html xmlns="" xml:lang="en" lang="en"> From the archives: I don't need additional surety.

Tuesday, June 12, 2007

I don't need additional surety.

I've gotten a handful of emails and a few comments on the dream post and more comments on older posts where you guys are all "Tell him! He doesn't know, because men are blind AND deaf about girls! Tell him in so many words!"

The underlying assumption for that advice is that there is mutual interest, but tragic miscommunication keeps the soulmates apart. I cannot figure out why y'all are clinging so hard to that narrative. I'm starting to think you neeeeed that storyline the way you neeeeed "bad things happen to bad people and good things happen to good people" and "economics is a science". Perhaps it is a subset of "good things happen to good people". Maybe it is projection; you're fond of internets Megan and imagine that he must necessarily be more fond of real Megan. But I've told you that isn't the case. So what is it, folks? I'd say that you've been trained by reading all those romance novels, but now I'm thinking that those romance novels are just tapping into that pre-existing need. What gives?


Blogger Megan said...

It is the cost-benefit analysis, isn't it? Costs YOU nothing if I hound this guy into explicitly turning me down, and you might get a story out of it. And if it goes well, you get the benefit of feeling like you helped hook us up.

2:05 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

naw, dunno about anyone else, but my suggestion was based purely on 3 different occasions and people of my own, where the crush was mutual, and mutually not figured out till much later... as a matter of misperception maybe, I figured this happened once in a while to other people. I think maybe it's based on the 'sometimes your friends see things you might ignore/not see...'

besides, who wouldn't hold out for the hope that a dream is like foreshadowing, if it's a good dream... ;)


2:14 PM  
Anonymous ptm said...

It is the cost-benefit analysis, isn't it?

It's the FTA version of saying "You can jump your dirtbike over that. I'll hold your beer."

2:30 PM  
Blogger Capella said...

It is the cost-benefit analysis, but on your behalf. We know how much you want a partner, and we know how much you want to find him immediately and without leaving Sacramento. We trust your intuition that this man would serve as a good partner to you. We believe you that there is a 99.999% chance that this man is (for, what someone will surely write a post to attest, are totally unfathomable reasons) not interested in forming a partnership with you.

And still. Let's say the likely cost of you saying something are (this is a guess, since I know nothing about him or the circumstances) moderate embarrassment on both your parts and a temporary disruption in your social network. Let's give that a value of 10, and a probability of 99.999% for a total weight of 9.9999. Now let's say the benefit, should his interest turn out to be returned, is a relationship with a 20% chance of turning into a lifelong partnership. (This is perhaps a higher chance than most relationships have, but you are experienced with relationships and ready for such a partnership.) The benefit of a lifelong partnership would be, oh, about a billion. (If I were doing this analysis for myself, I would rate it at least that high, probably higher, and my urgency in this department is lower and more ambivalent.) So your potential benefit is 2 x 10^9, with a probability of 10^-4, for a total value of 2 x 10^5.

So, from our point of view - assuming, as you do, that this man is highly unlikely to return your feelings, but also recognizing that you very much want to find someone and that, should he return your interest, this person could very well be that someone - you should totally times ten to the fourth go for it.

2:34 PM  
Blogger Megan said...

ptm explains it perfectly. You're gonna drink my beer and watch the crash, aren't you?

2:38 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

How can you read Capella's comment and not be convinced that economics is a science?


2:47 PM  
Blogger LizardBreath said...

Seriously, I think people systematically undercommunicate in this area -- Ogged linked to the 'footrub' story, right? Only you know what you've done to communicate your wishes to this guy, but most people, when they say they've communicated, have done some non-verbal ambiguous stuff that can be overlooked.

If that's a possibility, then the upside of making a really unambiguous move is high, and the downside is whatever embarrassment an explicit rather than implicit rejection will cause you. I'm figuring that under the assumption that you have been ambiguous, so there is some potential upside to an explicit move, that the embarrassing downside is the sort of thing people overvalue at the time, so nagging you to ignore it is the right move.

