Sep 3, 2011

On Etiquette

About a month ago I was "dumped" by a woman without even going out on a single date with her. At first I was  a bit depressed by this, but the more I thought about it, the funnier the situation got. So much so, that when I recounted the events to some of my friends they laughed out loud. Let me explain.

I've been living in my apartment complex for six months and during this time I've come to meet an know a bunch of people who also live here. One of the ways I did this was by hanging out in the communal "internet cafe" in the leasing office. After a few weeks of this, I noticed that there was a woman who would be in the cafe using the internet to find and apply to jobs. On the occasion she would receive a call generated from one of her applications and would talk animatedly about her qualifications and availability for potential interviews. Without knowing her name, I dubbed her "Application Chick." I soon realized that she and I were cafe regulars and began the small, friendly exchanges of head nods and monosyllabic greetings.

Application Chick is attractive, smart too. She has skin similar to mine, shoulder-length brown hair, large brown eyes and a quick smile. I'd guess she's in her late 20s. She has a degree in nursing that she recently earned as well as a masters in psychology. I know all of this because she would repeatedly complain that her advanced education had not helped her find a job/better job. I know the feeling.

After a few weeks of single-word greetings and head nods, we leveled up to small pleasantries. "Hey, how's it going?" Or, "How's things?" It was at this point that she got a call from some job that wanted to bring her in for an interview. I happened to be in the cafe at the time of the call and was witness to her scheduling the interview she had been hoping for. 

"Congratulations?" I asked hesitantly? 

"Well, it's an interview at least." She responded. 

I nodded my head and congratulated her. An interview is still a big deal. Around that time I began working a contract gig that had me out of the internet cafe so I didn't see her for a few weeks. I decided that I should ask her out since we seemed to have some level of rapport. I saw her the next day and balked. The idea of asking her out just seemed too much of a task. Later, I kicked myself for being a wuss.

After a pep talk from my best friend, I screwed up enough courage to ask her out the next time I saw her. My opportunity came a few days later and I got the job done. That was a minor victory. From there, I felt pretty confident. We traded a few text messages and even a phone call where we tried to arrange our schedules to meet up for coffee. We could never make our schedules work out to meet up. We each are working two jobs and there just wasn't a whole lot of time left over. 

Then one day, she didn't return a text message I sent her. That didn't bother me until she didn't return a phone call as well. I sent her one more text message and phone call over the span of two weeks and hear nothing so I stopped trying to contact her. I can take a hint and I'm not gonna be "that guy." 

Despite that, I was bit confused by her behavior. I think if were not interested in her, I would have told her instead of ceasing communication with no explanation. The sudden lack of contact was frustrating because it left me trying to figure out what I had done (or not done) that gave her reason to dump me. There has to be etiquette on this. Just be polite, right? Is it too much to ask for someone to just say "I don't think this will work?" Or, "I'm no longer interested." Sure, it might sting a bit, but I can't imagine that is worse than having no reason whatsoever. 

One of my friends hypothesized that one of two things happened. That she recently went through a break up and thought she was ready to start dating again but when it came to it, she balked and couldn't think of any way to get of it beyond cutting me off completely.  The other thought is that I happened to ask her out during a time when she and her boyfriend were fighting or "on a break" and she took my number. Then later, the boyfriend called to get back together and she decided to go with the "sure thing" than take a chance on me. Either way I get shafted, but them's the breaks.

Fast forward to the end of July. I haven't seen her for several weeks and haven't thought about her either. As I'm collecting my mail she walks into the mailbox area and sees me. She freezes. I say "hi." I'm determined to not let things become awkward. She says "hello" in return and then begins to fumble an explanation for her actions, as if I've demanded she account for it. I wave her explanation away, saying that it's fine and doesn't matter. She nods as if she's heard me but still stutters through her reasons. While she's doing that, a man gets out of a car, parked near the mailbox area and asks her if everything is OK. She looks back over shoulder and I smile, saying "really, it's cool. I'll see you around." With that, I turn and leave the mailbox area. Can't win them all. 

1 comment:

  1. Great post. I think what's interesting about this is that the tables are more often reversed, that it's us girls who are cut off from communication wondering what we did to make the guy not want to call us back. Your story is good because a) how does it feel guys?!?!?!, but also b) it shows that usually, when these things happen, it's not about anything we did at all and it's not worth putting too much thought into.

    Also, your friend sounds really smart.