Wednesday, November 11, 2009

THE DATING GAME

I'm stuck in a conundrum. It's a moral dilemma. Or perhaps more like a social dilemma.

What is the best way to say, "I'm not interested"?

A) Do you play along casually, responding to voice mails, text messages, IMs and emails, without ever quite committing to a second date?

B) Do you just ignore all the messages, all the while being consumed by guilt (some of us, after all, do have a conscience) and fear of being visited by bad karma?

C) Do you just come out and say it: Sorry, I'm not interested?

Recently, I keep finding myself in this position, and I keep opting for responses A and B. With one or two guys, I've been doing the "vueltero" thing, as Argentines refer to type A behavior, for the better part of a year, but they don't seem to mind playing the game. As for the B list, I'm horrified by the number of unanswered messages some guys will tolerate before finally bowing out. I'm not sure why I don't take the C way out: "Sorry, I'm not interested." 1) Am I protecting their feelings? 2) Am I avoiding confrontation? (Some porteƱos, as I have learned the very hard way, do not take outright rejection particularly well.) 3) Do I sort of enjoy the attention?

It's mostly 1 and 2, with, I'm ashamed to admit, a little bit of 3 thrown in. Why do I even bother? I'm not really sure. I'm just not that into them, but in at least one case, it's not him, it's me. My BA track record is not encouraging, and recently, my interest in dating anyone here has been fading fast. Even Mr. Right might have a difficult time catching my attention and then gaining my confidence. Perhaps once I get my groove back -- and please, God, let it be soon -- I might actually be ready and willing to take a chance on that one guy. If he sticks around. I wouldn't blame him if he doesn't.

I'd have been outta there at least eight months ago. I've experienced life on the other side, and I've been responded to in all three ways. It's no fun, but luckily, I am a fast learner. It only takes one unanswered phone call, text message, email or IM for me to get the message. And I can tell when I'm being strung along. (Don't try it, guys. I'm on to you.) And one guy, many years ago in New York, was courageous -- or cruel -- enough to lay it on the line. He told me that he had just gotten out of a bad relationship and wasn't looking to date. Translation: "I'm not interested." I felt like shit for about 24 hours.

Do I really want to do that to someone? Frankly, I'd prefer to be strung along, or ignored, because that way I can create an ego-saving fantasy. Maybe he really is super-busy, or maybe he just hasn't had time to respond to my message, or, my favorite, maybe he died.

Ah, The Dating Game! It was always one of my favorite TV game shows. It's so much better to watch than to play.
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