I wanna get beta.

Looking through my Facebook feed, a friend had shared the following question from a local matchmaking service (that a ton of awesome friends seem to be a fan of. I can only conclude it’s equally awesome):

“A question for the guys: one of the biggest complaints I’ve been getting from clients and single friends recently is when guys text or message endlessly but don’t ask them out (on a first or subsequent date).
I’d love your insights on this annoying phenomenon. Is it that you’re busy? Is it that you’re just not that into the girl? If you’re not interested, why keep messaging? Are you trying to get HER to ask YOU out? Are you just using this tenuous human connection as an antidote for streetcar boredom? Are you looking to cultivate new platonic friendships? Why do you do this?
TELL US.”

I’ve got half an hour to kill and nothing better to write about. This was kind of two questions in one so let’s have a look.

I’ve definitely been guilty of this. I like conversations, I have a habit of rambly messaging. If I like someone, I enjoy finding out more about them to the point of narrative paralysis. If I’m forming a picture of them through their responses, it’s addictive. I start learning more and more about this person as the conversation expands and I get drawn into asking questions, lengthier messages and all that. My Favourite Ex has since told me that while she enjoyed chatting, she was also wondering when I’d shut the fuck up and just ask her out. I didn’t get the hint.

First Date scenario:

As I said above, I love conversing. Asking questions and seeing interesting responses is fantastic. It starts to build my conversational partner into a three dimensional person instead of a few photos and words on a page. This is a big part of it. If I’ve never met this person physically then they’re still an abstract concept or an idea. It’s not until I’m around them in the flesh that they come to life for me. It’s why it’s so much easier to dismiss the notion of a person by seeing a photo and match percentage on a website, because that’s all they really are at that stage. If you say something dumb online (as you can tell, I’m the kind of person who says dumb, dorky things) and they leave, you haven’t lost a person, you’ve just lost that idea of a person. So I talk. The more I find out, I become increasingly comfortable and more secure in wanting to meet up in a place where conversational missteps can have real and vivid effects on a real and vivid person.

If it wasn’t evident from reading between the lines, there’s a fear of rejection there too. Even when the person you’re talking to doesn’t seem “real”, the fear of rejection still is. If their responses seem enthusiastic it mitigates that fear and makes proposing a date less daunting. I’ve learned from my experience and tend to ask women out earlier now, perhaps after 3-5 messages. Before I knew better some conversations got to upwards of 20 messages before finally taking the plunge. I can see how that would be frustrating. I also don’t know how to flirt and as such I’m terrible at reading cues. At the same time I like trying to be clever and witty. Conversational back and forth is a good opportunity for “trying”. This is the merest hint of justification I can give to my dating ineptitude.

If it’s someone I met in person then most of the above still stands. Sue me for being an archetypal beta male, but self doubt comes into play when questioning her intentionality. Did she give me her number because she thought I’d be a fun friend? Was she interested/attracted? Why? So probing happens. If she still wants to talk I’ll try dropping hints (that I’m incapable of reading well because I’m a doofus) and I’ll see how that plays out. Which leads us to the second part of the question…

Subsequent Date scenario:

Context. Context context context. I’d say it again but the word is starting to lose all meaning through repetition. Post date messaging can vary by situation. I’ll usually have a first date where we can chat and I can get a good sense of my date partner. Did I like her as a whole? Was there anything that I balked at or gave me pause? Were there things that could be dealbreakers but require more thought? I’m a person who generally values moving towards the notion of something long term. If I’m seeing flags from the beginning it feels like a poor position to start from. Perhaps it’s not meant to be.

Alternatively am I so enamoured with her that I’m afraid of overdoing it and looking desperate in my response? Just because I’m into her that doesn’t mean she’ll reciprocate and I don’t want to push her into anything that would make her uncomfortable. There’s too much of that going around already. In this case I’ll message a bit to see where we stand. If it sounds like she’s into it I’ll start thinking of things she might like to do for a second date.

A lot of the time I’ll get messages from dates that I didn’t feel a connection with, but feel rude not replying to. Why wouldn’t I? Just because they don’t seem like someone I want to date, why would I not treat them with decent human decency and respond to their messages? This is obviously a huge male privilege thing, but it’s rare in my experience that female dates are malicious or threatening. They’re probably good people who weren’t good for me. So I’ll keep chatting out of courtesy. If I’m really not interested I’ll basically just respond without much thought and the messages will get less enthusiastic. Is that not enough of a signal of disinterest? Surely if I was into her I’d sound like it. Am I bad at this?

It could be that the date didn’t quite click, but I’m actively interested in fostering a friendship because they were so unabashedly rad. If they mentioned things they were into (bands, TV shows or movies) and I see something they’d probably be interested in (an article, upcoming tours, videos) then I may send that their way. This just means I’m thinking of them in a platonic sense. Admittedly I do this to someone I’d like to share hugs with too. Then again I’m a hugger, so I hug people I don’t necessarily want to share kisses with too. Wait. I think I’m the problem.

Did that answer the question or just list reasons not to date me?

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One response to “I wanna get beta.

  1. I think it answered the question very well.. honest and well wrote. I just stumbled across your blog here, and very much looking forward to reading more from you. 🙂

    bratt x

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