Matt Forney
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expectation

Rough vs. Soft, Part Three: Fun and Expectation

This is a guest post by Kid Strangelove. Kid originally published this article at his own blog, but he deleted the site a while ago so he could focus on other projects. He asked me if I’d be willing to re-post some of his articles on my blog and I said yes.

Read First: Rough vs. Soft, Part Two: Soft

I really had no idea how I was going to finish this series, so I decided to let it sit for a little bit while life played itself out so I could learn a few lessons and see things from a different perspective. Being rough made me miserable and being soft left me celibate, so what was I to do if I wanted a fulfilling sex life without hating myself at the same time? The answers came from two seemingly unrelated events just a week apart from one another.

***

It’s always weird having your birthday be on a Sunday, but thankfully, I have adopted a wonderful American tradition and made it my own: the Birthday Week. That Wednesday through Saturday night we had a packed schedule: bars, dinner, art galleries, hookahs, Batman… all the things that I wanted to do. I was delighted: I was hanging out with my friends, partying, having a good time, and forgetting all of the world’s troubles as I was ready to turn 28. There were some girls, there were some numbers exchanged, texts sent, flakes flaking, the usual runaround that I had come to expect, but it wasn’t really fazing me.

But then Saturday night, while I was out with eight or ten of my friends, I saw a girl that was by herself. The amount of beer, wine, tequila and strangely colored mixed drinks that I’d consumed that night made my memory nice and fuzzy concerning the details, but after about an hour of seeing this girl by herself, I was banging her in my apartment.

How the fuck did that just happen? I chalked it up to a good night and birthday luck and didn’t think much of it afterwards.

***

A week after that came one of the most magical evenings in sports: the opening ceremonies of the Olympics. Little known fact about me: I love the Olympic games and I love the opening ceremonies. It was always one of the few things that my family and I did together: watch the ceremonies. Even as our lives moved us into different parts of the world, that day has always been special.

I’d been talking to this girl on OkCupid for a few weeks and we seemed to have a lot in common, so we arranged to meet up. I realized after we made our plans that we were to hang out on the same day as the Olympic opening ceremonies. Cool, I figured we would play some minigolf, go to this awesome bar nearby to drink and watch the ceremonies, and after that, who knows?

Before I knew it, she was running late, which meant that minigolf was cancelled. Twenty minutes into our hangout, she took a phone call, and twenty minutes after that she left because of a work emergency. I didn’t bother texting her after, and was waiting for her to text me to apologize and reschedule. No such text ever came, and she deleted her okcupid profile a day or two later. Bummer.

***

So what do these situations have in common? Nothing at first glance: heck, I got laid in the first scenario and went home to masturbate in the second. But at a second glance, you’ll see that one thing ties this entire mess together: expectation, namely its presence and lack thereof.

In the first story, I had good times with my best friends and felt wonderful. I expected to have a good time with my friends, I expected that they were going to deliver the fun, and they prevailed, because they’re my friends and they love me and I love them. My friends met and exceeded the expectations that I had because their happiness is tied to my happiness. The fact that I had my expectations for entertainment met by my friends and by me made me immune to rejection and led to a sexual encounter. I honestly didn’t care if the girl accepted or rejected my advances, because I was already having fun and smiling and she had no obligation to provide any of that for me.

If you look at the second story, however, you’ll see that I was sharing this emotional experience with a girl I hadn’t even met yet. That is a lot of pressure to put on someone you just met, and she cracked under the expectation. There wasn’t a work emergency—I’m sure of it—and even if there was, she didn’t text me back afterwards and even deleted her OkCupid profile.

It clicked.

Expectation was the reason the gentleman style of dating didn’t work. If you buy a girl stuff, it sets off a trigger in her head: “He bought me this dinner, so now he probably expects me to sleep with him, so I won’t. Who does he think he is?” Or it sets off another expectation that she has: “Oh, he’s treating me like such a lady, guess I’ll treat him like a gentleman. No sex for at least two months because I want him to think I’m a good girl. Now, where is that bartender’s number?”

This conclusion is really fucked up, because you should expect something from a potential romantic partner, and she should expect certain things from you; after all, that’s how a relationship works. But at the first stage, it’s not a relationship, and unfortunately, you have to kill these expectations.

But killing these expectations is actually pretty simple. Read a book, find a hobby you like, go out for a drink with your friends, play your favorite video game: do something that you know will bring a genuine smile to your face no matter what. That way you are so happy with your life that anyone that is on the verge of coming into it is incredibly lucky, and if they don’t, then no worries: you have your unlimited sources of happiness to go back to. Rejection becomes barely noticeable and loses its effect: I probably got rejected dozens of times over the course of my birthday week with no consequences, while, on the flip side, a rejection during an unhappy time in my life or after giving someone expectations will sting a lot more.

I think I’m going to give my friends a call.

Read Next: What is the Nature of Love?