Since the name of this blog is “Confessions of a Cat Lady”, I suppose it’s time I confess something. Now that I have issued my plea to men – begging that they act courageously and pursue – I will admit that I understand why many do not. It’s because I’m a jerk. I confess. And I know I’m not the only one.
Let me share a story about a young man I will call Mitch:
Mitch enters the room with my brother, Tim. I wave to Tim and call him over. Mitch’s eyes widen as he sees me. He turns to Tim, grabs him by the arm, and drags him out of the room. Slightly confused, I turn back to a friend and ignore the scene that just took place.
A minute or so later Mitch and Tim re-enter the room. Mitch struts directly toward me and makes an introduction. At this point in time he is twenty one and I am a few years younger. He spends the next 5 minutes or more emphasizing that he can buy me alcohol, but he won’t. Then he tells me that he does not date younger women. He shares a little bit about his background. Then he reemphasizes that he is old enough to buy alcohol, but that he won’t buy me any.
This entire time I am staring at him with a slight smirk on face and nodding as he speaks. He reminds me of a peacock flaunting his feathers. Unfortunately for him, his feathers don’t impress me very much. I could care less about alcohol. I could care less how old he is. He continues to brag about his age and makes a few more comments indicating that he does not date younger women. I think his age and ability to buy alcohol are the only things he can think of to boast about.
Finally, he finishes his self build-up and goes in for the kill. Not two seconds after he declares he does not date younger women, he says, “If you ever want to, we could go out some time.”
Try as I may to contain myself, the laughter bubbles forth.
It’s true. That poor man asked me out and I laughed in his face. I could not believe how quickly his expression changed. But I couldn’t help myself. My brother confirmed my initial suspicions that Mitch had dragged him out of the room to flip out at him because he did not expect me to be so attractive. He obviously wanted to impress me. His tactics just seemed so pathetic. Why would he spend five minutes implying that he would not date me and then end the conversation with an invitation for a date? Tim was angry at me for weeks because Mitch stopped hanging out with him after that incident.
Although I still smirk when I think back to that episode, I now admit that I could have been – and should have been – more tactful in my declination. I gave no thought to his feelings. There are so many better ways I could have handled that situation.
Okay, I have bared my soul and shared one of my greatest cruelties (I’d love to say that’s the only time I’ve ever been mean to a man who pursued me, but it’s not. In fact, he’s not the only man I’ve laughed at. ) Now I beseech YOU, “Ladies, be nice!”
I’m not saying you need to date each man that’s brave enough to ask you. You’re allowed to refuse a guy you are not interested in. But, please be nice! There are multiple ways to decline an invitation out. A polite “No, thank you” will go over far better than an incredulous, “You’re kidding me, right?”
Think about what a man must go through in order to ask out a woman he likes. A lot of women place an invitation to dinner in the same category as asking for directions (which, by happenstance, most men don’t like to do either). We cannot understand why guys are so scared of us. We don’t see why they would hesitate to ask a simple question. What harm could it possibly do?
A shy man, on the other hand, places it in a completely different category. Asking out a woman he likes is akin to taming a mountain lion. He can see all kinds of wonderful advantages to the relationship. After all, who would not be impressed by a pet mountain lion? But he can also see several less glamorous outcomes. For instance, he may become the mountain lion’s dinner.
That’s right. I mean that a man may be afraid a woman will devour him. If he becomes vulnerable she will chew him up and spit him out. I am happy to announce that in all my research I have discovered that the majority of the female race is kinder than I am. In other words, I’ve never met another girl who laughed in a man’s face when he asked her out. But I don’t doubt that there is at least one other girl who is as cruel and heartless as I was and may act similarly. This blog is intended for that girl. Needless to say, rejection is the number one fear taunting a man who wants to pursue a woman.
Okay, we established that laughing at a man is not the way to reject him. A look of disgust is equally degrading. Blatantly ignoring his presence – also bad. Do I really need to list all the ways NOT to reject someone? I would like to emphasize one last way no-no. After that I will stop and assume that most girls can tell what is rude and what is not.
