Date Talk: She’s Cute When She’s Angry
I was being assertive. As a recent hot-and-heavy fling came to a screeching halt, I was, I thought, standing my ground. The goal was to meet up with the guy to talk about it. But for days, he was giving me the run-around: agreeing to meet, then cancelling and postponing, cancelling and postponing. Now I’m not clueless or delusional, I understand what that means in dating, and I’m usually okay with just cutting my losses and letting the failed romance be swallowed away by the hustle-and-bustle of New York City. But this guy lived in my neighborhood, and we crossed paths almost every day. It was essential, I thought, to act as adults, to hash out The End and at least establish a new “normal” so we could behave civilly when forced to see each other.
Tired of being sweet and understanding about him dodging me, and admittedly hurt by the unexpected and unexplained rejection, the text message conversation went like this: (I know, and I’ve said it, texting the serious stuff is the worst, but getting this guy to talk on the phone was like asking a house cat to get off your newspaper. Sometimes, you have to meet people where they’re at.)
Him: I think I am not doing anything tomorrow after work so maybe I’ll come by for a little.
Me: Ok, that’s probably fine. Hope you can make it happen. Just keep me posted.
(5 minutes go by without a response. I’m getting annoyed…)
Me: I am open for whatever, but its up to you at this point.
(2 minutes later)
Him: You’re cute
(What? That’s ridiculous. I spend 4 minutes trying to figure out what to say.)
Me: I was not going for cute there but ok.
Him: I know but just how u r.
This only increased my anger. There I was standing up for my own feelings, being firm in letting him know that he ought to take responsibility for resolving the relationship that he was cutting off, and I was still somehow adorable? First of all, it’s kind of cruel to express affection or compliment a girl while in the process of rejecting her. Second, telling her she’s “cute” when she’s angry is belittling.
After that text, I decided it wasn’t worth it. Why argue with a guy who didn’t understand, didn’t respect me as a person, and clearly wasn’t going to make an effort? So I said I had no idea how to respond to that, and he promptly replied that he was going to sleep. A moment later I shot off a text to a group of my trusted girlfriends to ask if a guy had ever told her she was cute when she was actually being assertive. Their responses:
Girlfriend 1: GUY* has done that to me and it is seriously so insulting to be called “cute” when you’re trying to be serious.
Girlfriend 2: Yes all the time.
Girlfriend 3: Yeah, definitely.
Girlfriend 4: Yes, why did this just happen to you?
Other girlfriends have told me, in person, how this has happened in their relationships. For one couple it’s mostly when little things pique her annoyance– like a disagreement about weekend plans or something equally, (seemingly), trivial. She nevertheless doesn’t appreciate it. In fact, she only gets more upset in these situations. As a result, it only digs him in deeper trouble than either of them intended. Because even if her frustration is over something small, the avowal of her cuteness still feels disparaging. But why?
When I brought it up over happy hour drinks in a group of mixed-company, one guy spoke up.
“You should never tell a woman she’s cute when she’s angry!” he said, “when you tell a girl that you’re making it seem like her feelings aren’t important or meaningful. But they are. You can never take words back. You can say you take it back, but they already heard it.”
Someone give this guy a gold star. What can we learn from his wisdom here? People’s feelings, generally, (I hope!), should always be regarded as important and meaningful. Even if you disagree with the grievance. Even if the anger-induced flush in her cheeks makes her look pretty. So think she’s cute when she’s angry? My advice is to keep that thought to yourself, think about it, respect her for her feelings. Remember that whatever the issue, taking her seriousness seriously will prove your care for her better than any compliment.
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