2:48 PM  
Blogger billo said...

It's not cost benefit. it's something much simpler: people here like you and hope things work out for you.

Disappointing that you should think we would "get a story out of it". Hmm.

2:49 PM  
Anonymous quirkybook said...

I like capella's CBA, and it comes the closest to explaining why I (in an unexpressed way) want you to give the crush another try. If the assumptions in her analysis are wrong, then my feelings might change, too.

And of course there are elements of economics that are science! But just because something's "discovered" via the scientific method doesn't mean that it's The Truth. And a lot of people who like to call things "science" like to pretend like that's the only way to get at The Truth.

2:54 PM  
Blogger Megan said...

Look y'all! There was the time when I totally LOOKED at him and then he saw me, so I looked away real quick! And then, in a crowd once, he said, "How come Megan doesn't have a boyfriend? She's so great!" and I mouthed at the back of his head "Because you haven't asked...". One day I almost thought he liked me, but he just pulled on my ponytail and ran away.

2:55 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

1. Those of us who know who this guy is know that he's clueless.
2. Many of us have been in situations where we were sure there was nothing doing, only later to find out that there would have been.
3. What Capella said about cost-benefit analysis.
4. Yeah, there's no downside for us. If you write instructions on yourself in a sharpie and it still doesn't work out, I'm totally hoping for a good story. I still wont drink your beer though.
5. We cringe when we see you acting like a wimp, because the Megan of the internets is tougher than that.

2:55 PM  
Blogger Megan said...

And yeah. I see the point of Capella's CBA. Low odds, high reward.

2:56 PM  
Anonymous bill said...

What kind of beer is it?

2:57 PM  
Blogger Megan said...

You guys are proving my point about how dedicated you are to that narrative.

Bill - I don't actually drink beer. But my Nalgene's full of gin and tonic.

3:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Pfft, gin and tonic. You JUST started drinking, there's no reason for you to be carrying around a liter of booze. And a nalgene isn't really designed around sipping, it's for taking huge drinks. And, then there's the whole, nalgene bottles aren't supposed to be healthy thing. I don't care about that one, but you can buy nice stainless steel water bottles these days that are very light.


3:05 PM  
Anonymous ptm said...

You're gonna drink my beer and watch the crash, aren't you?

I always do.

3:08 PM  
Blogger Megan said...

Justin, I disagree. In this hot climate, it is very important to have a refreshing beverage with you at all times. If you aren't drinking, you're dehydrating. Perhaps it is different in the Bay Area.

3:14 PM  
Anonymous Mitch said...

You've said that you made yourself clear and that he isn't interested, which is pretty vague. So it's tough for us to evaluate just how clear you were and how clear he was. Add in the very common tendency toward miscommunication in this area, and a lot of people are going to be saying the same thing.

If you're not going to tell us exactly how you "made yourself clear" and exactly why you think he's not interested, we're going to cling to the idea that there may still be a misunderstanding. Your reticence in this area suggests a shyness that's entirely in keeping with the miscommunication narrative.

Plus, the vivid dream certainly sounds like your subconscious might be trying to tell you something. My subconscious is more often a truth-teller than a wishful-thinker.

3:17 PM  
Blogger Megan said...

Oooooh. Now I'm wondering whether my subconscious is a truthteller or a wishful-thinker.

Mostly it is a nag about chores undone.

3:22 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I do tend to carry water with me when I'm actually out doing something. When I go hiking around here it's usually around 24L worth of water.

If I'm backpacking/climbing/not just casual hiking it's 2-4L of water.

BUT, gin and tonic doesn't count for rehydration purposes, you know that.


3:27 PM  
Blogger Megan said...

Sure feels rehydrating during Concert in the Park.

