April 13, 2006
Dating by Committee
My guy Scott and I talked every night -- until last night. He flew to San Francisco to hear a friend's band play and I never heard from him. I left a message, he left me hanging. I know. He calls me, he calls me not, is nothing new. But it's new to me. I'm too cute to be blown off. No seriously -- way too cute.
And yet, I haven't heard from him. I've been dating for more than a decade. I should know what this means, but I don't. I'm Jewish. What do I know from a silent night? So I do what any woman in my sitch would do: I pick up the phone and call -- don't say him. Please, that'd be too logical. I call my girlfriends -- 'cuz women date by committee. When faced with a new crush, a dating dilemma or a relationship 911, we dial our friends and ask for advice.
"I'm gonna be honest, you're in trouble," said Amanda, who's currently juggling two men. "It's not good. It's gotta be another girl."
Scott and I have been linked for awhile. He's a great guy, an honest guy; he'd never make a behind-my-back pass at another woman. So it's gotta be -- "you," said Ann, who often goes three dates and out. "You're probably pressuring him, he wants some space."
Space? He spent the night in Northern California. That's unofficially another state.
"If he can't handle calling you, he can't handle dating you," pipes in newlywed Rachel. "What happens if you two get married and have kids? Your son is sick at school, and since Scott's closer, you call and ask him to pick Morty up. But Scott doesn't call you back and sick little Morty's left waiting all alone on the playground. In the rain. Is that what you want?"
I know I don't want to name my son Morty.
Men don't do this. Men don't overanalyze their relationships with their buddies. They don't compare and contrast their girl's behavior with that of their friend's ex. They don't do a play-by-play analysis of their last date. They don't discuss. But girls always move in packs. We shop together, workout together, hit the ladies room together -- in fact, we do everything in groups, except the one thing men wish we did in groups.
When it comes to relationships, girls are all about group think. We poll all our friends; we share all the evidence. We dissect voicemails men leave on friends' phones. We decode text messages guys send to friends' cells. We decipher e-mails that our friends forward in their entirety. My girls and I break down what a guy says, why he says it and why he didn't say more. We analyze and scrutinize and interpret and debate. We're like the great talmudic sages poring over a single phrase of the Torah. But hotter.
"Don't worry. He's just having fun with his friends. He'll call when he gets back," my college friend Kim said. "It's not a big deal." She's right. She has to be right, because I so want her to be right.
See, women don't really call friends for advice, we call for backup. In times of crisis and indecision, we call friend after friend after friend until we find one who agrees with us, someone who tells us what we've already told ourselves, someone who tells us what we want to hear.
It's like the french fry phenomenon. When girls grab lunch we're faced with the "Sophie's Choice" of fruit or fries with that. We all want fries, we all get fruit. But if one girl admits she's considering fries, there's a frenzied chorus of "If you get them, I'll get them." Suddenly we're all eating fries. And Macho Nachos. And we go to town on an Awesome Blossom. Girls are always looking for friends to second our motion. Or order seconds. Or dessert. We're not looking for opinions, we're looking for confirmation. We want to find someone who interprets a situation the same way we do.
All I want is someone to tell me that I shouldn't be nervous. That I'm right to believe one unreturned phone call is just that -- an unreturned call. Not a bad sign ... or a meltdown ... or the Love Boat sinking.
But while my friends might be "dating mayvens," the truth is: No one knows a relationship like the two people who are in it. Sometimes, we shouldn't let our clique convince us that all is good when it's going down fast. Or buy in when they say a good relationship's going bad. We should listen to our gut -- or in this case, the message, which Scott left while I was overanalyzing with the girls.
"Hey Carin, it's Scott. Sorry I didn't call last night. We were out late. I didn't want to wake you. But my flight lands around 5. Thought maybe we'd grab Thai food together. Miss you."
Hmm. All in favor of me meeting Scott for dinner say "aye." All against say ... actually on this one, the only vote that counts is mine.
Freelance writer Carin Davis can be reached at email@example.com.