What Do You Do If He Tries Too Hard?



Name: Beth

Question: Hi Moxie, you’ve posted a lot recently about the guys who fade, but I was wondering if you could comment on the opposite – the guys who are a bit too enthusiastic and almost pushy when it comes to dating? I have been going out with a guy for the last month or so – we went on five dates, one every week or so.  We had fun getting to know each other (but no sex).  We would text occasionally between dates about how things were going, and to set up a date for the following weekend.  But after the fifth date, I started getting texts every day from him wanting to do something that night, followed by a guilt trip from him if I said no because I already had plans (with friends) or was busy with work.  My friends said I should be flattered by all his messages since it means he really liked me, and I feel like an idiot to complain about a guy being too interested (isn’t that what we all want?), but at the same time the more he pushes the less interested I become.  Especially since he makes me feel bad if I say no.  I feel like I am suddenly at the point where going on another date with him is an obligation to make him feel better, rather than me wanting to go on one.  Is there a way to deal with a guy who is way too interested, or do I just need to accept that the problem is I’m likely not as into him as he is into me and just break it off?
Age: 26

Your girlfriends are feeding you bad advice. Quelle surprise. Yes, it’s nice when someone acts interested and doesn’t play games, but when they turn on the pressure and act too eager, it’s a turn off as well as a red flag.

To me, it sounds like this guy is anxious to have sex. That could be why he’s pushing for more dates. Now, I don’t know about anyone else, but I’m not turned on by a guy who essentially has to beg for sex. It means he has a hard time getting any. If nobody else wants him, then there has to be a reason.

Last week a guy emailed me on OKCupid. We traded a few messages and he excused himself to go out for dinner. Cool. He emails me a few hours later asking if I have to work in the morning.

Uh oh.

When I ask why he wanted to know, he says he was hoping to tempt me out to meet him for a drink.


Now, we all know what that means, right? He’s not dazzled by my personality. He’s horny. I tell him I’m in for the night but maybe we could meet later in the week. Workers were coming the next day to start  several days of work in my apartment. I knew the next few days would be chaotic, so I said I’d drop him a message the next day.

When he hadn’t heard from me by the following evening, he sent me a message. “I didn’t hear from you,” he said.

Block. Nope. There’s interested and then there’s desperate.

I’m sure this guy does like you, but normal people don’t have every night free. You know who has every night free? Someone who doesn’t have a life or friends. Unless you want to end up being the center of this guy’s world (in a bad way) then I’d cut the chord. Your friends are all telling you to disregard your gut instincts because – sorry to offend – they’re desperate, too.

In other news:

  • I got my yearly mammogram last week and was given a clean result. So, yay!
  • My apartment is being redone and repainted, which is a huge pain in the ass but as everything is getting done I’m very happy with the results.
  • That squirrel I feed? Yeah. A couple weeks ago I looked up from my desk early in the morning to see it squatting on my windowsill. INSIDE MY APARTMENT. Before my new windows and screens were replaced last week, he’d chewed holes through both and just helped himself inside my apartment and started noshing on the almonds I kept on the windowsill. All cool and chill and what not. Despite being a wild animal, he was pretty calm. My only fear was for my cat, so I swept her up and lifted her to her spot in my closet that she loves and closed the door. When there’s a screen between us, he’s an adorable little rascal. When he’s inside my apartment, he’s a diseased rat with a tail and I go full on Ripley from Aliens in regards to my cats.

  • The Welbutrin is still great, though I feel the fatigue coming back here and there. I had my first follow up with my Dr. and she said I should continue taking the same dosage for another month to see how things go. The fatigue was triggered by something (I know what)  so I guess I just need for it to get out of my system.
  • I’m totally, totally going to this.


Oh, xoJane. What were you thinking?

I’m thrilled that the internet has finally caught up and realized that xoJane is fucking dumpster fire run by incompetent chimps sitting around a clay table throwing papers in the air. However, part of me was like, “Where ya been?” as I scrolled through the #xojanedotcom mentions. I’ve been saying for years that xoJane and sites of this ilk are problematic.

People speculate that this essay was posted with the intention of inciting a riot. I disagree. I don’t think the editors (lol editors) had a clue how people would react. Sure, they maybe predicated some mild outrage in the comments, but they never foresaw the shit storm that befell them on Friday. I have a plot line in my book depicting this very scenario and it was fascinating to see how swiftly the internet moved. I’m curious how Time Inc. will handle the scandal, or if they’ll just keep letting Jane P[ratt and Co. continue doing what they’re doing. Spoiler alert: they don’t do much vetting of their pieces.

And therein lies the problem.

Lauren’s essay was insensitive and thoughtless, but it was only an outlier to the actual problem. How did something this irresponsible get published in the first place?

I’m hoping this incident will shine a light on the underbelly of confessional writing and  encourage people to investigate why women (and not men) are sharing their most harrowing experiences and most ignorant of opinions. I’m curious to know how editors get women to bare their souls for pennies and possible personal and professional ruin. Do these editors know when they’re about to post something that will make the collective internet’s head explode? Or are they tone deaf, too? Do they warn writers of what to expect or just throw them to the wolves?  (Or under the bus.)

