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Posts Tagged ‘misunderstandings’

It’s the season of holiday parties—family parties, friend’s parties, co-worker’s parties, parties thrown by your significant other’s friends—no matter what kind of party, there is usually that awkward moment when you realize, “I don’t know anyone here.” This, my friends, is how I spent my Saturday night.

To say, “I don’t know anyone here” is actually an exaggeration. One of my good friends threw the party and two of my other friends came as well. Technically I knew other partygoers (I went to high school with my friend’s roommate) but I didn’t know them well. Despite only “knowing” the hostess I stuck around and followed the party to the bars (her building is full of old people and party poopers, i.e. noise violations) after my other two friends left.

Now, if you’d like to know how to totally freak a guy out, I can tell you, because that is what I proceeded to do, once we reached the bars. Without my friends to converse with, and not wanting to monopolize my hostess, I sought out a fellow guest that I recognized and was comfortable. Luckily for me, there was such a guest and I latched on to him. I have this tendency, which I’ve probably

Two Broke Girls

written about previously, to find one or two people at parties or large gatherings and stick with them. This has led to friends and acquaintances thinking we’re a couple (if my party partner is a boy) or that I have feelings for him (again if it’s a boy, apparently people don’t notice when it’s a girl). If I’m super comfortable with the crowd, then I don’t need that kind of party support, but as you can tell, this holiday party was not one of those occasions. In addition to an overload of strangers, the bar was filled with people dressed up as sexy elves, sexy lumps of coal, Santa Clauses, sexy Mrs. Clauses, and for some strange reason, a plethora of pimp style elves and Santas. I don’t know if there was a themed party that we crashed (super weird theme though) or if the weekend before Christmas is accepted as a second Halloween. Whatever the reason, my nervous habits were exacerbated and I clung even more to my party friend.

At one point I remember saying things, just to say something, so we weren’t standing there, silently awkward. I’m not sure my ramblings helped the situation though. Once we changed bars, he ran into some of his actual friends and I joined my hostess friend on the dance floor. When my new party friend and his friends joined us, I kept trying to tell him we had a coat pile, and he should add his, but whenever I tried to talk, or tell him that, he’d ignore me. Well not exactly ignore, he wasn’t that rude, but I could tell he didn’t want to enter into another inane conversation with me. I have to say, I can’t blame him! And that is how you freak out a boy—cling.

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Sometimes I think I missed my calling as a sociologist. People fascinate me! Swim practices, male friends and college organized drinking games offered many, many opportunities for observation. I’m amazed at the differences between men and women. This isn’t a new observation by any means: ever heard of Men are from Mars, Women are from Venus? Well, there are many differences but today I am going to focus on teasing.

My observations tell me this: guys relate to each other through teasing. Let me give you a few examples.

I had a group project in 10th grade where we had to create a skit integrating characters from the various texts read in class. During the filming of said skit we went to my house and used the playhouse my dad built for my brother and I. One of my skit group members (and friend) is a very tall guy. He’s now over 6 feet tall and I’m almost positive he was as tall at 16. Anyway, while filming, he bonked his head, hard, on the door frame of the playhouse. Everyone else in the group laughed and laughed and laughed and then made fun of him for being so big. Later that day my dad and my mom reprimanded me for not being nice…but that’s another story.

Let me give you another example: in college there was this guy who lived on the floor above me. We were not friends at the time (okay, I was a prude and sat on a high horse my freshman year of college), but later we spent every Thursday together. As a freshman, he put on the traditional Freshmen 15, and originally embraced it and danced around on the girl’s floor in a Speedo while calling himself Big Country. Throughout the rest of our four years together his weight fluctuated and comments from his friends and roommates continued. He never said anything about it, but I could tell that the comments were getting to him—the funny, self-deprecating comebacks lessened and when he did quip back, it felt forced. I started to feel really bad but didn’t do anything (the first time I tried to defend the picked on guy I got yelled by said kid). Again, I digress. All I know is that if a friend of mine, or anyone for that matter, made comments about my physical person I would avoid him/her, and probably cry.

Granted, the examples that immediately pop into my mind center around bigger issues, but they still highlight the fact that men generally bond through jibes whereas women bond through fat talk and gossip. Lesser examples include a performance in a sport or video game, “yo mama” jokes and hitting. I’ve noticed lots of playful punching and even the painful “butt cramp.” 

Because men are so used to this form of communication or contact they use it with women, which often backfires. Men’s use of teasing as an introduction or form of conversation doesn’t always fail, however. I know several ladies who are perfectly capable of throwing it right back at the guy. I’m not one of those girls. Maybe it’s because my family doesn’t tease often. Maybe it’s because the first time I tried (in my memory anyway) I made the kid cry; two years later in the fifth grade I made another boy cry, and since I don’t want to make anyone else cry, I rarely tease.

