So a guy asked me out exactly one week after our first meeting. I was not surprised. The record is 2 hours.
Once upon a time, I would have shaken my head internally in bemusement. I once called a friend to lament – “How can a guy ask me out when he doesn’t know me? I’m a stranger! I could be a witch or serial murderer for goodness sake”! It took some time to learn that my definition of relationship was far removed from that of some of my suitors.
As I listened to this particular gentleman explain why we should begin a relationship, I realised he was looking for “permission” to have sex with me. In his world, when a woman is sexually attracted to a man or considers him good company, the logical next step is to begin a relationship and subsequently sleep with him. In my world, a woman may be sexually attracted to a man, fully recognise it, choose whether or not to sleep with him yet understand that he is very bad for her and decide not to cojoin her life with his – temporarily or permanently. I think some men may be conditioned to assume women can only be attracted to men they are in love with. This is fallacious and leads to unrealistic expectations. Attraction, love and commitment are 3 separate tracks. It’s wonderful when they coalesce to target one person; quite frustrating when they don’t. I know.
Now back to my suitor. I think he noticed I wasn’t warming up to his proposition and asked why. I struggled to articulate a reason for several seconds and eventually resorted to a Nigerianism – “Sex is not what is doing me right now”. He replied, “So, what is doing you, exactly”? I countered, “Intense friendship, someone who “gets” me, blah blah blah”.
C.S Lewis expresses what I was trying to say with 2 quotations I favourited on Twitter:
“Friendship is born at that moment when one person says to another: “What! You too? I thought I was the only one.”
“What draws people to be friends is that they see the same truth. They share it.”
These 2 quotations describe when someone “gets” you, sees the world through the same lens as you do and shares a similar ideology of life & worldview about your most closely held values.
I’m of the school of thought that doesn’t believe opposites attract. In fact, I think opposites eventually disagree and fight.
When I meet a guy, I check to see whether we’re on the same page and define certain concepts in similar ways. For the avoidance of doubt, here are some concepts that are defined differently by some guys I’ve met:
Dating: An informal hangout with a member of the opposite sex. A guy meets me and thinks I’m interesting and someone he would like to get to know. He invites me for a drink, meal or movie and we chat. There is no expectation of intimacy on my part and I have no expectation of a declaration of undying love or exclusivity on his part. If we find we can’t morph the casual friendship into a relationship, we remain friends with no hard feelings.
Relationship: This is an exclusive arrangement between 2 people. It’s something I’m never open to with a stranger or someone I’ve recently met. I’m a very private person and have a small core group of friends. A man who hasn’t penetrated this core group has no business asking me to begin an exclusive relationship with him with an accompanying expectation of varying degrees of intimacy. I’m only open to a relationship with someone I get and who gets me; someone my head is safe with and someone I trust. Trust takes time to forge.
Celibacy: Celibacy is a reasoned decision to avoid sexual relations for a defined or undefined amount of time. It does not indicate a dislike for sex, a lack of knowledge about sex or unavailability of sex. I remember joking with a close friend that at a certain phase in life, one can finance just about every sexual curiosity there is. If you travel significantly, you’ve also been propositioned locally and internationally. So, if you choose celibacy, it’s not because of a lack of options or exposure. It’s simply a preference.
Sapiosexual: This is someone who is intensely turned on by intellect, conversation, wit and verbal jousting. For sapiosexuals, these things are preferred sexual foreplay and they are typically bored by more traditional predictable physical foreplay. This makes them simultaneously very easy to please and difficult to please, depending on if you have the key. Their idea of an intense turn-on is a sustained chat or verbal seduction throughout the day which is consummate thereafter. Laughter is another turn-on. They fail to understand quiet lovemaking as they are affirmed and titillated by words. Describing what you plan to do to them in intimate detail is a dream come true.
Materialistic: From what I understand of this concept, it describes a person with a focus on or preference for money and the things it can buy. I think it is used as an excuse by some men to put women on the defensive and deflect attention from their responsibilities. I find that mature focused men rarely utter the word “materialistic”. They simply look for women of character for whom it is a non-issue. I have never met a man and the first thing I’m thinking of is his bank account. That would be ludicrous. Indeed, my first consideration is the quality of his mind and depth of his heart.
However, I’m realistic. I’ve been told I am somewhat intimidating. A man struggling with fundamental financial realities would be even more intimidated and I would hate to be the cause of another’s discomfort. There’s also a broader consideration – when a man is in his 20s, we speak about potential. In his 30s and 40s, that potential must have been realised. At the very least, he should be on his 2nd or 3rd failure.
I doubt a man can buy my favour with cash. That seems rather crude. But like every woman, I respond to influence, generosity and pampering. I’ve been responsible for most of my life so the thought of being with a man who can take the wheel sometimes holds tremendous appeal.
Some well meaning gentlemen have tried to chat with me on social media and on the instant messaging platforms I subscribe to. Here’s a tip – Social media is a big part of my job and something I’m very interested in. As such, my timelines, feeds and inboxes are a bit hard to manage and keep up with. I will rarely respond to a random “Hi” or “Hello” because they are similar in nature to so many others and hence easy to miss. A specific question or conversation opener is harder to miss, will catch my attention and will more probably elicit a response.
I also do not handle harassment well. I don’t have to respond to that guy who sends me 10 messages in 2 days. He’s a stalker in the making and I am deliberately ignoring him.