Today I’m pleased to feature a guest post by Detinennui32, a reader and commenter at HUS. I’ll give my take on this from a female perspective at the end. Be sure to check out Badger’s commentary as well – he’s running the post today here.
The One That Got Away
I’d like to tell a personal story. It has implications for relationships that don’t get explored much in the current SMP. There isn’t much about game in this story, but I submit there are many game lessons for men and women.
This is a true story. I have changed names and obscured some details. I humbly offer this in the hopes of persuading you to avoid the mistakes I made.
* * *
Years before I knew anything about game, when I was just a young and dumb detinennui32, I was right in the middle of my college career. I was between sophomore and junior years at an average sized university and approaching my 20th birthday. I was living in an apartment with three other guys, working a desk job in a dorm during the summer and taking a couple of summer classes to get ahead on college credits.
My First College Girlfriend had broken up with me about two months before. I had taken it very hard. I begged FCG not to break up with me but, of course, she did so anyway. I nursed the pain with a couple of flings. I was in a dry spell but managing.
I met Summer at the desk job. (We’ll just call her Summer because that’s when I knew her.) Summer was also working there, taking classes and living at the dorm I was working at. She was a year older than I was, going into her senior year. Summer was average looking, a decent 5. She was bright, funny, engaging and outgoing. She was always hanging around, talking with me and whoever else happened to be at the desk. She was a runner, so she was always around in cute shorts. She had taken up running to lose some weight, which she had lost a few months before. Summer also liked tanning and would often lay out on her fold up chaise lounge.
Whenever I was there, she was too. We talked about things unimportant and crucial, trivial and deep. Politics, future plans, family foibles, the small towns we came from, term papers, professors, past loves. We talked about our siblings and parents. She said she wanted to get married eventually but didn’t want to wait for years after college. She told me not to cut my hair short because she liked it the way it was even though it was thinning out. I told her about my flameout with First College Girlfriend (huge mistake. if you’re talking to a girl you might be interested in, don’t talk about your nasty breakups.) Summer didn’t seem to have had a lot of dating experience, being a pretty serious student in college. She wanted to meet guys but she was overlooked a lot because she wasn’t one of the really pretty ones, she said. She was busy trying to finish up and graduate so she could start working and paying off her student loans.
I liked her OK and we went on a date or two. A movie, getting dinner on Sunday nights when there were no meals at her dorm. Inexpensive stuff for poor college students. I took her out because I had no other prospects, but I secretly hoped to do better than her. After all, I thought, “She’s really nice. She’s funny, interesting and bright, and seems to be into me, but I think I can do better than average.” So I was aloof most of the time. I didn’t care what happened with Summer. I didn’t see her every day, just maybe three or four times a week, and usually at work.
So after we had had a few dates, one night I was working the desk late. Summer and I were talking as usual, for probably an hour or two. When I was getting ready to walk home Summer surprised me by pulling me into a private place in the basement of her dorm. She said “I really like you.” She pulled me in and kissed me for a second. I returned it and we kissed for at least 15 seconds. I never invited her back to my place because my roommates were even worse with women than I was and were always there, and besides, it was a dirty bachelor pad. We couldn’t go to her room because of her roommate. We really had nowhere to be alone together. So after a few more nuzzlings and kisses, I said good night and headed home.
My birthday came right before we went back to school. She set up a date and picked me up at my place after supper. I got in her car and insisted on knowing where we were going. She kept telling me ”It’s a surprise.” We rode up and down the rolling hills, from interstate to two-lane hightway, conversation and hand holding all the way.
After about 100 miles, we were at Summer’s hometown. We drove past her high school. She told me about her high school and what activities she had done there (student council, chorus, pom pon girl, cheerleading, etc.) We went to her dad’s house (her parents were divorced). Her dad wasn’t home; we were alone. She showed me around. I saw pictures of her siblings. We sat for a few minutes. She told me about her parents, their life history, her siblings. We made conversation a while longer. She kissed me.
I didn’t try to make any moves on her because, well, it was her dad’s house. And because despite her kissing me a week before, I couldn’t really see why Summer had brought me to her hometown, were 100 miles away from school, what she wanted to do there, or what she wanted to show me.
She said “I don’t know, I just wanted you to see where I came from. Thought it might be fun.”
After a little while longer, we hopped in the car and drove back to school. She dropped me off at my place and kissed me good night.
