Theory of Mind: Case Study

September 12, 2008

I will share some details of an interaction I had with Dave to illustrate Theory of Mind (ToM) issues mentioned in my last post.

I am not great at making decisions and would prefer the guy figure out ideas of what to do.  Most of the time, I’m flexible.  Sometimes, however, I am in the mood to do something specific.  For example, two weeks ago, I told Dave I wanted to go to a coffee shop to mooch some wifi and then hang out with him at his place afterwards.  He had a better idea.  He said, how about we go get coffee and talk and then you can use the internet at my house afterwards.  Not exactly what I had in mind, but that worked. 

On the way to the coffee shop we had mentioned, Dave keeps driving, then says he hopes I don’t mind getting something to eat with him first.  Okay, once again, not what I had in mind, but I continue to flex my flexibility muscle (it’s in my brain somewhere) and go along with it.  We go to a restaurant he likes and proceed to sit in the back, where it was dark and gloomy.  I told him this was not going to give me my “cafe fix” and he said they have coffee.  All along, I had been thinking about ambiance and a window view, not caffeine.  He was totally missing the point.

On the way back, we were getting near the cafe we originally discussed.  I was really curious to see if he would go there, so I didn’t remind him.  This was not a trap; it was an experiment.  When he kept driving, I didn’t hold it against him, but casually brought it up after we got back to his place.  His response was that I should have told him I wanted to go to the cafe.  I know what he meant – I was supposed to ‘remind’ him.  For me, that was irritating because I’d already told him twice.  How many times did I need to tell him?

As I said in the last post, hopefully he will learn to listen to (and remember!) what I say instead of guessing what I want, which is really easy to assume is the same thing that he wants…in this case, to go to his house.  Fortunately (or not?), I recognize this “deficit” in him as well as in me.  He tends to get completely immersed in his own perspective and I tend to completely completely accomodate other peoples perspectives to the detriment of my own.  We both have work to do.  We are equally contributing to this imbalance in our relationship.


Social Skills and Gender Roles

August 19, 2008

As I mentioned in my previous post, Social Skills, or Lack Thereof, I’m clueless when it comes to men.  Whatever social skills I’ve developed for other areas of my life don’t always carry over when I deal with men.  I think it’s because I’m not sure what my role is.  Thanks to feminism and the women’s studies classes I took in college, I am painfully aware of how limiting and oppressive gender roles can be – for both men and women. 

 

I am a woman, so when it comes to men, what is my role?  I rarely cook or clean.  I’m not crazy about kids in general.  When I see babies, I think, “Thank God I’ll never go through that again.”  I’m a brainiac and I would have definitely killed myself had I been born a few decades earlier.  As a matter of fact, my maternal grandmother committed suicide.  Prior to that, she coped with alcohol and cigarettes.  And my paternal grandmother wasn’t really into children, although she had 6 of them.  She coped with food.  She was obese, long before it was the norm.

 

Anyway, traditional gender roles are out for me.  I just don’t fit into that framework.  I don’t want to be anyone’s wife, in the traditional sense.  So does that mean I want a wife – a Mr. Mom?  I’ve thought about it.  It’s a definite possibility.  Or do I want to be with a financially stable man?  We could afford to hire a wife, so to speak.  We could contract out the cooking, shopping, and cleaning for the household.  That way, neither one of us would have to do it.  I’m leaning towards going in this direction.


Physical Intimacy, Gender, and Sex

August 7, 2008

Sure, physical intimacy is nice.  There’s nothing like the human touch.  But in this society, this is one area where women have a serious advantage over men.  We can hug other women, our children, our nieces and nephews…with no social stigma.  Men don’t have the freedom to go around hugging other men (or women) or small children (just check the national sex registry to see how many pedophiles live in your neighborhood you’ll never want any men around your children or anyone else’s). 

 

Women supposedly are the ones who confuse love with sex.  I beg to differ.  I think that sex is the only socially acceptable way men are allowed to experience physical closeness.  I think that men often become confused about what they want.  It’s a lot more macho to go get a piece of @$$ than go looking for hugs.


Why I’m Not Desperate for Sex

August 7, 2008

Reflecting back to Bob and the way that a bike ride, dinner, and half a glass of wine added up to unwanted sexual advances, this leads me to two more questions, which relate to each other. 

 

Question #2:  Don’t men know that we can have sex whenever we want? 

 

Right now, I’m sitting at home by myself, unshowered, and I bet you I could be having sex with a man in 30 minutes or less.  In other words, I could have sex with pretty much whoever I want, whenever I want.  Or I can masturbate.  Why should I want to have sex at all, let alone with you?

 

Why would I want to potentially expose myself to pregnancy and STDs (condom’s can break) in exchange for…20 minutes of feeling good, culminating in feeling frustrated (see Question #3)?  What kind of trade-off is that?  So, back to Bob.  Why didn’t I respond to Bob’s sexual advances?  First, because I didn’t want to.  Second, because I’d rather have sex with my vibrator, which is exactly what I did when I got home.  Thirty seconds of pleasure and a great orgasm with no chance of getting pregnant or acquiring an STD.  Fabulous!

 

Question #3:  Do men realize that male and female sexual organs are more alike than different? 

 

Do they not realize that the equivalent of their penis is our clitoris?  How would they like it if we played with their testicles for 10 minutes, managed to gratify ourselves, and rolled over and went to sleep?

 

I heard a term years ago.  It was something like ‘masturbatory sex.’  I didn’t quite get what it meant.  Then one day, it dawned on me.  It’s what I just described.  It’s selfish sex, using someone else’s body as a means of masturbation – without returning the favor!

