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Raúl’s Briefly Back … and a Dating Victory

August 27, 2010

This week, I had dinner with Raúl. [Rather than force you to read the ridiculously long emo posts that were Raúl: Part 1 and Raúl: Part 2, I’ll give you the Cliff Notes version: Met this guy on Plenty of Fish. Ended up liking him. First guy in whom I was interested after my ex. Loaned him $20 and my favorite book. I acted a little like a crazy girl, he acted shady and played games with me and the friendship ended, with me out my book and $20.]

This week, I had dinner with Raúl. How did that happen, you ask? You’ll remember that I hadn’t heard from Raúl in about a month, after he sent no response to the e-mail I sent him saying that I wished things were different and really liked him, but if he couldn’t stop playing games with me, I would have to end the friendship/relationship/whatever the hell you call it. Well, I was bored one day and wrote him an e-mail, subject line:


I basically asked him (again) for my book back. At this point he was holding it hostage. My e-mail was a humorous last attempt to get my book back – I wanted the book back on principle alone. I felt like I needed my book and my $20 to be whole again. I’m a masochist and just refused to give up (I have a serious problem with just letting things go). And, I was bored and feeling in a random mood.

Strangely enough, Raúl replied to my e-mail and started to work out a time to give me my book back.

After about a week and a half of scheduling and rescheduling meet ups, and e-mailing back and forth almost daily about politics, books, etc. (just like old times), Raúl and I met for dinner. I suggested a drink, Raúl suggested dinner: his treat. I let Raúl choose the place, and he ended up choosing O’Charley’s. Hmm. Interesting choice.

Almost immediately when I arrived, Raúl gave me my book back. Success. I put it in my purse happily. In case anyone is wondering, it’s The Kite Runner by Khaled Hosseini. If you haven’t read it, go buy it now. Love this book.

Courtsey of Mark Larson

We had some pretty good conversation. Raúl made me laugh just as much as I remembered, that bastard. At one point, Raúl started to tell me about women he’s been casually dating. His stories were interesting, but the whole conversation made me feel very much in the “friend zone.” Which was cool, as I had been feeling a little uncertain of what this “dinner” meant – it was his treat, so did he consider it a date? Or was this just his way of paying me back my $20? The stories were a little reassuring because they told me that this was a friendly dinner (as friendly as two people who had just a month ago decided to never talk again could be, actually).

Raúl told me a story of this girl that he met at a bar. He really liked her, and enjoyed texting with her. But then, the day before their first official date, she sent him a text along the lines of, “Can’t wait to hang out with you tomorrow!” And then, he was done. She was too eager. Maybe desperate? Whatever the word was, Raúl was over it. He explained to me that he didn’t like it when girls made him a priority. He wasn’t good enough to be on someone else’s priority list (umm, self-esteem issues?) and it turned him off when girls treated him well.

And, that explains everything. I mean, I knew this already. I knew that I had been far too nice to Raúl (umm, and maybe every other guy I’ve dated). The problem is, in the beginning, he seemed to like it. And in the end, when I was too nice to him for my own good, he became the reason “Why Men Love Bitches” is on my summer reading list.

I told Raúl that he clearly has some issues. We laughed about how he didn’t have to tell me he didn’t like nice girls – I was a case in point! I think my crazy girl behavior had less to do with us no longer dating than the fact that at the end of the day, I was just too nice to Raúl. Gave him too much attention, made him a priority, um, basically treated him the way I wanted to be treated. I blame my parents for teaching me that crap. You should treat people you are dating way worse that you want to be treated. And then they will like you more. Lesson learned from Raúl, and from a million other guys out there. Not sure I can do it though.

Raúl paid for dinner, but did not give me my $20 back. I got my book, I can take dinner as payment. I feel victorious. None of this matters in the grand scheme of things, but I felt like I’d achieved some sort of dating justice: I’d got my shit back.

I’m curious if I’ll ever see Raúl again. He said several times that he should come visit me, or that we should get together soon. I’ve heard from him via text, when he gave me a recap of his date, who it turned out he actually liked (for now). Interestingly, he said that she was a lot like me and that it was scary. When I asked how, his return text said, “Very pretty. Smart, intimidating to talk to cause I can tell she’s smarter than I am.”

I’m going to pretend that text didn’t make me feel a little good. Lest I forget one of my lessons from before:

Don’t forget this quote by Maya Angelou: “The first time someone shows you who they are, believe them.”

