Which is why I was so intrigued by Rachel Greenwald’s book Why He Didn’t Call You Back. It was tough getting through the first couple of chapters of surveys and percentages and research methodologies. Still, I persevered, as much for you as for me.
The basic gist of Rachel’s book is that dating is a numbers game (I concur) and that the more you date the more you are likely to meet the one (I don’t believe there is just one, but I will agree that the more you date the more likely you are to meet a great guy out there in the land of duds). In our current dating environment, men have a lot of options (thank you online dating) and are of the mindset that someone more perfect is just a mouse click away. Because of this it is incumbent on us women that are looking for a mate to make the best possible first impression so as to make the first round of cuts. Then the ball will be in our court and we can turn down the duds and continue to see the ones with potential (obviously I am a fan of empowering women, so this part sounded good to me too).
But here is where it gets tricky. Because it starts to sound like Rachel is telling you to change who you are. She claims she isn’t and I believe her. She just wants the whole you to hide until he gets to know you better.
Yeah, see this is the part I had a problem with -- I think that is a very fine line to toe.
Rachel then goes on to list and describe the top 16 reasons why he didn’t call you back -- what she refers to as stereotypes your dates developed based on things you did during the date. The stereotypes range from the Boss Lady (the number one reason) to Bitch-in-Boots (number seven) to the Wino (number 15). The top 10 came with in-depth descriptions, real-life examples, a quiz to see if you were that type and possible ways to not be perceived as such.
About those quizzes, yeah, I fell into almost every stereotype. I wasn’t the Closer, as it turns out my dates probably never perceived me as baby hungry.
Reading the reasons and the real-life examples from men, I understand why she choose some that she did, but I think it did a poor job illustrating her point in that it made it easier to dismiss the guy as a jerk. For instance, under reason number 11 -- the Seinfeld, which encompassed strange little “ticks” the women displayed that turned their dates off. One guy had a problem with his date because she wouldn’t touch public handrails. That’s just the dumbest thing I ever heard. Umm, Buddy, do you have any idea how many people don’t wash their hands after using the bathroom? And there’s this little bug called the Swine Flu that is going around and it can be deadly. So maybe your date was just smarter than you.
I also have a question about how Rachel defines intimidation. A lot of women cited this as a possible reason they weren’t called back, but Rachel dismisses most of them. Again, though, reading through the examples, some men sure sounded intimidated to me -- even if they had another name for it like Park Avenue Princess.
Of course, this could be my cynical side talking which is why I tested positive as a possible Debbie Downer.
The top 16 were followed by the top five ways you could have screwed things up post date. Maybe it was because I could take this a whole lot less personally (though, I have totally made these mistakes too) but this is the part of the book where Rachel started to hook me. Maybe she just did a better job selecting real life examples.
Rachel then suggests that the really, truly best way to learn what I am doing wrong is to enlist an interviewer and have him or her call a handful of my first dates (those that I thought were a good date or that I hoped to see again) and ask him why he didn’t call back. First, no. I am not going to do that. I am tough, but not that tough. Second, I can’t do that. I don’t have their contact information any longer. It was one date. I gave it two weeks and when I didn’t hear from them, I deleted the number. Another possible misstep, by the way, not giving him enough time to call me back.
Man, was dating always this hard?
My other question for Rachel, when we become friends, because despite her bad haircut I think she is pretty cool, is what do I do after date three? I mean, all this advice is aimed at giving him a chance to get to know the real me by putting my personality quirks on hold and showing him just how kind to other human beings I can be. Not to mention funny. And not the least bit sarcastic.
Because, I am not really that caring a person. And while I am pretty funny, it is mostly because of my sarcasm. I also really like to win and am capable of flagging down my own cab. So, what? On date four I just let the real Tatiana loose? I can almost picture it now:
“Cheese and rice, Tatiana, I had no idea you were so opinionated and capable with such a busy social life and an irrational fear of cats. You seemed so kind and docile and needy and I mean, who doesn’t like cats? Remember our first date when I talked about Muffin and Fluffy -- you acted interested in them. Why didn’t you say something then?”
"Umm, because a book I read told me not to?"
The thing is, I learned a long time ago that I am an acquired taste. Just interview any of my friends. At least 50 percent of them will tell you they hated me when they first met me. But if a porcupine like me can find best friends, including at least two that hug me every time they see me despite how horrible and awkward it must feel, I have confidence that there is a guy out there that can love me for me too.