Huh. Interesting issues.

Dear Amy: I’m a man in my late-50s.

I’m currently dating — or trying to date.

It’s clear to me now that I’ll never know women, so please explain what just happened here: I met a woman on a dating app, and we had one of those perfect first dates — lots of laughs, lots of agreement, finishing each other’s sentences, easily planning the next date.

At the end I kissed her, and she kissed me back.

Second date, I made dinner. We had a great time and great conversation. We had agreed beforehand that this was not an overnight. Another good date, and at the end, we kissed.

Third date was dinner and a play. At dinner I walked around to her chair and kissed her, and she kissed me back.

But by now I was realizing that I was the only one reaching in for a kiss.

She didn’t pull back or shy away, but she never initiated it.

So, at the end of the date, I refrained from kissing her.

Later on, I texted her and pointed out the fact that I had deliberately not kissed her, and she responded, “I know, and that made me want to kiss you!”

What the heck does that even mean?

Not long after that she showed her character by ghosting me, so I’m comforted by the fact that I didn’t lose much.

— Confused by Women

Confused: You seem to excel at the mechanics and dynamic of wooing: Third-date dinner and a play? Well done!

I can’t speak for all women (or even some women), and yet — the dynamic you describe as baffling seems — to me — to be simple human nature. When you retreat a bit, creating space, another person will instinctively move forward.

All the same, developing a sexual/romantic relationship can seem like participating in a tennis match choreographed by Twyla Tharp. You volley, she returns. You advance, she meets you at the net. You step back, she does a grand jete.

You have done nothing wrong. You noticed a pattern and communicated about it. She then told you exactly what you needed to know: When you held back, it created a desire in her.

Her return text might have brought on a round of fun flirtation. Instead, you seem flummoxed.

There are times when two people simply crash together. This is rare and wonderful.

For all of those other times, I suggest that you initiate less kissing and instead do more … leaning. Physical closeness, eye contact, a touch on the arm will telegraph your interest. If she’s into you, she’ll show it. You should let her. (c) Ask Amy

Oh dear. The way I’m reading this, I think something happened here that he’s not mentioning:

So, at the end of the date, I refrained from kissing her.

Later on, I texted her and pointed out the fact that I had deliberately not kissed her, and she responded, “I know, and that made me want to kiss you!”

What the heck does that even mean?

Right there, I think she said, “I know, and that made me want to kiss you!” and he was mean to her. I think he left that part out of the letter. It would explain why she ghosted him, and it would mean that Ask Amy’s wrong in saying he did nothing wrong. Just call it a hunch. I think she said what she did, and he got angry or confused, and like any sensible woman, she pulled away and disappeared.

I also think he’s overthinking it. One problem inherent in what he describes is that she might not be comfortable with PDAs. As a self-conscious person myself, I’d be freaking out over it. But she did nothing wrong, and her message to him was encouraging, not discouraging! Like, I’m totally into you! I’m too self-conscious to initiate public kissing, or maybe any kissing, but get back over here and try to kiss me again right now, you sexy god. 

Too bad he didn’t get that message. Kinda tragic. Because his reaction to her saying as much was brutal. I don’t even know how I know that he was mean to her. Sometimes stuff just comes to me. But he felt hostile toward her and did something to cause her to ghost him, despite her feelings toward him prior to her ghosting of him. Something went down, and it must’ve been about the kissing. Ouch.

Let’s check in with Miss Manners!

DEAR MISS MANNERS: In 20 years, my husband’s cousin’s wife has never spelled our last name correctly. In her defense, the name looks like a typographical error, and she, being a lovely woman, thinks she has corrected it.

One assumes the proper time to have addressed this was 20 years ago. I am amused, and am willing to have her persevere in her error until the end of my life for fear that alerting her will cause embarrassment.

On the other hand, there are seven families in this branch whose name she is mistreating, and surely someone will voice an objection at some point. We could, in theory, legally change our name to her preferred spelling, but that seems drastic. What does Miss Manners recommend?

GENTLE READER: It would indeed be drastic, if impressive, that you would go to those lengths to save your husband’s cousin’s wife’s feelings.

In lieu of such measures, Miss Manners suggests that you find an excuse to write out your name in full. Or select a small child in the family whom you can helpfully — and publicly — instruct to do it for you. (c) MISS MANNERS

Huh. It sounds like the cousin is unable to spell it properly due to a mental glitch. In other words, she knows how it’s spelled, but it goes against some logical aspect of her brain, and she can’t bring herself to spell it the right way.

I can relate. I live near a crystal shop called Stix-N-Stonz. Now, I’m sure it’s supposed to be pronounced like sticks and stones. But there’s no magic-e in Stonz, so to me, it rhymes with John’s. And that’s how I pronounce it. I don’t like deliberate and gimmicky misspellings. (I’m a former reading teacher. I can’t help it.)

So my guess is that the cousin is following her own inner dictates. With a last name, it seems a lot less rude than with a first name, both to misspell and/or to mispronounce. I’d feel differently about the cousin if she was butchering someone’s first name, but she’s not.

At this point, I’d accept that her last name is misspelled in her cousin’s eyes. It’s not a huge deal. I have some mental glitches like that. For example, I’m enamored of the British spelling of pyjamas. Every single beta reader who beta reads my fiction tries to get me to spell it like pajamas. I can’t! And it’s such an odd mental glitch that I’ve decided to just run with it, like it is what it is. I love me some pyjamas! [Shrug.]

British spelling is more accurate all around. Judgement instead of judgment is accurate, because judgment should be pronounced jud-guh-ment. You see what I mean.

So I wouldn’t worry about the cousin realizing her mistake and feeling embarrassed. I think it’s just a mental glitch that the cousin has decided to accept and not challenge herself on. Like how some people can’t pronounce cinammon without saying cinammom. I think it’s generally wasted energy to “fight” a mental glitch, unless there’s a compelling reason why it should be fought.

3 thoughts on “Huh. Interesting issues.

  1. Amy’s advice about paying more attention to your love interest’s body language to see if they’re showing interest, and also to leave space for your love interest to make a move is not inherently bad advice. But there feels like a lot missing in this story.

    Re: the Miss Manners letter, no, the LW should not legally change her own last name to spare some other relative embarrassment. The options are 1) correct her gently, in a “just so you know, this is the correct spelling” and probably reassure relative that you know she never meant offense and you’re not offended or 2) Let it go. It’s been 20 years and a misspelled name is not the worst slight in the world.

    I’m a huge believer in Option 2. I have a fake last name on Facebook that looks like a legit last name, and I once received a wedding invitation addressed to [Real First Name + Fake Facebook Last Name]. I thought it was hilarious and sent the response card back with the same fake last name so as not to embarrass the bride (and yes, my table card and thank you note were also similarly address). Also, my sister made up a fake portmanteau of my husband’s and my last names and told a bunch of relatives and friends that we legally changed our name to the fake name she made up (different from my fake Facebook last name) and we got mail and presents addressed to that. I thought it was hilarious and never bothered telling them the truth. That said, Option 1 is totally legitimate.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. HA HA HA! Your sister sounds quite mischievous!! 😀 And yeah, those are good options all around!!

      Portmanteau is fun! I was dating a guy once whose last name was O’Hair. (My last name is Kimball.) I wanted to marry him simply so I could take a combined last name of Meg O’Hairball. H AHA H AH AH!! Ohh, too bad it was not to be!! It seems like your sister and both have great minds that think alike! 😀 And that’s hilarious that you got wedding invites addressed to your made-up last name!! And place seatings!! HA HA HA!!

      Liked by 1 person

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