Scrub Detector and Thug Magnet

QUESTION: Hi, C&G. I'm a single black female in my mid-20s and I have the hardest time meeting men. I have morals similar to the woman who recently posted a question---I don't smoke, haven't touched alcohol in a few years (never succumbing to peer pressure again), never did drugs, and am still a virgin. Though I went through a nerdy and awkward phase in high school, I grew out of that and I feel more attractive and I walk taller. I'm intelligent, have a college degree and goals in life, and I recently started taking martial arts. So how come the only guys who approach me are THUGGISH, ignorant and just plain ghetto?! I cannot walk down the street without hearing "boo, can I talk to you?" or "Shorty, got a man?" and it is irritating as hell. Lord forbid I say "Not interested," because that turns into "fuck you, bitch." I hate also getting whistled at or hit on by dirty old men...it makes me sick. (I don't dress hoochie...so lord knows what turns them on to me.) A recent instance of a "no-account thug" trying to talk to me was at the airport...this fool was talking about being held back in school and watching bootleg copies of movies, while I was on my way to a Star Trek convention. What would a Trekkie have in common with someone who has no goals and purpose in life?! Don't get me wrong, I've tried to approach guys myself. I will compliment a guy I find interesting with "nice shirt" or "nice eyes" and it turns into "thanks. My girlfriend thinks so, too." GAME OVER. I've also tried to start a conversation with someone who was reading an interesting book, and nothing came out of that. I also go to community events, bookstores, cafes, movies and the theater...and still, nothing out of that. I've also been on blind dates (one was with a creepy nerd who, out of the blue, tells me that his mother was an alcoholic and that he used to fantasize about having sex with dogs), tried the personals (the guys would act nice over the phone but turn into creeps in person), and speed dating (a horrible experience). I've come to the conclusion that I will never find a nice and normal guy to date. Sure, I have male friends, but there's never any romantic connection. It's not fair. My younger sisters were popular and always had boyfriends with no effort whatsoever. I haven't even had that! What is wrong with me that only thugs and dirty old men find me attractive? Help!

GARLAND: Thanks for your question. Right off the bat, I want to let you know that there's "nothing wrong with you." I just wanted to say that up front in case I forget to say it later!

Meeting men, in my opinion, is probably the hardest thing for a lot of women to do these days. Wait - wait - let me qualify that... meeting QUALITY men, is probably the hardest thing for a lot of women to do.

Reading your question, you seem to really be in touch with yourself and the things around you, so that's a big plus for you.

So, lets see - "Thugs, scrubs and bums - all tryin' to holler at you."
The first thing that comes to mind is trying walkin' and hangin' in better neighborhoods. Admittedly, I say that tongue-in-cheek. But, sometimes the biggest thing a person can do is just change their patterns and places of choice. There may be a whole new crop of men in new grocery stores, new book stores, new restaurants, new cafe's, new parts of town. So that may be part of what you may want to try.

I think a lot of guys know that there are sometimes a lot of women looking for a man. Sadly a number of these women don't demand much more than breathing and a penis from their men. So you'll find a lot of guys that have this amazing confidence and swagger, and they'll walk up to almost any woman and say "I ain't got no job, I'm 38 and live with my mama, I make $6.05 an hour when I feel like working, I ain't got no car and I'm late for a meeting with my probation officer. So, are we gonna' hookup this weekend?" And some women will say, "Sure, Boo. Here's my cell number." Unfortunately, decent, intelligent women such as yourself catch the residual foolishness from these lower standards of other women.

In my opinion, those decent guys you're looking for are out there. When walking down the street, you tend to find more dandelions than roses, but there are roses to be found. I'm not sure where you're writing from, but judging by the high volume of bums trying to "get at 'cha" I think a change in scenery will help you a lot. No, don't go pack your bags and leave town! Just try to bring new places into your 'theater of operations' - the places you do your thing in. Continue to be observant of the men around you, the ones that are reading what you like, listening to what you like, banking where you bank, checking out the sci-fi that you like. I think you are on point for the most part, subtle compliments and conversation will yield you the results you desire.

