Subject to interpretation

Today, after flywheel (yes, I'm that girl), I met one of my best friends for coffee at Amy's Bread. It's been exceptionally cold lately in NYC so dating tends to go down a bit in exchange for cozy evenings with friends. As a result, I was at a bit of a loss for a new blog topic so I asked him to tell me about his latest dating conquests in hope of inspiration.

As we chatted, I jokingly called him lazy about his lack of 'follow up' with women he's met. He at first feigned offense and asked me to elaborate on my comment, I said that he frequently told me about women he'd met, been interested in, perhaps even gone on a single date with--and never got in touch with again. He acquiesced to this point.

He then proceeded to tell me about a night a few months back when he was out with a female friend of his. As he was leaving the bar, he noticed an attractive woman. Motioning to her, he asked another friend who was staying behind to get the woman's number for him. (I know it sounds a bit strange but if you knew my friend, It's pretty standard behavior for him.) Anyway, she got the number, handed it over, and he texted the beautiful stranger the very next day. They communicated a bit and said they wanted to meet up. Unfortunately, this was right before Christmas when everyone departs the island for home so they said they'd meet up after break.

This was nearly a month ago, so I asked him if they'd ever met up. The answer? A big, fat NO. I was shocked. He'd liked her enough to have a friend get her number and yet he'd never followed up with her. How come? I nosily asked. He explained that he hadn't wanted to seem so aggressive so he'd waited what he perceived to be a normal amount of time before following up. I said: but you haven't followed up yet, have you? Nope!

Mind boggled, I pushed further, asking why he'd make make such an effort to get a number only to not use it. He obviously didn't find his behavior odd so I relayed a similarly time sensitive experience I'd had where upon not hearing from the guy a week after we'd met, I assumed he wasn't interested. This was just a prime example of how men and women interpret situations in the dating world, so drastically differently that in the game of love, it seems they're not only on different playing fields, but rather an entirely different sport.

Everyone handles situations like these differently. I have some girlfriends who will absolutely never initiate contact with a guy they've met--he has to do the asking. I have male friends who tell me they much prefer a woman to state her interest outright--that's how they know they won't get shut down. All that said, it seems the issue isn't in the handling, it's in the interpretation of the situation itself. If I was in that girl's shoes, had a guy not been in touch for a month, I'd have long ago written him off, probably deleted his number and, if I'd heard from him again, would probably be very hesitant to go out because he'd appear flaky to me from that point on. But to my friend, this behavior was entirely normal.

This misinterpretation of scenarios seems to be at the crux of the constant miscommunication in the dating world. My friend went on to tell me that he sometimes takes a woman's number--even when he knows he's not interested. He's hooked up with girls he's not attracted to. He's gone on dates with women he merely wants to be friends with. Apparently, there's an unspoken acknowledgement amongst men that when a woman adds an extra y to a hey text (read: heyy) it implies sexual interest--who knew???

How are we women supposed to learn from the past and move forward with a renewed sense of understanding after unsuccessful dating situations, if there's no rhyme or reason to the interactions? Since Manhattan dating is all a game, how can we get to a point where we're all in alignment about the rules?