Whatever it is that makes this niche so profitable for online magazines, it’s certainly isn’t rooted in feminism or empowerment. The ideas that women become empowered by sharing their stories and that it’s cathartic to open their proverbial wounds online are fucking tropes that needs to die.

Fittingly Amanda Lauren tweeted that people should write like there’s nobody watching. Only, people are watching. Forever. I know that I look back on things that I’ve written – emails, private posts – and cringed at how vulnerable I sounded. Writing when you’re in the throes of emotional pain is a double edged sword. Yes, it does feel good to exorcise those demons and have people tell you they relate. But then it’s out there. Forever. A side of you meant to be seen only by people who have earned your trust is now available for everybody with an internet connection. Your private thoughts and character are now up for judgment. And people do judge. It’s only human. Even the nicest people in the world are judgmental. Not everybody gets this compulsion that many lady blog writers have to expose themselves to strangers.  The true tragedy is that some truly powerful essays and stories get lumped in with the garbage that these sites produce. There is a benefit to sharing our stories, but only when those pieces are written with objectivity, a critical eye, and stark self-awareness.

A woman should not be fooled by an editor that approaches them to express their awe at the woman’s courage and resliience. That woman is not a three dimensional person. They are a click bait headline personified. The editors see clicks and head pats from their vulture bosses. They possibly even get paid a cushy commission depending on the number of  page views the story receives.  What those editors don’t do is give a damn about the writer.  In fact, editors are out their scouring social media looking for fragile women to cajole into writing for their magazines as we speak. Those Facebook groups for women writers? Yep. People like Mandy from xoJane are their, lurking the shadows, waiting for a woman to post about a tragedy she experienced.

These editors are not a writer’s friend.

I don’t know what it’s going to take for the trend of memoir writing to die in a fire, but I wish it would happen soon before more women’s lives are irrevocably exploited and ruined.

ETA: I’ve been toying with this idea for awhile and now I really want to try and put it into action.

I want to form a group of women writers who want to guide and educate other female writers  so that they don’t end up the center of a firestorm of criticism or be exploited by publications like xoJane.  We’d review their work, go over basics about promoting their work, educate them on how to avoid being used for clicks, etc. I’m thinking we would volunteer our time (at first, at least) and see if this sort of coaching is needed. If you’re interested in this idea, contact me here and let’s talk.



Sometimes the love of your life is the love of your life. (R)


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10 Responses to “What Do You Do If He Tries Too Hard?”

  1. Nia Says:

    I wondered when you were going to discuss the trainwreck that was that article. I read it with widening eyes and an increasing sense of disgust, especially since I have lost two friends in my 20’s—one in Iraq, and one to a suspicious one-person car accident (that followed a long difficult and unsuccessful struggle with drug addiction). Isn’t this the same person who was a “speed addict at 8 years old” if I’m not mistaken, and one that had an incredibly mean blog calling co workers the C word? And the one that was like “I’m engaged, suck it”? I’m pretty sure that was her.
    One thing I will mention is that there is a tradition of “true confessions” style literature, going back to the turn of the century (20th). There were these trashy tabloid magazines that had screaming headlines “I almost killed my own child!” “I didn’t know he was my brother!” that were full of (made up or greatly exaggerated) sensational, emotional, and titillating stories.
    No doubt there’s a PHD thesis in why these sell, and to whom, but this type of exploitative and embarrassing stuff has been around for ages. It’s just the reach, staying power, format, and amplitude that’s changed–for the worse.

    Hot debate. What do you think? Thumb up 9 Thumb down 1


    • ATWYSingle Says:

      I remember reading one of her posts a couple of years ago and calling her out for being a shallow asshole. Boy oh boy, did the xoJane readership jump down my throat.

      I understood the gist of what she was trying to say with her essay. She was attempting to say that her friend was refusing treatment and help and suffering, and so she thought her death was a release from the suffering. Unfortunately, her inner Gretchen Weiner took over and clogged the essay with petty accounts of Facebook slams and girl code betrayals. Had she stayed on message and focused more on the friends obvious suffering and less on the frivolous aspects of the friend’s (and her own) behavior, she could have written something that provoked an actual discussion. But of course, she didn’t and of course the editors at xojane thought nothing of posting it because they’re oblivious. I wouldn’t doubt it in the least if they didn’t even look at it before adding it to the publishing cue, since she’s a former regular contributor. Idiots. All of them.

      Well-loved. Like or Dislike: Thumb up 11 Thumb down 0


      • KK Says:

        I read that essay and was so….angry. Like, I got angrier and angrier reading it, and I was surprised at the vitriol the article received. But i gotta say, i think the editors knew how badly the article would be received by the XO commentariat: so many people write about their mental illness, how could the article possibly go over well? I just don’t think they expected that other ‘news’ outlets would pick up on it, and that is why Jane issued her apology. I also am not sure there will be any consequences: unless readers boycott the site, nothing will happen.

