Clueless Guy: Best Reasons for Dating Him

Clueless Guy

We, women, are natural-born detectives, putting together all kinds of clues to figure out men’s behavior. Lucky for us, we have help. Girlfriends, co-workers, sons, daughters, and aunts. Even the gang at the gym will lend an opinion; in fact, several women in my Zumba class are very interested in my love life.

And don’t discount that old bible of daters, He’s Just Not That Into You. The yin and the yang of dating have never been more clearly explained. If he doesn’t call, he’s not that interested.

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But, what if…what if it’s online dating, and the first meet goes well? After all, there’s something about online meets that’s unnatural, almost forced. Two strangers trying to make conversation in a vacuum? It doesn’t get more stilted than that.

And yet, if an online meet goes well, anything can happen. By anything, I mean good things.

But what if he calls two weeks after a First Meet?

Here’s the scenario: Babs is drying her hair, so she catches the phone on the fifth ring and doesn’t have time to slip on her reading glasses. It is 6:30 on a Friday evening. Does she even remember Laid Back fourteen days after they’ve met?

Clueless Guy Calls Back

Babs: “Hello.”

Laid Back: “Hi Babs. How’re you doing? This is Laid Back.”

Babs: {Pause while she cradles the phone and shuts off the hairdryer.} “Oh, hi.” {Yes, yes, she remembers him. The guy who didn’t call. Except now he’s calling.}

Laid Back: “Thought I’d give you a shout out.”

Babs: “Oh, good.” {Pause. Babs is always polite. And yet she considers the underlying meaning of a phone call after fourteen days of nothing, not even a text. Not to mention the awkward timing.}

Laid Back: “So. What are you doing this weekend?” {Yeah, that’s great. Ask her what she’s doing. Didn’t you learn anything in the last fifty years? You’re coming off like someone who can’t put two sentences together.}

Since eighth grade, Laid Back has been lousy on the phone, first with girls and now with women.

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Babs: “This weekend?” {A pause while she contemplates the question, which is too generic to be sincere, and doesn’t contain an invitation. Why is he calling? Is he at loose ends? To hell with it, she’ll tell the truth.} “Right now I’m getting ready for a date, actually. Drying my hair.”

Laid Back: {Pause while his face heats up. Good thing she can’t see through the phone.} “Oh, in that case, I’ll give you a call tomorrow to see how it went.” {Yeah, right. I sound like a real jerk like I want her to have the time of her life with another guy and then I want to hear all about it.}

Babs: “OK. Bye.” {She goes back to drying her hair, amused that he
couldn’t get off the phone quickly enough.}

Mixed Signals or Misunderstood

Her detective work and her experience with Internet dating tell her he’s not all that interested. He waited too long to call and he didn’t even ask her out. She’s looking for someone who treats her special, even on the phone, even at this early stage.

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But, what if she is wrong? What if Laid Back is interested but doesn’t want to seem too eager. He’s only been doing this Internet dating thing for a few weeks; he’s only doing it because his ex-wife, remarried six months after their divorce, is nagging him to get out there.

“It’s been four years, honey,” she tells him at least twice a week. Sometimes she text-nags, right before the weekend. So. He’s gone and called Babs. And look where it’s gotten him?

He’s met three or four women, and it’s been pretty much nothing happening all the way. He’s in a smog of confusion and he doesn’t understand what women want. He also doesn’t know what he wants. That’s the biggest surprise of all.

Until he met Babs. He was struck by her confidence and how easily she talked about her kids and her volunteer work in the high school. She is a big Celtics fan, too. How many women really love sports?

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Laid Back doesn’t have much of a plan; in fact, he is such an easy-going guy that a week goes by before he picks up the phone again. Rejection is a large-fanged monster.

{Ring, ring, ring, ring.}

Babs: “Hello.”

Laid Back: “Hi Babs. How’re you doing? This is Laid Back again.” {Glances at the clock. Oh, no, she’ll think I’m a jerk calling this late on a Thursday. She could be going out. Again.}

Babs: “I’m good. What’s up?”

Laid Back: “So. I was wondering…what are you doing tomorrow night?”

Babs: “Why do you ask?” {How can one guy be so clueless? She doesn’t say this out loud, of course. But she isn’t so keen on the question. She’d like a real, specific invitation.}

Laid Back: “I thought maybe you’d come out to dinner with me. Or a movie. We can get a bite to eat and then catch a movie. What kind of movies do you like?” {Now Laid Back is blabbing. He feels foolish. On the other hand, he is rather pleased with himself for issuing an actual invitation. If she says yes, there’s enough time to research movies and find out if she likes Italian. He knows a great little Italian place where the gravy is homemade. Almost as delicious as his mother’s gravy.

Babs: {surprised} “I’d love to get a bite and catch a movie. I’ve been wanting to see that new one with…”


This is the ice-breaker date. The one Laid Back and Babs never would have enjoyed if Babs was too pissed off to answer the phone. Or if Laid Back, a master procrastinator with a few insecurities about online dating, had never gotten around to calling.

Laid Back is thrilled with himself for having the guts to call Babs back. What’s even better, he knows Babs wouldn’t be waiting for his calls. She’s booked up ahead of time. Unlike him, she has a life. He likes that about her.

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Babs is glad about a few things too. She’s happy she went out with one or two other men when she didn’t hear from Laid Back. She likes the idea that she was right about Laid Back; he was into her.

He needed a little time.

As for the clueless part? Laid Back is a fast learner.

About the Author

Shirley Goldberg is a nonfiction writer and novelist who began dating late in life much like the main character in her novel, Middleageish. She writes about men and women of a certain age starting over and uses her own dating stories in her fiction. Her friends allow her to steal stories from their meeting-and-mating stories. She’s a former ESL and French teacher who’s lived in Paris, Crete, and Casablanca. Her website offers a humorous look into dating in mid-age and way beyond. She loves comments and feedback from readers.


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