The End of the Story

As it turns out, nothing has changed between you and me.  Even though you pause to hand me the morning paper when we say our goodbyes and promise to call, I don’t cancel the other dates I’ve already scheduled for the following weekend.  Why should I?  You’ve not asked me to.  I have no idea where— if anywhere— this is going and even though you tell me you want to see me again, I’ve learned to doubt your sincerity.

And with good reason.

Because when you do call, we set up another date but then you read about me kissing “someone else” and your fragile ego is shot.  I ring your cell in the hopes that two rational adults might discuss what they do and do not want from their “relationship” (for all of your wining and dining, you’ve never actually told me) but you won’t take my call.

Then again, why should you?  You like your women silent and simpering, and unfortunately, you’re not alone in this.

Since Monday, I’ve been holed up in my parent’s house on the Eastern Shore, writing, reflecting on my “experiment,” trying to figure out what to say in my new-and-improved 50th Date profiles and crunching numbers.  (“Yesterday’s” date took place a while ago but for obvious reasons I couldn’t write about it right away.)  While I’m still single, I’ve amassed a fair amount of data over the past eight months and now that I’m attempting to analyze all of it, a few distinct patterns have begun to emerge.

(I had a rather fun My Single Male Friend lined up for a today but I couldn’t very well leave you all hanging after yesterday’s post now could I?  Plus, patterns are scientific and science is important.)

Even though I generally try to avoid generalizations (and have thus far resisted the urge to discuss “types”) I can’t ignore the facts and the “facts” are as follows: I’ve dated three men who, despite their differences in age and profession, have quite a lot in common—so much so that I’d deem them an official “type” and I would call this type The Impressionist.

(And no, I’m not talking about men like Degas or Monet; just go with it and you’ll see what I’m talking about.)

  • “Impressionists” are not conventionally good looking.  They’re well dressed, they work out and they do their very best with what they have.  Nonetheless, under ordinary circumstances, you wouldn’t give them a second glance.
  • They’ve worked extremely hard to get where they are in life and as such, they are extremely proud—and rightfully so— of their professional (and financial) successes.
  • They don’t come from money.  They put themselves through school and even though they’re now “working professionals,” their parents are undeniably blue collar.
  • Speaking of parents… they have rather contentious relationships with their fathers.  And with their siblings.
  • Thanks to their many achievements in life, Impressionists feel entitled and because they’re not so pretty themselves, they like pretty girls.  To pursue, impress and obtain a pretty girl is to confirm that they’ve made it (and because they want both pretty and witty girls, you can delude yourself into thinking you’re not just arm candy, at least in the beginning).
  • They want things done on their time, at their favorite places and at their request.  No exceptions.
  • Impressionists like to show off: fancy dinners, vintage wines, bespoke suits, f*cking cufflinks, flowers, tickets to the theatre, members-only clubs and Steven Starr restaurants where they just so happen to know the owners, the bartenders, the waitresses and the majority of the clientele.  Their sense of self-worth depends upon your being impressed.
  • They love words.  And word play.  And they’re quite clever actually, which can be quite dangerous if you’re the sort to be taken in by such things.
  • Finally, Lord help you if you ever attempt to pull out your wallet during an Impressionists carefully calculated exhibition.  These guys take “chivalry” to the extreme and even though they think they want a woman who’s educated, sophisticated and self-sufficient, they don’t.  They want a woman who will be dependent upon them, because dependency flatters their fragile egos (and yes, despite their financial and professional successes, their egos are fragile: no matter what they do, they’ll always have their blue collar backgrounds to contend with and their lack of good looks to overcome).

Relationships with these men only work so long as the “balance” of power remains unequal.  The moment the potential-girlfriend suggests that she buys this round, that they meet at her favorite coffee shop or that yes, as a matter of fact, she has already been to Europe, they’re thrown off.  And the moment she ceases to be impressed, they lose interest because the Impressionist’s sense of self-worth is inextricably bound up with their ability to dazzle women.

Only recently did I realize I’ve dated three such men.  (And yes, the man I wrote about in yesterday’s post was one of them.)  Obviously I need to stop—because Impressionists are bad news for a girl like me.  But how?  Is there another “type” for which I’d be better suited?

(And is the notion of “type” such a bad thing if “types” can keep us from repeating past mistakes?)

