Dating Disasters: Saga of A Single Girl - The Game Player
I hope you all didn't think I was done with my dating adventures after Mr. Needy. He was a treat. But, he was relatively harmless compared to the next dating disaster I'm going to tell you about!
Enter The Game Player.
We've all heard about that guy who is the master of the game. The guy who seemingly will do and say whatever he needs to do to, depending on the situation, get a girl in the sack, or in the case of online dating, I think it's just to get a girl to hang out. And one of the first few guys I started talking too online was one such individual.
I met this guy online, we had a good banter going back and forth, he was an attractive guy, and we had things in common. That was a pretty good basis to meet up, right? So I gave him my number. And as we were setting up getting together for the first time, things started to get weird.
RED FLAG #1 - THE NEED FOR VALIDATION
He texted me one day after we exchanged numbers and we started chit-chatting. Then, all of a sudden, amidst a comparison to Batman and a small rant about crime, he asks, "On a scale of one to Ryan Gosling, how hard are you crushing on me right now?"
My first thought was..."uhhh not that much?" Maybe I'm a realist, or maybe he just hadn't done anything particularly memorable, or maybe I'm just a bitch. But don't worry, I didn't say that.
Anyways, regardless! I just find it super annoying that guys want to know how much you like them before you've even met them. I understand that it is flattering for anyone to hear from someone else that they are liked, but I would never expect someone to say that they like me before they even met me. I'd probably say something along the lines of "You don't even know me." Perhaps that's the realist in me, but the idea that someone wants me to convey my crush to them when all we've done is chat and message, and I don't even have any idea if they remotely resemble their online photos in real life, or, I don't know, whether or not they're an asshole yet, is just ridiculous to me...
RED FLAG #2 - SEXUAL INNUENDOS UP THE YING-YANG & A SELF-DESCRIBED COCKY DOUCHE BAG
In the same line of questioning, he was asking me about what I did that weekend, and I told him that I went out with my friends dancing the weekend before. All of sudden he asks me, I guess related to my going out dancing, "Do you give lap dances for your guy and go all out?"
**Cue screeching brakes sound effects** - Say what?!
If this were a real life conversation, there probably would've been some awkward laughing and profuse blushing! I mean - shit! How do you respond to that?! So I just said - "At the club? Uh no." And that kind of killed our conversation for the night.
Then we got to the stereotypical "tell me a little about yourself" question. We had set up a meeting for drinks in a couple days, so I kept mine relatively short and innocuous, not wanting to dry up all of the conversations before our actual date. When I reciprocated the question, I was quite caught off guard by his responses. He described himself as "cocky," a "douche bag," the "alpha male," and that he likes "rough sex."
Cocky douche bag? Really?
Now - I'm all for honesty here. But I don't think I've ever met a girl who thinks "cocky douche bags" are an attractive descriptors in the slightest. Guys, whether you think that about yourselves or not, do not go around describing yourself like that to a girl you're trying to date. Confident will get you a lot further...promise!
Also - rough sex. This one just flat out caught me off guard. You like rough sex? That's great. Do you need to make that well known before we've even met each other? Not really! At least not for me. So, call me skittish or prudish, but this just caught me like a deer in the headlights. Awkward.
The sexual innuendos didn't stop there. In fact, I kind of feel like he laid them on even thicker from this point on.
At one point I mentioned to him that I play to piano. And, this guy took my interest in piano to a whole other level.
"I used to know how to play hot cross buns on the piano. No big deal. Keep it in your pants. I know that's a huge turn on. Just try and control yourself Ellyn."
Huh?! Okay, I get that this was a joke! I'm not that much a prude that I don't recognize that, and trust me, I make sexual jokes with my friends, but not with people I've just met. My discomfort with Mr. self-proclaimed cocky douche bag was escalating more and more. I mean honesty - what do you say to that? Anything flirty and playful would demonstrate something what I wasn't thinking, and would suggest I was comfortable with that at this point, and I wasn't. And for me to say, "Um no it's not a turn on" would just come off as bitchy. So I just left it as is.
Then he made a complete 180...
The following day after the whole "keep it in your pants" comment we were supposed to meet up for drinks. I was still sick, and still recovering my voice, so I asked him if it was okay to reschedule. But that was only part of my hesitation. I had grown more and more uncomfortable with how this guy portrayed himself and his proclivity for cocky douch-baggery and overtly sexual banter. I just wasn't comfortable meeting up with him until I kind of could feel things out a little bit more. Frankly, I just wasn't sure if I wanted to meet up at all anymore. I was that uncomfortable and that turned off.
He must have picked up on that because all of a sudden he asked if I was interested. When I told him that I wasn't sure that I was, he was gracious, but went radio silent soon afterward. That's understandable.
So, you can imagine my surprise when he texted me the next day...
"Can I ask you a question? An exit survey of sorts."
Ohhh shit, I thought. But, I figured, you know if this guy is legitimately going out on a limb, trying to figure out what went wrong, then why not just be open and honest about it?