        I think that, yeah, Lauren was trying to say that her former friend was suffering and perhaps her death was a blessing. The problem was that it was not her place to write that. And considering how many xojane editors have been so almost alarmingly open about their struggles with mental health, I can’t believe no one picked up on that.

        But also, I read that piece because the title had caused me to think that the piece would be a about a friend or loved one’s long struggle with an illness. So I found the article to be misleading as all hell, as well as so beyond offensive. i spent most of the article feeling awful for Leah’s parents.

        And also, Lauren must be beside herself with glee. Freaking gawker interviewed her.

        Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 0


        • ATWYSingle Says:

          I think editors knew it would cause a stir in the comments.
          Where they grossly miscalculated was not anticipating how “me, me, me” their readership is.

          How many times do you hear people say, “Well, at least they’re not in pain anymore” when someone dies from an illness like cancer? There was nothing offensive about the intended sentiment other than she communicated it ineffectively. Like, it is a blessing whens someone who is suffering and refuses treatment is no longer suffering, regardless of their illness.

          But because the subject matter was mental illness and xoJane’s audience is heavily comprised of women who define themselves by their mental illness and make everything about them, the outrage was massive. That was the spark to the explosion.

          I’ll point the finger of blame squarely at Dan Koday on this one. He knows very little about that audience and doesn’t even try to understand, hence his constant fucking misfires in regards to content (the SI photo shoot, the horoscope post, etc.) He came from Mimi, a very…girlie, pink, fluffy women’s magazine. He does not know xoJane’s audience, and Jane is so far removed from the process that nobody is teaching him. Jane seriously needs to stop convincing people she still works there. Amber and Marci are also both way out of their depths there. They’re both repeatedly bamboozled by writers telling fake stories.

          Like or Dislike: Thumb up 4 Thumb down 0


          • KK Says:

            People definitely say that it’s great when someone died because there suffering is over.

            And yeah, I agree that that’s what Lauren was going for. BUT, Lauren did not know what her friend was going through, if that woman was in pain. THey hadn’t been in touch for years, which I think is a reason why a lot of people took such umbrage with the article. I know that really bothered me.

            I am not sure it would matter if Jane were more a part of the editorial process. As long as they have ad revenue coming, which will happen if people hate read, everyone is happy.

            Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 0


            • fuzzilla Says:

              **They hadn’t been in touch for years, which I think is a reason why a lot of people took such umbrage with the article. I know that really bothered me.**

              That makes sense. I’d be wary of saying “at least their suffering is over” unless I was, like, changing the person’s bedpan every day. Or at least if it was obvious to anyone with eyes how the person truly did have limited quality of life in their last days (paralyzed, can’t talk, can’t eat, etc.). Even then you say it briefly to comfort the people they were closest to, not write a fucking article about it.

              Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 0


  2. jaclyn Says:

    I was really upset to find out that xojane is owned by Time. I gave their more questionable pieces and mistakes (like naming an author who wanted to publish anonymously) a pass since I honestly thought their management was just a couple of people right out of college running the site from their parent’s basement. It is a sad day when a major media conglomerate allows articles to be published without any editorial oversight.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 4 Thumb down 2


  3. Selena Says:

    From the OP’s letter:

    “I was wondering if you could comment on the opposite – the guys who are a bit too enthusiastic and almost pushy when it comes to dating? I have been going out with a guy for the last month or so – we went on five dates, one every week or so.”

    You’ve spent time with this guy 5 times within a little over a month. Every 7 to 10 days or so right? Have you ever really “been into” a guy? If so, didn’t you want to see him more than once a week? Integrate spending time with him along with work/family/friend/social activities? Have sex with with him?

    To me Beth, this guy sounds like he is into you and wants to progress…see where it goes. You on the other hand, sound like you just want to go out with him once in awhile for something to do. The fact you are annoyed he wants more time with you I see as YOU not being into HIM. Quelle surpise.

    Hot debate. What do you think? Thumb up 11 Thumb down 4


  4. The D-man Says:

    Agree he’s coming on too strong, but this line:

    “You know who has every night free? Someone who doesn’t have a life or friends”

    Eh, not all of us like to go out. I’m an introvert and to me the best evening is just staying home and reading a book, or maybe practicing guitar. Of my two closest friends, one lives in another state and the other travels a lot for work (plus he has kids, so his weekends are usually spent with family).

    We keep in touch through texting and the very occasional phone call, and that’s perfect for me.

    Hot debate. What do you think? Thumb up 9 Thumb down 2


  5. Jake Says:

    This is easy. OP is not interested in this guy. If she was, she would not mind all this attention. OP, stop wasting his time and money and cut him loose.

    Also, of course, this guy wants to have sex. I don’t see how this makes this scenario unique.

    Cut him loose, OP. You were never that interested in him and half-assed it.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 3


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