On waiting, finding, and what are rules and what are guidelines

I have been reprimanded.

FF called me to tell me off for all the He’s Just Not That Into You bumf I’ve quoted at her for the past two years. Apparently it’s unacceptable for me not to practice what I preach…

Let me explain – after KM’s wedding, I waited. Probably not patiently, but I waited, nevertheless, the prerequisite three days (the guideline that states after a date it’s acceptable and even advisable to leave it for three days before making contact again – clearly made up in the pre-iPhone age). Then in despair, moaned to CC about the fact that I was impatient to find the piano player, who then told me to ask the groom for help. The groom gave me information which would lead me to the piano player and then…

In short – piano and I found each other.

So far, that’s all the story there is to tell, and that may also be all the story there ever is to tell (real life never working out quite like life does in cheesy romantic comedies).

However, according to HJNTIY, I shouldn’t have even asked the groom for help. I should have done nothing. NOTHING AT ALL. Because, in the book, women are told that men will move mountains to find us if they have to when they like us. That they will feel this overwhelming compulsion to be with us, that is so irresistable they won’t be able to do anything until they have us.

I’m not sure if this is the case in America (are American men really so singularly focused?) but when it comes to the shy Brit, experience would suggest that a few well-placed hints are needed to encourage the man to take action. And by hints I mean making it entirely and abundantly clear that, were he to ask you out, the answer would absolutely be yes.

There is an element of embarrassment when you get stuck on dropping hints to a man who clearly DOES NOT WANT to take you out. Which is where HJNTIY comes in, to save women the indignity of chasing after the hopeless and impossible, to prevent us from wasting our efforts and energies on men who clearly do not want to play. The book is very successful if that is its aim.

But it’s not very empowering to be compelled to do nothing except wait. Waiting makes me feel like a dolly in a box on the shelf of a toy shop, just waiting to be picked up and taken home. Waiting makes me feel out of control. Waiting makes me feel like the Sixties didn’t happen and that it’s a man’s world after all.

If women always did nothing, how would men know they’ve got the green light to go ahead?

So although I’ve been preaching the whole HJNTIY mantra to all of my female friends, when the rubber hits the road, I find myself incapable of simply doing nothing.

I broke the rules. FF clocked it. So we have agreed that instead of abiding by these self-help texts as rules, we ought to take them as guidelines.

There are enough indignities to be suffered alongside all the exhilarating highs as it is, without adding to them with your own blinding idiocy. So if there is a rule, it’s to preserve your dignity in the pursuit of wholesome and long-term relationships with members of the opposite sex. But any and all advice on how you go about this are to be taken purely as guidelines.

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2 responses to “On waiting, finding, and what are rules and what are guidelines

  1. Americans are after the American dream. Brits….don’t often know what they are after until it hits them in the face…

  2. Pingback: HJNTIY « All manner of things will be well·

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