June 16, 2005
Thanks, but No Thanks
As far as I know, there are no such things as federal laws pertaining to dating. Oh, sure, there was that book "The Rules," a few years back, but those weren't federal laws; those were simply man-made, or rather, woman-made rules or suggestions. As to why there are no federal laws governing dating -- that's a no-brainer.
Men, for the most part, make the laws. And men, no doubt, realized that if there were actual laws governing dating behavior, no way would there be even one-eighth the necessary jail cells available to hold all the men who regularly violate said dating laws. Hence, no dating laws.
Of course, every now and then one encounters a dating law violator of the female persuasion. Which brings me to my recent date with "Alison."
Admittedly, I would never have pegged Alison as the date lawbreaking type. Attractive, intelligent, sensitive, good sense of humor and, most importantly, seemed to really like me. Our meeting on an online singles site led to very encouraging e-mail, followed by phoning and, finally, the all-important first meeting -- lunch, my treat, good chemistry; ending with her suggesting that I call her to set up date No. 2. So far, so good.
Of course, that was back in the good old days, before Alison and my relationship took several sudden and (at least on my part) unexpected turns toward The Dark Side. The afternoon following our lunch, I called Alison, reached her voice mail, and left a message thanking her for a lovely lunch, saying how much I enjoyed meeting her and that I was very much looking forward to our next date, which we could arrange when she called me back.
I'm big on courtesy and appreciation, both giving it and receiving it, and was a bit disappointed that I hadn't already gotten a "thanks for the lunch/nice meeting you" e-mail from Alison. But I realize not everyone thinks like I do, otherwise the world would be even scarier. I'll probably get that thank you when she calls me back, I reasoned.
As it turned out, it's a good thing I'm not a wait-by-the-phone-for-a-return-call kind of guy. Because she did not return my call that afternoon, evening, the following day or even the day after that. Unless, God forbid, something terrible happened to her, thereby immobilizing her, it slowly dawned on me that People magazine would most likely not be reserving photo space for us in their Lovers of the Year issue.
Any reasonable man in this situation would have simply gotten the silent message loud and clear, written Alison off and moved on to greener, more appreciative pastures. But this is me we're talking about. I felt the need to let her know that although I got the message (or lack thereof) that she was not interested in meeting again, I felt it was discourteous on her part to a) not e-mail a "thank you for lunch, it was nice meeting you but I didn't feel the magic, good luck" kind of acknowledgment, and b) to have ignored my call after she invited me to call.
This, finally, motivated Alison to respond, and I quote: "While it is obvious you know nothing about me, your missive revealed so much about you. You are a pompous, pathetic man. Grow up."
OK, that did it. I immediately crossed Alison's name off my Chanukah card list. But in truth, I was baffled. Perhaps I delude myself in thinking that most people, and especially women, have a certain degree of humanity, sensitivity and consideration. And perhaps this is payback, with Alison having reversed the traditional male-female roles, with her taking on the male role of the love 'em and leave 'em cad, and me becoming the female who needs to communicate feelings. I'd rather, though, think of it this way -- most people I meet are sensitive, appreciative and caring. So when I encounter one who does not have those mensch-like qualities, it only serves to make me appreciate the others all the more. Of course, when I become King of the Universe, dating laws will require thank-yous and immediate, considerate responses. Too bad, Alison. You could have been my queen.
Mark Miller has written for TV, movies and celebrities, been a professional stand-up comedian, and a humor columnist for the Los Angeles Times Syndicate. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org