I got an interesting email today about a tiff arising from internet dating. Giving advice on internet dating while it is still going on is a bit difficult, since any given internet relationship is probably at least 50% fantasy. In life, most communication is non-verbal, so goodness knows what is going on in merely epistolary and telephonic relationships. Not the two people involved, that is for sure.
As one can always expect when relationships arise from dating websites, a second lady has become involved in the drama between X and Y. Indeed, there could be dozens of ladies involved in the drama, for the great charm of internet dating is that there are hundreds of other pretty people one can contact online without any of the others having the slightest idea. This is most unlike a cocktail bar, where if a gentleman hits on one waitress, all the other waitresses will know. And if a gentleman hits on a second waitress, not only will the first waitress find out, but all the other waitresses will stand in judgment over him. Bad man. Bad, bad.
Judgment, of course, has a role to play in internet dating, too. I was asked if I thought X should threaten her internet interest Y to tell her internet rival Z that Y had already considered X in the rosy-hued light of romance, and my attitude was, "Why bother? What possible good could that do?"
The whole thing, in fact, made me contemplate the subject of female righteous anger and how unattractive it is to the male sex. For some bizarre reason, some women seem to think that nothing will make men love them more than to give them a piece of their minds.
I think we must get this from films or, Hera help us, Anne of Green Gables, for Anne famously smashed her chalk slate over Gilbert's head and he loved her forever after, blah blah blah blah blah. Today Anne would be sent to the principal's office, and then to the school psychatrist and then to anger management counselling, but I digress. Anyway, Anne walloped Gilbert for calling her "Carrots," not for inviting Ruby Gillis home for lemonade. There are times to yell at unattached young men, but the time he prefers the company of a young lady to yours (or to staying home alone) is not one of them.
In my extreme youth, I thought nothing of giving a young man I admired a piece of my mind for whatever reason. I definitely recall chewing out one handsome lad for standing me up, and thinking that this evidence of my roguish sparkiness would win his heart. Uh, no. If I had any hope of his heart, he would not have stood me up in the first place.
Eventually, as the years rolled on, I realized that roguish sparkiness had no effect whatsoever on any man anywhere near my age. It works solely on men who are at least ten years my senior. Really, I should be charging you girls for this stuff. Go buy my book.
"Hey," I said, one memorable day, to a silver-haired cutie, "why don't you ever ask me out for coffee?"
The silver-haired cutie, who had previously mentally crossed me off his list of eligible women in the office because I was too young, put me back on the list and asked me out for coffee.
Since then I have discovered that I can boss around and upbraid other silver-haired cuties with surprising success. This is awesome. This is so awesomely awesome that it is actually kind of amazing that in the end I married someone younger than myself. But anyway, I want you to remember a good rule:
Yelling at or writing cutting things at or being ironic at a man who is not already in love with you is not going to speed up the process.
Again, I am not ruling out gentle raillery. If you are unusually pretty, or ten to twenty years younger than the object of your raillery, you can get away with it. Make sure your raillery is accompanied by a smile. But most of the time, you are not going to get away with it. And getting angry with a man who is not your steady boyfriend or husband because he went out on a date with another woman is pointless and stupid.
"But, Seraphic," I hear you wail. "I am only 25. The idea of demanding of 45 year olds why they do not buy me coffee makes me feel slightly ill. They have wrinkles and stuff."
"Ah, mes filles," I say in a fake Belgian accent, having just come away from watching "Poirot" on ITV 3, "wait until you are 35. The wrinkly 45 year olds will no longer look so bad.* And there may even be some widowed, divorced-and-annulled or hitherto simply gun-shy 55 year olds who will be worth your notice. They will be putty in your soft unwrinkled hands."
Meanwhile, wear sunscreen and those cute, soft leather driving gloves.
*I mean this quite literally. Shortly after you turn 30, the world sort of becomes bigger and a whole bunch of men who seemed to be invisible when you were in your twenties loom into vision. Their grey hair looks kind of cool and their suits rock your world. You wonder why, when you were a kid, you preferred Luke Skywalker to Han Solo. You now understand why your mother was always a Harrison Ford kind of woman.