This post was inspired by my own dumb moves, a very funny conversation with my girlfriends and one even funnier guy with a great ability to make me laugh. You can thank him for the Swingers video clip. Ladies, we need to wise up STAT.
It’s been eight months since I got the memo that my husband was “moving out and moving on.” That’s a full spring and summer, and a good chunk of fall, full of rollercoaster days trying to “keep on trucking” with style and grace.
There’s no question that I owe getting this far to my incomparable support circle of friends and family. And, when I remember to use them, a smile and sense of humor that can match any bad day—two “essentials” for getting over and around the post-breakup hump and back into a little socializing with the opposite sex.
Not like I have any game, but having observed people while working at coffee shops or playing at bars and restaurants, it’s obvious that sending out a smile has a boomerang effect. And since a smiley face emoticon—and text conversation—only goes so far, it’s a lot better to take that smile on the road than to sit at home feeling blue because none of your digital communication devices are delivering what you want. (I mean, how many times can you check Facebook Messenger when you already have alerts set up?)
Along with smiles and wit, being able to laugh at yourself is also a valuable asset. I’ve got this last one down as do most of my friends, which makes Monday morning quarterbacking very lively. You guys can argue, but women are so much better about facing their sorry ass selves than men. On the flipside, we let a lot of things slide that we probably shouldn’t. For example, faux relationships that are grounded in texts and not much else.
There’s a lot of confused conversation going on between men and women because of texting and as much as my friends and I hate to admit it, our cluelessness about what’s really going on makes us a little loco and throws us right back into being 14. It also makes us do some really dumb stuff that we later regret because we’re so damn mind-boggled and can’t think clearly. Smiling is a handy trait, but Smart is where it’s at.
The single women that I know are beautiful, sexy, accomplished, nurturing, generous, brilliant, tough, perseverant and any other nicety you want to toss in. So why is it that they (and yes, me too) devalue their self-worth and put their romantic interests up in lights?
After kibbitzing with a few lady friends recently (because I’m the new kid on the block and need all the help I can get to not f-ck up the dating thing), it rose to the surface pretty quickly, just how susceptible to the siren call of Smart Women Who Do Stupid Things we are.
I’m still trying to break it down, but the big question is why women try so hard with guys that aren’t the best match (even if they are really witty, kind, fun and handsome) and completely overlook those who are more in sync and equally embody all of the above, maybe even more so. I get that we play the safe-scary game, classifying prospects based on projected hurt, but in this text-forward, voice deprived era of dating, it’s pretty easy to get that wrong. (Trust me, the guy that scares you is the one you want to be getting jiggy with; he wants to know the real, not game-playing you.)
Men are definitely not immune to stupid behavior or miscalculation. But women, with their golden retriever nature, try much more thoughtfully (and obsessively) to do and say the right thing, to ignore actions (what red flag?), put too much stock into words and want to right things when really, it’d be OK and probably smart to throw this particular fish back.
Worse, we write stories in our heads about guys that make them seem like rockstars, when a lot of the time they’re not half as fabulous as we are. (#truth)
Instead of seizing the upper hand, we create unnecessary drama (and expend A LOT of energy) and wind up getting ourselves hurt when we might benefit from doing the hurting. I’m not talking about first time out of the gate, botched rebound experiences; those are inevitable for anyone just getting their sea legs. I’m referring to all the actions and reactions to the opposite sex women put on repeat and that lead to a very self-deprecating state even when what went down wasn’t 100% their fault.
A good offense is a good defense. Or maybe it’s reversed. Regardless, sh-t happens and the only way around it, is through it.
Take 24 hours to cry it out and obsess about every thing you shouldn’t have done, then throw on Taylor Swift, put that smile on and Shake It Off. And call out the guy who told you that he didn’t know who Taylor Swift was while doing it. Then thank him for being honest with you and imparting a few life lessons that will prove valuable when you meet the next nice guy, who just might happen to be a better fit. If you’re lucky, you’ll wind up with a new romantic interest and hold onto the other guy as a friend, which in my book is a very sweet deal.
Speaking of male friendships, my ex once told me that men and women can’t be friends because there’s always the question of sex between them. (I don’t think I have to explain that frequent lunches with female business associates made this a bit worrisome.) I disagree.
Male friendships are the bomb in my book, and I have very happily met some pretty wonderful guys while navigating the single life. Not only do I appreciate a male perspective on both sexes, just like your girlfriends’, the menfolk’s sense of humor and subtle ball-busting is sure to make you feel a little less stupid for well, being stupid. And at least coming from my guy friends, the hugs rock. Platonic can be a very lovely place to be. Especially when you’re climbing down from the hot-crazy ledge.
Circling back to smiles, chalk one up for the boomerang effect: I just sent mine out into the universe and was rewarded with a big smile-making text from one Mr. Nice Guy. I’m going to call that, very well-timed—and a sign that I’m getting a few things right even when I feel like I just did a face plant off of a too-big ski mogul and landed with my skis, poles, arms and legs crossed in four directions.
I realize that I am greener than a Christmas tree, but here’s what I am slowly learning: We can play it smart without playing games and with shit-eating grins across our faces. There are plenty of fish in the sea, and a lot of really nice guys who are just as happy to have girl “friends” as we are to have them.
Now get out there and swing playa playa sistas. Just keep the drinking and dialing to a minimum.