Friend or Foe…or Just No-No?

Recently I have yet again been reminded of how entirely rubbish I am at reading men and their intentions.

While rom-coms would have us believe that men are falling in love with us every day, the reality is, that it is just plain impossible to tell whether a guy a) doesn’t fancy you and just wants to be friends b) does fancy you but just wants to be friends c) doesn’t fancy you and doesn’t really even want to be your friend.  Note there is no option for fancying the pants off you (in the UK, pants are, of course, underwear – just to reinforce the meaning) and wanting to spend the rest of his life being with you in a loving relationship, for having been a great explorer of the world of men for 15 years now, I believe this specimen is something only found within the frame of the greatest (or even most lame) romantic comedy.

My most recent experience was to meet two guys: one, who I quite liked, and presumed who liked me too.  The other was showering me with compliments, but whom I liked only as a friend.  I might need some help with this so guys, or girls, if you’re reading, feel free to post your answers on an e-postcard below.

So, if a guy tells you that you are “alluring” and “beautiful”, how should one read this?  The Oxford online dictionary definition of alluring is

powerfully and mysteriously attractive or fascinating; seductive
Of course, I’m about to say, a-ha!  This does prove my point.  However, the example of the word used within a sentence reads the town offers alluring shops and restaurants.  The town is alluring?!  Seriously?  Maybe this is my problem; in reading the definition of this word, I have read the sexual undertones, rather than just seeing the definition as what it is: an innocent bystander, going red and saying, “erm, actually, no I didn’t mean anything saucy, honest.  I was just trying to, erm, give you the definition.  I didn’t mean to turn you on,” it says, mortified, as your head becomes filled with that great Robert Palmer song of the same name, which was originally written for a girl to sing, but Robert decided it would be fun for himself to sing it (much in the way Bryan Adams wrote Everything I Do (I Do It For You), intending to have Sinead O’Connor singing, only to decide to do it all himself and spend 16 weeks at the top of the UK Singles Chart in 1991.  Give me a gravelly voiced Canadian over the shaven-haired singer of the text-speak 1990 single, Nothing Compares 2 U, any day.
So, dictionary definition has given us, in describing the word alluring, another word: seductive.  Immediately my mind goes to sex, but looking at its own definition, this time in the Cambridge University Press online dictionary (we wouldn’t want those two to fall out, would we?), we are given the dubious
intended to seduce someone
It was a seductive black evening dress; she gave him a seductive look.  Seductive, Cambridge tells me, is an adjective.  Whoopee do for it.  I was part of the generation who wasn’t taught about adjectives, or nouns, or even pronouns (a more positive version of whatever the last one is?).  All we could do, as we took our French classes in high school, upon hearing the word adjective, was to nod and repeat, thinking all the while, I don’t know what the fuck that means in English, let alone bloody French.
Anyway, I digress.  Back to the example.  Cambridge hasn’t really helped us, unless we know the definition of the word seduce, so upon searching for the word seduce
that to persuade someone to have sex with you, often someone younger than you, who has little experience of sex
And what example are we given?  Pete lost his virginity at 15 when he was seduced by his best friend’s mother.  We live in a country where only a few weeks ago, a 15 year-old schoolgirl was being hunted in France after running away with her 30 year-old teacher.  I can’t help wondering if he was just trying to teach her the difference between a verb and a pronoun.  The likelihood is though, that would be a feeble excuse, since as we discussed earlier, nobody in their 30s was ever taught the difference at school.
Once again, however, the word seduce is most definitively aligned with sex.  Maybe a town could seduce you with its farmers’ market’s marrows…ok I give up.
So had I said to this person, who called me “alluring” and “beautiful” (though not in the same sentence), “Whoah!  I need to consult my online Oxford and Cambridge for the true meaning of your speech!” before responding in the manner to which is appropriate, I would have thought, this guy seems to like me!  Better snap him up before someone else runs away with him.  Or, as I did, send him a text making it clear that I liked him but only as a friend.  To which his response was to tell me there had been a major misunderstanding, he and his girlfriend are “solid” and that he didn’t mean anything by it!
Ho hum.  Thus embarrassment ensues on both sides, although the cynic in me wonders if he is a player and is just covering his tracks.  We’ll give him the benefit of the doubt, whether he deserves it or not.
You see, perhaps men also find it difficult to read women?  A couple of years ago, I approached someone who I believed I’d been in love with most of my life.  In a bid to gain some closure, we began a text conversation, which became quite lengthy, and soon, after several drunken texts making my feelings clear, I received a text which read “I am married but it’s complicated.”  To which I took to mean, I am married, but not happily, please take me away from all this.
Obviously, I am just a slightly crazy 30-something who doesn’t even know what an adjective is.  How the hell am I supposed to read a man’s response to my open heart, as anything other than “I feel the same way,”?  After my joyous response to his text, “I am married, but it’s complicated” soon became like some bad 90s dance version of Palmer’s hit, “I didn’t mean to lead you on.”  Perhaps he took my declaration of love for pure friendship.  But considering he likely doesn’t know the difference between a verb and noun either, I probably shouldn’t hold it against him.
Back to the situation in hand: two guys.  The complimenting-like-as-a-friend-guy we’ve dealt with.  So what happened to the other one?  Well I took my rose-tinted specs off long enough to see that he wasn’t the one I’ve been searching for.
Perhaps the reason I struggle with reading men, is the same reason I don’t know the difference between a noun and a more positive noun.  I believe I know the answer, which is that nobody ever taught me how to understand words, let alone men.  Maybe I should just suck it up and sign up for a night class, The Beginner’s Guide to the English Language.  Though I doubt I would get into Men: The Definitive Guide.  I hear it’s fully booked for at least the next hundred years.

5 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. diabetes
    Oct 20, 2012 @ 05:09:08

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  2. waste king
    Oct 20, 2012 @ 18:29:55

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  3. Delfin Joaquin Paris III
    Oct 21, 2012 @ 20:18:59

    You’re overthinking. He likes you.


  4. stephaniebolton09
    Oct 24, 2012 @ 11:51:55

    From someone who has to constantly remind themselves of the difference between verbs, nouns and pronouns (which I will forever think of in a more positive way now!)…in this situation, receiving those compliments, I would have done EXACTLY the same thing. Exactly. Despite the repercussions (I’ve read the next post already!) and his denying that he meant anything by it, you know that you did the right thing letting him know upfront and saving yourself from any possible ‘situations’ further down the line. Is it too cheesy to say ‘girl power!’?!


    • 33andlostinlife
      Oct 25, 2012 @ 19:47:16

      Thanks Stephanie!! It’s nice to know someone else would have done the same. For some reason I feel like it’s viewed as though I am the crazy one, in the wrong…which of course is not the case. I think girl power is most definitely called for!!!


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