Friday, 24 July 2009
The concept was born amongst the writers on the show Sex and the City, as one former playboy grew tired of hearing his female colleagues obsess over and justify the awful specimens they were dating. 'He probably couldn't get to a phone... work's so busy right now' ... 'Maybe he fell asleep and then forgot to return my call when he woke up' ... 'Maybe his dog got sick'... 'Maybe he broke the fingers required to adequately dial my number'....
Maybe HE'S JUST NOT THAT INTO YOU.
Those liberating words. Like a lot of us, if I had discovered this philosophy earlier, I could have saved myself a lot of time and stress. Not everyone is a perfect match, and of course in a lot of cases the spark dies, or they find someone else, or they change their sexual preference since last seeing you. But any silence on the male part always starts a complete frenzy in the mind of a woman. What went wrong? Am I too fat/thin/old/young? Did I talk about my job/self/dog/manicure too much? Am I sexually repulsive? WHY HASN'T HE CALLED???! And so on. Obviously, this is only the case when we ARE that into him and when we have felt like it's been going well. Then the mind ricochets between anger - 'What a bastard, how dare he, I'm obviously too successful/gorgeous and it intimated him, it's his loss' - and more of the crazy - 'I'm going to die alooooone.'
This could all have been saved with a brief reality check, in the form of the HJNTIY theory. In many, many cases he will not be hurt, incapacitated, being held hostage or suffering from amnesia; he has just realised he's not interested enough to take it any further. When Greg Behrendt and Liz Tuccillo wrote the book based on Greg's original advice in that meeting, they were not only brutal about the rejection in this scenario, they also hammered home the other side of the coin - you deserve to and will find someone that does call you back and does want to see you. Why waste time wondering why the last guy disappeared into the ether?
Of course that won't stop us obsessing, our minds were built for irrationality, but it might give us a shove in the right direction - forward. In this year's film adaptation, there's an 'exception that proves the rule' storyline where it does all turn out right in the end - thanks for the reassurance, Hollywood - but I do think now and again men can be given the benefit of the doubt. But only rarely is a guy truly prevented from getting in touch or paying you attention by work, illness, or that great lie 'being scared of how much he likes you'. Oh, please.
I love this whole concept. I enjoy the directness of it, just like that diet book Skinny Bitch (basic message: if you're greedy and eat loads, you will always be a bit chubby. If you care that much about being skinny, you will watch yourself) it cuts out the crap designed to make us feel better in favour of the harsh reality. If you've ever found yourself consoling a friend by grabbing desperately for excuses ('Maybe he DID lose his phone... and then facebook stopped working, his landline was cut off and he lost the ability to walk to your house') it might be better just to cut straight to the 'you deserve better' pep talk. Let's not give Mr One Date more attention than he needs.
He's just not that into you.