Raúl told me that he doesn’t think that this girl likes him as much as he likes her (ah, the irony). I replied with, “Sure you have nothing to worry about. Just think, she’ll text you tomorrow that she really enjoyed the date and wants to do it again, and you’ll be over her in no time.” He laughed. It’s funny because it’s true.

So, here’s the question I have for you: Is Raúl’s feelings about nice girls indicative of the way all men secretly (or not so secretly) feel? Do girls really need to tone down their niceness to land a man? And I’m starting to wonder if this works the other way around … is it possible that the main reason I even liked Raúl so much before was because he didn’t like me very much, and treated me poorly? Would love to hear your thoughts.

29 Comments leave one →
  1. Jessica permalink
    August 27, 2010 11:33 am

    Hi Cat,
    It’s Jess. I have pondered this very question for sooo long now. I am usually a very open book and I too think that I am just plain too damn nice sometimes. You would think that there wouldn’t be such a thing as too nice, but when it comes to many men, seems there is.

    I have been thinking that maybe I give too much of myself to people, too soon and there is no mystery with me. If I like a man, he is going to know and maybe this is where I go wrong. I have a cousin who is quite the opposite, holds back a lot of herself unless you earn her trust and respect, and she is always just polite, never what you would call nice and definitely not too nice. Well guess what, men have always seemed to love it! I often wish I could go about things the way she does but I think it would feel too unnatural. I think that I might to experiment with this tactic and see how it works for me though.

    I will give you an example of my cousin’s “bitch” behavior and how it worked for her. She was at a party and talked all night with this one guy, she thought that he would ask for her number at the end of the night, but he didn’t so oh well. The party was thrown by her father’s friend and a week later the friend called her dad and told him that the guy at the party that my cousin was talking to had called to get her number. Her father asked her if it was ok to give him her number and she said NO!!! Her exact words were “too bad, if he wanted my number he should have asked for it that night, he’s not getting it now.” SHE SAID NO EVEN THOUGH SHE DID LIKE HIM!!! The next week her father called her again and told her that the guy had called him himself to practically beg for her number and she again said NO! The next week she relented and after 2 years of dating they got married. Ok, if that was me I would have asked him to exchange numbers that night and if I hadn’t (highly unlikely if I liked him), then when he called for my number I would have been happy and immediately said YES GIVE IT TO HIM! That is why we are opposites!
    Anyhow, I have now wriiten a novel! At the end of the day, I need to be myself, too nice or not and the right man will love it. 😉

    Have a great weekend Cat!!!!!

    • August 27, 2010 2:57 pm

      Thanks so much for your comment. I loved this story about your cousin. Damn, I wouldn’t even think to handle the situation like she did but that was pretty smart on her part. I think I’m missing some gene to be like that. But, I agree, parts of me really wants to experiment a little and see how it works for me. I think we are really similar – the way you described yourself is exactly the way I would describe myself. If I like someone, why mislead them? Why play games? But, games work. So maybe I need to practice a bit and see how it goes…

      But there is the other part of me that 100% agrees with the end of your post – at the end of the day, I need to be myself, and the right man will love it. The romantic in me really wants to believe that to be true.

      Thanks for commenting, you have a great weekend too! Be mean to at least one male. Report back. haha :0)

  2. August 27, 2010 1:09 pm

    Always remain true to who you are. Even if you think you are too nice. I don’t think it’s possible to be too nice unless you let people walk all over you, and I don’t think you do.

    I’m glad you got your book back! I’m still waiting to get my jewelry – damn. But I will get it.

    • August 27, 2010 3:00 pm

      Thanks, Amy. You are right, there is no way I’m going to let someone walk all over me. I just have to find the right balance of niceness … sometimes, you gotta make a guy work for your attention, I guess. I’m not quite good at that. I sortt of hand it on a silver platter if I like them 🙂

      I’m happy about the book too! Think I might reread it this weekend in celebration. Good luck getting your jewelry – I’m keeping my fingers crossed for ya!

  3. August 27, 2010 1:28 pm

    This is just a man’s perspective, although for better ot worse most likely not an ordinary man’s perspective, but this problem happens to guys too. I’ve been told by a few women that I have been friends with and liked that they wish their jerk boyfriends were more like me. To me this idea is so frustrating because both of the girls that told me that had went on a date with me or something close to it and decided I was not date-worthy for whatever reason.

    If I had to express my view on this, it would be that a lot of people are not sure they deserve to be with whoever it is they want. The not know adds a little excitement, but also makes it more likely that they are just jerks and playing games. If someone is nice and actually cares, they make sure the other person knows and kills some of the excitement. At some point in their lives (atleast I hope so) people realize that nice is what they need, not exciting jerks.