I'm going to stop with two points I really want to share with you:
1. Please read our Q&A called "Off the Shelf" I believe there are some good "How to meet a man" tips there!
2. This is the most important point I want to make to you. I fully understand the desire to want a companion, and you should have what you want. But, you mention that you are in your 20's and I am a firm believer in people (men & women) spending their 20's getting to know themselves. Finding out who they are, finding out what they like and just plain doing their THING! I think a lot of young women really want A GOOD MAN in their lives so they can get married and have kids and all this stuff when they are like 23 or 24. But that is the time when they need to do their own thing and focus on themselves NOT some boyfriend, or husband or baby-daddy. So, to you I say - don't spend too much time stressing over that good man that is yet to enter your life. I'm VERY glad to hear you're doing karate, and Star Trek conventions and that stuff, I really am. Thanks for your question, read our previous posts and I hope I was helpful to you.

"Kirk, out."

CHUCK: Like Garland said, the problems you're experiencing in finding a worthwhile man are not your fault. There are going to be rude, aggressive, cat-calling buffoons roaming the streets of even your "nicer" neighborhoods. What I think may be your fault is your response to these men. There are women who face the same taunts in the street of "Say, boo," "Hey, ho," whatever, but they do not let them break their stride. These guys expect to be ignored. Ignore them. Let their advances roll off of you like water off of a duck's back.

I do think that the thing that makes it difficult for you to dismiss unwanted male attention seems to be that you are lacking desirable male attention from a guy you want to be with. There's no easy answer for that. You've apparently been experiencing a lot of bad breaks and bad timing. I don't think that there's that many guys in sci-fi/Star Trek fandom that have girlfriends. Or are creepy psychopaths.

If I could offer my quick, admittedly uneducated view of some of the tactics you've taken thus far, they sound to me like an expressway to depression. Blind dates? Hardly ever work out. Personals? Lying bastards, all of 'em. Speed dating? The joke they make it out to be.

Don't give up, though. Focus on being positive, and something positive is going to happen for you. Keep going to community events, bookstores, movies, theatre, etc. Enjoy yourself, approach people if you want, be approachable. Be on the lookout for someone that shares your interests, not just a boyfriend. You're going to get through this patch of bad luck and worse men.

Thanks for bringing your question to us.


What's on the Menu?

QUESTION: Hi, guys, I just started waiting tables about a month ago and already two men have left their phone numbers for me.

One guy was nice looking but not really my type. The other was great looking and friendly. But I can't help but wonder is it worth is to call him?

Should I suspect that he does this frequently? Do men do this often?

Signed, Waiting to Call-

CHUCK: You, my dear, whether you were aware of it or not, have entered into a profession that is in the Top Ten of Most Macked-On. Others include Retail Clerk, Receptionist, and, um, Stripper?

Anyway, when a guy goes out to eat, whether he's with his boys or not, and he's confronted with an attractive young lady showing him attention, he may decide to take his game out for a walk and hit on his server. This may be done out of sincere attraction, or boredom, or to play the percentages. Either way, if you're going to be waiting tables for a while, you should get used to being hit on. It should all be harmless.

As to whether you should call either of these guys, it depends on what you're looking for. If you're looking for a companion for the short-term, someone to go to movies and have a few laughs with, you'll probably be lucky. If you're looking for the father of your future children, you're less likely to be successful.

I don't want to generalize too much, but either one or both of these gentlemen may be looking for nothing more than a booty call. So I would exercise caution if you choose to entertain these potential suitors. Because if you should encounter some nut, you might not know where to find him, but he'll know where to find you.

So, relax, have fun, and be careful. And if Garland and I ever swing by, maybe you could hook us up with a meal. Whaddaya think?

GARLAND: Hello, and thanks for the question! Let's see - NO, all guys don't do the number drop off. But a lot do.

Assuming that you are an attractive and friendly woman, it's safe to say that you might as well get a glass jar to keep the phone numbers of many of your male customers. Waitresses are unique people - if a guy likes to go to the same spot over and over for dinner or lunch, it might not hurt to get friendly with your server. So, there might be a tiny bit of alterior motive there - so approach this situation carefully.

