On Friday night, Rachel and I went to see He's Just Not That Into You, a dramatized version of the 2004 pop psychology book of the same title, written by Greg Behrendt and Liz Tuccillo. The movie's story centers around several women who are all involved to varying degrees with men who are just not that into them, as demonstrated by their not-calling, not-sleeping-with, not-marrying-- and in one case cheating--behavior. I read the book in 2004 and had mixed feelings about it. The gist seems to be that, if a man is truly "into you," he will be exhibiting behavior including but not limited to: frequently professing his love for you, constantly trying to have sex with you, bragging about you to all his friends, and asking you to marry him. If he is not doing these things, say the authors, you should dump him and move on. As the story unfolded it occurred to me: I have dated a whole lot of men who were just not that into me.
Both the book and movie declare that women waste time by attaching to men who aren't really interested in them (of which I am definitely guilty), but they also imply that women shouldn't be pursuing men to begin with (another thing I've been known to do)--that all the asking, courting, and chasing should be left up to the man. The book explains that recognizing when a man is "just not that into you" and then focusing your attention elsewhere is "liberating and empowering," which sounds great, but it implies that I am only ever to be on the receiving end of either affection or rejection, and I have to make a decision to stick around for it... or bounce.
But what if he doesn't know I like him and so he holds back? Or what if he's too shy to ask me out? What if he likes to take things slowly and so takes his time getting to know me? What if he really does have an early meeting the next day? What if we just can't seem to get our timing or geography right? Does he have to act as if he's crazy about me to qualify as being "into" me?
As Rachel and I discussed the movie over beers at Tommy's Joynt across the street from the theater, I admired how carefree she is about dating. She never seems to obsess or stress over whether a man is or isn't calling her--it just doesn't get to her. I'm happy to be single as well, but I find that when I meet someone I'm interested in, it's the thinking about the potential dating that trips me up more than the actual act of it--which doesn't bode well if/when a date finally manifests. I'll become klutzy and blurt out stupid things to fill the silence, which generally doesn't help anyone become any more "into" me.
At this point in my life, I find I give up on romantic interests faster. Perhaps its because I'm unconsciously adhering to the somewhat antiquated principles of He's Just Not That Into You, or maybe I'm just tired of that dizzy, anxious feeling of wondering if a man is going to call me--yet unwilling to risk rejection by calling him. It can be fun for a few days to wonder what might happen, but after awhile, particularly if there is no contact, it just become depressing.
Usually I try to come to some sort of empowering conclusion in these blog entries but today, this is all I've got. I guess I'm feeling a little stuck here.
The thing about me though, is I always manage to become un-stuck, so check back later.