It Never Fails! Can't rain but it pours.

No, really. It's ridiculous. I swear men can smell each other on a woman. As soon as they catch the scent of another man on you they are suddenly attracted. Or They're more attracted. I just got asked out. Of course he waits until now because I'm seeing someone. And of course, that is too new to know what it is or where it's going. But I couldn't just say, 'No thank you I have a boyfriend,' because I don't. That--and I'm a terrible flirt when I'm not trying.

I have lived here since August. It is now practically January. How many months was I alone and miserable? I met him even before I moved in, the day I came with the rent check and to pick up my keys. He lives in the first floor apartment that's separate from the rest of the house. He let me in that day because Lucy didn't hear the doorbell. He flirts with me everytime we run into each other. Which is maybe a couple times a month. Then I found out in November that he grew up in my old neighborhood, where I went to college. We even know some of the same people. His father is friends with the woman who taught my cello lessons. One goth girl who was part of the crew I went clubbing with, ages and ages ago, was in his high school class.

Why did he just ask me out now? Several factors played into the timing. Though he did surprise me with it tonight. Lucy wanted to play scrabble two or three weeks ago (I can't remember) so she recruited me and the Basement Boy. There were four of us. We were friendly. Basement Boy and I got kind of chatty, comparing notes about places we used to hang out and people we knew. So, I guess that's when we crossed the acquaintance "Hi, how you doing?" threshold, which we were kind of stuck on before. Ahhhhhccckk. Stupid men! I hate you all.

Ok, but he was always chatty when we did the 'hi, how you doing,' and he was always inquisitive about me. And I was always flirty because he is cute and was chatty and inquisitive about me. Except the night he was hanging out with Alex in the kitchen. It was around midnight and I went downstairs to get a drink of ice water. I had on my little sleeping tank top and was bra-less. I'm not someone who can go in public without a bra. And it's chilly in the house at night. But I didn't think the public was in my kitchen at midnight. Alex lives in the house so he doesn't count. They were talking and dragged me into the conversation but I was just embarrassed by my Jennifer Aniston problem. I tried to use my arms as strategically as possible and get out of the kitchen without being rude. But it took awhile to extract myself. So I'm sure I was rude and that probably put him off. That was in September. Then in October I crashed emotionally and was miserable until about the end of November. That had to have made me unattractive.

This is kind of my fault because I heard him doing stuff on the stairs in our hall that lead down to his apt. And I stuck my head down and asked what he was doing and we started up a conversation. Mostly he started up the conversation by asking me about work, if I'd got my grading done. The whole house--including the basement--heard me moaning about it. Then he asked me what I was doing for New Years? Yikes. Um, nothing yet. What about him? He is doing the weekly bike protest and then going to a party in Park Slope. He has friends from college coming to town, he's so excited. blah blah. I thought he might ask me to go with him since I said I hadn't gotten around to making plans yet. But he didn't ask. Probably because I panicked and pulled my head out of the stairwell before he could. But then I peeked down at him again and we kept talking. I figured I should probably let him continue installing the light in the stairwell and he made me nervous after the New Year's question so I started taking my leave with a "See you later" and that's when he said it.

"You know, you should come down sometime. Anytime if you want to have dinner or something." And what did I say? After the moment of comprehension dawned, I said, "oh? Yeah?" And he said, "Yeah. It's not that hard you know." I smiled, said "Ok" and "See ya later." Then I ran upstairs to my cave of a bedroom. Now I'm hiding up here and I'll probably never go downstairs again.

Here's my theory why this ALWAYS happens:

1. Lonely people often look sad and that is unattractive so they don't get asked out. People who are with someone tend not to be so lonely and not look so sad and that makes them more attractive.

2. Pheromones. Men can smell each other. I'm not sure if it's that romantic activity sets off female estrus pheromones or if they literally can smell the pheromones of another man. I don't have any man scent on me today so it must be estrus smell in this case.

3. The freshly sexed glow. You all know what I'm talking about. Doesn't it just make women look all happy and sexy and shiny and men are drawn to that like flies to. . . never mind.

4. Competition. I think something happens psychologically when one man finds out another man is into a woman. Unless they're friends. But maybe the man never noticed the woman before. And then he sees her with another man or hears a man talking about her and suddenly his interest may be piqued. He wants to know why this other man is attracted to her, because there must be something right? Then he may notice the attractive things about her and suddenly find himself interested too.

