I Don’t Want a Cool Guy
But what about the Cool Guy? (To clarify: I’m not talking about the bad boy archetype.)
The Cool Guy. Laidback guy. Easy going guy. Go with the flow guy.
Is this really the person that men over 30 want to emulate?
It’s not Peter Pan syndrome per se. These guys have jobs. They’ve got bank accounts. They’ve had girlfriends. Maybe they’ve been divorced. They might even have kids.
But they revel in being easy going and laid back.
Over the past year of encountering several of these self-proclaimed “laid back” guys, I’ve reached some conclusions.
Too many guys in today’s dating minefield use this as an excuse to be indifferent, lazy, non-committal, unreliable, and detached.
I’m easy going frequently translates into:
~ I’m not going to ask you out.
~I’m going to be vague about how I feel about you.
~“Some time” and “maybe” are going to be used with frequency.
~I’m going to give you bare minimum effort and sporadic communication.
At the very beginning of this year, I (reluctantly) matched with a much younger guy. He’s 31 to my 48!
As Brandon (not his name) put it: “Bonnie, you basically tried every way possible to discourage me from meeting you.”
Eventually, I relented and agreed to meet him. Despite distance obstacles, we saw each other a couple more times. The logistics of our dating were super challenging. The pandemic squashed the small hope we had of trying to make our fledgling relationship work. And he disappeared.
Out of nowhere, I heard from Brandon about 6 weeks ago. He texted me an apology. I was shocked!
We had a brief exchange. He shared that he’d always felt bad about blowing me off. That I was a wonderful person who had deserved better than how he had treated me. He wasn’t looking for reconciliation or, well, anything from me. He merely wanted to right a wrong.
I know some people think the concept of closure is a waste of time and/or they dislike apologies after the fact. But I’m not one of those people.
His unequivocal apology was a gift to me!
His apology clarified some things for me. First of all, this summer was brutal. I had a number of first-world things go wrong. I was mistreated by a number of people. To have just ONE person circle back around and own up to his poor treatment towards me was so appreciated!
Secondly, Brandon had seemed like an honest, direct, stand-up guy. When he blew me off entirely, I questioned my ability to judge his character. His apology and accountability of his actions redeemed him to me. But it redeemed me to myself.
Finally, I had an epiphany when I had time to process Brandon circling back around.
Brandon is a laid back guy. But he doesn’t lead with that. He doesn’t identify as that guy. He made a lot of effort to see me, was understanding about me being a mom, and encouraged me to be honest with him about my feelings.
Brandon reminded me that it’s possible to be easy going but not act like the Cool Guy!
There comes a time — surely by the time we’re 30 — when it’s time to step away from the Cool Guy (or the Cool Girl) role.
Don’t hide behind being the laid back dude. Don’t use easy going as an excuse to be checked out. To skirt around asking someone out for an actual date.
Take responsibility, be accountable for your actions. Don’t mislead and waste someone’s time. Don’t expect the other person to make all the effort.
Within days of Brandon’s apology, I received a brief text from Tacos and Beer dude. (Yes, this is seriously my life!)
A refresher: Tacos and Beer dude is my age. We attempted to meet last fall, but he canceled on me three times. (OK, technically I bailed on him when he asked me to go to $2 Taco Tuesday at a strip mall thirty minutes from my tiny coastal town.) Ultimately, he completely blew me off a year ago despite his many proclamations of being into me.
Unlike Brandon’s direct apology, Tacos and Beer dude simply acknowledged seeing me on Bumble. He made zero reference to blowing me off or canceling on me. No responsibility, no acknowledgment of his mistreatment. Eleven months of total silence and he’s just going to say “hey, saw you on Bumble?”
Um, no. That’s not good enough!
Tacos and Beer dude, unsurprisingly, describes himself as easy going and laid back. He’s approaching 50 and still hasn’t learned how to expend anything more than the minimal effort to communicate with a woman he supposedly wants to date.
That’s not sexy or cool. It’s sad and pathetic and rude.
Of course, this isn’t an age thing. It’s a character thing.
Look, Brandon made missteps. But in the end, he’s made good. He’s still low-key and introverted. I always liked those qualities about him. I still do. But it takes cajones to come back around and take ownership. He risked me being angry, attacking him, or ignoring him completely.
And he still chose to do the right thing.
I’ll take Brandon over the Cool Guy every. single. time.
In fact, Brandon and I text regularly. We had the best, most intimate conversation we’ve ever had last week. It was lovely. We might even see each other if he makes it back to New Orleans.
As for Tacos and Beer dude? I never answered him.
With almost 6 years of online dating experience under her belt, Bonnie has a Ph.D. in Online Dating. Clearly, she has failed spectacularly at dating.