I met a 25-year-old divorced woman on an Internet dating service (I know, I know...). Over the course of the next couple of days, I exchanged e-mails with her. She said she'd call me and soon did. We hit it off over the phone and arranged to meet the following week. We then had a great dinner and arranged to go out the following Friday. During that week, we spoke almost every day (mostly on her initiative).
Then the problems started. When I called her on Friday to finalize plans for that night, she told me she was too tired to go out but invited me to her place to watch a film. I accepted and we ended up kissing. I asked to spend the night, and she said probably not. So I soon got ready to leave. She asked me when the subway closed, and when I told her that it was in 15 minutes, she held me and started kissing me. An hour later I got ready to leave, and she asked me how I ever planned on getting home. I told her that I would take a taxi, which I eventually did.
The next afternoon I called her, and she told me that she was busy that weekend and was going to London the following weekend but that she wanted to see me before then. I figured that I was getting the cold shoulder and decided to keep my distance. However she called me the next day -- and the next. On Monday night, she called me to tell me that she had planned on going out with me that night (that was the first I had heard about it) but that something had come up and she couldn't. We continued to speak every day until Friday, when she was leaving for London. Every time I asked her if she wanted to go out, she told me she was too busy.
On that Friday, I made it clear that I was upset we hadn't seen each other, to which she responded that she wasn't going to apologize for anything and that it was too soon to be talking "that way." She told me she had been waiting until she had a whole night free to see me, and I told her that a conversation over a cup of coffee would have made me happy. At that point, she told me that, if I wanted to, I could call her on Tuesday when she got back. However she also mentioned she would be too busy to see me that week. It's been over two weeks, and I haven't contacted her.
What happened? Was I too demanding? What did she want me to do? For some reason, I can't forget about her, but I don't think I can get in touch with her anymore.
Dear Still Spinning,
What kind of person, when you tell her the subway shuts in 15 minutes, decides to kiss you for an hour and then asks how you're getting home? A drunk person? A selfish person play-acting the part of a carefree, rebellious vamp? A slightly unbalanced, frightened, conflicted, needy person? A person who's got some substance-abuse issues? What kind of person is too tired to go out on a Friday night? A person who's hung over from Thursday night? It sounds as though she's not really running her life, but running after it. And she has a kind of approach-and-retreat thing going on, which can be a control thing mixed with, like, little neurotic, panicky attacks. Anyway, she'll drive you nuts if you let her. You sound as though you've had enough, but if you keep at it, she'll probably go to bed with you. The thing is, it will happen when you least expect it and she might leave right in the middle. In fact, you might even wake up married to her, but don't worry, it'll only last a week or two. As her first husband no doubt discovered, she's got a radically short attention span.
I think she's toying with you, bro, but like an amateur, as though she started to read six tricks in Cosmo on how to drive a man wild but she only got to the first three before being distracted by the erotic appeal of some guy's muscular forearm on the cover of GQ. Maybe she read half the article on the bus, about how a woman should never give the man what he wants and should always keep him jumping, and then got off before the part about the difference between being mysterious and being out of control. It seems to me that women who best cultivate an aura of mystery and whimsy are those who are first able to think ahead, make plans, and keep appointments. Unpredictable behavior can be charming or it can be pathetic, depending on whether the person doing it is able to direct it artfully or is simply indecisive, bitchy and scattered. This woman can attract attention to herself, but she does not seem to be in control of her actions.
So all I can say is: If you get involved with her, lock up your guns and keep a lawyer on retainer.
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Want more advice from Cary? Read yesterday's column.