Friday, March 10, 2006

Updated: Dating Laurie: A Guide Chapters 1 & 2

In bed last night, Billy expressed his desire for a manual on dating me. Ask and ye shall recieve, my friend. I'll be posting it throughout the day. Because it could get lengthy.

Congratulations! You’re dating Laurie (Pronounced Law-rie, not Lo-ri)! You must be an intelligent, funny, attractive, sexy, phenomenal guy. Because she is, after all, very picky. But you also must be brave. Because she is, after all, a woman. And it is because she is a woman that we have devised this all-important guide to dating her. Read up, and pay close attention; This information could come in handy next time you ask her what’s wrong and she says “Nothing.”

Chapter One:
"I Can Tell You're Mad Because Your Eyebrows Are Raised All The Way To Your Hairline."

You’re already good at reading her. You can tell, immediately upon seeing her, whether she’s happy or upset. She loves this. She thinks it is so wonderful that you can read in her eyes what she’s feeling. It touches her deeply that you are so in-tune with her features, her emotions, the position of her eyebrows. She loves it.

And, most times, you make it better by just being there. By just asking. By paying attention. You're so good at getting things out of her. Helping her through her drama. She values that more than you'll ever know.

However, that being said, when you know there is something wrong, please, please, please do not antagonize her. You know she is upset already. You know, then, that she is probably on the verge of tears (because that is what she does when she’s upset over anything – be she mad or sad or frustrated or angry or hurt. She cries.). And you do not want to push her over that edge. Because once the first tear falls, threatening to ruin her makeup, it’s all downhill from there. You are, literally, opening up the floodgates. She will now have license to be mad at you, too. Even if she was not angry with you to begin with. But where you were once the supporting boyfriend she ran to for comfort, you, at that point, move into the category of “Another item in a long list of things that are pissing her off/making her sad/making her mad/hurting her feelings right now.” You do not want to be in that column.

So what is considered antagonizing her, you ask?

A) When she expresses frustration with work/ friends/ acquaintances/ family/ the world, do not side with them. Or tell her that there’s nothing she can do. Or offer her solutions. This is not to say that you should side with her. Your job, as her boyfriend, is to listen. Maybe say “I’m sorry, Babe,” or “that sucks.” Not “Well, what you should do is…” or “Why don’t you…” or even “Fuck ‘em.” She knows all of that. She’s aware of possible solutions, she may even know she’s in the wrong, but, still, she wants to talk about it. Maybe even complain. And she just wants someone to listen to her; she wants to feel supported. When you tell her what she should do, it makes her feel like a kid. And she hates to feel like a kid. It makes her feel like you don’t give her any credit for being an intelligent adult. And it makes her feel like you underestimate her. Alternately, she may feel that you’re judging her for how she feels. And that makes her clam up. She just wants to be heard. Because sometimes she feels like she has no one to talk to, and you don’t want to wind up as one of those people.

  1. There will be times, however, that she will ask for your help. When she needs advice, she will specifically say “What should I do,” “What do you think” or the very obvious “Help me.” And, yes, there will be many times that she seeks out your direction: Because she loves you and she knows that you’re there to help, and you’re good at it. She values your opinion and your advice, but there are times that she doesn’t want to hear it and just wants to vent.
  2. You may feel that sometimes she needs to be told what to do, regardless of the fact that she hasn't asked for your help. That’s entirely possible.* As much as she likes to feel that she’s always right, always under control, and always capable of handling any situation, there will be times that she is incapable of doing it on her own or is afraid to ask for your help. When this type of situation arises, it is wise to present your case in the kindest possible light. She is very resistant to advice. Even more so when she feels that everyone is against her and that, now, “everyone” includes you. So pad the advice with a nice soft, supportive voice and plush words: “Maybe you’d like to try this…” or (sweetly) “Did you consider…” Be very delicate with it, though. She is likely to shut down at any point. Remember this. It’s not unlike talking a jumper down from a ledge. She’s very fragile in this state. She needs to feel like you’re on her team, like you’re there for her.

*But these situations are rare. Remember that YOUR way is not always necessarily the RIGHT way. Just because YOU see an issue with something does not mean that your viewpoint, or your solution, will work for her. Sometimes, the two of you are just very different. Don’t try to force your mindset on her.

B) When she is upset, do not pick this time to get in a few, funny jokes at her expense. In a normal mood, she will laugh right along with you, probably even contribute a jab or two of her own. Picking on herself is one of her favorite pastimes. She loves to joke, and she’s willing to take just as much as she dishes out. Not, however, when she is upset. Joking with her - in the form of light-hearted jabs about her- will, eight times out of ten, not get her out of a bad mood. Especially if you make fun of her. This is not the time. Unless you know you will genuinely make her smile, don’t kid around. She takes her emotions very seriously. And she will take everything you say to her very seriously and to heart when she’s upset. Picking on her at this point may be a fatal mistake. Because what was once just frustration with work has now become “Maybe he doesn’t love me anymore.” Oh yes, it’s true. She is that dramatic. It may not make sense, but that’s how it is. Resistance or argument is futile. She’s a woman. Deal with it.