Within a week it was time to return to school for fall semester. I moved into my dorm, Summer moved into hers. She invited me over as soon as we got settled. We watched a little TV. To make a long story short, I was up for sex, and tried to make a go at it. We were kissing a lot. This was the first time things had gotten hot and heavy. Things were moving quickly. Summer stopped me, and said “I’m not ready to do this yet.” So I scaled myself back, and we kept kissing, with both of us returning to willing participation. After a time, it was getting late. We said our good nights and I went back to my dorm.
After that I didn’t return her calls because, well, I thought I was wasting time. My immature 20 year-old mind and body were getting more and more sexually frustrated. I might wait for above average, but not for average. First College Girlfriend was hotter than Summer and FCG didn’t make me wait. If Summer wasn’t going to give it up after knowing me about 4 months, I wasn’t going to wait any longer.
I never saw her again despite the fact that we were on campus for a year together. Then, she would not return my phone calls.
Epilogue: My entire junior year was one long dry spell. That was the most difficult year of the four college years. In my senior year I met another girl, a solid 8. I would be with her for the next four years. This “solid 8″ brought me more unhappiness, misery and frustration than any other woman I had ever known before or since. I stayed with her because I believed I had no other options. I broke up with the 8 because I just couldn’t take it anymore and it wasn’t worth it.
Summer had a happy and successful ending. I heard from friends she graduated on time. When she was about 23, Summer married a guy from her hometown, and they’re still together, I hear.
Moral of The Story: There are several morals to this story, actually. You’ll have noticed them if you were paying attention. Some of them have to do with Summer’s character and conduct. Some of the morals relate to my mistakes with her. After all, we’re trying to improve our lots with women and learn how to build successful, satisfying relationships.
Summer was a gem. I let her get away when I didn’t have to, and she was mine for the asking.
The lessons to take away:
1. Focus on what you have, not what you don’t have. I had — and pushed away– a perfectly good 5 who was with me and who wanted to be there. I was hoping for something better but nothing was on the horizon. Focus on the ones in your field of vision, not on the ones you can’t see or the hypotheticals.
2. Think long term. A man will be happier, more content, and more at peace with a 5 who loves him than with an 8 who does not.
3. For Pete’s sake, learn the IOIs. Summer was practically smacking me in the face with IOIs. She wasn’t just tingling — she was humming like a tuning fork. Hanging out with me. Volunteering personal information about her family. Driving me 100 miles, alone, to her hometown and showing me the home she grew up in. At the time I seriously didn’t know why she took me there. The last thing a woman surrenders to a man is her trust, and Summer was handing it to me on a silver platter. (When a young woman invites a man to the home of her youth, to be alone with him, and to show him intimate details of her life, not only is she interested in him, she trusts him.)
4. Be patient, and don’t give up so easily. In the fall, Summer wasn’t ready to have sex. It was only the second time we had been alone together in private. But if I had only waited and been patient a short time, her comfort level would have increased and she might have been ready. She didn’t say “I don’t want this” or “I’m not going to do that”. Notice what she said: “I’m not ready to do this yet.” That signals possible future willingness. In this case I’m willing to believe what she said, particularly since she had been completely honest to that point. I figured out only too late that Summer would have been well worth the wait — and she would have been in for the duration.
5. Address and deal with the oneitis. In my mind and heart, First College Girlfriend loomed over this entire episode. I was still smarting from FCG and hoping Summer would make it feel better. When FCG left, I should have let her go completely. Men, when it’s over, let them go and move on. Another one will come. Summer showed up only a couple of months after FCG.
6. Aloof and indifferent works. It built up Summer’s attraction. It made her feel that I wasn’t chasing her hard, at least at first. After the attraction was built, the continued aloofness allowed her to settle into comfort. The aloofness caused her to qualify herself to me.
I knew Summer only about 4 or 5 months. Yet few women I’ve ever known have made such an impression on me. Looking back on it and applying what I know now about the dynamics of sexual relationships, now I know why I can still remember this young woman. What did Summer do right?
1. She implicitly understood what made her valuable in the sexual market place. Looking back, I can see Summer knew she wasn’t drop-dead gorgeous, and that she knew she never would be. She did most of the things she could have done to improve her appearance. She dressed well but modestly. She exercised and kept her weight down. She wore tastefully applied makeup. She could have selected a more attractive hairstyle, but the style she had was always put together. What she lacked in physical appeal she more than made up for in a sparkling personality, feminine charm, smiling, and an optimistic attitude.