Personally, I think the phone number drop off is a soft and safe approach. Chances are, the guys didn't have to say too much to you, beyond a "Holler at me sometime..." or a "Gimme' a shout this weekend..." Nine times out of ten, the best you can probably expect with this approach is a few trips to the movies, a few trips to the club, maybe a dinner or two and probably some 'lights out' action if you are down for it. I think Chuck called it playing the percentages, that's a safe bet - a guy gives his number to 8 or 10 women a week, it stands to reason that at least 1 or 2 will call him back.

So, if you are cool with a few dates and a little hanging out, I say call him [or them] back and see what's what. Now, if you're looking for a REAL relationship, something long term and loving, I think you may want to hold off on calling these guys back. If they're really feeling you and wanting to set a good example, they'll be back at your job. They'll give you a better presentation of who they are, and you'll know what's what.

By the way, I recommend you use *(star) 67 when you call them. Just incase they're nuts, they won't have YOUR NUMBER. Be safe and maybe drop us a line and let us know what you decide.

Breakin' Balls (so to speak...)

QUESTION: You guys kind of touched this subject previously. I currently live with my boyfriend and we have a 5 month old daughter. We have been together a little over two years. In the past, my boyfriend would go out and hang out a lot with his friends (almost everyday.) Now it has come to a point where he hangs out with this one friend once a week, usually on Saturdays. He either hangs out at his friends house or they play pool at the local bar. How much is too much?

Personally I feel like once a week is too much---HE SAYS, that he understood that he hung out too much in the past and has changed and limited this to just once a week. He also says that he doesn't mind me going out every once in a while, but not every week---- so there is a double standard.

I'm really trying to understand this.

GARLAND: Hey - Thank you very much for your question!

Well, I actually think "hanging out with the boys" is a big issue with a lot of folks! But, for your boyfriend to drop his hanging out from 7 days a week down to 1 day a week - I have to give him some real props. That is something that A LOT of guys have problems with! So, my hat is off to him.

As I was reading your question, I was thinking, well SHE needs to have at least one day a week to herself... then you mention that he feels you can go out "once in a while." This is where I have a problem. Frankly - fair is fair, if he can leave you with the baby for X amount of hours every Saturday, then YOU need to have X amount of hours to yourself each week. For him to think or act any other way is insane and selfish. I suggest you put that on the table for him. NOW PLEASE - DO NOT TRY TO TAKE AWAY HIS SATURDAYS AND MAKE THEM EXCLUSIVELY YOUR DAYS. Maybe if you all want to take very other Saturday and every other Sunday and have your own time, that may work and the two of you just switch the day you each take for your own.

But, back to him and his one day a week. Personally, I don't think many guys get one day a week to himself, but it's not an impossible thing to understand. Now, I don't know what he does for a living - but he may really need a day to just chill and decompress. {But, so do you - don't get me wrong} I think hangin' out [probably playing X-Box] and shootin' pool and knockin' off a few brews, is far far far from the worst thing a guy could be doing.

I strongly recommend though, that you let him know that you BOTH deserve a day to yourselves... and don't let him force you to take Wednesday nights... nothing in the world goes on, on Wednesday nights!!!

Keep in touch, let us know how it works out-

CHUCK: I think that, unlike a lot of guys that we get questions about, your guy is trying to do better. And I think that you recognize it, but you may not appreciate it. He has gone from hanging out every night to just pool and whatnot on Saturdays. He's heading in the right direction. A lot of guys go from one night to multiple nights.

But I sort of understand your issue. Without knowing what your work schedule entails, for most people, Saturday is the weekend, and you might be feeling constrained knowing that you will be spending every Saturday alone with your baby. I know you love your child, but everybody needs a break.

Tell him that he should maybe mix up the days that he goes out, to be more fair to you. And also, if you've got no problem with his weekly excursions, he should not have any problem with yours. He's totally wrong there. Also, if you haven't already, take the time and cultivate some interests of your own. Take a class. Develop a hobby. Take up pool yourself. And not for any vindictive, "I can do it, too" reason. But because it's the right thing to do. When both people in a couple are well-rounded, these complaints crop up less often.

Trust me, if this is the only problem you have with your boyfriend, you're doing okay. Am I right, ladies?


Flattery Will Get You Everywhere

QUESTION: This is probably a stupid question, but what harm could it do? I'm a black woman, early forties, single, educated and all that good stuff. I've come to some harsh realities lately and I need a sanity check.

