Women are From… Oh Sorry

Dear Bad4,

Last week’s post about communicating through the shadchan reminded me of weird feedback I get after some of my dates. Things like “she needed to go to bathroom after drinking all that diet coke” or “you took her to a shopping mall where she’s bound to meet friends” or basically, “you should have read her mind.” Why don’t girls tell you these things on dates? How else am I supposed to know?


A Long-Time Dater


If you’ve been reading marriage books and shalom bayis books, set them aside. The married woman (defined as wedded for more than one year) “owns” you, and therefore treats you as a possession. But if she doesn’t own you yet, then you’re dealing with quite a different animal.  And there is one thing you should know about most women: they don’t want to inconvenience you.

Trust me on this one. Someone lifted my phone and sold it to a ghetto-dweller last week. When I finally made contact with the guy, it took him about 5 minutes to make me feel guilty for wanting my phone back. I mean, he paid for it, right? I couldn’t demand it back without compensating him his loss. And since he didn’t have a car and it was cold and snowy, and he was doing me a favor by returning it, I couldn’t really demand that he pay to take a bus to my neighborhood to do me the favor of returning his purchase, right? I should go pick it up from his.

Then I felt guilty about inconveniencing the cops over what was really just petty theft. And depriving my male accompaniment of the timely comfort of his supper. And even after I got my phone back smelling like marijuana, containing Pepper50 in my contacts list, and sporting a photo of its temporary owner as the background, I still felt sorry for the guy in the backseat of the police car.

I mean, I could have replaced the phone for a hundred bucks and I would only have had to enter  145 contacts by hand and it wouldn’t be such a big deal to fly cross-country for vacation the next day without a phone… really I didn’t need to put all those people through all that trouble, did I? The guilt will haunt me for all eternity.

Or, well, for a few weeks at least.

If you read articles about why women don’t succeed in the workplace (I do), they tend to list the same set of crimes: not demanding higher salaries, not negotiating, not interrupting men when they speak at meetings. Sometimes not speaking at meetings at all unless asked directly. Not arguing, disagreeing, or grabbing the best projects ahead of everyone else.

Why? Well, they don’t want to embarrass anyone. Or put down anyone. They don’t want to seem aggressive or greedy or difficult to please. They don’t want to be difficult, disagreeable, or inconvenient. And they’re not even on dates with strangers when they exhibit these behaviors!

So, no. She will not interrupt the flow of your conversation to ask if you can move someplace warmer. She will not disturb your walk along the beach for the small matter of a bathroom break. She will not tell you that she’s fleishigs when you take her Starbucks; she’ll manage with tea.

After all, the conversation or the walk is going so well, and you might feel bad about Starbucks and what if you don’t have a backup location to go to? It would put you on the spot and you might feel bad or even resentful or think that she’s pushy and it’s not important, really…

…Not important until the shadchan asks how the date was and she can’t remember how it went because all she can remember is needing the bathroom.

Like it? Hate it? Oh I hope not. If there’s anything I can do to help ease that feeling, let me know. I’d hate to think you were upset or discomfited by anything we did.


22 thoughts on “Women are From… Oh Sorry

  1. Which is the best test for a long time relationship– because in all reality, life isnt just a simple cup of starbucks coffee but full of tense, uncomfortable moments that need some fast problem solving skills.. and seeing how people act when they’re under the gun is the best way to see what you are in for and if that’s the direction you want to keep going… so serve up the tea and let nature take it’s toll and may both of you then see each one’s true character. And that’s how you know if a second date is worth it… and what you’ll be looking like in old age when you will be a nurse’s aide to one another.

  2. I can’t believe girls are actually like that! That puts a lot of pressure on the guy to read her mind. If girls want to be more considerate then they should just actually excuse themselves to go to the bathroom so the guy doesn’t have to worry about it.

  3. Wow, I thought I was the only one who felt guilt under the vaguest of circumstances. I didn’t realize that was a female thing!

    Although, the men I go out with are the ones who always have to go to the bathroom. Sometimes three times in the space of an hour and a half. Then I get suspicious.

    But I have been speaking up more. Like when a guy calls close to 9 and I’m half-dead with a cold and he asks if he can call back in a bit and I say “Can we chat tomorrow? I’m ill and need to sleep,” since I can’t stay up looking at the phone.

    I’m a recovering guilt-ist.

  4. So true, although if it’s something you admit is an issue, wouldn’t it make sense to work on it so that the next guy you go out with doesn’t get bad feedback from the shadchan…granted, guys should be more considerate and pay attention to all these things, but in reality, most guys are not, so if you want to be the “empowered” woman, you best get this taken care of.

  5. As someone who has crossed over to the married-side, I can say that mind-reading is, and always will be a problem for guys – both single and married.