So that's why I think women get asked out more frequently when they already have a man around. In my case I chalk it up to one and two. Care to share your opinions on the general matter? Have stories of your own? Am I wrong? Did I miss anything?



Anonymous said...

I think that one point you're missing has to do with male fear of commitment. If a woman is dating another guy, there is a better chance that she will hook up with you without it becoming a long-term, meet-the-parents, presents-on-holidays type of thing. At least that's what I was thinking when I first started dating my wife -- she was engaged to someone else at the time. 

Message from pwesterberg

Anonymous said...

This kind of sounds like in the movie 'Something's Gotta Give' when Jack Nicholson walked in on Diane Keaton who was sans apparel (butt naked) while going for a midnight snack in the kitchen. I believe Keanu Reeves mentioned to Jack in the doctor's office subsequently that Freud believes there are no accidents or something like that?

Sorry I am probably out of line on that one. Happy New Year. 

Message from Anonymous

Anonymous said...

I had something similar happen when I first hooked up with my husband. Previously to our finally getting together I had been shamelessly (at least for me) chasing another guy. I got all kinds of mixed messages. In fact it was after one discouraging day spent with that guy in a non-date atmosphere that I ran into my husband (we had known each other since we were in junior high) and he asked me to dinner. Shortly after that we got serious VERY quick. Then suddenly out of the blue the other guy I had been chasing shows obvious interest and then disappointment upon finding out I was dating someone seriously.

I marveled about the same things at the same time. And I think that alot of it has to do with how happy I was once I was with my husband--makes a person really attractive.

At least in my case. Either that or fate just has a funny sense of humor.  

Message from Ammie

Anonymous said...

Personally I would weight the explanation very heavily to number 1. (I don't think pheremones have ever been documented to affect behavior in humans.) When a person is happy, not giving off a desperation vibe or a downer vibe, said person automatically becomes way more attractive to those of the opposite sex.

I've been happily married for a long time now, and I'm naturally kind of a flirt, and I feel very confident that I could get all sorts of women to really like me if I wanted to. But the irony is, that if I were actually single and available I wouldn't have that same confidence, and I might start feeling lonely and a little bit desperate, and I would feel much less sure of myself, and so in reality it would be much, much harder than I imagine it would be. It's quite a paradox. Since I understand this on an intellectual level, I suppose if I were single I would really try to *force* myself to be happy and confident, but forcing myself to be happy and confident and actually being happy and confident are probably two different things.

Being happy and positive is a tremendous aphrodisiac. (Well, that, and the lingering image of your little braless sleeping tank top on a cold night in the kitchen, which, speaking as a male of the species, sounds incredibly sexy and appealing. I'm sure he noticed and I'm also quite sure that he never forgot!)

Anyway, go ahead and go out with him. Your Jewish guy isn't your boyfriend yet, is he? If the field presents itself to you, you should play it, and have a good time doing so. It doesn't sound to me as though you have otherwise made a commitment to monogamy yet. 

Message from Kevin Barney

Anonymous said...
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Anonymous said...

I think that part of it is also that once we start seeing someone we feel freer to flirt. In our mind is the person we are dateing...so we flirt and have no fear of rejection because we already have someone.  

Message from Dragon

Anonymous said...

OKay, okay, okay, I've been patient enough. What happened to Tainted Love. Months I have waited. How much longer will you torture me??????


Message from Lisa

Anonymous said...

I know I know I know, I'm sorry--I have had every intention of writing it and then when I'm ready to do it something new happens. It's easier to write about the new events, both emotionally and technically. And the new ones feel more immediate and important, even if they may not be.

Some philosophers don't believe there are past or future, only the present is real: "Presentism" you can make a good case for it. That's off-topic but my present is kind of over-whelming me at the moment. Next week I have off. I'll aim for doing it then. It will probably be a nice little escape from my over-exciting life.

To all my dear readers, MERRY NEW YEAR!!!!!!!! I prefer that to the 'happy' version because it reminds me of the perfect New Years I had in London for the real millenium..... 

Message from JL

Anonymous said...

I can't remember what it was about her--I wanted to ask her out!

