Blogger Simone Grant first posted this yesterday. I asked author Rachel Khona if I could repost this here and she gave me her permission. I also warned her that we can be a bit…blunt ’round these parts. She said she had no problem with us posting this.
“Are all guys assholes?” I’m sure many a woman would like to think so, but rather than leaving it to conjecture, writer Amber Madison decides to tackle that question head first scientific-style in her book of the same name. In it, she traverses this glorious country of ours interviewing men of all races, socio-economic backgrounds and ages searching for the answer to that much-asked question.
Her conclusion? No, of course not all guys are assholes, dickwads, or douchebags. Just as all women are not psycho. But like ourselves, they don’t always know what they want or if you’re the girl they want that something with, causing them to behave in all manners of bizarre, mysterious and weird as they try to figure it out. Or in my case they may severely lacking in self-esteem, mentally unstable, a pill-popping drug addict, or emotionally closed off because daddy dearest left the fam. The problem is not everyone is self-aware and we end up getting taken on someone else’s emotional roller coaster ride before we even know it. Feeling jaded and used, women end up chalking the guy’s behavior up to being an asshole.
After reading the book, I decided to download the accompanying iPhone app, the “A-hole tester” to see if the guy I was dating, (we’ll call him Adam), had any subconscious predilections for assholery. After taking the 18-question quiz, it deduced that he only had a 10% chance of being an asshole. He was in the clear; for awhile.
Unfortunately I soon realized that while he wasn’t quite an asshole, Adam wasn’t all there either. Social anxiety and a long-standing relationship with popping anti-depressants made him one beer short of a six-pack. This is not to say all people with mental disorders or who take anti-depressants are batty, but in many a case it does and this one was no exception. Especially if the said party is unwilling to deal with it.
As I tend to attract all manner of depressed, bipolar, emotionally unavailable, and panic-attack prone, I couldn’t help but wish for a sister app called “Is he mentally stable?” As someone who has grown up around people who do have mental instability issues, the red flags that would signal someone else to run in the other direction often went right over my head. A mental stability app would surely be a service to someone such as myself. I imagined it would go something like this:
1. Are any of his friends closet alcoholics?
2. Does he exhibit any sort of nervous mannerisms?
3. Does he take anti-depressants?
4. Is he scared of the phone?
5. Is he capable of telling you the truth or does he have serious avoidance issues?
Perhaps such an app would have prevented me from even bothering with Adam?
Or maybe I should have just paid attention to the signs.
I had invited Adam to a birthday party. He eagerly agreed to come and then try to slowly back out of it.
It would be obvious to a blind chicken that he was full of shit. I knew full well that he was freaking out about coming to my friend’s birthday. Frankly, I thought it might have been too soon, but with our busy schedules it was the only night we could hang out that week. With his late hours, alternate weekends with his daughter, and my traveling, we had to make concessions in order to see each other.
Besides, I had suffered through meeting all of his very immature friends before we even had our first official date. We had met at a bar and coincidentally both happened to be going to Philadelphia the next day. For the entire weekend, I got to hear his best friends howling about Adam had been jerking off every waking second. Every time Adam tried to get close to me, his friends with hoot like a bunch of monkeys making fun of us for liking each other. So as far I was concerned, his ass could come to my friend’s very civilized and un-hooligan-like birthday party.
Now if I had been paying attention to the red flags, like the fact that he considers a raging alcoholic, who can’t stand his wife a friend, I might have cut Adam out sooner.
But I didn’t. Like Pamela Anderson to a rocker, I kept going back to the kooks. Had he told me from the get go he didn’t want to go, I wouldn’t have cared especially as we had just started dating. But his inability to be straight with me was what was seriously pissing me off.
After these getting exasperated with the texting, I finally called Adam.
“What’s going on?” I asked.
“The train isn’t working and there are no cabs,” he responded.
“Can’t you call a cab?” I asked.
“I don’t have the number for a cab and it’s raining so I probably won’t get one.”
It was as though I was dealing with a 10-year-old. It reminded me of the time I stole a Smurfette pin when I was six and I did everything in my power to convince my mother that I did not in fact steal the pin. She saw right through my cockamamie story. And I saw right through his.
“Maybe we should just hang out another night then.”
“No, no I’ll come!” Nothing like reverse psychology.
“Great.” I hung up the phone.
He did finally make it over. But if I had been smarter I would have nipped that in the bud a lot quicker. Turns out Adam had social anxiety, a real and serious disorder that causes people to become very uncomfortable in social situations. I tried to be understanding, but his anxiety quickly unraveled soon thereafter. He couldn’t deal with smallest of issues without turning into a blubbering nervous mess. And as much as I would have like to see myself as the June to a man’s Johnny or the Sharon to an Ozzy, the reality is most of the time that shit just doesn’t fly.
When it finally ended between us, I was bummed. I kept wondering what I had done wrong, in spite of the fact that he made it clear that he was missing a few marbles. Suspicious that he hadn’t really told me everything that was really going on, I did what anyone would do; I googled him. What I found shocked me:
The message was posted a year ago on a forum for people with borderline personality disorder. The proverbial icing on the cake? He’s a therapist. Now it all made sense.
I realized someone who is mentally unstable with no desire to change is not going to do so no matter how fabulous you are. Their issues are more likely due to their own esteem than anything you’ve done.
So is he an asshole? Is he just not that into you? Maybe he’s just not that into himself.