He’s Just Not That into You. You’ve heard these words, you know you have. If you haven’t read the book, you’ve still heard them numerous times; from your girlfriends, from your mothers, whatever. This is not an unfamiliar phrase. The other day I came across a copy of this book in a thrift shop and feeling a little sentimental, I purchased it, wanting to read it again.
I was twenty years old the first time I read He’s Just Not That Into You:, my mother sent it to me during a winter I spent in Missouri. I read the title and was instantly furious, called her, yelling, “What do you mean he’s just not that into me?” I was young and over confident and I’d never had any trouble attracting attention from the opposite sex, so I was wildly offended by just the title. As far as I was concerned, I was blonde and perky and absolutely freaking adorable . . . certainly this book couldn’t be for me!
I opened it, still thinking it had to have been written for other women~ surely whoever had written it didn’t know what kind of quick witted and talented super fox they were talking to! I mean, come on. I didn’t have much actual dating experience at this time (bad dates were still years ahead for the Jaded One), but I got lots of attention from men. Surely they were all into me.
(Oh, the blissful, assured naivety of being twenty! What fantastically deluded confidence!)
As far as I was concerned, many different fellows were deeply smitten with me, but sometimes they just got busy . . . or became intimidated by my brilliance . . . or I was just waiting for them to come around, be ready for a commitment. Right? . . . Right?
I opened the book and glanced at the inside of the jacket, saw a bunch of recognizable phrases: “He’s afraid to get hurt again” . . . “He doesn’t want to ruin the friendship” . . . “Maybe he’s intimidated by me” . . . “He just got out of a relationship” . . . wow. Why did that all sound so familiar, so proverbial?
Well. Because I’d sat around with my friends, making and listening to these excuses. Every single day of my life. I was still convinced that *I*, your splendidly gifted (and terribly down to earth), blonde and leggy mega vixen was exempt from all of these rules, but I continued reading anyway; you know, just for research purposes! Couldn’t hurt! I was dubious for about the first two pages, but then it all started ringing true. Unsettlingly true. Reading it was like being sucker punched and believe me~ it got my head out of the clouds real fast.
Let’s take a moment to trip down memory lane! [imagine those wavy lines you see during flashbacks in movies!]:
Back in 2004, I’d been hung up on some older, alcoholic, confused and unhappy Navy Bastard with a ridiculous southern accent and a rapidly receding hairline. WHY? This was the time that I tried to base a relationship on a profound love for the Beatles. We both loved the Beatles and crappy beer and I (of course) thought this was some sort of mystical, cosmic sign that he was the one. He was really only a miserably dissatisfied jerk who was going through a profound mid life crisis at the ripe old age of 28, mostly because he was losing his hair. It’s never occurred to me to write about him before because there’s so little to tell, but now it’s relevant.
His name was Josh and he said every day that The Beatles were the only thingthat made him happy. But other things seemed to make him happy too, things like strippers and Johnny Cash and bad redneck jokes. He sat around at his house drinking cheap beer and watching King of the Hill, The Blue Collar Comedy Team, and the Beatles Anthology. This was all he did. He made me watch the “Dueling Banjos” scene in Deliverance about nine hundred times. He went to strip clubs with his Navy buddies and threw keggers for young girls (most just out of high school, but some not quite) and that was how he met me. He was playing Blackbird on the guitar one night and he was flabbergasted when I started singing, when he realized I knew all the words . . .
(when you’re young and stupid, this seems like a totally romantic way to meet someone!)
I was instantly smitten. I mean, here was this wretchedly dissatisfied older “man” with no direction in life who obviously had been hot ONCE, but had since developed a beer belly and started losing his hair. Oh, well, I could deal! We were obviously meant for each other! I could make him happy! I still get a little weepy every time I remember our first kiss! It was at a kegger of Navy Bastards and young girls (he’d stopped inviting the strippers from Caesar’s Palace to these parties a few weeks earlier when they’d ransacked his place and stole all his electronic devices!) and at the ripe old age of TWENTY, I was quite literally the oldest girl there.
I was drunk and mildly delirious in the bathroom, ralphing up Jameson and Smirnoff Ice, quietly worshiping the porcelain gods when there was a gentle knock at the door! Josh poked his head in, smiled and tenderly pulled me up to my feet! He walked me over to the sink, where he poured me a cup of Listerine and then proceeded to jam his tongue down my throat. Up until that point in my life, this was without doubt the most romantic thing anyone had ever done for me . . .
(Honestly it still makes the top five most romantic moments! Truth.)
After that, he tracked down my number through friends and called me. He said he wanted to date me “for real” and not just make out at parties. He told me I’d always “stood out” in my “little group” (probably because I was the only one who was legal) and he wanted to try for a “real relationship” because we had “so much” in common.
It was beautiful. I wrote a poem about it.
We went out a couple times (mostly sports bars and watching the Beatles Anthology. One time we went mudding and drank Natty Ice!), but then he’d disappeared out of nowhere one day. Poof. Gone. Just like that. I was baffled, of course. I didn’t know what had happened and the more he didn’t call me—the less attention I got, the more strippers he slept with—the more hung up on him I became. I called him incessantly, it became like a game to see if he picked up. I convinced myself that he was just “scared” and “weak” and “intimidated” by my awesomeness, but I saw past it all to who he “really was.”. The more excuses I made, the easier it became to convince myself that ONE DAY it would all work out. He would eventually see that I was “the one”, right now he was just “too insecure” to realize it. He was miserable, but once he came around, it would be up to me to make him happy! I knew it!
But THEN I read that book and reevaluated the situation. I gathered the evidence, looked at the facts:
- We were never exactly “dating”
- He only ever wanted to see me while he was drinking
- He slept with entire strip clubs at parties I was at.
- He slept with my best friend’s sister at a party I was AT.
Et cetera. Et cetera. Et cetera. The list goes on and on.
In the end, I figured to hell with him. I don’t think I have to explain WHY I arrived at this decision, but in any case I moved on. After I’d turned twenty one, I’d often see him alone out at various dive bars, drinking Bud Light and smoking Marlboro Mediums~ he’d slimmed down, bulked up and gotten a hair transplant, started visiting a tanning bed a little too much.
I guess he figured he’d try again or something (or perhaps he just wanted me to compliment him on what was probably pubic hair he’d had transplanted to his head) because he followed me around like a stupid puppy! I found out the hard way that he’d kept my phone number all that time~ and yes, he still only called me while he was drunk! Drunken redneck messages are a barrel of circus monkeys, ya’ll! But alas! He was so far from my mind by then, I never gave him the time of day. It felt wonderfully liberating and I suppose I have this book to thank for it!
So here’s to He’s Just Not That Into You: The No-Excuses Truth to Understanding Guys! I’m going to read it again knowing what I know now and I will let you know what I think!
Peace. Thank you for reading.