Saturday, March 28, 2009

Male Female and What's-His-Story He Created Them

I have been trying to write about this for a while but kept putting it off. You know, it is hard to write about such things without being snarky. As in, too snarky even for me. And then, last night, yet another friend got her heart and emotions tromped on by another one of these creatures. Accordingly, I consider the following to be a public service announcement and as such, the snarkiness is totally justified.

Or maybe not, and I am going to hell.

Right then. Onwards!

So, imagine, if you will, the following scenario…. You are a single woman, mid-to-late 30’s and up. One Saturday night, you go to a party. There, you meet a single man. He is your age. He is attractive. He is both intelligent and interesting. Said man pursues a conversation with you. The conversation is deep and meaningful. Furthermore, the man is flirtatious and appears to be quite taken with you. Perhaps he even asks for your number. The next day he looks you up on Facebook or sends you a text message. Over the course of the next few weeks, he continues to correspond and to flirt. You run into him at a Shabbat meal and he seems delighted to see you. You find yourself getting a bit excited. A nice man! Interested in you! You keep on waiting for him to make a move. It never happens. You are confused. He is a grown man—not a 20 year old. He is clearly not shy. You are giving off the “I am interested” signals. What is the hold-up?

You want answers. You call up the hostess of that original party.

“So….what’s his story?” you ask.

“Well….” And then she pauses, and you know what the answer is going to be. Indeed, instead of the answer being: ‘a great guy’, ‘single’, ‘dating’, ‘gay’, ‘too young/old for you’, ‘too religious/secular for you’, ‘a loser’, ‘a commitment-phobe’, ‘has major issue-im’ (Hebrish for “issues”), “will not be able to put up with your major issue-im”, ‘looking for a Barbie doll’, ‘looking for a mother’, ‘a player’ or any other description that one can apply to a heterosexual male…the answer is: “I have no idea.”

Allow me, Ladies and Gentlemen, to introduce you to the third gender: the What’s-His-Story. Unlike male and female, which flourish everywhere, the what’s-his-story are more likely to be found in areas with active Jewish dating pools. The what’s-his-story may or may not be heterosexual. The what’s-his-story may or may not be homosexual. The what’s-his-story may or may not be asexual.

Confused? Yes, well, we all are. That is the point.

The savvy reader, the reader who has spent some time in the world of Jewish singles, will immediately ask: what is the difference between the what’s-his-story and ‘the player’ and ‘the commitment-phobe’? There are two key differences—two things that the commitment-phobe and the player have that the what’s-his-story does not. The first is empirical data—a track record. Unlike the player or the commitment-phobe, both of whom are known for their love ‘em and leave ‘em approach to dating, no one has ever known the what’s-his-story to have loved or left anyone. The what’s-his-story may have vague stories about this or that relationship …but…strangely enough, even within the gossip-rich swamp that is the Jewish singles community, no one has ever known the what’s-his-story to be in an actual relationship with anyone, of any sex. No one has ever seen or heard of what’s-his-story being even remotely physically intimate with anyone, of any sex. Apart from the flirting, the what’s-his-story never displays any romantic interest in anyone, of any sex.

The second thing missing is passion. Both the player and the commitment phobe gives off vibes—straight or gay as per his orientation. But what’s-his-story gives off no vibes. No straight vibes. No gay vibes. No blended gay/straight vibes (a’la the bi- or metro-sexual). There is no passion, no hunger. Even when the what’s-his-story flirts, the exchanges are superficial, as if a mask is being donned and a role played.

You see? Nu, what the fuck is his story?

Everyone has their pet theory. I polled some of my friends—here is what they came up with.

  • They are gay and are extremely closeted.
  • They are gay and in some serious denial.
  • They really are asexual and are in serious denial about that.
  • They have such serious commitment issues that even the idea of hitting date number two is traumatic for them.
  • Freaked out by the thought of growing older, they have decided to deny the passing of the years by continuing to act like 20 year olds in their relations with the opposite sex. (This arrested development may or may not extend to other areas of their lives). (courtesy of Teddy)
  • They are serial killers who prefer to have anonymous sex with sex-workers, who they then kill and eat. (courtesy of katrinayellow)

So, as you can see, there are no easy answers. Hell, there are no answers at all. All I can offer is a warning. Women (and in particular women who are sex workers) beware!

And as for you, the what’s-his-story…. Please, give us women a break. The dating world is tough enough. Our emotions are raw enough. As much as you might wish to deny the passing of the years, the truth is that you not “guys”. You are not 20. Like it or not, you are grown men and as such, your behavior is neither appropriate nor charming. Enough! Figure out what you are and what, if anything, you want to screw and/or have a relationship with, and then go flirt with that.


Daughter Of Cancer said...

You forgot to tell us where they are and how to avoid tem.

Teddy said...

Having ummmm "heard" the story first hand, now I await breathlessly for the Post on "What's Her Story?" and the description of such a "personality". That should be interesting :)

Anonymous said...