 

One thing I won’t quantify on this blog is how many times I’ve had sex with men without having an orgasm.  Or how many times I’ve had sex with the same person, over and over, and haven’t had an orgasm.  Or how many times I’ve had one-night stands with men and didn’t have an orgasm.  Would you like to know why I didn’t have an orgasm on this multitude of occasions?  Because too many of men I’ve slept with didn’t bother, not once, to touch my clitoris.  One night, I had sex with this guy who was supposed to be the local Rico Suave.  We had sex three times in one night.  I initiated the sex the second and third time.  Why?  Because I wasn’t satisfied.  Nope, still not satisfied after the third time.  I NEVER had sex with him again.  He was probably perplexed, wondering why I was a sex maniac on one occasion and never slept with him again.  Duh. 


Date #2 Epilogue/Commentary

August 7, 2008

As I escape this second-date-turned-bad, I find myself imagining how I will deal with him should he ask me out again.  As I drive home, I imagine the polite possibility of offering to be friends, possibly meeting up for occasional bike rides.  Then I think, “Hey stupid-head, do what is right for you and stop putting how the other person feels before how you feel!”  Then I imagine saying something like, “I don’t think we’re compatible or looking for the same things.”  But, then I catch myself saying I don’t think we’re compatible (an attempt to soften the blow?) when really, I know we’re not compatible. 

 

And why am I thinking about how to let him down gently?  Why am I focused on how he feels?  That date was mildly traumatizing and here I am worried about his feelings.  Back to me and how I felt in response to his behavior.  Beyond feeling extremely uncomfortable, I felt offended and disrespected by him.  I felt disrespected because he was invading my physical space.  I was offended that he seemed to think I was ready to jump into bed with him on the second date.  I was offended that he hadn’t bothered to take the time to get to know me very well.  Not that I would know from personal experience (ok, maybe I do), but having sex with someone you barely know is pretty meaningless.  It doesn’t matter who the person is; it’s just sex. 

 

To sum up, I felt uncomfortable, disrespected, and offended by his behavior.  And I went out of my way to avoid behaving in a way that would ‘hurt his feelings’.  I finally gave into my flight response and still kept thinking about how he felt.  That’s stupid!  Why would I put some random guys feelings before my own?


Date #2 (A Second Date), Continued

August 7, 2008

I’m disappointed and a little ashamed to publicly admit I kissed him back.  I could have tolerated some light kissing, but now Bob is putting his tongue in my mouth.  Gross!  I am just not feeling it (i.e., any physical attraction)!  It wasn’t an altogether unpleasant experience – it was kind of neutral, kind of blah.  I maintain at least an ounce of personal respect and integrity and keep pulling away, but these subtle hints are lost on him.  Maybe he thinks I am trying to play coy.  I feel forsaken by the feminist movement.

 

He starts to touch my body with his hand.  Ugh!  This is so uncalled for.  I tell him I have to go.  He immediately backs off.  Relieved he still understands English, I relax for a moment and decide to go ahead and finish my glass of wine.  In an attempt to keep him at bay (i.e., his tongue out of my mouth), I suddenly find myself being Ms. Chatty.  For the first time on either of our dates, I am actually talking freely.  Not about anything important, but I am so uncomfortable (and determined to finish the glass of wine, because I could use it at this point!) I’m finally talking about whatever I feel like talking about to avoid having to make out with him. 

 

I make a point not to drink the rest of my wine like it’s a shot of liquor.  Once again, I’m trying to be reasonably polite.  I’m fighting my inborn ‘fight or flight’ instinct to run as fast as I possibly can and get the f^@% out of there.  I’m partially disgusted with myself for falling into the ‘polite’ crap because this is the kind of thing that women do.  And it takes a toll on your mental health. 


Date #2 (A Second Date)

August 7, 2008

Bob calls me two days later and asks me out again.  We agree to meet for dinner the following Friday night.  We have a nice dinner.  The food was good.  As we did on the bike ride, mostly we talked about his career and interests.  That’s okay, but it’s something I made a mental note of on the first date.  It’s okay if one person dominates the conversation on a date.  After all, people sometimes get nervous or are just naturally more talkative and a short-term imbalance results.  If this is something that becomes a pattern, it’s a problem. 

 

So, it’s date #2 and I’m still not overly concerned that we’re talking more about him than me.  He does make some effort to ask me questions, so I keep an open mind.  After we leave the restaurant, he invites me to his condo, which is two blocks down the street.  I remember from his profile he likes to drink wine, so I figure, what the hell, I’ll have a glass of wine.  I rarely drink these days, so I consider it a treat.  I already told him it would be an early night for me because I had to get up early the next morning to take my son to the airport.  I said I could come over for a bit.  We drank some good red wine and chatted some more.

 

By the time I’m halfway through my glass of wine, he starts moving in closer, physically.  He did this a couple times on the first date, but I just kind of ignored it.  I still try to ignore it, but he’s moving in for the kill.  He gives up on more subtle gestures, which I am trying to pretend aren’t happening, and grabs my hand.  I’m thinking, “oh, great, this is going to be really hard to ignore.”  I try to tune it out and continue with whatever conversation we were having.  Then he leans forward to kiss me.  I’m thinking, “okay, I really don’t feel like kissing this guy. 

 

I still haven’t gotten over the fact that he’s twenty years older than me.  I barely know him.  I’m not completely repulsed by him, which I guess is a perverse sort of relief.  Because, one of the stupid things women do is kiss men back because they don’t want to hurt their feelings.  The feminist in me is screaming, “don’t do this! Set boundaries for yourself!  Don’t do things you don’t want to do just to avoid hurting someone else’s feelings”. 

 

Question 1: Do men know we sometimes ‘romantically’ respond to them in order to avoid making them feel badly?  Or am I the only woman who does that?