He proceeded to ask about what drove me away, and hit the nail on the head when he said, "My assumption is that I lost you with the multiple sexual in nature jokes prior to knowing each other at all or even going on a date." I told him that describing your self as cocky or a douche is never a good thing and definitely not a turn-on for me, and frankly suggests that you probably have some insecurities. If you have a high degree of confidence, that's something different.
Regarding the sexual jokes, I actually opened up to him and told him something about me, which I probably didn't need to tell him, but I wanted him to understand where I was coming from. I told him that the jokes were too much too soon, but that that was for me personally and may not be an issue to everyone. I told him to take that with a grain of salt, because I am hypersensitive to that stuff due to the fact that last summer someone I had gone out with once basically told me I'm a prude because I wouldn't sleep with him on the second date. I'm not an overtly sexual person. I'm okay saying that, in writing it on a website, because I think it's something that I now understand about myself.
All of a sudden, Mr. Cocky Douche Bag went into an apologetic and comforting mode. I wasn't expecting that! I figured he would take his constructive criticism and move on. But he didn't. He apologized to me, offered some explanation for the things he'd said, and proceeded to say that he's looking for something serious and he understands and agrees that I may not be it. But given that he's new to the area, he would love to hang out as friends anyway.
Now, some of you might be reading this going - "NO! NO! NO! Don't do it! What an idiot!" But as I mentioned before, with Mr. Needy, I believe in giving people a second chance. And since this guy had dropped the "I'm a cocky, arrogant, asshole" act, and finally had gone into nice guy mode, I wanted to give him the benefit of the doubt. So we set up a chill, movie hang out for a few days later. And the more we talked over these few days, the more I realized that I really liked nice guy version of him...he was starting to grow on me.
Red Flag #3 - Shirtless selfies
Prior to us hanging out, he asked me if he could get some girl/dating profile advice. I said sure - why not right? How bad could it be?
Next thing I know, he starts sending me shirtless selfies! And not just shirtless. Like he's only in a towel that is sitting very low on his hips. Say what?! I wasn't expecting that! He sent me a handful of pictures and asked for my honest opinion. And, well, it became very clear that I didn't think he was as sexy as he thought he was in these pictures. I gave feedback because that's what he said he wanted. Some of it may have been brutal or critical, but in my opinion, that's what friends do! Since we're friends now...
He basically was posing like he was some ripped, 6-packed fitness model...and, well, he wasn't. I'm not either, so it's not like I'm judging. I have plenty of room for improvement too, and as such I don't go and put shirtless selfies on dating sites, or send them to guys I'm dating shortly after we've met. But, he asked for my honest opinion, and that's what I told him. He then sends me another one..."Okay critique this one next...unless you'd like to tear into the other one some more." Um - sorry?! You did ask for honesty, you know. Apologies that I don't think you're Adonis or something.
The Final straw...NOT TAKING NO FOR AN ANSWER
A day or so later, we met up for a movie. I came over to his house and we got Ant-Man at Red Box.
Now, don't judge me, this whole situation was like INCREDIBLY naive of me. I get that. Yes, I went over to his place, which in hindsight I shouldn't have done. It was the first time we'd met face to face and he'd made me pretty uncomfortable only a few days earlier. But, our interactions the last couple days had been harmless, though confusing at times, and I had faith that he did just want to be friends. Just in case, though, I did provide one of my friends his address in case he turned out to be a serial killer or something, or I was just in need of SOS.
I got to his place, and we hit it off. We chatted in the kitchen for a while about everything from family to sports, to his dog, etc. before settling in to watch the movie. Fortunately, he'd fore-warned me that his TV was in his room, or I would've been very weirded out when we headed into his bedroom. But it really wasn't weird. He sat on one side of the bed. I sat on the other, and his dog plopped in the middle, and we watched the movie.
Now, I realized when douche bag turned into a nice guy, and after chatting with him, that though he'd driven me away before, I actually had a lot of chemistry and a lot in common with him. So, when he put his arm around me and kissed me during the movie, I didn't mind at all.
But, then he started to push me a little bit too hard to do things with him that I didn't want to do. I'm not going to go into overt details. But, it became blatantly obvious that he wanted making out to turn into more than that. But I didn't. And I wouldn't go there.
He tried once, and I understand why he did. So many girls say that they don't want to go past a certain point too soon, and then they do. So I actually understand the initial attempt.
But then he tried again.
And I started to get pissed off.
I said before that I'm not an overtly sexual person, and what I mean by that is that the VAST majority of the time, I have not, will not, and do not develop a sexual relationship with someone before I am ready. When will I be ready? No clue. But I have seen far too many relationships, mine and others, crash and burn because the physical/sexual parts of a relationship came into play too soon. Beyond those reasons, generally speaking for me, there has to be a certain level of comfort and of trust between me and someone I am in a relationship with for me to get to that point. And I was not there with this guy.