    • August 27, 2010 3:24 pm

      Thanks for your perspective. You are right about the excitement that can be generated by the uncertainty and the game playing. I too hope that there is a point in our lives when you grow beyond the games and are upfront and honest with each other. And I hope, for my sake anyway, there are some guys out there that legitimately want a nice girl (not like the girls you date that say they want a nice guy but don’t actually mean it!).

      Thanks for commenting!

  4. Maggie Malam permalink
    August 27, 2010 2:32 pm

    Hi Cat! Just found your blog and have been catching up this slow afternoon at work! I had to quote you over on my blog, your comment about treating people worse than you want to be treated still has me smiling! I haven’t been in a spot close to marriage like you were, but I understand your hesitation to “like” someone and not want to be a girlfriend. That’s where I’m at these days. But I had a really nice date with a very nice boy last night, and I’m letting myself get excited about him. Good luck! I look forward to reading more!

    • August 27, 2010 3:18 pm

      Haha, thanks for quoting me! I can’t wait to dive into your blog tonight – glanced around and already enjoying it! And congrats on your good date last night, I hope you blog about it so I can hear more 🙂

      Nice to meet you, Maggie!

  5. August 27, 2010 3:38 pm

    I’m usually the girl assuaging the pain of the nice guys and telling them I would date them (and they never realize that means they should ask me out — so maybe the nice guys aren’t so “nice” but in reality they are just dense), but Pancake man is smothering me with nice guyness.

    I told him I don’t know where I want things to go because I’m moving away to go to grad school in a year. Plus he read my last blog (which I think he should have taken as a dare to be incredible enough to make me not want to be single anymore) and now he’s very reluctant to let me know how he feels about me or anything that has to do with me because he wants to be friends at least.

    Or how about you man up and you pursue me? Let me know what you want and try to convince kme thatit is the best plan. Woo me for god’s sake!

    By the way I think “Nice Guy” is very often code for wuss. Don’t be a jackass, but chase the girl for fuck sake! Yes, I have a strong opinion about this and I think anything other than chasing the girl is just chickening out:

    I know rejection is rough, but deal with, man up and chase the girl. And once she consents to hang out with you be a whole person worth hanging out with!

    Anyway, Pancake man and I have only been on a few dates and I feel smothered with his niceness already. Where do I want to go to dinner? What do I want to do? How do I want things to proceed? Am I the only one who gets a vote? And do I just have to drag you along in my life?

    I have a hard enough frealking time deciding those things on my own I don’t want to decide it for both of us.

    Instead of folling me around why don’t you get a life and invite me along from time to time. If I wanted something I had to train that would follow me around I would get a pet.

    Okay, i had better stop now. I’m all riled up.

    • August 29, 2010 12:58 pm

      LOL Crystal. I loved this comment. I know exactly what you are saying. Pancake man sounds nice, but a little clingy and sounds like he needs to man the hell up. Thanks for linking to these other blog posts – you should do a post on your blog where you link to your editor’s choice of your best blog postings. Because I haven’t had a chance to catch up on everything – you’ve been blogging for awhile! 🙂

      I want to be chased. I want to be wooed. I want to feel special. I also sort of want to feel uncertain. Not like the guy is playing games, but I like early thrill of meeting someone. And I want to feel like the guy has other priorities, friends, family, a job, a life, and then he also has me. He should make me a priority, but I am not THE priority. He should still live his life, I still live mine, he shouldn’t follow me around but I should still feel his presence in my life (and desire to have him by my side more). Is that too much to ask??

      And I think you are right on – many nice guys are just dense. Or too afraid to make a move. DO IT ALREADY!!!

      Whew. I’m all riled up now too. 🙂

      • August 29, 2010 2:35 pm

        Preach on, sista! I totally agree with what you want and i’m excited for you to get it!

  6. mr. smith permalink
    August 27, 2010 5:45 pm

    First off congrats on getting the book back…nothing like getting back a book you have already read. Maybe you can take it to the used bookstore and get a few books to put toward the 20 bucks. At least he paid for dinner. Did you get drinks too?

    If you need a new book to read I would suggest The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo. You might start to empathize with the main heroine. Read the book and you shall see.

    To answer your big question it isn’t a matter of nice or bitchy or mean. For me there is a desperation factor…if someone is into someone else to fast it can throw up red flags. We all want to be needed but not by someone incredibly needy. I have a life and the other person should have a life as well. It is nice when those lives intersect. Just my take.

