February 01, 2007

How Quick Bright Things Come to Confusion

Apparently sometime last Monday night during a lovely evening with my current ladyfriend Amy, we had one those conversations that make trouble between men and women.

Not a conversation about whether something makes her look fat, or whether someone is prettier than she is, actually I've never gotten burned by those stereotypical Hollywood examples of male blundering. No, this time is was one of those conversations that mean one thing to a man, and another to a woman -- or to be more specific, that meant one thing to Dan, and another thing to Amy. I refer to the plans which she felt we made, and I felt we merely discussed, regarding this Thursday night. Plans which I promptly forgot about and which she coldly reminded me of when I -- thinking I was being a terrific gentlemen -- just called her late Thursday night out of the blue to say hello.

"So whatcha up to?" I asked.


"No? No plans for tonight?" I reply, still blissfully unaware of the danger before me.

"I thought *we* had plans" she returns.

This was met with silence from Dan, who's furiously rewinding his mental videotape back through our earlier exchanges.

"We did?"

The only plans I knew of for Thursday were drinks after work with my volleyball team, a lovely fun few hours from which I was heading home when I decided to call.

"Ya, drinks with your volleyball team, and then I was going to stay over."

More silence from Dan...

Let me jump ahead for you, so we can get to the heart of the matter. At some point on Monday, likely just before or just after we engaged in a particularly lusty reunion after having not seen one another for about a week, I suggested that she join me on Thursday evening, then come back to my place so that she can leave from here for her flight from LaGuardia Friday morning. I do now recall that conversation - I don't deny the facts of the case. The ambiguity comes afterward. Did we, or did we not "make plans."

I am of the opinion that we did not. We talked of it, certainly, but concrete plans were not made. We merely discussed it as an option that was available to her, should she wish it. She is of course of the opinion that we did.

Here is my evidence that she in fact knew that they weren't concrete:

From Tuesday afternoon, when we had our last email, to tonight, when I discovered the error of my ways, we hadn't had any contact - no emails, no calls, nothing. This is not the behavior of two people who have plans with one another.

If she fully expected that we were doing this thing which she felt we had committed to do, and we hadn't been in touch for nearly 48 hours, why didn't she call or email me? I mean, clearly she was waiting for me to call or email her, and I didn't, that's why she's upset with me now. Thursday rolled on, yet no contact from Dan. She feels I blew her off, and I don't think that's fair.

A person who has plans they care about with another person takes responsibility for making what they want to happen, happen. When two people have plans for which they have not gotten specific, don't they get in touch to finalize them? I contend that she was more interested in proving her point than she was in our plans, because if she really just wanted to see me and had no agenda, she would have contacted me.

Much like when I got blindsided after my ski trip, I think she spent the entire afternoon looking for evidence that I had forgotten about her, that I wasn't thinking about her, that ultimately I didn't care about her. Evidence which I of course provided, by not calling her sooner and not remembering our plans. A more accurate way to interpret my behavior would have been to assume that Dan had either forgotten, or didn't realize we had made an actual, committed date, but that wasn't where she decided to take the train of thought.

Had she been gracious in that way, and contacted me today, we might have had a friendly conversation that would have gone something like "Oh ya, you want to come tonight? Terrific - let's meet at 6:00. Yup, I totally forgot, but I'm glad you called."

Instead, we have a disappointed, frustrated, and angry Amy, and a frustrated, disappointed Dan. Amy gets to be right about how wrong Dan is, and Dan gets to enjoy knowing that a woman he likes will spend the next week or so thinking about how he let her down. Wow, everybody wins in that scenario. Congratulations!

How did it happen that there is 100% responsibility on my part to know what she's thinking, and zero responsibility on her part to know what I'm thinking?

Had she checked in with me, rather than whatever story she's making up that was confirmed by my failure to call, she would have learned that it was just a misunderstanding which doesn't mean anything other than at the time we were discussing it - which is not the best time to have a fellow's full attention in the first place - I felt it was left ambiguously.

I feel that today she was more interested in nailing me than she was in being gracious and great with me. Had she been, we would have enjoyed a lovely night together but instead she's going away mad, and I'm going away feeling like I've disappointed her tremendously.

Have I ever mentioned that the quickest way to get a man to bolt from a relationship is the feeling that he has disappointed you?

When you help your partner win, you both win. But Amy wasn't interested in helping me win with her - she was interested in being right about however it was that I was wrong. She was proving a point, otherwise she would have checked in with me, and now she thinks her point is proven. I believe this was a poor method of determining what I am thinking, because not only is everyone left upset, but whatever conclusions she's drawing from this experience are not accurate.

It's been my dating experience that women often eschew the simplest and most effective method of determining what the men in their life are thinking:

Just ask them.


At 1:03 PM, Anonymous Elise said...

I am tired just reading that.

I hope you can work through this one. I am sure she has a different take on this than you do, of course. While your argument is logical, it does seem, um, one sided.


At 4:46 PM, Anonymous Amy (Not that Amy, Another Amy) said...

And YOU're not trying to be right or anything....

At 7:01 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I do not understand why you're airing this publicly. If you are inclined to make your peace with her, this public airing will be an obstacle. If you are inclined to call it quits, its causes are your business and hers.

At 9:21 AM, Blogger Dan said...

That's the nature of a blog; I get to vent, and if you're interested, you get to read it.

Though you may be thinking Amy (the one in question) will also read it - and that's not the case. The blog and she have not been introduced.

As to my reasons, partially frustration at the time I wrote it, and a large part because I have a number of strong women in my life who when they read my rants about women get all riled up - and that's fun for me. You should see some of the email I've been sent!

At 9:35 AM, Blogger Mr.T said...

Wow my head hurts. I don't think that I have ever heard such a Rant like this before from you. Well my opinion is that you are both wrong. You should have both checked in with each other before said event.....Oh and Dan did I mention that you sound like Ethan when he comes home from school!...Hmmm what was it that you always told me to go and wipe when I would complain to you? :)

At 3:19 PM, Blogger Dan said...

Waaaaah, women don't understand me... WAAAAAH!


At 5:40 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Ok, so I'm late to this. And as one of the women who has sent you some of the emails to which you refer, I feel especially qualified to tell you I agree with you on this one. But then again, as you know, I'm also one of those women who will call and clarify to the exact detail of plans before hauling my butt anywhere for anyone. I want to be sure you are ready and waiting for me before I grace you with my presence. xoxo C.


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