C) Normally, she is talking about how she feels, and when you tell her there's no reason to feel that way, she feels like you just smacked her in the face. She hates when you invalidate how she feels. Feelings are facts. She's entitled to them. Just because they don't make sense to you doesn't mean they don't make sense to her. Well, hell, who are we kidding, sometimes they don't make sense to her either. But they're there. And she's telling you about them because she needs to tell someone, and she's chosen you. It may not seem like a big deal to you, but it is to her. She loves you, she needs you, she wants to go to you. Don't make her feel like she can't talk to you.

She just wants kindness. And support. Sometimes she just wants to vent. So let her. And let her know you’re there for her with kind words. Commiserate. You don’t always have to advise.

And remember, she is not often in a bad mood. And most times, if she is in a bad mood, she’s able to dismantle it before you even get a chance to witness it. She doesn’t enjoy being upset around you. But she needs you, as much as she may not want to admit it.

Remember that she does not have many people in her life to whom she will go for help or solace. You are in the trust tree, in the nest. You are one of the select few. And antagonizing her will make her think that maybe she can’t go to you, for fear of being judged. She just wants love and support.

Coming up: Chapter Two: What She Really Means When She Says "No, Really. Nothing's Wrong."


Chapter Two:
What She Really Means When She Says "No, Really. Nothing's Wrong."

You know that she’s upset. You’re genuinely concerned. So you ask “What’s wrong?” And she says “Nothing.” And you say “Tell me.” And she says “Really, nothing’s wrong.” And you say “Don’t lie to me.” And she says “I’m not.”

Ahhhh, the age-old round-and-round of What’s-Wrong-Nothing. Few things must be as frustrating as this. You can see it in her eyes; The gentle arch of her brow, her moist irises. And you know she’s full of shit when she says nothing. But she won’t give in and tell you. Yeah. She’s stubborn like that.

But there are a number of reasons she says “Nothing.”

It’s all in her tone. If she says it sweetly, her tone borderline sad, her voice tired, it’s because:
  1. She’s not sure. Sometimes she gets sad, irritated, introverted, anti-social for no reason whatsoever. There was no catalyst, there was no reason. She just turned a corner and ran face-first into a bad mood. It could be the wind, the moon, a butterfly flapping its wings in South Africa. Who knows. And getting into it is useless. Because no matter how much she wishes she could give you a concrete reason, she can’t. And all she can do is wait for it to pass.

  2. Sometimes, she’s very private. And she retreats into herself and there is no one she is going to let in. Something may be wrong, but she doesn’t want to talk about it. Period.

  3. She doesn’t want to get into it. It’s something really stupid. It may or may not have anything to do with you, but one this is sure: It will pass. It is a common annoyance – an invasion of her personal space, you laughing at her for something she didn’t find funny, she broke a nail – that will surely be overwith in a matter of moments. And there’s no need to even dignify her mood with a conversation about it. Sometimes she thinks that just ignoring it will make it disappear. Most times, this works.

  4. It is something she doesn’t want to tell you. Something you won’t understand. Conflicts with women. Old emotional issues from the Ghost of Relationship Past. Things that are real issues, but will pass. No need to drag you into it.

  5. She feels stupid. Maybe she’s annoyed that you didn’t tell her you loved her last night before sleep. Maybe she’s feeling insecure and needs to be reminded that you love her. Maybe she feels lonely. Or fat. Whatever. But saying out loud would sure make her feel far more ridiculous than saying “nothing” when you ask what’s wrong.

  6. She knows you’re going to disagree with her. Or go against her. Maybe her aggravation has to do with someone you both know. Or something neither of you can control. She knows that if she comes out with it, you’ll make her feel silly for feeling that way. And that only leads to more frustration. So she deals with it on her own.

  7. She wants you to drag it out of her. She’s not proud of it, but it’s true: Sometimes, she wants to know you really want to know. For two reasons. One: She wants to make sure you really want to open that can of worms before you start prying at the tin. Because it could be boring. Or not at all about you. Or, it could be all about you and messy. And she wants to make sure you’re ready for what she’s about to bring out. Two: Your continuing to ask, in her warped, hormonal and malcontented mind, proves that you care. And sometimes she needs that. Hey, no one said it made sense.

  8. There’s really nothing wrong. She’s just tired. Yes, sometimes it’s true. Really.

HOWEVER, if her tone is cold and she refuses to look at you, it’s because:

She’s pissed. At you. And she would rather bite your face off than look at or talk to you. It is very rare for this to happen, and honestly, it will be warranted. She will only employ this method if she really, truly has a reason to be upset. And be grateful for the few "nothing"s and the silent treatment that you’re getting at that point, for it is the calm before the estrogen-fueled shit storm.

Coming up: Chapter Three: How Can I Tell She Loves Me?

Nah. Nevermind. Too Long. No more chapters.



Anonymous said...

aaahhhhh!!!! the REAL Laurie we all know and love!!!!!!

Anonymous said...

...EAGERLY awaiting chapter 2.


Anonymous said...

...this is only slightly more difficult than trying to read and understand Binary Code. holy god.

ive just decided im gonna run for president in the next election. and im running with the campaign "lobotomize women. its good for us AND them".

...prepare to swear me into office.


Anonymous said...

That last comment was NASTY! Sure hope you are not married or have a girlfriend!!!!!

Anonymous said...

that was hard to read. Dont ask me what is wrong yet i need you to ask me what is wrong. Nothing is wrong but then again something is wrong, well it may or may not be. I'm mad, i'm sad, i'm frustrated, i'm not sure what i the hell is he or anyone else supposed to know?

good luck