html xmlns="" xml:lang="en" lang="en"> From the archives: Don't be like that.

Friday, October 06, 2006

Don't be like that.

That was the most boring comment section ever. I understand that pretty, stacked engineers going un-laid is such a shocking aberration, such an unnatural violation of the laws of the universe that it requires all of your attention to analyze and fix it. But you guys took a trivial exchange, one that you didn't see and can't have an opinion on, and made up rules about how men and women are. Stupid rules! Rules that go against what I believe of how people, both men and women, should interact. Rules that would require me to act in ways that would be forced and unnatural, and not present my favorite self. Rules that would backfire, because if they worked, they would snag someone who likes a different me.

Here is what I want, and who I want to be:

I would like to meet someone, and have a friendly, easy conversation with a natural extension. He asks me out, or I ask him out, or we segue into another activity. It would be delicious if he were funny and caught my references.

I want us to both show interest the whole time. You know what is not shameful? It is not shameful to have a crush on someone. For one thing, you can't help it and we are not ashamed of the things we can't help. For another thing, it is a gift, a small kindness and flattery when someone has a crush on you. Everyone here, listen up. When you have a crush on someone available to you, gently present it to them as a gift for their benefit. When someone has a crush on you, be definite about whether you want to pursue it, and be grateful either way that someone thought you were amazing and beautiful that day. The last thing I want is to be coy about my feelings.

In a perfect world, that would move easily into spending increasing amounts of time together, in that intoxicating stage where everything your new honey does is mesmerizing; all you want to do is find out how he or she came to be this person who says and does everything right. The world is kind to couples in that stage, because when you walk down streets holding hands, elm leaves fall on pumpkins just so that you can remember later how beautiful it was to see that together. You can walk into parties together, secretly proud to arrive with such a handsome person. There are impulsive kisses on the sides of his neck, just because it fits so perfectly, because you like the smell of him, because if you press up against the side of his body, there will be an answering pressure that proves he is real.

Then I want that to settle down, into a routine of coming home to a lit house, and evenings where you don't need plans because you will both be home. I could make soup. I even have a fireplace. And then a rising trust that you would both do what you had to to make this last.

Jesus, you fuckers. You Writing that made me cry. But the important part is that NONE of that is about gender or strategy. If I am constantly assessing and planning and thinking poorly of men (which I don't) while I am with this imaginary person, I am not listening and watching and smiling and noticing all the things he is. Fuck that shit. All of you! There are so many amazing, marvelous people out there, and so many of them want that same smooth path. Be where they are and be present with them and be willing to give yourself to someone who loved your little gift of a crush and would like even more, please. That is what I want of me. That is what I want for you.

(Also - Marginal Revolution and Unfogged? You're getting predictable with the automatic linking to the "Megan trying to date" posts. Are you really still getting mileage out of that?)


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Wow, I consternated with my self about commenting on the last post, that I finally did so just after you made the new one. ;)

I am very proud of everything you said.


2:55 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

You make me puke. Elm leaves on pumpkins? Gag me!

2:58 PM  
Blogger Megan said...

What? Were they sycamore leaves? I always get those switched.

3:01 PM  
Blogger Tom said...

Men are stupid and women are crazy. Embrace those truths and ignore us.

Seriously, to thine own self be true is good advice, better, I think, than even "don't listen to the commentariat." Or, if you're inclined to that sort of music, "I listened once to my friends' advice, but it's not gonna happen twice."

Btw, we're all bored at work.

3:06 PM  
Blogger Megan said...

I don't know, Tom. You got a pretty goofy smile on your face when you talked about Susan. I'm not inclined to believe any cynicism from you.

Bored at work? And getting scolded is more interesting?

3:15 PM  
Blogger Megan said...

HAH! Different Tom! But he still looked pretty smitten about Susan.

3:06 Tom, you can live by your dumb generalities if you want.

3:17 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Wow, sorry, I hope I wasn't the one who made you cry.

And, yes I'm bored at work too. And anything is better than staring blankly at the wall for the next 3 hours.


3:19 PM  
Blogger Megan said...

Justin, honey. Writing up the relationship I don't have right now made me cry. It wasn't anything you said, because I always love your comments.

3:29 PM  
Blogger Dubin said...

I'm really confused. I go out of town for two days and come back to this mess. What the hell happened in here? I think most people's comments were not so bad (except, of course, JMPP's, which make my soul ache for her every time). What can we do to fix this?

If I had been here yesterday, I would have suggested not beating yourself up for not asking him out. It's good to have a little lead up. Men are timid creatures, and you could have potentially scared him off even if he liked you. NEXT time, however, you'll see him from afar and have a moment to think about whether you want to ask him out, and if you do, you will! Then we will get the update.

