Thursday, January 31, 2008

My Love is Like Premium Cable

It all started with a 30-day trial package of premium cable.

I had just moved into my apartment and was enjoying the temporary pleasures of HBO On Demand. In the midst of Million Dollar Baby, I realized there were only two weeks left in my free trial period, just two weeks before a decision was required of me.

Apparently, the suits at the cable company felt that by the end of thirty days, I would have had ample time to figure out if premium cable was worth the investment. Either way, after thirty days, I’d no longer get premium services for free.

I can dig that strategy.

It's not an uncommon marketing ploy--try it, then buy it. The lil' Asian woman in front of Manchu Wok in the food court hands you a toothpick pierced with a tenth of an ounce of bourbon chicken. The toothy salesman at the dealership lets you take the Camry for a test drive down the street. The cable company gave me thirty days to figure out if I wanted premium cable. And for the average person it only takes one bite, one ride, or one month to decide if you’re still interested.

So, when “in like,” why do we stick around for ridiculous amounts of time only to find out that a relationship isn’t meant to be?

We’re waiting for the person's feelings to catch up. We think they need time. And they give us something--attention, sex, conversation, company--that convinces us we’re not waiting in vain.

We drop nuggets, clues along the way to ensure that in case the person has SLD, he or she can't say they didn't know. If business continues as usual, we take this as a good sign. After all, they know what's up, and if they don't agree, they'll speak up...right?

And so, we kick. And push. And coast. Six months later, we’re in the same spot. No Man Land.

My girlfriends and I have spent many a night lamenting over these treadmill relationships of love & like lost---or worse---stagnated. Why does he call me every other day if he doesn’t like me? Why would he tell his mom about me? Why would he…I don’t know…remember my freaking birthday? Whatever.

“The fact that the guy doesn’t want you to get any farther away than you are doesn’t mean he’s ever going to let you any closer either,” said Evan Katz and Linda Holmes, authors of Why You’re Still Single: Things Your Friends Would Tell You if You Promised Not to Get Mad. “He may just leave you in that very lonely place right where you’ve been for months or years for as long as you are willing to stay.”

Sounds like the tried and true “stringin’ along” routine. Yet, the amazing thing about words is that you can flip them and get an entirely different connotation: Just because a guy [or girl] doesn’t let you any closer doesn’t mean he or she wants you to get any farther away.

In other words, play your position. Everybody can’t be quarterback.

I don't know about the fellas, but this is hard for women. Our proverbial ego cannot comprehend why a man that we’re interested in (operative phrase) would spend time with us, call us, communicate with us, vibe with us, sleep with us (or not)…and not want to be with us. It’s like we expect a man to either want to be the boyfriend, or leave us alone. “If you don’t want me then don’t talk to me,” Fantasia croons. That’s pretty much it. No gray area.

And really, it’s not fair because there is gray area; the idea only seems harsh when you’re the “liker” as opposed to the “likee.” The calls, the conversations, the attention can be confusing, cruel even. Yet, we all have people in our circles who we’re not trying to get with and it doesn’t mean they need to disappear. History calls these people “friends,” guys or girls you like—or love—but with whom you don’t wish to procreate or elope.

It’s not always ill will, malice, or an attempt to play games. Unreciprocated advances towards coupledom don’t mean you ain’t jack, it could just mean that the person is fine with you playing the position you play--the cool chick he can vent to, the hilarious homeboy that makes her laugh, etcetera. It also seems that if you have to ask what your role is, then it’s probably a good time to evaluate your positioning.

If you don’t like where you are, put the ball down and walk the hell off the court.


Anonymous said...

Okay, where to begin? I see what you're saying and you make a lot of good points. However, here's one which puts the woman down the wrong path:

"We drop nuggets, clues along the way to ensure that in case the person has SLD, he or she can't say they didn't know. If business continues as usual, we take this as a good sign. After all, they know what's up, and if they don't agree, they'll speak up...right?"

WRONG! Take your cable example. Brighthouse doesn't drop clues. They tell you, straight up. You want this service, you gotta pay for it. If a woman wants a relationship, she should do the same. "Honey, I love our relationship, but I don't want it to stay like this. I want this to grow, to be official" (or whatever you want it to be).