Never reject a man using Jesus as your excuse. You know the line. “I really, really like you. It’s just that I’m so in love with God right now, I can’t be distracted by a man.”
So many girls who make this statement truly mean well. Unfortunately, this response will only come back to haunt you. Mainly because this response assumes that a dating relationship is somehow sinful or less holy than being single. So not true. Can you imagine the whole Adam and Eve scene with the coming segment thrown in? “Adam, you seem very sweet. And I’ve never seen a more handsome man. Or any other man. Anyway, I would love to be with you, but I am just so into God right now. It wouldn’t work.”
The notion is ridiculous! God made marriage. He created men and women to desire one another. He created these relationships to coexist with the relationships we have with Him. With the exception of those who have the gift of singleness or the gift of celibacy, God does not request that we permanently give up relationship with the opposite sex in order to be close to Him. If you use God as an excuse not to date a Christian man, he will likely feel resentful – especially if you start dating someone else two months later. How can a man respond to that? “What happened to the whole ‘dating Jesus’ philosophy you had when you rejected me? What, did Jesus dump you last month or something?!”
If you truly believe God is telling you not to date, be specific. Tell the man that God does not want you dating in this particular period of time. “God is healing me from some past hurts. I’m not ready to start a relationship right now.”
That kind of statement does not place the same pressures on a man as the previous example shown. In order to date you, he no longer needs steal your focus from Jesus Christ. He needs to wait. Waiting is so much nobler than fighting with God for your attention.
If there is something about this man which causes you to question his character, tell him about it. Don’t just leave him with the vague notion that he is somehow not good enough. Be gentle, but be honest. If he does not know, he will never change.
After rejection comes the fear of indecision. The indecision I am referencing occurs when a man offers his heart to a woman and listens to her say she is not sure if she wants to accept it or not. The man asking the question will feel like an item on display at the store, open to be scrutinized and compared to others. The girl may be trying to decide between him and some other guy. She may be trying to decide whether or not she even wants to date. The man who voiced the question is extremely vulnerable in this position.
To put the feeling he is facing in perspective, imagine a man walking up to you and saying, “I would really like to ask you out. But only if that girl over there refuses me first. I mean you seem like a great girl and everything. But she seems really amazing too. So if she tells me she’s not interested, would you like to go out for dinner some time?”
Yeah, the words could technically be deemed polite. No cuss words or nasty names. But a woman would walk away from that conversation feeling terrible, as if she is second-best. The same thing happens to a man when he pursues a woman and she tells him she’s not sure if she wants to date him because there is someone else.
My advice? If you cannot decide, tell him you will think about it and respond later. Do not debate the issue directly in front of him. He does not need to know which guys or what kind of lifestyle he may be competing with. And do not make him wait too long. Respond within a day or two. Don’t torture the man for weeks. In all reality, if you make him wait more than a few days, he will have moved on under the assumption that you are going to reject him.
Finally, men fear prolonged rejection, aka Heartbreak. Prolonged rejection is so much more powerful than immediate rejection. Prolonged rejection attacks the men who were brave in the past. These guys pursued women boldly. The women they chased accepted their hearts, held them, cared for them – and then dropped them. Trampling may have even followed the dropping. These men obviously carry wounds from those past relationships.
A man like this may still feel a primary instinct to pursue a woman he is interested in. But the fresh pain he feels from the last woman, who used him, holds him back. In order to captivate a man with scars such as these, a woman needs to earn his trust.
Honor him. Respect him. Show him that you care for him – without throwing yourself at him. And most importantly, if he takes a leap and begins to pursue you – cherish his heart. Don’t repeat the cycle the last woman began. If a relationship comes of his pursuit and at a later date you realize the relationship should end, end it gently. Also, remember that gently does not necessarily mean slowly. Don’t wait three months to let him down, because that is really just toying with him. Don’t cheat on him. Don’t lie to him. Don’t use him. Don’t plan your future together and dump him the same week. Break-ups are almost never painless. But some are far more vicious than others. Remember that golden rule and end things in the kindest way possible. When you do this, you are preserving his heart and his courage for the next lady in his life.