I also think maybe one more shot at the old internet dating thing? It certainly does take the edge off of the whole who-asks-who-first decision.

P.S. Where is DAN when we need him? He's, like, busy or something these days...

4:07 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Emotions hurt. That's why I've almost completely divorced myself from them.It's hard to dream when everything ends with pain.

Sad? Yes.
Coward? Yes.

You are neither.

You are as strong and fearless, you don't need all of us imaginary people to re-inforce what you feel is right.

I admire you because you don't seem to be afraid of expressing your feelings, or having faith that things can be perfect and that life always goes on. You're looking for a smooth path, and I'm not sure it exists. I hope you find whatever is the closest thing there is to it.

I'd bet most of your readers are lonely guys who are going to try and say what you want to hear, just on the off chance that it sparks your interest. Don't let us influence you. Most of us will never meet you, none of us will ever "get" you.


(anon, because I can't let anyone know that I do have feelings)

p.s. Dubin, I've been reading JMPP for a long time and have come to what I think is a pretty sound conclusion: JMPP has no soul, no real passion, and to top it all of she's materialistic and shallow.

4:52 PM  
Blogger Bob V said...

Megan, I felt a little embarrassed about my role in the prior conversation as it was happening. But still, you left us unsupervised for too long with an interesting yet unresolvable question. We didn't see the actual conversation that started it all, but you left a nice, tangy description. And then there were all of those compelling elaborations made by other commenters. They weren't there, but they told a good-enough story that it didn't matter! The truth is for sissys!

Thanks for bringing us back. I'll try to remember you advice next time I have a crush.

5:25 PM  
Anonymous UnderwearNinja said...

That long of a post and no mention of a cock that's hard every single time you need it to be.... I had you pegged totalllllyyyyyy wrong.

5:54 PM  
Anonymous jens said...


Sorry, that was not meant gratuitously.

Keep in mind that all the strategic talk did not mean that people are suggesting a chess game...we are more sharing whatever guidelines we have settled on ourselves.

As far as I'm concerned, there is no special expertise in THIS corner. I had to find MY wife in a dating service, and even in that dating service I only got 3 dates in 5 months! Jocelyn, on the other hand, got about 14 a month.

The last of those dates, on the other hand, is still taking place after over twenty years, so I suppose you shouldn't knock it until you've tried it.

6:52 PM  
Blogger Megan said...

g - thanks for the nice words to me, but I am serious about being kind to your fellow commenters.

UnderwearNinja - I let you down. I'll try to bring something for you next time.

7:04 PM  
Anonymous ennis said...

Most of us will never meet you, none of us will ever "get" you.

Isn't that because we're imaginary? We'd have to get Megan a wardrobe or a looking glass or some sort of transdimensional portal or even a hackneyed plot device if we were to ever meet her.

8:15 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Dubin, I've been reading JMPP for a long time and have come to what I think is a pretty sound conclusion: JMPP has no soul, no real passion, and to top it all of she's materialistic and shallow.

She's certainly a character.

Sometimes I almost think that Jackie's actually a man posing as a woman for blogging purposes (the picture on the blog could be anyone). I mean, while it's not uncommon for men to brag about what sexual swordsmen they are, it's certainly not common for women to brag about what sexual, er, scabbards they are. It really makes me wonder ...

Iron Rails & Iron Weights

8:20 PM  
Blogger Bob V said...

Peter, it's happened before. In fact, it happened with another libertarian woman.

8:47 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Ha ha, I read that Libertarian Girl story, what a classic! It's funnier than the lonelygirl15 fiasco.

Iron Rails & Iron Weights

9:55 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Sorry Megan, but you brought it on yourself by asking people what they thought. I said I thought you should trust your instincts.

Why anyone should want , need , or listen to the comments of strangers on a simple thing like talking to another person is beyond me.

I know you don't like compliments-
*why* you don't is not clear since you keep on saying it -but I'm always struck that someone as savvy and self-assured as yourself should get flustered by this.

Anyway M, if it's any consolation I'm sure you know that most of your readers are rooting for you. Totally.

(I just *had* to use 'totally'!)

10:55 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Some very interesting comments on your posed "English Prof @ Pub Quiz" situation are posted at MR.

And I think you'd be surprised how many MR readers are thinking, "Gosh, I wish _I_ could meet Megan and ask her out." Maybe a trip to DC, Consumating-style, would be in order...

6:38 AM  
Blogger Megan said...

My girlfriends and I are pretty frank about wanting sex and pretty pleased when we get some and also happy to talk about both. I am impressed by women who are also willing to write that on their blogs.

