D: Strong woman, scared man?

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Sorry. It’s been a while since my last post. No excuse really, other than being darn lazy. I have, however, continued to date and will be playing catch up to bring you all up to speed. I’ve made copious notes so I don’t forget anything…

I guess I should start this post with a disclaimer. Strong – it’s not necessarily how I’d describe myself. If you’d said confident or opinionated even, I’d hold my hands up. But then, there’s no accounting for other people’s perceptions. As I discovered when I met Mr D (Dominica).

Beautiful beginnings

The funny thing is it all started so well. Very well, in fact. So well, I did something I haven’t done up to now. I brought an unwanted visitor to the date with me. But more of that later…

It began with a wink. As these things so often do. A ‘virtual’ one of course. We quickly moved onto emails. Not excessively you understand. Each carefully worded missive delivered a few days apart. There was a thought process behind each, probing questions answered simply or with a sprinkling of wit. By the time we reached phone calls I was of the belief that this man might actually be showing some potential. Our first conversation was almost two hours long, whiling away the time it took him to drive to his workplace out in Reading.

I learn that he’s an engineer. That he’s an old-fashioned gent. That he’s been married twice before. We agree to meet. Note to self: however well you think things are going, always, and I really do mean always, go for a drink on the first date. So what do we do? We meet for dinner.

Isarn restaurant, Islington London

Plush, huh?

He arrives first and, thanks to traffic, I wander in a few minutes later. The waitress at the door shows me to the back of the restaurant and as I approach the corner table a man stands up. He’s wearing too baggy jeans with a shirt half tucked in. Now, I’m not the fashion police, but, come on, you’re on a date. At least decide on whether the shirt should be out or in. I can feel myself giving him that once over – you know when your eyes do the whole head to toe thing and the result isn’t good. Worse still, I think he notices. But the bigger problem is he doesn’t really look like his profile pic. There’s a vague resemblance, yes, but his face is fuller. Much fuller. Like he’s eaten one too many pies. I smile and so does he, and I realise why he’d neglected to smile in his profile picture. He has a few teeth missing, giving his smile that castle battlement look.

I’m sounding shallow, I know. I’d be a fool to try to deny it. But to my point. Posting old photos of yourself when your appearance has significantly changed is a LIE. Hear me, people – A LIE!! And we all know that’s not the best way to start anything.

I sit down anyway, prepared to give Mr D the benefit of the doubt. And actually the conversation starts off well. We pick up where our phone chats began and the conversation begins to flow. Then he throws in a corker. “Has anyone ever told you, you might be a bit daunting?” he says. I ask him what he means. “Well, you’re a strong woman. You’ve got a great job, your own place, you know what you want…”

“But surely that’s a good thing,” I say.

“Well… yes, but a guy can feel that you don’t really need him,” he says.

Lost for words

I look back at him, blankly. I truly don’t know what to say. So he stumbles on instead. “I mean… if I think of most of the guys I know, they haven’t achieved what women like you have. Or if they’ve had it in the past they ain’t got it now.”

The clichéd pregnant pause rolls up, filled only with the murmur of other diners. And that’s when I realise I’d brought an unwanted dinner guest with me – expectation. We’d enjoyed great chats on the phone. I’d been drawn in by our conversations, and was excited when we eventually arranged the date. EXPECT-ing the perfect connection. EXPECT-ing to be bowled over in person. EXPECT-ing to skip off into the sunset surrounded by that love glow. But Mr D had brought me back down to earth with a thump.

“So, do you feel daunted by me?” I say as I feel myself deflating.

He pauses. “Yeah, I guess so,” he says. “I feel like I have to watch my ps and qs around you. I see you as a challenge.”

I don’t really know what to say, so I say nothing. I’m ready for the bill, but we’ve only just begun our main course. The rest of the meal passes with the kind of small talk I really can’t remember. As we’re waiting for the bill, Mr D looks across the table at me. “Well, I think it would be good to see each other again.”

I open my mouth to reply but am interrupted by the waitress with the bill.

Mr D either thinks I agree or decides its best not to let me speak at all.

“Now, I’m not sure what you want to do about this,” he says quickly. “I’m more than happy to pay, but I’ve been on three dates now and have paid for the first two, so it would be great if we can go Dutch.”

I dig out my card, definitely not wanting to owe this man anything. We get up to leave and he marches off, opening the restaurant door and closing it behind him – and in front of me. So much for being an old-fashioned gent… Outside, surprisingly, he’s waiting for me. “So, it would be good to see you again,” he says. I look back at him and in that second there is an understanding between us. Not even if hell freezes over. “Thanks, but no,” I say.

A to Z lesson

Now this is for the men among you. Don’t believe the hype. Even so-called ‘strong’ women want the support of a good man. Trust me I wouldn’t lie to you. Don’t see them as a challenge. See their strength as a positive that together will make you a stronger couple. Don’t feel daunted or intimidated. Feel proud…

Do you think men are really scared of confident women? What are your experiences?

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4 responses »

  1. Sounds an all too familiar experience. I had one who sent me his pic, posing next to a Ferari, then turned out he atually drove a beat up Golf and didn’t look much like his photo (again an old one). Also Hendon to Ilford was twice as far as Ilford to Hendon. He cancelled on me an hour before our date because of a painful foot. When we did meet, his first words were “oh you’re here already” and during the course of the date, told me about ten times that I wasn’t like any of the other girls he’d dated. However according to the Chinese horoscope we were very compatible. Next date he moaned about his kidney stones. He reckoned he was good at “reading women” I didn’t disillusion hm, maybe I should have.

    Nina

    • Oh, Nina! I feel your pain. I just don’t understand why a person would pretend to be something they aren’t when the truth will out eventually. Posing in front of a Ferrari seems so juvenile, but the sad thing is it really does impress some women – the same women who’d drop him like a lead balloon when they see the Golf. So we’re back to the same point. Lying will get you nowhere fast. Last week a date of mine admitted he’d lied about his age for the first six months of his last relationship. He wanted her to fall for him before delivering the blow that he was 19 years her junior! And apparently it worked, but obviously only for a time. Thanks so much for your comment! More posts to come…

  2. Great and candid post. I get the ‘you are scary’ or ‘intimidating’ statements. The reasons? You are intelligent, attractive, centred, confident, successful and funny. And that is a problem why? One guy, on our second and last date, said that he feels more comfortable with [emotionally] weaker women. When pressed, he said that way he can protect/hide his emotions as she would be creating the drama. I. Kid. You. Not. I feel that some men (and I’m talking about 45+) don’t know how to navigate being emotionally challenged, in a constructive way. Also I think that when, as a woman, you embody these admirable qualities, accept that you can be vulnerable, and know that relationships can be messy, it also means that you are emotionally strong enough to walk away if the relationship isn’t working. That is the new female power base and that is what is scary for some men – in my personal opinion.

    • I think you could be right, Joy. It’s a powerful thing to have the strength to walk away. But often we walk away BECAUSE our partners are not up to the real task of making a relationship work. I know I’ve experienced that and would have stayed ten times over if my partner was prepared to put the work in. Is this a phenomena that’s exclusive to the UK do you think? Or is the state of affairs all over? Is there something about the experience of men here that encourages this kind of response?

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