I’ve always prided myself on being a nice girl. Not necessarily a GOOD girl…but a nice one. Over the last few years I have done some hard work on myself: 12 Step, Co-counselling, acceptance and commitment therapy, The Artist’s Way. I’ve run the gamut of psycho-spiritual development. It’s all been great, and it’s all helped me enormously in negotiating the mine-field of middle-aged relationships and life “en generale”.
And the men I have dated have benefited hugely from all this work: I have maintained strong boundaries; been alert to my own sub-text; taken people at face-value; not demanded more than a person is capable of giving; been clear, reasonable and authentic in my dealings; deconstructed my own neediness; and kept vigilant about what is my side of the street, and what is the other person’s.
I have been on the receiving end of some very poor behaviour, as anyone who has read this blog would know. And 99% of the time I have maintained my niceness. I have gone out of my way to understand the other person, to walk in their shoes and to give them the benefit of any doubt.
Well today, dear reader I’VE HAD ENOUGH. I’m sick of being the nice girl. I’m sick of understanding that middle-aged men are struggling, and unsure and scared of impotence and lost and lonely and blah blah blah. I am over tolerating the poor behaviour, or just walking away after giving them my blessings. I will still try to understand where the behaviour has come from, and not be too judgmental, but I am now going to, at the very least, CALL IT OUT.
Two “gentlemen” copped it from me this morning.
Greg* is someone I met about three months ago: a nice-enough chap who had not had sex for years, not dated for decades, and spent most of his life just working. When I met him he was so nervous he was shaking. Being the nice girl I am, I reassured him, settled him down and eased him into the wonderful world of middle-aged dating. We caught up a couple of times for lunches, during which he spent most of the time constantly seeking reassurance from me about an up-coming swingers’ party I had offered to take him to. Once I got him to the party, I again ensured his comfort, introduced him to people and showed him a damn good time. He certainly broke his sexual drought that night!
So have a guess whether I’ve heard from him since. And just to add piquancy to the situation, he now comes to the same parties, on his own. He has not once thanked me for introducing him to the scene. He has not once acknowledged that he has given me the flick. He just says “Hi” to me as if nothing has happened. I truly think he is oblivious. He’s not the brightest lamp on the street, admittedly, but really….REALLY????? To take a woman out several times, accompany her to a party, indulge in varied and delightful activity at said party, and then behave as if she doesn’t exist….you wouldn’t have to be a Rhodes Scholar to work out how truly shitty that behaviour is. So he got told today.
Bob* is a guy I met just over a month ago. A seemingly very sweet and delightful man, and someone with whom I had stuff in common (unlike Greg whose interests are limited to work, wine and golf…yawn…). We caught up a couple of times, where the conversation and flirting were both delightful. Then he sent me a text telling me he was unwell and had things going on in his life and he wasn’t going to pursue anything with me. Fair enough. I did, literally, say goodbye with blessings. Then he popped up again and asked if we could catch up. Curiosity, if nothing else, drove me to accept. He then admitted that he’d given me some false information about himself, cleared it all up, explained himself, apologised and was, again, delightful company. A few days later I took HIM to a party (where I bumped into Greg…it’s a small city I live in…) and we had a great time. Cut to a week later, he tells me his life is overwhelming and he needs to pull up the draw-bridge. I dig this…so again I am polite and nice. Two weeks later…up he pops, wanting a coffee. We have the coffee, we talk, we flirt. All is lovely. Last night I sent him an invite to a function I’m going to (complete with free food and drinks and related, jolly palaver). He texts me this morning to decline and to tell me he doesn’t wish to pursue any connection with me because his life is overwhelming. Now is there a pattern here, or is it just me??? For the mathematically challenged amongst you, I will point out that that is three times. THREE. TIMES. Three lots of “go away, I’m confused and overwhelmed”. Many a woman would have told him to go fuck himself after the first time…and certainly after the second. But here’s me,Ms Nice, going by baseball rules and allowing three strikes.
Well…he got told today as well. And I wasn’t polite. And he got no blessings. In fact I think my final words to him were along the lines of “go suck a dick”. Not very mature, I know, but…godammit…I’m over being the mature one.
I’m not saying I’m going to become the nasty girl. Bitchiness is not my preferred M.O. Neither is demanding. I shall keep my boundaries, but I’m pulling one boundary in a lot closer to myself. I’m lowering the tolerance bar for this kind of fuckery. You’re confused? Piss off. You’re scared? Piss off. You’re unsure about what you want? EXTRA piss off.
We teach other people how to treat us, and I have clearly taught men to treat me like a disposable toss-rag. And they, in turn, have taught me to treat them like the dick-wads their behaviour would indicate they are.
*Not their real names