First - I'd like a good man in my life, my arms, and my bed. But I don't date a lot because I don't trust my own judgement. After a brief string of good dates and bad choices, I've come to face the fact that when a man says what I want to hear, everything else goes out the window and suddenly I'm thinking this is it - HE LOVES ME! Next thing we'll be engaged and I'll be walking down the isle and we'll be having kids and life is perfect. Two days later he's not calling, or he's not responding to my E-Mails or pages and I'm left feeling the fool. The last guy made a fool of me six months ago and I've given up.

Sort of.

I just don't want to give up on my dreams of meeting that special man. I just have to keep my head right. I can't just jump at the first sign of something special, yet thats what I keep doing. What can I do to stop myself from being played and hurt by the men I meet?

CHUCK: Thanks a lot for visiting the site. And don't worry. Like my grandma used to say, "There's no such thing as a stupid question."

In response to your question, I could just say, "Work on your self-esteem." But if solving problems were as easy as that, Garland and I would just post that message and take the rest of the site down. So many questions we answer are relateable to self-esteem.

I don't know what type of romantic experiences you've had, and if they've all been bad. I hope not. But there must be a reason that you fly to the moon on the slightest positive remark or action from a guy you're dating. Let me tell you something about guys: When we're dating, especially in the early stages, we try to be as complimentary and positive towards you women as we can. IT'S OUR WAY OF GETTING WHAT WE WANT. Never forget that.

So while, in a pefect world, I would encourage you to be trusting and keep your heart open, I need to suggest you do the exact opposite, at least a little, for your own well-being. Until you can learn to tell the difference between an honest compliment and some bullshit smooth talk, you need to take your time with any man you date. When "That's a nice blouse," no longer sounds like "Live with me, and be my wife," then you'll know you've made some progress.

And please, work on your self-esteem. These guys didn't make you. And they can't break you.

GARLAND: I also want to thank you for checking our blog out!

I think you are working waaaay to hard at putting the cart before your horse, and I think you know that. To me, that is the very first thing you can do to stop letting yourself get played. Stop thinking about getting The Ring and running down the isle for at least the first 12 dates!

12 is a good number, so I'm going to push it on you! Give yourself at least 12 dates with a guy before you even think that he could be The One. One or two great dates does not a solid relationship make. Like Chuck said - most of us guys are "compliment" and "smooth game" heavy early on. It's not that we're bad or anything, but we want to see what is what with you and we'd prefer to see it sooner than later. What you need to do weed out the fly by night guys and see who's the real deal.

The key is PATIENCE, PATIENCE, PATIENCE and looking deeply at what you have before you. And, by patience I don't mean wait some crazy amount of time - what I mean is give a guy a dozen or so dates and see where his head is at before you start thinking about serious relationships. If you don't make him stick around and show sort of dedication, you're going to continue to find men walking in and out of your heart.

The key is setting a "period of performance" for the guys you meet and date. You set a fixed number of dates [or weeks, etc.] where you will except nothing short of full respect and entertaining encounters before you will allow yourself to think of anything close to a long term relationship.

Step away from the phone and put your hands in the air...

QUESTION: I met this man a few weeks ago and we began to hook up pretty regularly. He was always talking about how he wanted nothing serious, but the fact that he seemed to feel a lot for me kept creeping out in conversation... he admits that if we were to spend a lot of time together he knows where it would go, and that to him is the evil relationship. I broke it off for a while, saying I needed to get my stuff together, but a few days later realized I could do it with him in my life in an intimate way. Then he stopped returning my calls. A few days later I got a hold of him and he was such an ass - he was rude and hurful and if felt like he was just pushing me away. I had been thinking about ending it anyway because it just wasnt what I wanted, but the manner in which he did it was so incredily hurtful, and he said we was only distancing himself not to hurt ME! Now its been a week, and I was fine a few days ago. But then I was talking to a mutual friend who said he thought this guy was just so into me and scared of how he felt about me. And I cant help thinking its true. I just want to talk to him and sort this out so I can get over it and we can be friends, but he wont talk to me. What is going on? And more over, what do I do?!

GARLAND: Thank you very much for your question! Chuck and I are always appreciative to check our Hotmail and find another one! And, we certainly hope we can make a positive difference with our questioners AND our readers!

