I was recently at a restaurant bar with a single mom friend, catching up over drinks. (I tried dating her a few summers back, and the chemistry wasn’t there for more than friendship.)
We were sharing stories about our online dating experience at Loveawake
dating site when the bartender interrupted our conversation.
“I’m sorry, I don’t mean to eavesdrop,” he said to me. “But I don’t think she understands your predicament.”
“I understand David fine,” my friend said. “He gives up too easily on the women he’s trying to date. The guy I’m seeing right now has been trying to date me for years.”
“See, that’s the problem exactly,” the bartender said. “There aren’t enough women in Silicon Valley, so the women who are here have their pick. They don’t treat men with respect.”
His respect point seemed extreme, but I sort of got his point. I sometimes went weeks trying to land a single date. And I’d been the victim of last-minute cancellations by women who suddenly had more attractive plans fall in their lap. Believe me, it doesn’t feel good. (That said, I spent one summer dating four women at once, so I know there are definitely single women here.)
and I started talking about the Silicon Valley dating scene. It was almost as if he’d read this blog. He’d been through so many crappy situations that I could relate to, just as I’d had experiences he understood. We were fueling each other’s fire, and our conversation got pretty intense.
“My last girlfriend wanted me to act a certain way, spend my money a certain way,” he said. “It was all about her. When I finally stood up for myself, she broke up and found some other guy to tell what to do.”
The bartender was clearly pissed, and I sort of knew how he felt. A few women had treated me like that. Just as I’m sure there are men who treat women that way. Sometimes, it’s par for the course.
The bartender turned to my single mom friend and tried engaging her in the debate. She stiffened, clearly not wanting to be drawn in.
“You see,” the bartender said, pointing a finger at her, “right now, by refusing to talk about this subject, you are calling the shots, trying to get us to be a certain way. You’re just like every other Silicon Valley woman.”
I chuckled. He’d made a good point. Granted, maybe she just wanted to enjoy her gin and tonic and chat with me. Maybe she didn’t like the heated conversation. Maybe she was hoping he’d ask her out. There were a million good reasons for her not to debate him.
But the fact that she flitted from relationship to relationship, ending one whenever it hit a speed bump, knowing there were five other guys chasing her and she could have her pick of men, some who’d been chasing her for years, completely made the bartender’s point.
My single mom friend stood up. “I’m not going to sit here and take this,” she said. “You guys are too intense. And I won’t have anyone pointing at me. I’m leaving.”
She walked straight out of the bar, leaving me sitting alone with our drinks. WTF?
In three decades of dating and relating, I’ve only once had a woman walk out on me in a bar, and I was barely 21 then. I learned from that experience, and I think I’m now charming enough to not have to worry it might happen again. Granted, she seemed to have left because of the bartender, not because of me. But she’d lumped the bartender and me together when she said we were too intense. (Just as he had lumped her with every other Valley woman. I can see how she felt attacked.) Still, it had only been a barroom debate.
My single mom friend later told me she felt threatened when the bartender pointed at her. She also said she didn’t want to hear about my dating struggles
. She asked that I never talk about that aspect of my life again. And yet, for years she has felt free to discuss her dating life with me.
Clearly, something about all this struck her to the core, just as it struck a nerve with the bartender. Hey, it struck me too – what kind of a friend walks out on a friend, then tells them how to act?