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23 thoughts on “The End of the Story

  1. I am so blessed to be poor, but beautiful! And in Cartoon Land no one owns anyone or anything, so no problem there.

    The pretty girl and the self made man both have ego challenges. The pretty girl fears that men may only want her because of her appearance whereas the self made man fears that despite all proof to the contrary, he is unworthy. Since fears are mutually repellent, they tend to drive people apart.

    Fear is based on regret (the past) and anxiety (the future). In most normal situations, fear is just an extra obstacle we drag with us for no reason because we aren’t paying attention to now, when life actually occurs.

  2. Way to go! This is a great example of “the pen is mightier than the sword”. You are very clever with your writing and can put a man in his place with grace and debonair (probably without him knowing it).

  3. Yes, I think it’s fairly obvious which “type” you need to look for. It’s very clear you’re attracted to older men, so I’d stick with that for right now (although, if you happen to run across an extremely mature 20-something, I don’t think you should rule him out based on age alone). That said, rather than immediately letting yourself be drawn in by an Impressionist’s frivolous peacock feathers – which are really just an act anyway – maybe try some of the guys who appear a bit plainer, at first. And I’m not just talking about looks.

    The thing is, Kat – sometimes the man who will impress you the most is the man who doesn’t feel the need to impress you. It’s a whole new level of confidence. Even more glaring is the fact that you, too, want to impress someone, and it’s important for you to realize (and it seems like you have in this post) that will never, ever happen with an Impressionist male. Rather than be impressed by your travels or intrigued by your wit, he’ll see it as competition and be put off. You need a man who wants to take you to the party not because you look good on his arm, but because you can carry on an intelligent conversation with his friends and he can see you as an eventual partner in life – an equal.

    I guess all I’m saying is give some of the less glaringly obvious guys a chance (again, not just talking about looks). There’s a difference between confidence and conceitedness, and you’ve wasted too much time with the latter.

  4. This was very insightful and I like the impressionist analogy. I agree with Katie’s good advice, and I might add that the people who attract initially, are intentionally savvy at “creating” that attraction. But the people who don’t necessarily attract initially, probably have more depth, less ego and self-indulgence, and surprisingly more personality traits to really admire. And I seriously think, if you can’t genuinely admire a love interest beyond monetary and vocational successes, you may as well say goodbye.

  5. In your description of the Impressionists, I think I smell a book :) Maybe, “The Complexities of Man: a practical girl’s field guide to knowing who to chase, and who to replace.” :P

  6. Nicely done, and I agree w/Katie too:

    “I guess all I’m saying is give some of the less glaringly obvious guys a chance (again, not just talking about looks). There’s a difference between confidence and conceitedness, and you’ve wasted too much time with the latter.”

  7. Since your “pattern” is so curiously specific (i.e., you’re not just attracted to “bad boys,” or “rich guys,” or whatever other label people like to slap on dudes), maybe it’s worth delving into why you’re particularly attracted to this type.

    Before you try to break the pattern, I think you have to understand why it’s there in the first place….

      • I agree with Dennis. I think that its good that you recognized your “type” but if that type isnt working out for you, I think you have to take it a step further and understand why you like that type. I see it as a “pay me now or pay me later” kind of thing. You’d hate to wake up one day with the person you’re married to and realize that you were drawn to them for the wrong reasons. Its like when you’re hungry and you eat a bag of chips because you think that’s the only food in your cupboard. You don’t bother to look anywhere else for food because you’re anxious and hungry. After you eat your fill, you feel relaxed and casually open the freezer only to realize that there was a big steak in there the whole time that you could’ve thawed and cooked. (not the best analogy, but I hope it helps you to get my point — you get what you pay for)

  8. This post got me recalling how I met my husband. We are together now for 36 years – can you believe it? When I met him he had experienced a brief period of financial success. He was living in his seventh reconstructed loft, full of antiques, and with a darkroom and sauna. He had become used to girls who were easily impressed by these things — and those girls turned him off. Consider that these men whom you aptly name Impressionists are used to women who are impressed by them. They have been conditioned by shallow women! My husband-to-be had NEVER met a woman before who could appreciate beautiful things, but who wasn’t IMPRESSED by them — someone who didn’t equate the things with the person. Thank goodness I always looked beyond appearances, and ended up marrying a medium height (short to you), overweight man, with a heart of gold. BTW, things, and appearances, come and go. But a heart of gold will love you forever. Kat, I wish you all the luck at finding Mr. Right! Meanwhile, I think these Impressionists are lucky to learn from a real women willing to say what’s on her mind!

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