The Finch Formerly Known As Gold

18 October 2005

The futilitarian approach to dating

Jay Tea admits it:

I love it when a woman is crying and turns to me for help. It makes me feel all manly and wanted and needed. And if it happens to be a woman I happen to care about a bit, that's all the better.

Which he promptly retracted, sort of:

No, on second thought, I don't. It makes me very angry, and that anger is best sated by finding out what made her cry and causing the person responsible to suffer.

The exact definition of "a bit" remains unspoken, but this parenthetical aside at the end of the post gives me pause:

[B]efore anyone starts playing matchmaker between me and my departing colleague, I've considered it — and rejected it. For one, she's nearly 13 years younger. For another, she's just too damned nice — my rougher aspects would steamroller her, and "nice" people like her should be allowed to continue to be "nice," and kept from getting too close to brutes like me.

Apart from the absence of 39-year-old women in my life, I could have written this myself, and probably gotten this scolding from Francis W. Porretto:

Stop playing at being noble and do what you know you ought. Ask her out to dinner. If she's known you for any length of time at all, she's probably been waiting for it. For you to withhold yourself, and all you can offer, out of concern for her is just a rarefied form of cruelty. Besides, just think how much she'll enjoy working on you.

Those of us who were written off as lost causes years ago tend to question that potential level of enjoyment.

And unlike Jay, I don't feel compelled to take action against Person B who made it necessary for me to provide assistance to Person A. I consider that it is my function to provide assistance, and eventually I'll actually get around to doing it; the identity of the person requesting it is largely irrelevant. (Besides, some people react extremely badly if they think you're playing favorites, especially if you are.)

Oh, and "rougher aspects"? I suppose I'd be bipolar, had I a second pole.

(Half an hour later: a couple of phrases added to reflect Jay's corrections in Comments.)

Posted at 5:49 PM to Table for One


Thanks for the link and the thoughts, but you kinda omitted one thing: I immediately took back the paragraph you quoted. Lemme put 'em both here:

"I love it when a woman is crying and turns to me for help. It makes me feel all manly and wanted and needed. And if it happens to be a woman I happen to care about a bit, that's all the better.

No, on second thought, I don't. It makes me very angry, and that anger is best sated by finding out what made her cry and causing the person responsible to suffer."

The paragraph you quoted was just setup for the second one, to give it more punch.

J.

Posted by: Jay Tea at 5:56 PM on 18 October 2005

Gee, and I thought editing was supposed to be selective. :)

You're quite right, of course; I have tweaked the piece accordingly. My apologies if I've seriously (or, for that matter, frivolously) misrepresented your position.

Posted by: CGHill at 6:15 PM on 18 October 2005

Ah, much better. I had written that first paragraph purely to give emphasis to the second; it was completely facetious, and only done to give weight to the one that followed it. When I saw that the throwaway one had been singled out for attention at the expense of the money quote, I had a quick, mournful chuckle and immediately posted the first comment. My thanks for the rapid tweaking.

J.

Posted by: Jay Tea at 6:42 PM on 18 October 2005

Hey, ex-boyfriend, is that you?

Seriously, don't be that guy: the one that likes it when women are all in trouble and needing him but once the problems have been "fixed" and the woman is happy, gets all insecure because 1) he thinks she doesn't need him anymore; 2) can't deal with strong, secure women -- and so he drops the woman for the next damsel in distress.

Oh, and the "she's too nice for her to have her life ruined by associating with rough old me" is just another version of unwillingness to commit to one woman, or any woman; it's the most insidious version, because it uses your own need to "nobly" wallow in your own lack of character while absolving you of the need to change any defects you may actually have (because you're "hopeless").

Posted by: Andrea Harris at 7:48 PM on 18 October 2005

"my rougher aspects would steamroller her, and "nice" people like her should be allowed to continue to be "nice," and kept from getting too close to brutes like me"

Invert the pronouns, and I've had that exact same experience a handful of times...

Posted by: aldahlia at 8:38 PM on 18 October 2005

There's actually very little in my own "lack of character" worth wallowing in; while I appear on the Generally Regarded As Sane list, and am not notoriously self-destructive or anything like that, keeping up with my mood swings is a fate worse than death having to watch CBS News.

Posted by: CGHill at 7:19 AM on 19 October 2005