I kept seeing this woman I was interested in at pool parties, but I've always been very shy and reluctant to make the first move. At the third party, she hugged me as she was leaving. The following week, she kissed me. I invited her to come up for dinner. We had a great time. I even kissed her, and she didn't resist. Several days later, she said she'd see me at my condo's pool that afternoon, but never showed or called. Midweek, I texted her, inviting her over for "drinks, soft music and a nice relaxing massage to ease the stress of the work week." No response. Amy, I just meant a back rub, clothes on, like I once gave a female friend. I've never thought of a massage as having sexual connotations. Do you think she inferred that from my offer of a "stress reliever," and is that where I went wrong? — Devastated
A guy who's "never thought of a massage as having sexual connotations" is a guy who thinks it's an act of rudeness to be male. No, none of that sexually aggressive "Me Tarzan, you Jane" stuff for you: "Um, if it's not a big deal ... and if it is, I totally understand ... but maybe we could spend a respectful, gender-neutral afternoon exploring the Tarzan archetype, then use this coupon I have for a two-for-one cucumber facial."
Of course, offering a woman a massage is, like, the oldest college boy sex gambit in the book: "If you'd just take your shirt off, I could really get at that knot." The thing is, if the woman isn't already sleeping with you, she's going to find the massage offer creepy — unless it comes as a spontaneous (or seemingly spontaneous) idea in the context of hanging out. Women do expect dating to lead to getting it on: two people engaging in some naturally occurring, mutually satisfying makeout-type stuff — not "Hey, why don't you come over and lie there face down while I tenderize you like a roast?"
A woman doesn't want a "stress-reliever"; she wants a date — with a man who's man enough to say "Hey, let's go out." This simple approach suggests he feels he's enticement enough; he isn't telling her "I know an evening with me isn't that great an offer, but maybe if I throw in free spa services?" Chances are, you also take rejection personally instead of thinking maybe the woman has a boyfriend or a girlfriend or maybe you aren't her type — all of which should lead you to the same simple, unemotional conclusion: Whoops, time to move on to the next.
No, no, you couldn't possibly take that approach. Poor dear, you've "always been very shy and reluctant to make the first move." Well, for sure don't do anything to try to change that. Continue taking the mouse-y way out, admiring your favorite pool bunny from afar, praying she'll be man enough to throw herself at you.
Instead of getting her on the phone and asking her out, continue to duck rejection — or at least knowing whether you've been rejected — by text messaging her. It should help you waste away the weekends, trying to solve the mystery of whether she has texting disabled, whether her phone fell in the toilet, or whether she did get your message — the intended or the unintended one: "There are alpha males, and then there's me — alpha moss."
Jihad to be you
A friend and I got sucked into the recent saga between author Salman Rushdie and his ex-girlfriend. She told a British paper he dumped her by e-mail and is still seriously hung up on his ex-wife. He retaliated by telling the New York Post the ex-girlfriend's "broke, unemployed," "an accomplished liar," and always carrying around "a large, radioactive bucket of stress." We're debating what to do when an ex, famous or not, publicly dumps on you. Your thoughts? — Two Curious
Rushdie, who still has a fatwa on him for insulting Islam with The Satanic Verses, has now made such a public jackass of himself that he's probably sending the jihadists MapQuest directions to his apartment. Of course, his first offense was dumping his girlfriend by e-mail. Not only is that rude, but any man with three morsels of sense knows better than to do it to a woman he believes is carrying around "a large, radioactive bucket of stress."
When publicly attacked, the temptation is to leap up and offer corrections and finish with a little turn of the knife. It's a temptation to be avoided. Famous or not, the high road is always the wisest direction: "I'm sorry she feels that way. It just didn't work out between us, and I wish her the best." (Translation: "Hey, crazy women are good in bed. Guess I succumbed. Won't happen again.")