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Burnett's Urban Etiquette

Tuesday, July 31, 2007

Rerun - The Cowboy Code Chapter 9

Generally, I hate to do reruns, but I am curious for your take on a post I did yesterday about involving your friends in your romantic life. That post was overshadowed, I believe, by the story about the rent-a-dogs. So I'm going to do the unusual and reprint the romance post for feedback.

Never, ever, ever, ever, ever, ever, send a friend to do your job. Don't even think of allowing a friend to do your job.Your job, in this case, is making your feelings known to a potential significant other or patching things up with a current significant other.

Flash back with me for a moment:
  • When we were in elementary school it was OK for Janie to send Susie over to Johnny on Janie's behalf. It was OK for Susie to whisper to Johnny that Janie really liked him - like-liked him.
  • When we were in middle school it was OK for Johnny to send Billy over to Susie on Johnny's behalf. It was OK for Billy to whisper to Susie that if Janie liked Johnny she should meet him behind the gymnasium after 5th-period study hall.
  • When we were in high school it was OK for Susan and William to argue with one another in defense of their friends Jane and John, because Jane really liked John, but he was being a jerk, and because John dug Jane, but she was being stuck up. And thanks to the two interceding friends, Jane and John usually got back together, if only for another week or so.

But when you're 32 and you can't figure out how to get the attention of the woman you're interested in, you are plumb out of luck, and you should take it as a sign from fate that it wasn't meant to be. Or maybe it wasn't meant to be quite yet.

I have a buddy in Seattle - age 32; how did you know? - who has been pining for a certain young woman for weeks. She is an acquaintance - not a friend, just an acquaintance - of another woman with whom my buddy is friends.

My buddy considers himself to be lacking in game, so he couldn't come up with what he felt was a clever enough way to break the ice and make his feelings known. He and the woman he likes have had casual conversations at the coffee shop where the other woman works. They've laughed. They've talked seriously. But the conversation has always been short and always about something in the news, some current event. Then one or the other of them has to go - back to work, home, wherever.

I suggested he go the direct route with something to the effect of "You know, I have really enjoyed talking with you for a minute here or there. Would you like to grab dinner or a drink some night so we can have a longer conversation?" But what do I know? I'm a married guy whose game has been retired and is awaiting Hall of Fame balloting.

My buddy did not go the direct route. He asked his friend who works at the coffee shop to "investigate" for him, find out if the acquaintance could possibly be interested in him. The friend enthusiastically agreed, taking on the challenge like a spy mission.

Not good.

The next day, when my buddy went to the shop for his coffee, the friend confessed that her enthusiasm was a little too intense and that the acquaintance figured out 10 minutes into the conversation that this was a Johnny-sent-Billy scenario. The acquaintance reacted with scorn, got a good laugh out of the whole thing, and then told the friend that if my buddy didn't have the stones to come to her himself, then he just wasn't interested enough.

My buddy got angry with the friend for botching her delivery. I told him he couldn't kill the messenger, 'cause this was a message he should have delivered himself.

Remember the Cowboy Code. Once you are grown, you are on your own. The most your friends should be doing for you in the romance arena is introducing you to someone else. It's up to you to turn up the heat. And if you can't, get the hell out of the kitchen.

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  • Well - let's see. She might actually have been interested but because he didn't do the actual talking to try to get things moved further, now she says "no way, Jose." Hmmmm. In my opinion, maybe she has a low patience level then and it might be for the best that it surfaced here and now! I think - if it had been me -I'd have been a bit flattered and would have given the guy the benefit of the doubt there, but that's me.
    Now, him getting jacked with the go-between - well that is just ridiculous too!
    Time for him to start getting a little bit of nerve there perhaps.

    By Blogger Jeni, at 12:29 PM  

  • Lesson one in a "real-adult" relationship is NO GAME PLAYING...

    Lesson two in a "real-adult" relationship is COMPLETE HONESTY...

    Your friend is not ready for a real-adult relationship, obviously. He still has some maturing to do.

    By Anonymous Karmyn R, at 12:37 PM  

  • I like how he got mad at the friend he sent to deliver the message, not at himself for not manning up on his own.

    Hopefully, he at least learned a lesson.

    By Blogger SWF42, at 1:09 PM  

  • He could always just kind of stalk her and see if she finally asks him out. It's worth a try. Well, at least as good an idea as sending in somebody to soften her up a bit. LOL

    By Blogger Jay, at 10:54 PM  

  • she knew all along he was interested and was just waiting for his move.

    By Blogger Pamela, at 11:26 PM  

  • If someone I'm interested in is either too insensitive or scared to be able to read my "I'm interested in you" cues...


    Is too lacking in self-confidence to ask me for lunch himself....

    I'm no longer interested.

    By Anonymous Angie Hartford, at 12:05 AM  

  • ohmygoodness!! it's the old jr. high/high school crap, "ask so and so if he/she likes me"

    By Blogger Claudia, at 12:18 AM  

  • It's been a long time since I've been in a 'looking' situation, but by the time someone gets to 32 . . . Surely they've gotten some kind of reasonable 'contact line' sorted? Haven't they?

    Q - do Americans ever grow up? ie: become fully Adult & Responsible?
    (replies to

    By Anonymous bronchitikat, at 6:55 AM  

  • James, I think she knew he was interested and was not interested in him "that way". That's why she was so mean. If she was interested in him she wouldn't have reacted so harshly to him sending his friend "scouting", even if she thought it was a lame move.

    I also think their mutual friend knows this but she wouldn't tell him that. It's part of the Cowgirl Code. : )

    By Blogger Angie, at 11:31 AM  

  • Hmmm...I think it's VERY non-adult to have a friend "pre-qualify" an interest. Sounds like the friend mishandled it - but still, the dude should have asked on his own.

    I would immediately take this approach as a sign of weakness. Even if I WAS interested in the guy - this would make me think twice. Then again, I need a man with balls more than some women. And not just so I can chop them off later.

    By Blogger Tiggerlane, at 4:08 PM  

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