I've told you guys the real reason I don't like compliments. Compliments are generally boring. Compliments from imaginary people are especially suspect, because 1. I'm only showing you the good side of me and 2. you don't know me. Most compliments are also unimaginative, so they don't give me any new information about myself. (Rants, on the other hand, can be entirely offbase or contain a real truth.) Honestly, I am secure enough to already know the things that I usually get complimented on. Good writer? Yep. See? Boring.

9:35 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

What a strange cat you are!

Does one have to see the utility of everything? ...the information value indeed! Still, each to their own.

Personally, I find your slight disadin for what you call "imaginary people" a touch arrogant. But hey, anyone can see the bad in another person. That's boring. To praise, now that's the hard thing Auden once said.

Take care,


10:15 AM  
Blogger Bob V said...

Compliments are boring, but I admit I'm entertained when people write them to Megan. It's not so much that the complimenters have an agenda, but that they bother to repeat each other so often.

I, on the other hand, only repeat myself.

10:25 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Compliments aren't supposed to tell you something new about yourself. They're supposed to tell you something about your social group and social interactions.

Compliments tell you which parts of yourself are noticed positively by others. You may (hypothetically) think you are an equally good writer and hucker, but if you get complimented on your writing ten times more than you get complimented for your hucking you're either not hucking enough or you're a kick ass writer and just an ok hucker. and they also tell you what other's like about you, which is always nice to go.

And it just feels good to have someone tell you something nice. makes you feel all warm and stuff.


7:25 PM  
Blogger Tom said...


It's okay; I've certainly been mis-tom-ed many a time. Besides, I would have put it like this:

Men and women are stupid and crazy. Embrace and ignore those truths.

(And if you meet a Buddha on the road, kill him).

10:36 PM  
Blogger matt said...

Megan, I think I like you more every day. I won't claim to know you, or understand you, but I like the things you say.
It really is all those little things, the simple pleasures of being with someone that you like being around.

6:46 AM  
Blogger amanda bee said...

Wow. I can't decide whether or not to even read the 87 comment thread.

5:27 PM  
Blogger amanda bee said...

Okay, I read it. I mean, most of it. The parts where people have clearly gone off on tangents lifted straight from "men are from mars" I had to skip. *

As usual, I'm with Dubin. But also, Megan, the problem with "since tony asked" is that you *kept* asking him out. Ask him out, twice even. And then cool your heels to see if he asks you out. And even then, if something comes up that you know you want to go to and you think he'd make a good date you can ask him out three times, but somewhere in there he has to start stepping up. Saying you should ask him out doesn't mean that you should spend the whole summer plotting fantastic entertainment for him if he isn't reciprocating by also sometimes plotting fantastic entertainment or otherwise wooing you. But we aren't even there yet, because you haven't even gone on a date yet. Ask him out. But also, the sky won't fall if you see him at Pub Quiz and somehow it doesn't make sense to ask him out and you have to wait until next Pub Quiz. You know?

From a purely strategic standpoint, I think you are on solid ground here: you planted the seed Hmm. Who is she? I wonder if I should ha... and so now if you do ask him out he'll either be blindsided (because he is dense or totally not interested), ready with a yes (because he's been wondering if he lost his chance by not asking for your number**) or ready with a no (because he isn't available or isn't interested). So you won't get the knee-jerk "yes" (but you might get the I-could-get-laid "yes") and you'll have more to go on if he does say yes.

Meanwhile, about these rules: sometimes, you are knee deep in a relationship with someone you adore, who adores you and something starts to unravel. For pete's sake, some people stay married for decades and then start to unravel. So the fact that something went well for a while is a good sign, not a bad sign. I'm not trying to revisit the whole Tony thing, (which wasn't about Tony but now I'm singing Tony's Song and stuck on Tony. this is a song about tony...) but if you start making rules you are going to eliminate good, dear people based on arbitrary rules. Don't do that.

Also, correct me if I'm wrong, but Billo and Justin didn't make you cry, right? You did, with your waxing poetic about leaves falling on pumpkins? Just want to be clear on that.

Word. I'm writing all of this in a very hard chair and it is making my butt hurt.


* The secret truth is that I have no idea what it actually says in Men are From Mars.

** Phones? Am I the only one so totally destroyed by modern technology that I can't really talk to strangers on the phone anymore?

6:38 PM  
Blogger amanda bee said...

and I just want to say that there is a somewhat inverse relationship between the interestingness of posts and the number of comments. Los Osos is truly interesting, I just have nothing to add. Relationships, though, I have lots to say about those. And since they are so sticky and complicated and full of expectations and heart break, so does everyone else.

8:01 PM  
Blogger Jacqueline Mackie Paisley Passey said...

"Writing up the relationship I don't have right now made me cry."

Megan, you like to brag about how you don't have a strategy for meeting and dating men, but obviously your lack of strategy is not getting you the results you want.