I remember thinking, "Why is this so hard? When I was a missionary (LDS, Idaho Boise Mission 94-96), I asked people--right to their face--to quit drinking, smoking, having sex and all sorts of personal stuff! I even arranged marriages for people who were living together. This is just a date! How could it be so tough!?"

She did have some guys hanging around her, but she wasn't serious about them. She wasn't really serious about anybody.

I wonder if that had something to do with it. Pheremomes or not, I think she was just confident about herself and, though funny and interesting, NOT desperate. She was neutral. Fun and reserved. Cute and distant. Available and not looking. Unavailable and looking.

When it all comes down to it, I wonder if it was being able to get to know her and be real, without the emotional politics of boy-meets-girl that made her so attractive.

Hey, here was a girl I wanted to be with because I wanted to be myself around her. What a concept!

We've been married now almost seven years. 

Message from Rahhb

Anonymous said...

I'm not sure how much 2 comes into play, but I know that 1, 3 and 4 all come into play. When you are looking to date somebody you are looking for something exciting. People who look like they are sad or depressed tend to be less exciting. That satisfies #1. #3 is true. As for the last one, it is in the nature of quite a few males to compete. Hence the NBA, NFL, MLB, MLS, NCAA football, basketball, golf, etc. etc. etc.. A female who is single evokes very little, if any, of the competitive desire. Just my humble opinion. 

Message from dJake

Anonymous said...

For me, I'd have to say that it's #1 with a little #3 mixed in.

My love life has always been seasons of drought followed by floods. I can never win. I'm either dying of thirst or drowning. 

Message from Lizzy

Anonymous said...

I think it's like that for everyone, the feast or famine. I've even had guys saying that it works the same way with them.

Message from JL

Anonymous said...

I agree whole-heartedly with #1, consider #3 part of #1, and have an addendum for #4. I think there are men who bide their time .. out of uncertainty or lack of convidence. When they see we have someone, the case becomes more urgent, so they finally take action.

And inspired by pwesterberg's comment, I also think it's easier to go out on a limb when there's no real risk. If a girl's going out with someone, the outcome isn't as big of a question. A come-on is presumed to fail, so they don't get emotionally wrapped up in her response. 

Message from Kwirki Girl

Anonymous said...

I have a guy who never acts interested until I talk about other guys and then he gets all snooty about those guys. When there are no guys, he acts ho hum. Can you ever figure it out?  

Message from Sestra

Anonymous said...

Good points from Kwirki Girl and pwesterberg:

5. A woman already attached is less threatening commitment-wise
5b. And less threatening rejection-wise.

Sounds like you are in a posession situation. He wants you for himself as an ego booster but doesn't want to actually bother having a relationship with you. Very common. Some men like to have a permanently single female friend around that they don't really want to date. But they feel the need to always have a woman around. So, as soon as some other man comes around to see about you it ruffles his feathers because he's threatening his possession of you. So maybe he throws you some romantic crumbs to lead you on and then talk trash about the dude to make you lose interest. Thus, securing you as his permanently single girl-friend. I'm sorry.  

Message from JL

Anonymous said...

Eh, I think you're making this all way too complicated.

The guy asked you out when he got around to it. Maybe he was seeing somebody else before. He probably was stoked to see you in the kitchen, as you related.

So I'd say, misc. minor factors & dumb luck. 

Message from G. Ratte'

Anonymous said...

You're probably right about my situation with this guy, just dumb luck. But that doesn't explain the general phenomenon. Haven't you noticed that more people are interested in you when you are already with someone? 

Message from JL

Anonymous said...

JL, I never thought of it that way but what you say makes sense. He once told me he liked me as a friend but his attitude reeked of jealousy. YOu made a good point! Too bad too. 

Message from Sestra

Anonymous said...

JL, I had more guys hit on me when I was seven months pregnant then anytime in my life. Everytime I would turn around I was getting phone numbers...they were asking for mine! It was crazy!! 

Message from SleeplessINPDX

Anonymous said...

That's insane!!!
But I guess it makes sense if you look at this way: it has to be due to some instinctual evolutionary attraction to fertile women, lol. Add to that the beatiful glow of the preggers female and the absolute evidence that there is or was a man in your life so maybe they can get away with no commitment, no-strings sex.
So, #2,3, and 5a and 5b. 

Message from JL