind that doesn't even aknowledge or dignify the relationship to any - even small - degree of worth - no amount of thick skin can shield. Or, does that kind of rejection give you the thick skin? I remember it well - that sting of rejection - so much so that I wish him to feel that sting of rejection himself. To take from that relationship: I will be sure to not dish that brand of rejection myself. It is not a nice way to conduct your life.

So short squat baldies and cute fun dates - reject me all you want. Because you can't say I'm being ignored, right?


I HATE rejection and all its variations.


James said...

i'm sure the SSBG's get a look at your picture and know they are out of their league and close you out just to preserve some of their own dignaty. and don't think for a second guys won't do that. I know I used to...

Who am I kidding. I was a total man whore.


plsbehot said...

Enjoyed your post! Take a moment and review my blog as well... todays post is somewhat about (Internet Dating) rejection as well)...

Thanks, plsbehot

AmyE said...

A friend from college is now engaged to a man she met on e-harmony. I won't go into details but the whole thing seems dicey. They don't even live in the same state. I think she said yes for the ring and to potentially end up on a commerical. It could always be worse!

Virginia Belle said...

as an experienced online dater, i can assure you are probably wasting your time and money.

i had a ton of dates via match, and some of them were good. but they all ended up being either losers or jerks by date 3. so, it's good for the ego sometimes, but still a waste of time and ultimately depressing.

so even if the SSBGs weren't rejecting you, you'd have to be on dates with them. trust me, you aren't missing anything. stay home and watch CSI. much better usage of time.

best way to date? through friends. just about every boyfriend i've had has happened this way. what, you've already used all of your dating options here? well, then, it's time to make some new friends! good luck!