If Brighthouse just dropped hints, would you purchase the service? No, you're fine with the way things are, so why would you change? Same goes for a man. If he's happy with the way things are, why would things change? Doesn't even have to be sexual. You could just have great conversation, and enjoy each other's company.

I think at times like these sometimes a woman feels that she needs to be wanted and just waits for the man to make the move. I think that's a mistake.

If you want something, go after it. Don't sit and wait for it to just happen. Yes, the feelings must be reciprocated, however, if you want the relationship to grow then you make things happen. This applies to MANY aspects of life. To work, education, etc.

This even applies to our personal relationships with God. We can't just sit and wait for Him to come to us. We have to take a step towards Him first and he'll take two steps toward us.

Generally speaking, I don't think that the man "doesn't" want the relationship to grow. I just think that once we reach an area, we are happy with the way things are. If you have more to offer, and you feel/know that we would be happier with you if we advanced in the relationship; then take the blinders off of our eyes, and let us see what we're missing by staying in this comfort zone.
~Dee Man

Delect said...

You're absolutely right about being straight up. That's my whole point; we need to start being like Bright House and stop hinting.

Now this right here, "If you have more to offer, and you feel/know that we would be happier with you if we advanced in the relationship; then take the blinders off of our eyes, and let us see what we're missing by staying in this comfort zone."

And you know what? That's how people end up pining away for someone forever...doing that. Trying to show someone what their missing, trying to take the blinders off their eyes. I mean, where do you draw the line? That's what I'm talking about in this piece. Girl spends all her time trying to show Boy how great she is...only for him to look past her. And as with the cable example, it doesn't take that long to figure out if you want to take it "there" with someone. So while Boy is reaping the benefits of Girl's time and affection, she could have been kickin' it with someone who actually wanted to be her man.

( are always arguing with me, lol...thanks for your input!)

Ms. Lele said...

In the words of Steve Harvey,
"Ladies, if you voice your opinion about how you feel for a man, and he's not ready for a relationship with you or he needs time. LEAVE HIM ALONE. Save yourself the drama and stress of worrying and thinking about him. A man that wants to be with you, will hunt you down, blow up your phone, by calling or via text messaging. A man is going to go after what he wants."

Anonymous said...

Well, when I said "take the blinders off..." I mean that if a woman simply tells a man what she wants, she will do so.

Ms. Lele, I don't know if I agree with you/Steve Harvey on that. I'm a man, and I'm not one to blow up phones, and hunt 'em down. However, I do agree when he says "Ladies, IF YOU VOICE YOUR OPINION ABOUT HOW YOU FEEL...". That's key in that statement is voicing your opinion; not hinting. I think that rejection has a lot to do with this. This goes both ways, and applies to both male and female.

When someone wants more out of a relationship sometimes he/she is afraid to voice that opinion because he/she is afraid of rejection. We're afraid of hearing, I'm not ready for that right now. We don't want to have to make that decision. In our minds we think "well, I want more but my man/lady isn't ready for that, so now what? Do I wait and see, do I bounce? I don't wanna dip out, I like what we have but I want more."

That's a personal decision which is different from person to person and furthermore, scenario to scenario. I feel that a lot of times people PYP (play your position) and then end up resenting the person they're "with" because the relationship did not grow. But in the end we make our decisions to stay or to go.
~Dee Man

Delect said...

I think we all agree that voicing your opinion is key. And yes, Ms. Lele, Steve Harvey drops knowledge! Thing is, okay a person's not ready for a relationship or doesn't want a relationship with you...okay, fine. There's nothing wrong with that. Just keep it moving. Folks just need to stop waiting to exhale over people.

Anonymous said...

~Dee Man & Delect, I totally agree with the both of you.
We have to be straight up.
Be blessed,
~Ms. Lele

kassieme said...

Im catching up, I went through something like this last year. And it took my feelings being hurt to finally allow me to let go.

This is not the fault of him, my own low self esteem and feelings of worthlessness allowed me to hang in limbo.

So Id say 80% of the time is the Liker who is most at fault.