So, what do you do?

First - find this "mutual friend" and paint a bright red X on their forehead so you'll know to never, never, never ask their opinion again about this man or any other. They think this guy is "so into you that he decides to treat you like sh*t because he is so in Luv' with you" - say that ten times out loud to yourself.

I'll wait.


Okay - any man that is so scared of caring about a woman that he feels the need to be mean, and rude and hurtful towards her to "protect" her from him and oddly, him from her. He has some deep rooted issues - and you, your life, your heart and your time are better spent looking elsewhere. That's just the plain old truth, sorry.

Let me share something with you - I've liked one or two women so much in my life that I thought I might be willing to put up with stupid sh*t to be with them. And at the very moment I realized that I might be willing to bring foolishness and non-sense into my life, because I thought their love MIGHT be worth it. I woke the hell up! And that is just what this guy is going to bring to you! Everytime he can't handle some good vibes and good emotions because HE has issues, with trust or women or monogamy or whatever - he's gonna play the punk role and flip out on you! You will spend all of your time trying to convince him that you are "his girl" and "he can trust you" and "you deserve him" and "you need him"!

Simply put, if he ain't grown enough and man enough and ready enough for a legitimate, intimate relationship with a mature woman - please don't bother with him. If he deals with, what should be a positive opportunity - by straight dissin' you, he is a boy inside and you will be best served to move on. And when I say move on, I don't mean... oh it's cool to hook up on your birthday or at the cookout his mama is throwing next weekend or because you saw him at the car wash - because feelings are gonna' be involved and all the typing I just did will be in vain. MOVE ON means no phone calls, no E-Mails, no accidentally on purpose driving by his job or his apartment 10 or 20 times. It means, just leave him alone.

And one last thing... the whole "I just want to talk to him and sort this out so I can get over it and we can be friends..." (Chuck is REALLY gonna' get you for that line!) But let me start - This is probably the biggest reason women get dogged by losers!!! Listen carefully - Every man that you meet and catch a wiff of emotion for DOES NOT HAVE TO BE YOUR FRIEND!!! Calling guys that you have a "thing" for YOUR FRIENDS after a few hot weeks is an absolute insult to the people that are YOUR REAL FRIENDS and have been for years! A lot of you ladies think that all you have to do with a guy is TALK and everything will be sweet and honey coated and you'll have a new FRIEND. You feel like there is "something to get over" [something to get past; something to resolve] I can't say it any plainer - PLEASE STOP THIS BULLSHIT. Don't try to TALK anything over, don't try to make him explain anything, don't bend over backwards for him, don't try to be his new best friend, don't try to get him to cry in your arms - just say this - "I gave him a chance, he acted like a dick. The hell with him."

I know I'm comin' off kinda' blunt here, but I'm talking to you the EXACT same way I have talked to my family and friends! You thought enough of me and Chuck's blog to drop us a line, and I think enough of you to try and protect you and your heart! Please don't take it personal - just take it to heart!

CHUCK: Garland is referring to a complaint I made in an earlier post that women frequently seek closure with men past any reasonable expectation of a successful outcome. Closure is not always possible in relationships, and I question whether it's even desirable. What response from this guy would you like to get? "I love you, but you scare me?" If something so corny came out of his lips, you should slap it back in. "I want us to still be friends?" People say this all the time. They may even mean it. But does it ever happen? Not so much, I think.

To be fair, let me backtrack. Your friend may, in fact, be into you and be scared of his feelings. Okay. Is it too much to ask for him to get himself together and deal with his feelings like a grown-ass man? It's not like you're asking him to do a 15-month tour in Baghdad, after all. Men trip me out sometimes with emotional childishness like this. "I'm afraid to be in a relationship right now," they say. But what they mean is: "I don't want to get with you as long as I think there's someone better out there."

As for friendship, I don't know about you, but I know enough rude, hurtful people who won't return my phone calls. I can do with one less. Maybe you can, too. Forgive me, but your guy doesn't appear to be such a great prize to lose. He's already shown you what a poor friend he's going to be.

So if you should get the urge to call this guy, hit yourself in the head with the phone until the urge passes. Whether he intended to or not, he's really doing you a favor.