I was having coffee with a good friend last night, and she was telling me about a new guy she just went out with. He sounded great; he was sweet, a good conversationalist, respected her self-proclaimed "quirky personal-space issues" AND told her that her hair looked pretty (Note: Guys, this is a great line. We never tire of hearing that our hair looks pretty). Still, GrahamCracker seemed a little hesitant about the guy, so I asked her, "So, what is wrong with him?". "Well, he wore this short-sleeve shirt and I was just thinking, 'You couldn't have put on a sweater? Because really, I don't need to be looking at your arms right now!'".
Nit-picking. With a lot of my friends it seems like the first time they meet someone new, the first thing they do is try to compile an extensive list of everything that is or could be wrong with him. And if the guy has no obvious flaws, well, we have to keep narrowing our purview until you find yourself saying, "I don't think I'll see him again, you know, he kind of walked on his toes." GrahamCracker later admitted to not meeting a different guy face to face because he used excessive emoticons in his e-mails. "I mean there was this one, he used a colon, a slash and three closed parenthesis marks. What does that mean? Is that a closed lip smile? A double chin? I have a B.A. in Art History and English, I should be able to figure out what he means!! And you know it was intentional, because he had to hold the Shift key down to make the closed parenthesis down!"
This behavior is widespread. MommyCakes once dumped a guy because his favorite movie was When Harry Met Sally. The Princess of Darkness wanted nothing more to do with a guy when he dropped the bomb that his favorite book was The DaVinci Code (granted we all know "my favorite book is The DaVinci Code" is itself secret code for "I don't read books", but let's give the guy a chance). Princess also refused to meet one guy because he "looked too much like my uncle." I don't want to imply that the Chief Cupcake is above this behavoir, by the way. I'll admit that I was once turned off by a guy when he told me that his father's name is Ralph, but it wasn't a deal breaker for me. So what's going on here? Why can't these guys catch any breaks while my friends sit at home wondering when they're finally going to meet a nice guy (who doesn't pronounce the "s" sound in that annoying way).
It's easy to assume that nit-picking is just a way to self-sabotage these relationships before they even begin. If you can find something wrong with the guy you can dismiss him, not take the risk, not open yourself up to any vulnerability and return to your comfortable, single life. Or maybe this is a preemptive strike against rejection. In case he's just "not that into you" you can console yourself with the thought, "Right, like I was really going to date a guy named Cody." But I fear that some people have just taken shows like Seinfeld and Sex in the City to heart. People, I know it's funny when Jerry doesn't want to date the chick with "man hands" but those shows were satires! Or are we simply projecting the hypercritical way we judge ourselves? I complimented one cupcake on a new photo she posted on Friendster and she said "My face is so wide!" Honnestly, she looks beautiful in the shot. So, what's it all about Alfie? Thoughts? Also, I'm curious if guys are as suceptable to this behavior or if there is some parallel self-sabotaging behavior they engage in. Honnest to God, it is amazing any two people ever get together. Now, discuss quietly amongst yourselves.