There was a time some years ago when every few hours I seemed to come across an aspiring female columnist’s ham-fisted attempt at grasping the social interactions between the sexes. I had to train myself to stay away from giving these spewers of mind-numbingly stupid “journalism” the satisfaction of my page hits, for the betterment of my sanity.
The “advice” they give to women is the blind leading the blind—and, in fact, quite possibly the purest example of the cliché that exists in the physical form. These girls (and I don’t use that term pejoratively; quite often these are young women only a few months removed from college) know absolutely nothing about how men think or feel, but still feel unfounded confidence in their ability to coach their peers on the subject.
Sometimes, though, they’ll turn their attention to male readers. And sometimes, this is actually a good thing. A woman who knows nothing about men preaching to other women is just promoting ignorance; but, odds are, she knows something about women, and so offering men a glimpse into her own mind is actually helpful. But the worst manifestation of this shell game is the advice columnist who tries to explain men’s thoughts and feelings to men.
Case in point: “The 10 mixed messages women will hate you for,” by some woman (I’m not even going to give her the SEO advantages of printing her name on our page. But I will direct the rest of this post towards her, for the benefit of others headed down her path...)
Are you clinically insane? Or are you just so naively narcissistic that you can’t see the absurdity of your plan? You’ve spent at least half of your 20something years on this planet misreading men’s signals, and now you’re going to wag your finger at us from the mountaintop? [ok, it’s Thrillist…it’s more like a hilltop in the suburbs.] Let’s break down this drivel piece-by-piece (pink shading added for my own enjoyment):
Generally, well-adjusted women are cool with keeping things breezy. What we're not on board with is being jerked around (also, socks with sandals.) Here're the 10 things that will mislead and lure her into a relationship neither of you want.Would it come off as snarky if I were to point out that people who refer to themselves as “well-adjusted” typically aren’t? It would? Okay then…
- Concern. Did you help her when she got locked out of her apartment? Text her to see if she got home OK? You're nicing your way into being a jerk.
- 2-or-10. Rip two months off your Family Guy calendar or surpass 10 things-that-might-resemble-dates -- whichever comes first -- and you've lost the right to casually end things.
- Digital imprint. If she was listed as anything other than "(Bar where you met) Amy" in your phone, or if her picture came up when she called you, you're probably leading her to think you really care.
- Just because. If you texted or called to see how her day went. Don't do it.
- Associations. Telling her that you saw (fill in the blank thing) and it made you think of her is sweet. Now she has something to associate with her future hatred of you, awwww.
But I suppose I should have figured that out from your very first bullet point. Fair enough…
- Biographical details. Meeting her at a place where her friends happen to be is one thing. Knowing that Megan's the one in Ad Sales and what year her brother is at Fordham's another.
- Future plans. Worse than hanging out with her mid-week or in daylight hours is making plans for anything more than 48hrs away. If you talked about what you guys'd do "this weekend", that's on you, brotha.
- Artifacts. Property transfer -- be it clothing left at each others' places or gifts exchanged -- insinuates commitment.
- Affection. Spooning when you're done could be construed as casual. Forehead kisses and hand-holding can not.
- Familiarity. If your buddies, roommates, or doorman could recognize her without you, your casual relationship is more relationship than casual.
Maybe you should spend some time thinking about that before you go bestowing "wisdom" on others?