After getting pressured into doing more than I was ready or willing to do FOUR TIMES, and saying "No!" FOUR TIMES, I finally got up and off of the bed where we'd been watching the movie. I told him I was going to go. And he looked absolutely dumbfounded. I'm shaking my head even as I'm writing this at that. I told him that I had a good time, and I wanted to leave still feeling like I had a good time. So I walked out to his living room, collected my thing, put on my jacket...and even as I had my jacket on and my purse slung over my shoulder with my keys in hand, this guy was STILL trying to take my clothes off. So, I shot him down one last time.
Lessons from the Game Player...
I was so shocked at how this whole situation turned out. And I was driving home from his house, I was simultaneously angry, upset, and also having some profound realizations.
I was angry at myself for being naive enough to put myself in that situation.
I was angry at him for, even after I opened up to him about the guy last summer who called me a prude for not sleeping with him, still trying to pressure me into things that I wasn't comfortable with.
I was upset for, well, obvious reason.
And then I started to realize a number of things. This guy was playing the game. And he played the game very well. He'd taken the cocky douche bag route, and when I told him that hadn't worked for me, he said that he'd only resorted to that because historically girls had responded to and respected that more. It is also harder to get invested and get hurt when you're the cocky douche bag. So that was attempt #1 for him. Whether a guy is a nice guy in real life or not, taking the cocky, douche bag route is almost a defense mechanism. Plus, nice guys historically do finish last. I get that.
But, with me, when cocky douche bag didn't work, he went into friends/nice guy mode. It was attempt #2, and I responded to nice guy mode enough that we were able to hang out.
One of my best guy friends confirmed this. Confirmed that this is a game that guys play, and in some dating curriculum for guys, this is basically what is taught. Good to know.
But what was complete and utter bullshit to me, and sure better not be something that is taught in a men's dating curriculum is the blatant disregard for my emotions, my actions, and my words when I repeatedly told this guy where I drew the line. That shit is not okay.
Guys...I can't tell you not to play this game. I don't think it works - but I'm one person. N = 1 is not a big enough sample size...I know I'm such a science nerd. But what I can tell you is this. In my opinion, the girls that are worth dating don't want to date a self-proclaimed cocky douche bag, and the girls you want to be in a long term relationship probably aren't the girls that will let you push them around and who will do things with you they're not ready for. So - basically, don't be an asshole! Be real with a girl about the type of person you are. If she doesn't like it, well, at least you weren't a douche bag. And if she does, then great! She actually liked you for exactly who you are so their won't be any surprises later. And whether you're a physical/sexual person or not, that shit will come along in a relationship when it is meant to and when both people want it to. That's called consent. So don't pressure her, don't pressure yourself, and don't rush it.
Ladies - This a very similar statement to the one I made last time in Mr. Needy, but this time it is made in a completely different context. NEVER let a guy push you around! NEVER feel pressured to feel more or less than you feel. And above all, NEVER feel pressured to or do more than you want to do. Hold your fucking ground (pardon my french, family!), stand proud, and don't apologize. You owe no person, and especially no man, anything other than what you're willing and able to give. Again, I still believe in giving people the benefit of the doubt and a second chance. I did that with Mr. Needy and I did it again with The Game Player, But, what I learned from The Game Player is this - don't be naive.
I am fucking proud of myself for not letting this guys relentlessness compromise my character, my morals, and my integrity, even though he tried his damnedest. Prude or not - this guy talked the talk, played the game, and played it well. And I'm not going to lie, there's guys like this around. But don't do what I did! Try not to let the game fool you, but more importantly don't be naive. Meet in public. Protect yourself from the situation I put myself in. Listen to your gut! And if you do end up this situation, hold your damn ground as best you can.
one Last Note...
Before I finally got around to publishing this story, two things happened.
- I discovered a movie called The Hunting Ground, about sexual assault on college campuses.
- I found out that shortly ago, one of my good friends was sexually assaulted.
Having described my story to you, I understand that my experience in no way compares to those of the women both in that movie, or the experience of my friend. But it could've been...
When dating, I want to trust that someone won't take advantage of me. I want to trust that something like this won't happen to me. But, if history has demonstrated anything it's that it does. I put myself in a situation that I probably shouldn't have, and I got very lucky that my situation didn't turn out worse. Others haven't. So, just don't put yourself in that situation.
The last thing I want to say, is if something like this happens to you, don't let it jade or discourage you. Understandably, it will shake you for a while, and that is OKAY. It should. And anyone would understand if it did! I let my interaction with this guy make me me a little jaded. The next few guys I met online, I was skittish to actually meet up with. Even if we were meeting in public, I found myself looking for reasons why it wouldn't work out before we'd even met because this interaction had jaded me to men so badly.
Take your time, but ultimately, realize that you will and need to move on eventually. I still believe that people are inherently good. And even in the drama and cosmic ridiculousness that online dating has been to start with, it's not all bad. As I'll tell you about in future posts...
THERE ARE SOME GOOD ONES OUT THERE... EVEN IF IT DOESN'T WORK OUT WITH THEM!
Until next time - peace out from, your single girl coach! ;-)