27 July 2016

An Unexpected Redemption Story

I owe it to someone to patch up his reputation a little bit. So despite my desire to burn all men at the stake just now, I'm swallowing down my pride and admitting to a case of hasty judgment.

A couple of days ago I got a text from Mr. Entrepreneur, much to my shock. It was a late night text on a Friday, just asking how I've been. After everything that happened with Mr. Charming only a week prior, I wasn't exactly amused. Frankly I was pissed. Where does this guy get the nerve, thinking I want anything to do with him? Why do all these guys think they can treat me like shit and I will still jump at the chance to see them!?

Of course, after I calmed down a little bit, I remembered my promise not to ghost anyone, and I remembered that over all, Mr. Entrepreneur really didn't seem like such a bad guy. He just made a few mistakes and ultimately wasn't the right guy for me anyway. So I sent back the bare minimum "Fine, thanks," kind of reply. He didn't get the hint. Or maybe he did, but he had a little more tenacity than I'm actually giving him credit for. Remember: we're repairing his reputation here. Much like Lizzie Bennet in Pride & Prejudice I am not always a reliable narrator. I tell you stories from my own heavily biased view point. Either way, I got a second date ask out.

>>>> That's good! Would you want to hang out again? Or you weren't really feeling it? Haha.

Vague use of the phrase "hang out" and lame forced laughter aside, I think Entrepreneur knew he was shooting at a pretty distant target here, and I appreciate the easy out he offered me, which I readily took.

<<<< Honestly, [Mr. Entrepreneur], I just wasn't feeling it. But I'm flattered. Thanks for the offer.

He handled it shockingly well. We both wished each other "good luck out there," and then he hit me with what I could only assume was a trap:

>>>> Just thought I'd ask, and you don't have to answer, it's more my nagging curiosity, was it something specific or like a general feeling of not connecting?
>>>> Sorry if that's a weird thing to ask. I guess I just thought why not.

To quote my friend Jenna, "Oh jeezers." Let's be real, most of the time when people ask questions like this, they don't want the truth. They want to hear something comforting like "It's not you, it's me." Or "Oh, you're such a great guy but I've realized I need to work on myself right now," or some other form of bullshit. And you know what? Two or three years ago I might have given it to him. But not me today. Me today is tired of the crap. Me today is worn down. Me today doesn't have energy to coddle your ego. So I told him the truth, wrapped in as much kindness as I could manage. I chose not to mention the fact that his being 25 minutes late for the date didn't start us out on a great foot because really, I realize that could have happened to anyone, and he was genuinely apologetic about it. He already knew that was a mistake.

I didn't tell him that I was looking for someone with more stability than he could offer with his multiple starter businesses and part-time jobs. And I didn't bother mentioning that I really, really wasn't sure I'd ever be able to get past the fact that he and my older brother have the same first name. Those were too subjective.

Instead, I told him about the two things I felt were pretty universal. Two things he should really consider rethinking the next time he takes a woman out: Paying for the date and not asking specific questions about where she lives. I explained that although I don't subscribe to the belief that the man should always pay, I do believe the asker should pay and it "felt pretty rude" when he didn't even offer. And then I gently reminded him that dating really is dangerous for women, and it "made me really uncomfortable" when he asked which apartment I was in, especially when I was already nervous about the fact that he already knew where my building was.

To be safe, I added that I wasn't telling him any of this because he should "try harder," and I really didn't "feel a connection" (to use his own phrasing). I wouldn't have told him, but since he asked, well….

And then the strangest damn thing happened. Someone apologized to me.

He said he'd realized he made a mistake and immediately felt like crap when I paid for my meal, but he had been frazzled from running late. (My counterargument? It would have helped his case immensely at the time if he had actually vocalized it. An "Oh man, I should have paid for that! Let me get your next drink, okay?" would have done him wonders of good in the moment.)

More importantly, he was incredibly sorry for making me feel uncomfortable when he asked about the apartment. I think that was something he hadn't realized in the moment that he'd done wrong, and he seemed honestly remorseful for "coming off as predatory." I assured him that I would have left the date a lot earlier if I had really been afraid that he meant any harm.

For real? Mr. Entrepreneur handled the whole situation so well that I actually took a moment to reconsider whether I were doing the right thing in turning him down. I'm still not one hundred percent sure on the decision, but I kept coming back to the stability thing (age confirmed as 29, by the way), the name thing, the fact that while I thought he was cute I wasn't overwhelmingly attracted to him, and…well, there was just enough there to stop me. It's only been a few days, and I've still been considering whether or not to try to give him another chance. It would be pretty easy. Something along the lines of "Hey listen, I feel like the date the other night started out on such a bad foot that I may not have been giving you a real chance that evening. Can we maybe do something really casual and low-pressure?" would probably do the trick.

But I have a feeling the desire to give it another shot has less to do with actual interest in Mr. Entrepreneur and more to do with my deep, deep desire to get out of the dating game and into the comfort of a real relationship. And that isn't fair to anyone involved.

But the moral of the story here is that Mr. Entrepreneur handled being turned down with such class that he actually made me rethink going out with him. Take notes, everyone. That is how it is done. Well played, Mr. Entrepreneur. Well played.

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