July 28, 2009

They’re not all insincere assholes, FYI

Posted in *cringe*, Advice I have no business giving, Nerdiness, The How, The Why, The WTF at 9:43 am by Dagny Taggart

I’ve thought it.  I remember thinking it the first time that guy on the metro decided to strike up a conversation, back when my metro ride began at Huntington.  It wasn’t so much that he was a lot older than anyone I’d ever thought of dating, or that he seemed a little awkward. What it was, was that within fifteen or twenty minutes, I’d heard about his house in Old Town, his summer home, his boat, his horses… and he knew nothing about me.  Hadn’t the foggiest notion of whether I was worth impressing… and clearly didn’t know that this wasn’t the way to do it.

And so, when I was out with a friend of a friend a few weekends ago, I was disappointed.  On some level, I consider this guy a friend – certainly someone I’d happily introduce to a girlfriend, if I knew an unattached woman with whom he’d be compatible.  He’s charming, well-groomed and mannered, and devastatingly intelligent.  And he was trying to meet someone.

I think that people can, and do, meet long-term significant others at bars.  I just don’t think they do it by engaging in gratuitous generosity.   You want to send someone a drink as an opener?  Honestly, that’s fine.  If I accept the drink, I’ve indicated that I’m okay with you coming over to talk to me.  But I’d be just as likely to engage in conversation with you if you’d just… come over and started talking to me.  And I’m certainly not going to respond well, if you give the impression that you think you’ve… summoned me for the price of a drink, the way you summon the server with the promise of a tip.  I don’t work for you, no matter how tasty your drink is.  And if all you do is spend, and all you talk about is money, you’re telling me that you’ve assumed I’m superficial and materialistic.

But… let me think that I’m special, that this isn’t just yet another attempt to buy your way past your laziness or nerves, and I’m much more likely to cut you some slack.  Come over and talk to me, or meet me halfway as I move to thank you, and I’m much more likely to engage in conversation.  Tell me something interesting about yourself, and I’m much more likely to keep listening.

What I learned, a few weekends ago, is that it’s not always laziness.  It’s not always an assumption that all you want is a free drink and a ride on a yacht.  Sometimes, what looks like insincerity is really just insecurity.   And that?  That’s an Assateague-summer-house-horse-of-a-different-color.



  1. I’ve always thought that bringing up money was a strange way to try to win over a girl, because the only ones who would be impressed by your jaguar are the gold diggers, and they are not exactly good GF material.

    But I think you’re right about the insecurity. Rather than pride about his accomplishments/possessions, the message he seems to be subcomminicating is that he is not interesting or charming enough for you to hang out with based on his personality alone so you should want to date him for all the cool stuff you will get. If you open a checking account you get a free toaster; if you sleep with him, you get to spend the weekend on small boat in the chesapeake.

    Maybe there isn’t anything about himself that is interesting enough to keep you interested without the monetary stuff? Maybe, like Gertrude Stein said,
    “there’s no ‘there’ there.”

    Although you are normally very perceptive, I disagree about the bar thing. It’s a terrible place to meet someone for anything more than a hookup.

  2. HIN: Well, in the case of my friend, there is definitely a “there”, there. And that gives me hope for others who have tried a similar approach.

    As for the bar thing, I know a few people who have met significant others while out at a bar. While they may be the exception, more than the rule, I feel like I can’t completely discount it for that reason.

  3. Jen said,

    Some guys think that flashing money around will impress us because it shows us how well we’ll be treated if we’re lucky enough to date them. To me, all that tells me is that, if this guy ends up being marriage material, I’m putting him on an allowance and hiding his credit cards.

  4. Lisa said,

    I think you are right – it is so often insecurity. The money or the here’s how important I am or whatever are something very easy, obvious (and dumb) to offer up, rather than real pieces of yourself.

    Also, an Assateague summer house? How lovely!

  5. Jen: A very practical point of view. It’s funny – all I get from that is that they assume I’m shallow and easy. And it makes me all, “at LEAST get to know me first.”

    Lisa: I think it’s the lack of interest in real anyone that gets to me. Just TALK to someone like they’re a real person, for crying out loud!

    And if he hadn’t moved right along to talking about his boat, I might’ve had a few seconds to think that I might actually LIKE the kind of person who liked Assateague enough to buy a house there. Sheesh.

  6. When a gentleman buys a lady a drink he is entitled to no more than the privilege of paying for her drink and a waved thank you if accepted. I refuse to believe that a lady is obligated to converse if she accepts a drink from a gentleman. Further, only new money declares itself and that declaration is always gauche irrespective of how much one just overpaid for that cocktail.

  7. miss. chief said,

    i think you guys hit the nail on the head… insecurity and hiding behind money is all it amounts to.

    not a really attractive package in my opinion.

  8. Alias Faux said,

    In my experience, bars are a fine place to meet people.

    Drunk at a bar, however, is not.

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