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Maybe it’s just stupidity

A girlfriend of mine, Rosalyn*, asked for advice today about a guy she knows. OK, so she actually asked for advice about a “hypothetical situation involving a hypothetical guy”, which is about as thin as veils come, but the story remains the same:

Rosalyn
I’ve been out with him a few times as friends, and I’ve made it pretty obvious that I’m not looking for a boyfriend… but he’s asked me to dinner at his place this weekend. What do you think?
Chris
Looking for sex.
Rosalyn
Noooo… really?

Dinner. At his place. Alone. And she found that invitation difficult enough to decode that she needed verification.

I had always assumed that the fact that we guys can’t penetrate the female psyche is because we’re kinda stupid, or because they’re just too complex for us (which is a variant of “we’re too stupid”, but sounds nicer), and I also always assumed that guys were about as open a book as anyone could hope to find… but I guess I was wrong. My first instinct was to consult my local man eater, Beatrix*, to see how a, uh, worldlier breed of woman saw the situation:

Chris
If a guy asked you to have dinner with him, alone, at his place, what do you think his motives are?
Beatrix
Looking for sex.
Chris
Exactly!
Beatrix
Why, you asking someone to dinner?
Chris
Heh, actually Ros was just asking me about some “friend” of hers who asked her over to his place.
Beatrix
Well if it’s a friend, that’s a bit different. I mean, I have friends who I know I’m safe with, and others who are more likely to take a drunken crack at me.
Chris
Oh. So you’re just as dense as she is.
Beatrix
What?
Chris
Exactly.

I can count the number of home cooked dinners-for-two I’ve prepared for women on my hands, and not one of them was for “just a friend”. The same goes for foot massages, the same goes for unexpected gifts, the same goes for shaving before a date. The golden rule is thus: if the possibility of a shag arising as a result of one of the above favors isn’t greater than zero, it isn’t worth doing. It gets sticky here, because there are series of “lesser favors” that a foolhardy young man might do for a girl just to score points, and sometimes I really just need a shave, but those once-obviously-calculated favors on the guy’s part are eventually diluted.

This is where the nice-guys-finish-last conundrum comes into play. She thinks he’s a nice, non-threatening guy, a good friend; he thinks she’s waiting for him at the top of a ladder, naked, and that every little favor he performs puts him one rung higher on the ladder. Not the case. When the lesser favors become commonplace, the greater favors (“hey, I’m at the Rise and the trains have stopped running and I don’t have enough money for a cab, could you pick me up?”) don’t register any more.

I like the way Ros goes out of her way to explain that she’s already laid down the “we’re just friends” barrier as if it has some great relevance. I have to admit here that guys are exceptionally duplicitous when it comes to that label: quick to apply it, just as eager to discard it. Share a few bottles of champagne and see just how “friendly” he is. The impending drama will either secure a relationship or end a friendship, or, if he’s particularly gallant (read: feeble), he’ll do nothing because he “doesn’t want to ruin the friendship”. Bullshit. That’s supposed to be your excuse when you turn him down. There isn’t a man in the world who is intentionally friendly toward a woman he’s not attracted to.

The more women I talk to about this matter, the more time I spend with Beatrix and her kin, the more woefully clueless womankind appears to be. You seem to have the basics down pat —shake your ass a little and you’ll get a free drink— but anything that can’t be taught in a Britney Spears video clip seems to evade you completely.

As always, avoid men in salmon polo shirts. Keep your eye on your drink. Dinner for two implies forthcoming nudity. Good night.

*If I’m going to fabricate names, they might as well be cool ones.