3:38 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Does Mr. Dreamy read your blog? About a year ago someone I worked with kept a blog where she would post a couple times a week about how she had a crush on me and why wouldn't I ask her out and I've "made it clear" that I'm not interested and so forth.

I don't think she realized I was reading her blog. But maybe she did? Either way it was semi flattering but also kind of weird, because half of the exchanges she described between us didn't ever happen.

Also, as soon as I stopped working at that place, there were no more posts about me.

3:55 PM  
Blogger Megan said...

A3:55 - And was she right? Did you really not have a crush on her, despite all her readers' fervent need for you to SECRETLY like her? Should they have been encouraging her to hit on you EVEN MORE?

4:03 PM  
Blogger Marcus said...

Now I've changed my mind. If there's any chance of ambiguity, if this is one of those deals where he SHOULD have understood, then why not just ask straight out. What do you have to lose? The embarassment factor should pretty much be over with by the time you get over 30 (says the guy who is paralyzed whenever an attractive stranger chats him up in public, but whatever).

4:19 PM  
Blogger Megan said...

People neeeEEEEEeeeed that storyline.

4:21 PM  
Blogger Marcus said...

Megan, you have mail.

4:22 PM  
Anonymous ogged said...

No sharpie, no surety.

7:04 PM  
Blogger Jacqueline Passey said...

Capella's calculations leave out opportunity costs.

The downside of you initiating is that then you won't know if he's really that into you. Guys will have sex and half-assed relationships with women that they're not in love with indefinately but they'll almost never marry them and have children with them. Meanwhile, you'd be missing your chance to meet and start a relationship the guy who would marry you and have children with you.

7:09 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Megan said...
"People neeeEEEEEeeeed that storyline."
4:21 PM

ok, lets write a new one:

you give us a spec sheet and an RFP and there is a high probability that any number of guys suddenly appear, your faithful readers winnow them down mercilessly till there are 5 left, like a buncha concerned mothers. You then either decide between those 5 or head to a convent, where in a years' time you find a gardener who is planting your favorite flower, and looks deep in your eyes and says 'everything needs room and time to grow...' whereupon he walks across the pond on top of the water, and you realize he said his name was 'Chance'...

How's that for a nice mashup story? If you don't find us handsome, you should at least find us handy...


7:56 PM  
Anonymous Peter said...

Capella's CBA is thorough and detailed. More than that, however, is the fact that many - quite possibly most - of us who are of the male gender have been through similar situations from the other side. In other words, there were women who were interested in us, but we were too clueless (I certainly was) to catch on to the fact and nothing ever developed. One of the big differences between the genders is that women tend to be much better at hint-getting than men are.

Put differently, you may think that you've made your interest clear (and therefore the man's failure to take the initiative shows lack of interest on his part), when in fact he might not have caught on to your interest. At least that's the way it looks from the perspective of someone who of course isn't actually present at the scene.

8:19 PM  
Blogger arf said...

a friend of mine and I have a theory - "If you have to ask, the answer's no." and it seems to hold true for our small and biased sample that we've tested it on.

What you're doing makes perfect sense to me.

8:21 PM  
Anonymous the Other Paul said...

I think Capella's CBA makes a lot of sense. What would be the consequences of getting an explicit 'no' from him? Would it really be that painful or disruptive to your social network?

It just seems like you could gain so much more from this than you could lose from it.

9:57 PM  
Blogger billo said...

"People neeeEEEeed that storyline"
(apologies if I've missed out an 'e'!)

"Reason not the need"!

If that storyline, the one about boy meets girl and both find their true selves, wasn't so much part of what it is to be human we wouldn't have half the literature, music, and films that we do.

Finding "the other half" or "home" is ingrained. We don't "need" that story, it's just there.

Anyway, I think you're missing the obvious: people just wishing that things work out for you.

11:14 PM  
Anonymous mith said...

It's easy to make suggestions about a course of action when you're not the one footing the bill and it's extremely unlikely the suggestion will actually be carried out. Were economics more of a science, we'd be able to demonstrate this empirically.

