Thursday, 16 May 2013

Auntie Seraphic & the Unsuccessful Matchmaker

It's "Let's Praise Men Week" here on Seraphic Single because whether or not y'all are Serious Singles or Searching Singles, getting along with men is something we have to do. Sometimes this is difficult, so it is good to concentrate on the virtues of the good ones we know and the ornamental charms of scrumptious strangers. Ooh la la.

Of course, we cannot reduce men to mere sex objects, even if it crosses the mind of some of the eavesdroppers that they would not mind this.  But if they think they wouldn't mind, it's because they don't realize that young women usually reduce men to mere sex objects by expecting them to act like Ryan Gosling in a Ryan Gosling film or like the hero of whichever romance novel we they last read. Young women's imaginary sex objects say a lot of nice things and scatter diamond bracelets like frost from a windscreen.  Possibly some older women are a lot more like men when they we reduce people to sex objects, although I imagine all those poor Egyptian waiters must have to work very hard and tell a lot of lies for their British and German old lady tips.

What a thought. Anyway, here is the letter:

Dear Auntie Seraphic,

What are your thoughts on the following situation?

 A pleasant young bachelor has recently entered my social circle (rather devoid of eligible males) and one of my good friends has a crush on him. He has paid her some attention, but hasn't asked her out. I wanted to get the two of them together, so I organized a group event and invited them both. The young man was unable to attend, so that effort didn't go anywhere.

However, lately he has been paying me some attention, possibly thinking that since I invited him out I am interested in him. I didn't intend to send that signal, and I am worried about my friend thinking I am pursuing him and feeling hurt. She has told me, unprovoked, that she thinks it is awful when girls get territorial about someone who isn't actively dating them, but I know it would hurt her feelings all the same.

I am not particularly attracted to the young man, but he is pleasant and civilized, and if my friend weren't interested I would probably say yes if asked for coffee, in hopes he would turn out to be a fascinating and dashing character. On the other hand, I think he could be just right for my friend and wish he had the sense to ask her out. Unfortunately, though, my friend is very reserved around people she likes.

Should I tell mutual (married) female friends that I wish he would ask my friend out (knowing they will repeat it to him) or is this going too far?

Am I really, really, over-thinking this one?

Unsuccessful Matchmaker

Dear Unsuccessful Matchmaker,

I'm delighted that a pleasant young bachelor has entered your social circle, especially as eligible males are rare there. It is too bad that your friend came down with a crush on him, but that is not unusual. In fact, it would be odd if nobody got a crush on a pleasant new young bachelor.

Your email is pleasantly full of the guessing, second-guessing and machinations I expect in any nice social circle of young people, but, yes, it all adds up to over-thinking, frustration and, worst of all, DRAMA.   

I have many thoughts. 

The first is that the pleasant young bachelor is a human being and potential friend in his own right, and only he gets to decide which girl he is into. Your first attempt to attract him to your friend failed; stop trying to attract him to your friend. Stop. Stop at once. I know you are fond of your friend, but the one thing you cannot give her is The True Love of a Good Man. A new lipstick, yes. Mr. New Guy, no. So DON'T involve your mutual friends.

The second is that I would not at all be surprised if he took your invitation to a group event as your action on your own behalf (or, better, his own) and as evidence that you think he is a decent human being you'd like to spend time with. This is one reason why it is good to invite a man to parties instead of on dates: it signals interest in him as a human being without giving off aggressive vibes. The man now thinks, "Ah, at least in all this crowd of strangers, I know the woman who invited me to her party/group event must like me a little." It could be the little dab of encouragement a man needs. Smiles help, too.

The third is that you could save a lot of time and guesswork by asking your friend how she would feel if you did go for coffee with Mr New Guy. You don't, in fact, know how she feels. You won't know until you ask her. And you don't actually need to ask her unless Mr New Guy does ask you out for coffee or unless she repeats her cryptic remark.

Meanwhile, Mr New Guy has not asked you out for coffee, and possibly never will, especially not if you have started behaving coldly to him (if you have) as a way to bounce his regard from you to your friend. All that will do is confuse the poor man, and you don't want, at the end of your life, to hear Someone say, "I was a stranger, and you only welcomed me until I didn't fall in love with your friend."

I hope this is helpful. 

Grace and peace,

It occurred to me after I wrote this letter that Mr New Guy might prefer sunny, confident, busy women who organize group events to reserved girls who are too scared to talk to men they think are cute. Some men prefer the quiet, shy type, and some men don't. Meanwhile, a new guy is almost always going to feel a bit awkward coming into a new group, so of course he is going to gravitate towards the funny, friendly dames who invite him to group stuff. It's the confident, established guy who is most likely to notice the shrinking violet in the corner.

Update: Okay, okay. I admit that many of the British and German old ladies who go on holiday to Egypt, Turkey, Cuba and other places packed with good-looking dark-eyed young men do not make the first move and actually believe their waiters/tour guides/drivers when they say that age means nothing and that they love them.

And I also admit that many of these waiters/tour guides/drivers are not motivated by love of money but by love of unpaid sex with exotic foreign women who are leaving in a week.

Really, it should not be an ego-boost to be 45+ and hit on by an 20-something Egyptian. It should be an ego-boost to be 45+ and hit on by a 20-something year old Swede. If, when I am 45+, I am hit on by a 20-something Swede, I will buy him a drink as I indicate my wedding ring and then rush off to brag blog with glee.

Update 2: Just remembered I was recently hit on by a 20-something Swede. Yay, me!

Update 3: Actually, I think he was probably over 30. Oh, well.


Miss Violet said...

Thanks, Auntie Seraphic!

I think this kind of thing happens more than we know. I was part of a group of friends in which a similar situation occurred, and because the two women involved had completely different personalities and completely different ways of seeing the situation, a drama ensued that damaged more than just their friendship. People ended up taking sides, a very good friendship was ruined, and it wasn't pretty. If someone had just taken the time to ask this same question or at least communicate before acting/reacting impulsively, things might have gone differently. Anyway, even though it's in the past, this is still so helpful. If I ever get the chance (or courage), I will pass your message along (gently and charitably, of course. And I will give you credit).

Jam said...

Not related to the letter, but I thought of a praising-men thing today!

Often as I'm walking to and from home, as I'm about to cross a small street or driveway, I'll spot a car turning in and stop. And not infrequently, the man driving (usually a member of the large local Turkish population) will stop his car -- even in the middle of the oncoming traffic -- and give me a big cheesy smile and a dramatic "ladies first" gesture. This is not very good for traffic flow, and sometimes it has a slightly gross quality, but for the most part it's just kind of absurdly chivalrous. This is the only regular instance of deferential drivers that I've encountered, but I will say that I always think it's sweet when a man waves me ahead of him on or off the train or through a doorway etc. It's nice to see a man being considerate and self-effacing in these little ways toward anyone, but of course I especially like it when I am the beneficiary ;)

Seraphic said...

How funny! Do they usually have huge Turkish moustaches?

Jam said...