If you are serious about getting married and having children before your ovaries dry up, don't you think you should put more effort into finding Mr. Right instead of just waiting to randomly bump into him as you go about your regular life, hoping that if/when you two finally do meet that you'll also both somehow realize that you're right for each other?

If your future children that you say you want so badly are important to you, I'd think that insuring their existence would be worth conducting a more strategic search for their father, wouldn't it?

I reiterate my earlier suggestion to try online personals again, but at a more serious site like eHarmony. All you have to lose is a little time and money, but there's so much to potentially be gained...

12:29 AM  
Anonymous hamilton said...


It seems to me that it is not as M-g-n intended to bash JMPP, or anybody, for that matter, irrespective of how we might feel about that individual's advice or comments. Ad hominem attacks are a wicked, perncious method of stating one's case.

That said, as somebody who didn't comment, but certainly thought things akin to what some posters said, I apologize. Thanks for the heartfelt reply to your calculating, Machiavellian dating advocates.

12:32 PM  
Blogger Megan said...

Also, correct me if I'm wrong, but Billo and Justin didn't make you cry, right? You did, with your waxing poetic about leaves falling on pumpkins? Just want to be clear on that.

Exactly. See if I do that again.

6:46 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Phew!... I was getting worried there. If my words did, in any way, cause you distress then I apologize. Sorry.


10:22 PM  
Anonymous eddie said...

That was the most boring comment section ever.

You got linked to from MR. What do you expect from economists? Blame Tyler. :)

But the important part is that NONE of that is about gender or strategy.

Well, true. But you do have a strategy, and it's a good one: "Be where they are and be present with them and be willing to give yourself to someone who loved your little gift of a crush and would like even more, please." That plus "Be yourself", which I think you've got pretty well covered. That should do it.

It also answers your earlier questions about "should I ask him out or wait for him to ask me?" Be yourself. Be present. Be willing. One of you will ask and it won't matter who.

That said, I have to agree somewhat with Jacqueline. You'll get what you want (whatever that may be) faster and with less stress if you set yourself to the task. In your case that may be nothing more than finding more things to do and places to go where you can meet likely candidates. You can probably find ways to do that without changing anything about who you are, or, at the very least, without becoming anyone you don't want to be.

Good luck. Maybe the next time Tyler posts a link it will be to your engagement announcement. :)

9:14 AM  
Anonymous eddie said...

Amanda - yup, you pegged it, my comments were straight from Men are from Mars, Women are from Venus. I read it and found it surprising, insightful, and extremely helpful, as did my wife. I'd recommend it to anyone in a relationship with the opposite gender. Just the one book though - the guy took a good idea and turned it into an endless franchise of follow-ups, CDs, videos, and musical stage plays (!?). But the basic idea is valuable, and the original book is a good presentation of that idea.

9:26 AM  
Blogger lil miss dubin said...

wait. woah. first of all: this post made me cry right at the moment you wrote it made you cry. so we're cosmic and stuff. maybe we should get married. [sidebar: my friend was telling me about her pal who switched teams after some astronomical number of lousy dates with men, then immediately met a great gal, or so she thought, until the new gal started breaking dates with the nouveau lesbian on account of she "had to work on her motorcycle."]

now, another thing: i don't know how you serious blogger types are so mature when it comes to comments from people like a certain sociopathic, unattractive, unfashionable, ungraceful, unsympathetic, unsubtle, semi-misogynistic narcissict who insists on sharing her bullsh*t with the world. that kind of crap makes me want to hunt someone down and beat her on the head repeatedly with my marc jacobs handbag. you're a bigger woman than i that you don't take up arms when some horrible creature posts those horrible words in your comments section.

you'll figure it all out. you're a fab woman, megan. (and i sound like a sycophant, but it's true. i know so.)

8:05 PM  
Blogger Megan said...

We totally need to meet the next time I'm in LA. Ali and Claudia will never know about our fierce, illicit affair until we're engaged to be married!

It is easy to ignore comments I don't agree with from imaginary people. The world is so big, and people in the world think an infinite number of things, and unless I have a good reason (like, you are a trusted friend of mine), I don't care what things those are.

But honey, just because I like everything you've ever written and probably agree with you about everything else, you still can't be mean to anyone here. That's what email is for.

4:36 PM  
Blogger Bob V said...

It is easy to ignore comments I don't agree with from imaginary people.

I always thought the ease with which we ignore the gadfly was a bad thing.

It figures I'd think that though. I am often an imaginary person that people don't agree with.

It's not all bad though. I take secret pleasure in the belief that the few who do agree with me are way smarter than everyone else.

And I wonder why the faculty think I'm arrogant...

6:28 PM  

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