Summer knew how to be sexy. A woman does not have to be an 8 or above to be sexy. She projected a bearing and demeanor that was demure and chaste, yet outgoing and so damn feminine I could see the estrogen dripping off her. I have never met another woman before or since who was able to pull this off, but Summer did so masterfully and it was irresistibly attractive. I have no idea how she knew to do this at the young age of 21, nor can I fathom why no one else ever recognized it before I did. She did not chase men hard. She wasn’t about to give up her body to a man unless he showed he was in for the long haul. And she made clear she did not want to put off marriage indefinitely while she worked. She wanted to get married soon after college, and did so.
2. She played it straight. Summer was honest. She saw a man she was interested in and clearly selected him. She did more than was comfortable for her, took some risks, and put herself out there by initiating physical contact and demonstrating trust. There wasn’t a fitness test in sight. No games. No manipulation. No overwrought emotional melodrama. No hard-to-get. Just honesty, kindness and display of a pleasant personality.
3. She was feminine. Summer used her feminine charms wisely. She was all woman, and didn’t try to be a man in a woman’s body. She was pleasant. She dressed like a young woman. She was kind. She smiled a lot. She didn’t complain or grouse about her life. She made the most of her physical appearance. She didn’t try to compete with me. She had nothing to prove except her interest in me and that she might be a suitable mate.
4. She refused to let others use or manipulate her. Summer went as far as she wanted to go sexually, and no farther. When it got uncomfortable, she said so, yet welcomed the contact she wanted. She made it clear what she wanted and why. She was savvy enough to see a possible pump & dump coming. When I didn’t return her phone calls, she had the self-respect to walk away, forget about me, and not try to get me to stay with her by using sex.
5. She identified what she wanted from her relationships and directed her efforts to that. Summer knew that eventually she wanted a husband and a family. She wasn’t about to waste time on the carousel. Nor was she going to spend time dating a guy who just wanted to get her into bed for a while and wasn’t really interested in anything more. Nor was she willing to pursue a guy who wasn’t all that interested in her or who gave up too easily.
Men, read this story and take it to heart. Don’t let your Summers get away from you.
There’s enormous value in the story itself – it’s compelling, entertaining, and poignant. There’s also a treasure trove of information for women in Detinennui32′s list of the things Summer did right. I feel nothing but respect for her, and I am in awe of her strength and self-discipline. She does seem like a rare catch.
Here are my additional observations, from the female perspective:
1. Don’t expect mature behavior from an immature male. Detinennui32 was very young. Even a man of good character is going to make some major errors when he’s 20. The drive toward sex may cloud his judgment in ways that won’t be clear right away.
I suspect Summer knew exactly why D didn’t call her back. Her feelings would have been hurt, because she would have felt like she was not worth waiting for. Which is, of course, exactly what D thought.
2. Summer’s strategy was a good one. Summer is probably not thinking of D as “the one that got away.” Summer knew what she wanted, and she didn’t compromise her values to get it. When D tried to get in touch with her later, she did not speak to him. She had disqualified him as a man unworthy of her time. She moved on and found a man worthy of her. That is, a man who appreciated her charms and attributes while he had her.
3. Women can only do their best with what they’ve got. Summer wasn’t a beauty. Some might say she overestimated her market value, going after a guy who can get 8s. What she lacked in cover girl looks, though, she made up for in a lot of different ways.
When you like a guy who you suspect is out of your league, don’t shrink back. Summer and D were quite compatible, they talked for hours on end. She had every reason to take her shot, and I give her credit for acting on her feelings. I’ve seen some rather unlikely pairings – by definition they happen only if the better looking half of the couple is attracted to more than looks.
Just be careful that sex is not the only attraction. D would only have “lowered his standards” if sex was offered.
4. Don’t be the in-between girl. Summer knew D’s relationship history, and she knew he was bummed. That made him a very, very risky prospect. He would have likely been interested in sex without becoming emotionally entangled. If you’re into a guy who’s just gotten out of a relationship, I recommend taking it very slow. In Summer’s case, six months had passed since FCG broke D’s heart, but it obviously wasn’t enough time. Don’t go all in until the coast is clear.
5. Be careful with guys who are aloof. Of course there’s an element of challenge, you want to be the girl who gets through. Some guys come around, others don’t. If he is emotionally available and cares about you, he’ll show you. If he generally acts like he can take it or leave it, let his actions speak for him. Don’t wait around hoping he gets more invested. Don’t waste your youth and beauty on indifferent men.