    I frankly like a nice girl. Not Little House on the Prairie nice though. If Marianne and Ginger from Gilligan’s Island were smashed in a particle accelerator then perhaps men might be happy. Is that too many TV references/

    I cannot say why you liked Raul but frankly if I think someone doesn’t like me very much then so be it. But you must have really like the book or perhaps that just an excuse to contact Raul once again. 😉

    One more thing. Can you get my dumbbells back from the girl I dated in the spring.

    • August 29, 2010 12:49 pm

      Thank you! It is a victory, it’s my favorite book. You are right, he paid for dinner. No drinks, however. Didn’t want to drink with Raul, always spells trouble.

      Lots of people have recommended The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo. I’m going to check it out!

      Desperation … good point. It is concerning if someone is way into you right after you meet them. You have to wonder why a little bit. Unless you are friggin’ awesome. Then you know that you deserve it 🙂

      Nice girls finish last, don’t you know? Whether Little House on the Prairie nice or Jessica Beil from 7th Heaven nice, I’m thinking being nice is a bad thing. haha 🙂 But fair point on Mary Anne/Ginger. That would be a good combo.

      I can’t say why I liked Raul either. And how dare you insinuate I used the book as an excuse to contact Raul again….. What can I say, I love drama.

      You should send an email to the girl you dated in the spring with the subject line:

      Haha 🙂

  7. August 27, 2010 7:06 pm

    Way to be triumphant!

    About the being too nice, you might be. I met this guy recently, and we had a good conversation it was nice, I gave him my number and then he decided that we needed to talk everyday. It was overwhelming. I do not talk to my very best friends every day, and this guy was ok, but come on!

    It totally made me remember the times when I gave a guy way too much attention. Now I understand why they were so turned off.

    Or maybe I’ve just become cynical and bitchy 🙂

    • August 28, 2010 12:44 pm

      No, I think you have a really good point here. When you like someone, it feels natural to give them a lot of attention. But if the feelings aren’t reciprocal, I can totally see how that attention can be annoying and overwhelming. Something to remember, for sure. Because I did have a guy recently that was REALLY into me, and I had to tell him to back off some. My goal? To never have someone have that conversation with me. LOL. That would be embarrassing.

  8. Random Internet Guy permalink
    August 29, 2010 9:50 pm

    I don’t feel as if this dude’s opinion on “nice girls” is true of most guys. First of all, I don’t think that guys usually assess “niceness” early on in a dating process. Personally, I love nice but it kinda has to be nice with a great sense of humor and a few other factors too. On occasion, the uber niceness is synonymous with heightened sensitivity. I think that can sometimes present a problem, because when one is too sensitive, it can be a challenge to stimulating openness in communication. I’m not saying that that is what your friend Raul was referring to or anything. But in defense of “guys,” I think that we tend to really like “nice” but don’t judge it early on in a relationship. (there are plenty of other, more superficial things to judge! :D. Obviously, “superficial” is always taken with a negative connotation, but these are virtually the same judgments both genders make during the initial stages of a dating relationship). Maybe guys just assume that, well, all girls are most likely “nice”..but what else are they. I definitely don’t think anyone should “tone down” niceness or any other trait they possess, as that would be the antithesis of stimulating openness. 🙂 Keep it real homegirl.

    • Random Internet Guy permalink
      August 29, 2010 11:47 pm

      and yes, chances are that you liked him a bit more because he was kind of a jerk. Girls are a bit attracted to “jerks,” probably in large part due to liking a challenge. In my previous life, I was a bit of a jerk or maybe just a bit aloof. I’m a bit of a reformed jerk myself. I’m much happier being the new me but I am now having to work much harder. haha. Cliches are cliches for a reason…I guess this may be the origin of the saying “nice guys finish last.” I don’t think I agree with this but I suppose there has to be some truth to it for the saying to have persisted as long as it has. Maybe…nice guys get taken for granted a bit?

      • August 30, 2010 10:03 am

        Haha, a reformed jerk. Is being a jerk like being an alcoholic though – you are always an alcoholic, it’s always inside of you, whether you are drinking or not? So you are always a jerk inside, you just keep yourself from behaving like one?

        I think the saying should be “nice guys get trampled upon on a daily basis” but I think (hope) they’ll win out in the end… Lord knows I want to end up with a nice guy.

    • August 30, 2010 10:01 am

      Damn … you struck a chord with me on that one. You are right, niceness can come with heightened sensitivity. I’m extraordinarily senstive. Something I’m working on, for sure. I can see how it can hinder the development of a connection because if someone is too sensitive, you feel like you have to walk on egg shells around them. Thanks for your advice on the niceness, I’ll definitely keep it in mind!

