Back in LA, I went out recently with a girl that I’ve known for a few years. Not in the biblical sense, but I know her well. I met her at a bar in Hollywood, things were going great, we talked a lot & I made her laugh. We closed the bar.
After drinks, neither of us was ready to call it a night and I was too much of a chicken to ask her over, so we went to a diner across the street. She was drunk & wanted some eggs. I hadn’t drank enough to be drunk hungry so I figured I’d sit there & sip some coffee while she ate her eggs or whatever.
She did not like that. At all.
She went on and on about how I should order food, she didn’t want to eat alone, it was a communal thing, etc. I honestly wasn’t hungry. I wasn’t drunk. I didn’t want to eat pancakes at 3am. Now, I know what you’re thinking. But I’m not one of those guys, the guys that order salads or veggie sandwiches on dates trying to come off as healthy. Just, in this case, I truly wasn’t hungry at all.
She got so mad that we left the diner w/o her ordering anything. I haven’t seen her socially since. Though we do still talk frequently. Should I have just forced myself to eat? Is that a douche move to let a woman drunk-feast alone late at night?
Did I ruin it with this girl?
(non) Midnight Snacker
Dear (non) Midnight Snacker,
California people, am I right y’all? Celery and weight loss and protein shakes and all that kind of wankery.
Okay, I got the obligatory shitting on California out of the way. Now I can address your concern with a clear head. What I think has happened here is that by not eating something at the diner, you broke the pact of the evening. The pact of the evening was: we are in this together. You knew her already, you were ready to take it to the next level, and then when you got to the next level, you demonstrated to her that you were not In It Together. Because she wanted pancakes and you didn’t, yes, that is the reason, you showed her something about yourself really, really early on in the seeing-if-this-is-a-thing part, that you may be the kind of man who, when it comes down to it, won’t do something in the In It Together sense.
If she’s in relationship mode, she might be thinking: if this dude will not just order a fucking omelette with me at the diner, what is he going to do when we’ve been dating for four years and I get a job in Chicago and he doesn’t? Stay in L.A. and be like, man, Chicago is a nice place but fuck it, I can’t be bothered? Or suck it up and move to Chicago with me because Chicago is a really nice place even if it’s not what you want right that second?
Or she might not be in relationship mode and just be thinking, “How hard is it to order a fucking fruit cup, Jeeeeeezus, this guy isn’t even a little bit nibbly even though he just had ten beers, how does that even work?”
Here is the thing we do in Texas: we do polite shit to make other people happy. Here is the other thing we do in Texas: we don’t necessarily like doing that shit, and we don’t even really give that shit 100%, but we motion through it because if nothing else, Texans are interested in maintaining the social order of things. If y’all had gone to the diner with friends, and some of them ordered food and some didn’t, I can guarantee you she wouldn’t have taken notice that you didn’t order much, or that if she did, she would be like nah, probably that guy wasn’t hungry.
What you did is you created a situation in which you agreed to go to the diner with her after you shut the bar down, but then opted out when it came to the thing people do at diners after they shut the bar down, which is order some food. So you made her feel kind of weird for being the person who wanted to eat, and instead of doing a pretty easy thing which is ordering some eggs and bacon, you sat there and watched her eat. It’s kind of passive aggressive? Ish? Like, you were waiting for her to finish so you could go home alone or have sex or rearrange your LP’s?
Have you ever watched someone watch you eat? It is unnerving as fuck. Every bite is like you’re taking your first attempt at solids after you were in a terrible car crash and you’re trying to choke down some hospital mashed potatoes and your whole family is looking at you hoping you don’t die because your recovery is so important to them and if you don’t perform, Mema will cry and worry and stay up late.
So she may have had a variety of reasons for thinking what you did was weird, but I believe they all come down to the fact that you broke the social contract of In It Together. This is salvageable. You say you talk frequently, but don’t see each other socially. I take this to mean whatever chatting you’re doing is either pretty superficial (Facebook comments? Twitter?) or you have some kind of work relationship or … okay, I’m out of ideas. Here’s what you do:
Ask her out again, and fulfill that social contract of In It Together. It’s super easy: hang out with her and do what she does. Not, like, get the same tattoos or anything (unless she has a great idea for a tattoo) but just go along with the thing. If she has a drink, you have a drink. If she wants to find a Best Buy and watch Avatar on ten big screens, do that. Make mental notes of things she likes and talk about things she likes and show her you are attentive to those likes. I mean, obviously, you should just like some of the things she likes or at least care about things she likes because what the fuck are you doing dating her if you don’t? But. What you need to do is demonstrate that that last time you did the weird thing where you didn’t match her socially, it was aberrant and now you’re going to match her socially.
If this goes well, and down the road (like a month or something) you’re getting into the maybe-seeing-each-other-exclusively mode, then you can talk about what In It Together means and what makes you both comfortable. Or maybe you both discover that she’s always gonna want pancakes at 3 a.m. and you’re always not, so whatever, you stay nice friends.
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