Tuesday, February 07, 2006

Mistaken for a Girlfriend

Second Scenario: how would you respond?

I have my eye on a certain guy at the volunteer center. We both work on projects together and spend a lot of time planning events, dreaming up possibilities, and stuff like that. We go out to eat at least once a week. He tells me all that’s going on in his life. I mean, it’s like we are dating but without the commitment or the holding hands or flirting or anything. I feel like we’re dating, but the other day he said something about this girl he likes, and it threw me for a loop. Why does he spend so much time with me if he’s not into me? And why would he tell me about another girl when it’s so obvious I like him? Shall I tell him how it makes me feel? Or just wait for him to talk about it?

--Mistaken for a Girlfriend

Babble of the Sexes

A Public Rant About Desperate Dating Habits
and the Opposite Sex

February 10, 7 p.m.

Hosted by the witty (and bordering on irreverent) Hayley and Michael DiMarco, best-selling authors of the book "Marriable- Taking the Desperate Out of Dating"

Topics include-

-Shut Up and Be Mysterious
-Nice Guys Really Do Finish Last
-Desperate Lies Women Tell Themselves
-How Being 'Just Friends' Is a Waste of Time
-a lively (and anonymous) Q & A time

Share February 10th at 7 p.m. with your closest single friends and
let Hayley and Michael put you in a festive mood on Singles Awareness Day (S.A.D.).

Sponsored by Ninth and O Baptist Church and Hungry Planet
Location: Ninth and O Baptist Church, 4401 Breckenridge LN, Louisville, 40218


a reviewer on Amazon said...

"Marriable" is yet another entry into the ever-expanding Christian adult dating genre. ... [I]t's a breath of fresh air. The book's format is visually hip, with flair such as little "instant message" windows by a passage that directs the reader to other pages for supplemental info. The authors write with a lighthearted and accessible style, and they include little sidebars with conversational commentary about the text (she's the cute doggy; he's the gorilla).

Hayley and Michael DiMarco are a thirtysomething Christian married couple who write books about relational topics under their "Hungry Planet" publishing company (they have a couple of websites as well, including one based on "Marriable"). Their goal with this book is to take the desperation out of dating by helping the reader transform him- or herself into a "marriable" person. They recognize dating as the culturally dominant means for achieving marriage, and unlike other Christian authors they don't disparage it as a methodology. Hackneyed formulas for successfully snaring a mate are avoided, as is equating the practices of ancient Hebrew culture with eternal divine decree (courting, anyone?). What truly matters is not the means, but the person's heart condition and motivation.

"Marriable" really shines when it explores the contrasts between men and women in the context of romantic relationships. The DiMarco's focus on the different, yet complementary, roles men and women play in relationships was illuminating. For example, men should exercise their masculinity by pursuing and having a plan, while women need to demonstrate femininity by responding (if they actually want to date the guy) and being mysterious. Although neither author advocates stereotypical macho or shrinking violet mentalities, they do favor a more old-fashioned ideal of male and female. In addition, the common dating mistakes they highlighted were important. Men can be too emotional or passive and end up being the "nice guy that finishes last," while women have a tendency to fool themselves with "desperate lies" to maintain a bad relationship. Plus, there's counsel on moral pitfalls, like how male pornography (skin mags and so on) and the female equivalent (romance novels and the like) damage marriable potential. And there's even a chapter on the pluses and minuses of online dating - not surprising, since that's how the authors met.

I did question a couple aspects of "Marriable." First, I was a bit wary about classifying dating as a "game." The authors assure us that dating should be done by "marriable" folks for the purpose of getting married. But then they portray it as a battle of wits using coyness to avoid sex on the way to the alter. That was a bit disconcerting. There are many hurting people in the world who are weary of anything that smacks of manipulation. They simply desire mutual honesty and respect. I think a "dance" allegory would have fit their goal of "tempering the emotional with logic, faith, and trust" a bit better, since "game" has too much negative baggage. Finally, for a Christian book there was a dearth of Biblical references. Perhaps the authors want to reach a wider audience and avoid sounding preachy, but grounding their assertions in Scripture would have lent them more credibility.

Despite a few minor issues there's lots of good stuff in "Marriable," and I'd count it as a solid choice for Gen X and Y singles looking for common-sense dating guidance.

Bobby said...

"Hackneyed formulas for successfully snaring a mate are avoided, as is equating the practices of ancient Hebrew culture with eternal divine decree (courting, anyone?)."

Now THIS quote interests me. Although I think Harris has some good ideas, I sometimes feel like pulling my hair out when people start trying to make the societal structure of the Bible into "an eternal divine decree."