Just because I don’t tease doesn’t mean I don’t appreciate it. I can’t dish it but I can take it…for the most part.  This is a strange example, but once in high school I went to a friend’s club soccer game. During the game my phone started ringing and as I frantically tried to get into my bag, the zipper got stuck. A guy in the group I was with started giving me a hard time about my phone and being obnoxious etcetera. This probably doesn’t look like much, but at the time, I wasn’t really friends with many of the people and this guy is the king of teasing. It made me feel important, like I was a part of the group. Obviously he was paying attention to me and secondly, he was treating me in the same manner as every other person in the group—I was on my way to belonging.

I want a give-and-take type of dynamic in a relationship; the best literary example I can think of is Rhett and Scarlett from Gone with the Wind. Yet women and men are different, whether it stems from genetics/nature or socialization, I do not know. Men need to know that comments on a girl’s preferred sports teams or their job choice may not always fly.  Cubs fans in Milwaukee and Yankees Fans in Boston get a lot crap, there is no denying that, and I’m sure it gets old (my teams have no major rivals), but the insults aren’t always meant mean-spiritedly.  Although sometimes men (and women) unwittingly hit on topics that are sensitive to the other person–Gilbert Blythe calling Anne Shirley “carrots” comes to mind.  She hit him on the head with her slate and didn’t talk to him for the whole first book.

Some boys just haven’t matured past this stage–only showing negative attention. It can be argued that some girls haven’t either…

I can’t imagine how hard it is for the guy and have to start the conversation. It makes sense then that most guys open up with the type of communication most used in their social life. When you think about it, a comment on your sports team or profession, even if it’s lame, is basically a personalized pickup line. Sure, you may be a Bears fan and he’s a Packers fan, but now you know you both like football! And maybe he’s genuinely interested in why you, a beautiful young woman, are a librarian or a geriatric nurse or an anthropology student dying to go to Tennessee’s body farm.

Is one form of communication better than the other? No. But, we do need to be aware of our differences and take that into account when striking up conversations with new people, especially those of the opposite sex.

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This morning I was listening to the radio in the shower, when one of the most frustrating songs came on. Yes, folks, I’m strangely angered and irritated by Enrique Iglesias’s “Tonight (I’m Lovin’ You).” Something about this song really chafes my nerves and reminds me of all those men out there who just can’t take no for an answer.

While the song has a good dance beat and I’ve always enjoyed Enrique’s music over the years, this one just doesn’t do it for me. Read the lyrics here if you don’t know them already.

Rewind four or five years ago to my college clubbing days and imagine THOSE kind of guys. You know the ones. They oil their way around the dance floor, checking out all of the girls, and make their move when they find you alone. No “hey want to dance?” or even a tap on the shoulder. It’s a sneak attack, and suddenly they’re just there. I understand that this is just the way the world is now and that is the clubbing culture, so I’ve danced a time or two with men I haven’t even been able to see coming to be a good sport and because dancing is just fun once in a while. You give your friend a look across the floor for an assessment of your partner and maybe if he’s unacceptable, she’ll help rescue you from the partnership and migrate with you to a different location on the floor. But there is always a guy in the crowd that won’t take no for an answer. I’ve had men follow either myself or a friend around a crowded dance floor all night and attempt to grab me for a dance after repeatedly being shooed away more than a couple times. Yes, at first thought it is flattering to be chased after like that, but on second thought it is sort of creepy, and after an hour of rotating around a club just to get away from someone, it starts to ruin the outing. Sometimes no really does just mean no; we women don’t always play hard to get.

Then of course there are the clingers. These are the men who have decided that just because you dance with them or talk to them at a party, you are going home with them. Case one: bachelorette party. On the last night of freedom for one of my friends we met up with a “bachelor” party in a bar and started a men versus women billiard match. It was fun and I had a conversation with the “groom” (we are still not sure if they were pretending just to get into our pants). I was nice to the guy, but when he started to follow me around I got a little upset, being that he was supposedly getting married. It killed me when I told my friend that I was ready to go home and he said “oh yeah, ok, wanna go?” Oh yes sir, I had a conversation with you over a pool table and that means I want to sleep with you? Especially when I know you are engaged and I will be your last fling before tying the knot. Sign me up!

Case two: alcohol, the social lubricant and judgement impairer. At a friend’s party, I spoke with and danced with a guy a bit until the end of the night when I said I had to go. I left with my friends, had said goodbye, and didn’t leave any opening for him to follow me out. Two flights down the stairs, I find myself waiting for my friend’s now husband to retrieve my lost jacket, and who follows him out a minute later, but my new (drunk) friend. Much evading ensued and eventually we made it off without him, but again, just because I spent an hour with a guy, he decided he was going home with me.

Which brings me back to Mr. Iglesias. This song of his is a composite of all the men who just can’t take a hint. Yes we may be dancing well and you may be turned on, but that doesn’t mean I want to buy what you’re selling. Women like to dance, we like to converse, we like to feel appreciated by the opposite sex when we go out, but it doesn’t mean that if we flirt with you, we want to sleep with you. They say women read too much into things men say and do? Sometimes flirting and a little grind is just that, a passing bit of fun on a night out.

Mr. Iglesias, I know your motivation and your reputation. You say tonight your lovin’ me. How presumptuous! Oh no you’re not.

What’s your worst experience with misunderstood flirtation or stage 5 clingers?

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