Sunday, July 25, 2010
Blue Collar Men vs. White Collar Men
SPOILER ALERT!! This post strays far from my usual topic.
I just had an epiphany. Totally out of the blue. Yes siree bob, apropos of absolutely nothing, totally out of the blue.
I think I may have just nailed a difference between blue collar and white collar guys when it comes to how they treat women.
After a pleasant first date, the white collar guy will tell his date, “I'll call you.” This is code for, “I had a pleasant enough time, but I'm just not that into you; don't expect to hear from me again.” (The fact that this confuses women is solely due to the fact that the words “I'll call you” sound identical to, well, the words “I'll call you.”)
The blue collar guy uses much the same approach, but he waits until AFTER you've got something going (or at least think you do) and THEN doesn't call you.
See, at the end of a relationship or even just a situation where you've had something going on without getting anywhere near bona fide relationship status, the white collar guy will have “the conversation”. Now, of course guys try to avoid “the conversation” at all times, and it's easy to see why. Recrimination. Tears. General unpleasantness. The real question is why women tend to endure them.
Anyway, “the conversation” basically involves the man telling the woman (go with my scenario, here!) that he's just not that into her, but hopes they can still be friends. If she is still young enough to not get what this means, the woman will interpret this to mean “we can still hang out now and then; we can still go to the movies”. Of course, what the guy is really saying is, “I plan never to see you again, but if we happen to cross paths on the street, please don't yell at me and make a scene.” It takes a while for women to figure that one out, but by age 25 or so, most of us have got it.
By contrast, the blue collar man just avoids “the conversation” altogether, leaving the woman to go about her business, thinking that everything is copacetic, that the status quo remains intact, until she suddenly realizes that she's alone on the dance floor, that she's the last one left at the party because nobody told her that the party was over.
Worse still, because she's still calling him (or texting or e-mailing or whatever), not yet having realized that those calls are not going to be returned, she eventually gets to have the unpleasant realization that she's just come off as somewhere between being desperate and being a stalker.
Once I had this epiphany, I realized that I'd seen this pattern again and again.
In my very early twenties (read young and naïve), I was three weeks into an intense relationship (I know, that whole thing was an oxymoron) with a blue collar guy. Abruptly, the phone stopped ringing. I had to literally go to this guy's house to find out that two days earlier he'd reconciled with his ex-girlfriend! Okay, I didn't have to go, but that was when I was still young and naïve. Today I would read the handwriting on that particular wall a bit more clearly, I think.
Bottom line though, a little common courtesy would have been nice. Decency is always in style.
It even applies in the non-romantic context. Remember Eric, the guy who lives almost smack across from me but is no longer my neighbor? Eric and his wife Nancy have always reminded me of Al and Peg Bundy, except that Eric and Nancy are always at least slightly tipsy.
Eric remains pissed off at me because I rebuffed his attempts at clearing things up between us by not returning his calls (ha! maybe I'm a blue collar guy!). The other day, I was taking a walk and had to walk right past his house. He could see me coming and, I kid you not, hid behind his van so we wouldn't accidentally cross paths.
Anyway, everyone in my “family” (using that word loosely) is pissed off right back at Eric now. When Maryanne happens to walk past his house and encounters Eric or Nancy, they won't even acknowledge her friendly hello. And Eric has also taken to pointedly turning his back on Dan, my ex-husband, who clearly has nothing to do with this situation.
But I digress. A lot. (It's always fun to digress about Eric.)
So I encountered one of these situations with Eric. Non-romantic, of course, what with how he's married and, you know, there's also a serious ICK factor.
As a favor to Eric, whom you may recall is borderline illiterate, when he was attempting to get his handyman business going, I handled traffic on our Celebration Front Porch for him. As him. To be clear, I would pretend that I was Eric (with his grateful consent) and write people things like, “I can take a look at that for you. Give me call!”
I did this for about two years.
Then one day the system changed on the Front Porch and everyone was given a new password, something like *(&@#$^!. You know, the kind of password you need to change immediately. Well, Eric asked me for help changing his password to “oranges”. (Occasionally he'd go on the Front Porch himself, and then I'd really have my work cut out for me, trying to turn his ramblings into something comprehensible. Or at least literate.)
I did. A few days later, the password didn't work. Now, mind you, this during a transitional period when a lot of people were having password issues. So I called the Help Desk guy, told him the situation, and he helped me to change Eric's password to “oranges”. Again.
Two months go by. My communication with Eric becomes more and more infrequent. I gradually sense that something is going on. Then one day he finally (FINALLY!) comes clean and tells me that my services will no longer be required (not a problem, since I was just doing it as a favor anyway), he wants to handle it on his own and (here's the kicker), I was supposed to figure this out when he changed the password!
So he changed his password at a time when the entire community was having password problems, and I was supposed to figure out that this meant that he was “breaking up” with me.
Now I may be smart (okay, I am smart... and I can SPELL!), but I'm not a mind reader!
I'll tell you, I'll take the white collar guy's “let's be friends” speech ANY DAY over the blue collar guy's disappearance act. Classless. Absolutely classless.
To you women out there:
Always remember my #1 rule of dating: The only reason he doesn't call you is because he doesn't want to.
And ladies, I would love to hear your thoughts on my epiphany.
To you men out there:
Thank you for being brave and decent enough to be upfront about where you're at and forcing your way through the unpleasantness of “the conversation”. Ultimately, it's appreciated, believe me.