6:50 EST


Anybody know what's going on at JPost? No access from here (US) for twelve hours. Google cache has the same frontpage from 12hrs ago.


Briefly; consult an adviser. Not necessarily a matchmaker but an experienced understanding other.

Katherine said...

fantastic post. I think you phrased it very nicely.

to mr anonymous before me, doesn't jpost keep shabbat? I ain't kidding - I really think they do.

Safranit said...

*sigh* I wish I seems like those are the only guys I know. (For others...I am happily married)

Jameel @ The Muqata said...

I wonder what those guys were like when they were younger.

(btw - I assume there's an identical syndrome for women with the same issues)

Word Verification: Miclat.

e.e. said...

What some guys seem to need is more feedback. After they've done some initial flirting and trying, they don't want to take chances and get G-d forgive – gasp – rejected. If you are really interested in a what's-his-story/shy/ careful guy, sorry, man, just give him your number casually and say, give me a call when you get the chance. If after that, he doesn't then you know that he's either guy / dafook / not interested or any of the suggestions you friends made. But at least you've tried.

e.e. said...

Umm, I meant gay.

RivkA with a capital A said...

This is a great post!

e.e. -- this is not about "shy" guys. It's really and truly about a different species... and I know quite a few of them!

I have a list of guy friends who I cannot set up because, well, after years of trying, quite honestly, I can't figure out what their story is... and I don't believe in wasting anybody's time....

I thought this post was spot on!

QuietusLeo said...

I honestly don't know what you just wrote about. Never met one of those. Oh, wait, that reminds me of me. Oh, dear!
No, wait a minute, I was the "shy" guy. And yes it took me years to understand that one is supposed to call the day after the first date and not three days later.
(That fascinating bit of advice came from my wife, after we were married).
I think that the root of the problem is that neither gender is provided with the operating manual of the opposite gender (and even if there was such a manual, it would invariably be written in incomprehesible English by some Chinese techie).

Gila said...

DOC-they congregate whereever there are a lot of singles. As to how to avoid--damned if I know.

Teddy--you are cordially invited to guest blog. The post you suggest is clearly a man's post.

Anon--no need.

Kat--thank you. Your contribution was a nice touch.

Safranit--tell me about it!

Jameel--I imagine that these guys were about the same, but it probably got a bit more lost in the shuffle. It is only as the pool winnows out that these guys become so glaringly obvious. That we are not talking about "shy". We are talking about...hell, what are we talking about?

Regarding the female version--again, you are invited to guest blog.

ee--As RivkA points out--I am not talking about the shy guys. This is an entirely different breed. Ask a friend about a shy guy and she will say--"he is shy". Ask a friend about a what's-his-story and the answer is (I kid you not) "either homosexual or asexual".

RivkA-as one of your single friends--thank you for your consideration.

Quietus--see RivkA's comment. A what's-his-story never gets around to that date and if he does, certainly not date #2. In certain cases, I have known women to go ahead and ask the guy out. His response is to panic and explain that he was joking, he is just a flirt, whatever.

e.e. said...

I still think that part of it is shyness, but not totally. Some people are very indirect and don't really know themselves what they want.

Tzipporah said...

I don't think I've ever encountered a female version of this, but the guy one, absolutely. I'm thinking of one in particular who seems to have replaced intimate relationships with golf.

Anonymous said...

Dave Barry did a funny column about this a while back, entitled something like "Why He Doesn't Call" -- I can't find it online, but the gist was that Mr. What's-His-Story meets a woman he likes and then projects ahead to the first date, then the second date, then more dates, then going steady, then getting engaged, then getting married, the kids, the house in the suburbs, and finally death, and totally freaks himself out.

Mo-ha-med said...

Had a good laugh, thank you.

I think Srugim-season 2 was looking for good writers.. :)

I'll add the possibility that they are already married/involved, or already in a half-committed relationship,

and, the ever vilified but often valid - not that into you. I'm terribly sorry, but this is a very valid option that women seem to discard way too rapidly.. and which may be the story for most "what's-his-story"-s.

PS - Tzipporah, re: the one who replaced intimate relationships with golf: he's actually choosing to put both hands on a metal stick. Think about that.

RivkA with a capital A said...

I am appalled by the number of commentors who are making excuses for this unacceptable behavior!

Mo-ha-med -- if a guy is "not that into" someone, then he should NOT flirt with said woman!!

The "what's-his-story" is about the guy who gives off lots of "I'm into you" vibes BUT never does anything to pursue a relationship, thus thoroughly messing with the woman's head!

Meanwhile, said woman is spending weeks (sometimes months, or years!) finding all sorts of creative excuses about why the guy is not following through.

By the time she gives up in frustration, she is often feeling totally dejected!

Why would anyone think that this is OK??

Mo-ha-med said...

oh heavens, surely not making excuses! Simply analysing and attempting to explain. As for the 'not-that-into-her', so he shouldn't flirt with her: I agree, he shouldn't.
But he very well might - for the.. how to say... for the sport. To satisfy his own ego. To prove to himself that he's still 'got it'. I don't know why - but they do.