Tuesday, November 29, 2011


Are men clueless or is it women who are clueless when it is come to the delicate science of romance and attraction? Well, I guess that would depend on whom you talk to as a reference. My sweetie and I just finished watching 500 DAYS OF SUMMER, a romantic comedy told from a male perspective. Tom, the main character, recalls his growing affection and eventual love for Summer, a new girl at work.

He does odd things, such as making cryptic comments to ordinary questions she asks, to playing her favorite band on his laptop computer. As you can guess, Summer be bops through her days unaware that Tom is crushing on her. My sweetie saw this and wondered why Summer didn’t have a clue. Where was the clue I wondered aloud. We only see what we are looking for.

If we’re looking for something then we rewrite the whole script to suit our theory. John Guttman, a renowned relationships expert, can gauge a marriage by the first met story. A happy couple tells a charming story filled with tenderness. The unhappy couple will tell a tale of bitterness with the wife practically snarling how she should have killed him when she met him. Both stories probably didn’t happen exactly as told, but were edited due to how the teller feels about their partner.

Tom in the story wants to fall helplessly in love with the one while Summer is in the big city to have fun. Ladies, I think you know what is going to happen here. Reminds me of a Black Friday story where two people standing in line at Target for a couple of hours fell in love. Really? The woman or man who falls in love that fast, falls in love with an idealized version of love, not the person. That’s what Tom did.

I pointed out to my sweetie that Summer could be mean, moody, and selfish. He definitely agreed on the moody part because he believes women indulge in moodiness to justify bad behavior. We the viewers see these moments, but Tom, the desperate to be in love man, only sees loving glances and smiles. Any of you see yourself here?

Think of relationships you have translated into something more. You couldn’t understand why the man left you or maybe never asked you out because the two of you had something. That something may have been only in your mind. Tom asks his younger sister for advice. She advises him to ask Summer where he stands. The only problem with that he explains is what if she doesn’t seem me as her boyfriend. What do we do if what we believe does not measure up to reality. Then we have to give up the relationship, even if it only existed in our mind.

Too often people want different types of relationships. Tom wanted to be wildly in love while Summer was content to have someone to hang out with. You can't have a successful pairing when two people involved want two different relationships. This is probably more common than most people realize. Tom's date who patiently listened to Tom gush about Summer explained that the terms of the relationship were laid out, he was the one who wanted more. Too often, we don't understand the terms of the relationship and when we finally do, we realize we were the partner who wanted more or an entirely different relationship.

We become angry for wasting so much time. Our alternative is we can accept the first person who pays a little attention to us, who could also turn out to be mentally unbalanced. As my sister likes to remind me, the crazy ones have no fear of rejection that’s why they approach you immediately. Even if they are rejected, they refuse to accept it and become stalkers. With this in mind, we have to try; we have to be out there with our clueless counterparts instead of accepting whoever shows up at our door.

It is difficult to do the right thing. Our own insecurities hamper relationships. Tom asked Summer about her previous boyfriends and she tries to not tell him, but he insists. He imagines each boyfriend, as more attractive, sexy, and important than he is. How often have you’ve been guilty of this? It is a don’t go there zone.

On the other hand, Tom engages in the same behavior once Summer dumps him. I laughed when Tom begins to explain to a date the great love he had for Summer. Tom was clueless why this might be inappropriate. Guys can’t ever win if they talk about an old girl when out with a new girl. If they trash the ex, then they sound bitter and difficult not the type a person a woman would want to see again. If the man talks politely about his ex, emphasizing how she’s a great person then he comes across as being flighty because he didn’t hold onto such a wonderful female. You never win when you talk about your ex. All the time spent talking about an old love is time taken away from a potential love.

Summer and Tom meet again at a mutual friend’s wedding. They sit together, dance together and she invites him to her engagement party. She forgets to mention it is her engagement party. At the party, he questioned why she asked him to dance. Her response was she wanted to dance. He saw the dance as an opportunity to get back together. Once engaged, she harbored no romantic feelings for Tom so a dance really was just a dance.

Our inability to read minds causes us to be clueless around the opposite sex. Sometimes we bring in friends, co-workers, even little sisters to give us their opinion of the situation. This only works if we can give a factual recounting as opposed to what we want to happen. Those men who zero in on a girl at a party only to be blown off, then move on to another, maybe they’re smarter than I originally thought. My first impression is that they didn’t really care about the women. They were just looking for someone who was into then, anyone.

It probably works better than longing for someone for months, building up fantasies about him, making walk-bys, leaving longing looks he misses, only to find out he has a girlfriend in another state. Makes you wonder who is the more clueless the ones who hit on everything that moves or the ones who build entire fantasy lives around people they are too shy to approach.

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