As to the scenario: again, the problem is one of mistaken impression, not friendship. This girl is either dense or has been led on. She should have known all along that she was in a friendship. THEN, if she was one of these people who think men and women can't, or shouldn't, be friends, she could have told the guy straight up, "I don't believe in being friends with someone of the opposite sex" and ended it.

In any event, she should give up hoping that this guy will "see" or "change his mind" about her. Since she obviously wants something else for him, and since he obviously doesn't, the friendship is going to be destructive to her.

Anonymous said...

Here's a review of Marriable from faithfulreader.com:


Beth said...

That faithful reader review was good. How bout this quote from another review:

...to sum up, Hayley and Michael DiMarco answer the oft-asked question: "What if Dr. Laura married Jon Stewart and they wrote a book?"


iconoclasm said...

My favorite part is this sentence: "I mean, it’s like we are dating but without the commitment or the holding hands or flirting or anything."

and this:
"I feel like we’re dating"

Is it just cause I'm a guy or do the girl ones seem a little more obvious?

ckhnat said...

Yeah, you may think it's obvious ... but do you realize how many girls find them in this situation?!! It doesn't exactly help matters when everyone around you (guy and girl alike) thinks that the two of you are dating, either. been there ... done that. And then when they see him with another girl ... the looks of pity you get ... WE'RE NOT DATING!!! yeah, but they don't know that.

Jason said...

"...when it's so obvious I like him?"

ha! If she only knew how clueless we are.

Laura said...

Truly, truly clueless.

And can I rant for a minute about friends who perpetuate a girl's crush on a guy who obviously doesn't care for her in that way? What the heck! Now, I think my girlfriends are fantastic women. But it's not doing them any favors when I say, "Oh, of course he likes you, he's just shy (or cautious, or uncertain, or has a lot of emotional/ relational baggage, or just broke up with a girlfriend, or whatever, etc., etc., ad nauseam)," if it's clear that he doesn't like her, by which I mean, if he hasn't asked her on a date (clearly identified as such) or told her that he is romantically interested in her. I've been on both sides of this situation, and look back on my dishonesty with chagrin, and on the gentle deception perpetrated by my friends with irritation.

Wouldn't a true friend be honest, and say, "Listen, you are amazing. But because I love you, I don't want you to waste your time on a guy who isn't completely crazy about you. And if he hasn't made a move (i.e., asked you on a clearly-identified date or told you he is romantically interested in you), he isn't"?

Sorry, end of rant. Besides, I must go and console myself by pausing, rewinding, and rewatching key scenes in Pride and Prejudice.

the authors said...

Dear Mistaken for a Girlfriend,
Oops, big mistake. Hanging out with a guy in hopes that he will one day get a clue and ask you out is a big lie. When a guy likes a girl, he doesn’t let anything get in the way of dating her. Your girlfriends might say that it’s really unfair of him to lead you on and spend so much time with you, but all he’s guilty of is liking you enough to hang out but not enough to date. That’s the lesson you’ve got to learn about guy/girl friendships: usually one of the two people has more feelings than the other, and they both end up lying to themselves about the situation in order to get what they want. You wanted time with the one you really liked (loved?), and he liked being able to get all this girl worship for free until he found someone he really wanted to date. Don’t lead yourself on any longer. If he hasn’t asked you out by now, then he’s not going to. You have to be honest with yourself and admit you are hanging on to nothing. If you don’t want to get hurt anymore, walk away and spend more time at the center with female volunteers. Don’t hurt yourself by being friends with a man you love but who will never return that love. It’s self-destructive and self-deceptive.


Bobby said...

I basically agree with the authors here but I would put a (much needed, I think) spin on this: "all he’s guilty of is liking you enough to hang out but not enough to date."

There's more to finding a good mate than "do I like her/him enough." I don't think friendship is always a consolation prize for those you don't quite like enough (though in some cases it is) -- I think there are many other reasons to either date or not date someone. They may relate to spiritual maturity, they may relate to whether someone can realistically provide for you in the way you feel a husband should, they may relate to whether you both want kids, and how many kids you want, or whether one of you feels called to world missions while the other is called to build up a certain local church ... all kinds of factors.

And I don't mean to imply that the authors themselves would disagree, but I thought it would be good to bring up for the benefit of blog readers. "Liking" or "personal chemistry" is important, but, depending on other factors, it might not be anywhere near a good enough reason to date someone, let alone marry them.

bethy31 said...

Once again, if I was in the situation, I'd feel like the guy is trying to communicate, "I'm not interested in dating you" without coming out in saying it. He may enjoy things about me but maybe isn't attracted to me or just doesn't want to go there...If I was unable to hang with him as friends (honestly not in a manipulative way...like, "If I hang out with him, he'll fall in love with me because I'm so charming")I would just stop accepting his invitations to hang out. I definitely would not think telling a guy who has made it clear he's not interested in me that I'm interested in him is a good idea.