A journalist I know was polling men for a feature story she was working on. It was one of those person-on-the-street type of articles in which everyone's asked the same question and the responses are printed.
The question was this: “What's the worst advice you've ever received about dating?”
I told her, “Oh crap—that's easy!” The worst advice I have ever received was, “Don't give up on love.”
It's inevitable. Whether there's some new girl you adore who's not reciprocating or a long-term girlfriend who's tired of your horseshit, there's always some idiot in your life telling you not to give up on love, as though you're John Cusack with a boombox outside love's window.
“Don't give up” is the second-worst piece of dating advice ever. There's another name for guys who don't give up on their romantic interests. They're called “stalkers” and stalking is wrong, unless, of course, you're John Cusack with a boombox, in which case it's romantic.
Just about every time you turn on the Lifetime channel, there's another love-struck shoegazer waiting outside the apartment of some chick who won't speak to him. Eventually, and this is pretty much the whole of the program, the girl realizes that she's missing out on true love and goes bounding into his arms.
In real life, if you camp out on some chick's doorstep, she's probably going to call the cops or, worse, tell all her girlfriends how you stood outside her window holding a boombox over your head. Then they'll tell all their friends, and pretty soon everybody in town will know what a schmendrick you are—and you will never find anyone to love you for as long as you live in that town.
Even worse, your maudlin communications to the girl could end up getting posted on the Internet for the world to observe the great heights your schmendripity has reached.
Jezebel.com was introduced to me by fellow CityBeat columnist Aaryn Belfer. There's a section on the site called “Crap Email from a Dude,” to which female readers submit correspondences from guys who, for the most part, refused to give up on love. Take, for example, this fellow who sent the following e-mail three months after the breakup:
“I know you cannot feel right now. Ashen and fallow. My love for you is about the bear fruit and thus I am about to put the torch to the crop in order to prevent any untoward pining for you in the future. Love is patient and I am willing to suffer and wait alongside you….”
Or this one, sent by a university student to a woman who was recently his professor:
“Is your [negative] response predicated on the assumption that older women shouldn't date younger men, and by proposing to violate this anachronistic societal norm, I'm doing something inappropriate? If that's the case, I can only say that I expected better from you.”
“We may not have known each other over a long time period, but I really opened up my soul to you…. I thought we were really understanding each other and I don't understand why you are willing to just turn your back on this.”
Or this now-infamous voicemail from Dimitri, who couldn't figure out why Olga wouldn't return his calls:
“Maybe you were abused in childhood…. Maybe your mother has cancer, and you're going to chemo…. Maybe you're just a person with an anxiety disorder…. I don't know. But nobody says, ‘Call me,' hands a person a business card and then doesn't return calls. It's extremely passive aggressive. You should actually look that up, passive-aggressive personality disorder.”
What all these men have in common is that they would not give up on love, largely because they're self-involved putzes who forgot that the objects of their desires (emphasis on “objects”) are actual living, breathing human beings with their own needs and preferences that these guys simply did not fulfill.
I remember one time when I didn't give up on love. I had fallen for this fiery Italian cocktail waitress with big tits and big tats who preferred badass biker guys with big tats and big lats. Lisa and I worked in the same bar together.
Periodically, after our shift, we would retire to my apartment to drink gin, snort speed and hump each other till sunrise. Naturally, I was smitten. I tried to romance her; I took her to shows and dinners and spent money, but she was merely having fun. She just wasn't looking for anything serious. If she were looking for a commitment, it certainly wouldn't have been with me. It would've been with Bear, her biker “friend” who frequented the bar. Bear was tall and muscular with long blond biker hair down to the top of his biker buttocks and tattoos of all the hot girls he nailed, or murdered, up and down his biker arms.
I, on the other hand, was neither tall nor built, and the only tattoo I ever purchased was a henna jobber of Donald Duck after a trip to Disneyland the previous summer. Simply put, I was out of his league. Still, I kept trying to make her love me. I kept calling and writing and playing the boombox outside her window, only to have her routinely blow me off to ride bitch on the back of Bear's Harley Davidson. Then I'd get all upset and call her up and say, “What the fuck, Lisa?” and she would respond, “I still really like you—can I come over?” and like a schmo, I'd whimper, “Yes, yes, my lovely tweaker biker babe. Come over,” and we'd hump each other till sunrise, after which she wouldn't return my calls for a week, and it would be “WTF, Lisa?” all over again.
The whole affair, which lasted maybe four months, was a blood-let. But I learned the most valuable lesson of my romantic career. You can't will somebody into liking you, and if you try too hard, it makes you a schlump.
OK, sure, maybe there is that one-in-a-zillion possibility that your perseverance will pay off and she'll come bounding into your arms; you'll live happily ever after behind a white picket fence and sell your story to the Lifetime network.
But that only happens to guys like John Cusack, whom neither you nor I could ever be.