  9. Ghetto_Philosopher permalink
    August 31, 2010 1:02 am

    I don’t know why peoplen continue to act like there is some general answer to why guys and girls act the way they do. Every person is different and bring their specific issues to every relationship (friendships or otherwise). Guys might have general tendencies but when it boils down to it, you have to get to know each one individually to understand them. In my experience, when a relationship doesn’t work out, instead of accepting that it didn’t work, we try to find reasons why it didn’t work. There really isn’t a reason if you think about it. Most of the reasons that people give, they can get over if they really wanted to. But they don’t want to so they decide that “this is where I draw the line”

    All this to say that you know Raul and you know yourself better than we do. You can probably answer this question better than anyone else can.

    • August 31, 2010 10:18 am

      You are right. There is no general answer, especially considering the only people who know the situation is Raul and me. But, I do like to search for answers about why it didn’t work. I’m driven by logic and like to understand what happened (so I don’t make the same mistakes again).

      As far as asking for advice, I can say this: A lot of my readers are close family and friends. So they know ME pretty well, and that’s why their advice is valuable. Hell, it never hurts to ask for advice anyway – from strangers or from those close to you. I think it helps you make more informed decisions by learning about other’s experiences. But hey, what do I know?

      Thanks so much for your comment and for sharing your perspective! I hope you’ll keep reading.

  10. Jessica permalink
    October 1, 2010 5:51 pm

    Okay, I just found your blog and I’ve been avidly reading it, shirking all responsibilities at work. And I have to say, I read a book called Love Must Be Tough awhile back, as i was in love with a jerk who couldn’t commit. “I just don’t want to be serious right now,” he said.

    And so I read the book. The basic premise is that the reason people won’t commit in relationships and/or cheat is because they feel trapped. Their freedom is impinges upon. So you tell them, hey, fine, you’re free. I have more self respect and dignity than to beg you to stay in a relationship you don’t want, and then you walk away. That’s crucial–the walking away. That doesn’t mean random emails to try to remind them how great and funny and nice you are.

    Anyway, it worked for me. He came back, wanted me more than ever. He wanted to marry me in fact. However, I couldn’t get past the fact of what a game of chase the whole thing really was and I walked away from the whole thing.

    So I suppose their is some truth to the ice queen theory. Thanks again for blogging! I’d love to hear more about the ex. I know maybe it’s too fresh, or maybe it doesn’t really go with the concept of the blog. But I want to know why it didn’t work out, who broke it off, if you ever had a ‘booty call,’ afterwards, and how you picked up the pieces. I’m kind of in the same boat as you are right now, or were anyway, when you first started this blog.

    Xxoo, Jessica

    • October 2, 2010 7:48 pm

      Thanks for reading, Jessica! I appreciate you going back to some old posts – not all of which are my faves, haha. But they are all part of the journey.

      That book sounds really good. I think it makes some good points. Walking away – so hard. I suck at that. I think I’m walking away, but you are right – I do the random emails to remind someone of how funny I am, maybe how much they could miss me, etc. I’m not sure I’m strong enough (yet) to just be able to walk away from someone completely. But what you’ve said here really resonates with me, so thanks for sharing.

      As far as more about the ex, did you get a chance to read ? That’s about as far as I am comfortable with (right now) going into why it didn’t work it out, and who broke it off. I just want to make sure I never (EVER) use this blog as a weapon against my ex, because it’s not a fair fight. He doesn’t have a blog, he doesn’t have an outlet to tell his side of the story. So I just want to tell my story, and try to leave him out as much as I can. As far as booty call… damn, I knew someone would ask some day. Yes, we had sex after the breakup. Huge mistake. In fact, I lived with him for a few weeks after we broke up, as I was finding another place, and unfortunately we had a few hook ups, alcohol induced and otherwise. Those experiences made the break up even harder, and I would greatly encourage anyone going through a break up to stay the hell away. Bad idea. Danger ahead. In fact, when we were living with eachother those last two weeks, we behaved as though nothing was wrong much of the time. We watched TV together, we held hands. I was betrayed, I was hurt, but part of me wanted to feel a few more moments of happiness before it all went away. Part of remembers those feelings, and I’m happy that I had a few happy memories to leave with, but those happy memories made things much harder. So I’m torn about it.

      I’m sorry to hear that you are going through a hard time. I am very open to suggestions on blog posts – and I’m also happy to talk with you about my experience off the blog. Feel free to email me at I started this blog to not just help me, but to help others going through something similar. I know you will make it through, and I am sending happy thoughts your way!



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