I'd put the "you're perfect for each other, ask him out" suggestions right alongside the "everyone should eat only what they can find within walking distance of their home" and "if you can't ride your bike to work, you need to either move closer to the office or find a new job closer to home" suggestions.

But I'm looking at it from the perspective of a cynical bastard, rather than a hopeful romantic, so that probably introduces some bias into my opinion.


7:06 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

What happened to the "It's never they guy you're looking for" line? In which case, you better find the guy that's about to escape your notice - because you are/were busy dreaming (quite literally) about the Crush.

And, because this is Blog Megan and all we know is what you write, I think as a reader, it's fair and necessary to trust you when you say it's been made clear, and ain't gonna happen.

7:17 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I believed you when you said it was clear. You seem to be direct enough with men in your other stories. But reality aside, a dream that vivid should be cherished with your favorite real memories. Also, for what it's worth, I think sometimes crushes are left as crushes, they aren't always the best match.

9:53 AM  
Blogger Megan said...


Now see, I link the pragmatic views all together - it isn't gonna happen, you should eat what is grown close to you, you should live near your work. The other sides of those are just fantasyland. (grinning at you, but I still mean it.)


I very much hope I am not overlooking guys because I'm distracted by an idea of the crush. I don't think I am. When Guy #4 was a possibility, I was thrilled to jettison a pointless crush. Then Guy#4 backed out, and I defaulted back to the crush.


You (and A4) are so right about appreciating the dream. That was sortof my point in writing it up. It was a very sweet moment.

10:42 AM  
Blogger Megan said...

Also, ARF:

I really like "if you have to ask, the answer is no."

10:43 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Did I say that? Right now, I'm pretty skeptical of the information content in dreams. In the last two dreams I remember, I invented a type of shower curtain and a rain gauge. Neither one is a particularly good idea, although the rain gauge may have some aesthetic merit.

A "...your subconscious is telling you important truths through your dreams.." 4

11:56 AM  
Blogger Dagon said...

The tragic irony of two people never learning of each other's crush because they're each too shy and clueless to take each other's hints is a better story anyway.

It's got the advantage that even though it's less likely to be true that the alternatives of "the secret crushes are finally discovered and happiness ensues" and the most probable "it really is a one-way crush", it's unfalsifiable. Decide on the story and stick with it.

Besides, he's probably a closet furry.

11:56 AM  
Blogger Megan said...


No - my bad. That was AS who also valued the dream as a dream.


That was awesome.

1:11 PM  
Blogger Colin said...

Also, I bet a lot of that "go on and ask him out, already" advice is coming from guys, who are telling you what they know they most need to hear themselves. These things are not symmetrical (certainly not, "if you have to ask, the answer's no", for instance!)

5:12 PM  
Blogger Megan said...

Colin, you're a thinker.

5:14 PM  
Blogger Marc said...

Megan is right. Chasing a guy who has shown no response to your interest is just an invitation for a brief relationship where the guy gets what he wants, but the girl won't. As for Capella's astronomical payoff if he actually sticks around--it's an illusion. No matter how big the crush, he's just a guy. You have no idea how he'll actually work out in the crunch times.

You have much better odds with the guy who responds enthusiastically, consistently.

8:54 PM  
Anonymous bryn said...

"if you have to ask, the answer is no."

probably, there's that part of one that always wonders maybe not, and there for I advocate asking bluntly with the explicit intention of hearing no, to help with the moving on. So that part of the brain that clings, is reduced in strength and gets fewer votes in other life decisions.

3:03 PM  
Blogger Megan said...

The outright 'no' might well be valuable. But you know? There is a cost to him, too. It isn't the end of the world to turn someone down, and grown-ups have to expect to do some of that, but it isn't fun to say 'no' to a mostly pleasant person. It would be inflicting hassle on him.

10:02 PM  

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