    The key here is trying to be aware of another human’s needs and sensitivities and doing your best to address them. If someone drinks a whole iced tea, of COURSE they’ll need to use the restroom before a 3-4 hour date is over. I don’t know if there are many guys out there that haven’t heard of the AC arguments that occur in marriage (husband is hot, wants AC while wife is cold and wants heat) – so I think it’s pretty well known that women tend to feel colder than guys do.

    My wife and I know a girl who has repeatedly been denied a drink during hotel dates, at least 3 times. Either the guy simply didn’t think she’d get thirsty or he simply had no clue how to order a drink – which is beyond stupid for someone who only believes in hotel lobbies as places for dates.

    In marriage, or a relationship that has developed to a later stage and certainly by the time you’re engaged – the guy should be directly asking his date/fiancee/wife what her needs are, if she prefers X or Y. For example: I’d ask my wife if she needed to use the restroom before we left a restaurant to go do an activity, but I probably would not say that to a girl I had just started dating.

    While a girl may not be so forthcoming with certain issues during the beginning stages of dating, it behooves the guy to start developing his sensitivities to think about the other person’s needs above his own. This is essential to marriage, and dating is a perfect time to start cultivating that. If he doesn’t he’s going to have an even harder time being married.

  6. This really has to do with the female’s fear of being assertive in the situation. It’s like a job candidate who has to use the bathroom during a 3 hour interview – male or female, the candidate might be too intimidated to ask to address this basic need. Ties in with the shidduch resume and dating as analogous to the job seeking process.

  7. OK then; all girls who are successful in the workplace, can I date you? You’re the only one’s who talk.

    So I hear what you are saying. But if girls are really so considerate by not embarrassing me, don’t later tell the shaddchan I’m inconsiderate which is loshan hora and just obnoxious. Don’t be kind when you’re being a jerk. I understand that it’s woman’s nature. But then that is something most girls should try to work on if it’s just going to land up hurting the guy more.

    As for Shades of Grey, you ask your wife if she needs to use the restroom before you leave the restaurant? What? Yeah, I do that with my 4 year old niece when I babysit her, but that’s because I don’t want her to pee herself. If I am going to have to start treating my wife like a 4 year old, I can bet you my respect for her will continuously fall. I hear asking your wife where she wants to eat, or not complaining when she lowers the heat, or even asking her what’s on her mind (even though she probably won’t tell you) but I am not going to ask my wife every few hours, “Honey, do you need to use the we-wee room? Honey, do you want a lollipop, you look hungry, but I think you’re just holding it in because you don’t want to embarrass me”. Shoot me now.

  8. You ask 3-4 year olds if they need to go potty, you do NOT ask 18+ year old girls that are on a date with you! If they need the bathroom, they are old enough to open their mouths and say so.

  9. IYHBY: I hear you! I can’t understand why a girl thinks she is being polite by not speaking her mind, and then badmouthing the buy for not knowing what she wanted.

    SoG: Sorry, gotta side with the other comments here. Asking your wife if she needs to use the restroom before you move on to your next activity sounds sooo condescending!

  10. I consider myself a pretty sensitive person, and I’m often thinking about another person’s needs. But I’ll be the first to admit I’m no mind reader. If a woman isn’t comfortable letting me know her needs and is upset with me about it, I hope she can get over her anxiety and tell me. I genuinely care, but if she’s going to hold it in I won’t realize it because I’m not wired to just pick it up. If I were, I’d probably be a woman.

    I get that a woman wants me be to be “tuned in,” but that’s a gap each person in a relationship will have to work on to get over. That’s kind of the point in intimacy -growing from the relationship, learning from each other, seeing the world a different way and relating to each other differently than we’re used to.

    Also, “The married woman (defined as wedded for more than one year) “owns” you, and therefore treats you as a possession.” Really?! Seriously?!?!

  11. Question: Do guys like that they drive? In the beginning I used to like the fact that I could just sit back, but more recently, I have begun thinking that I wouldn’t mind driving. I feel like if I would be driving, I would have more control over when the date starts and ends. (Plus even with the guy driving, I usually still get asked where to go and so I direct them to the closest barnes and nobles, starbucks, etc-fill in the blank).

    Does this sound familiar to any girls: It’s an hour into the date, you have totally run out of conversation, you know it is definitely not going any further….and for some reason you still can’t be assertive and say “I want to go home.”

  12. “If you read articles about why women don’t succeed in the workplace (I do)”

    You do succeed, or you do read the articles? 😉

  13. Whoa, I didn’t realize this conversation was devolving if a guy should ask if I need the bathroom! Disturbing!

    If I require the necessary, and don’t tell my date, I wouldn’t hold it against him! That’s not his fault that I suffer from squeamishness.

    People do that?

  14. Yes. Why yes, people do do that. And apparently, there exists at least one shadchan who agrees with this practice. Could this practice be contributing to the shidduch crisis? :mrgreen:

  15. -B&N….Again

    I’m indifferent about who drives. If the girl wanted to drive, by all means. I once had a girl pick me up as my car was in the shop, but when she got to my place, she got out so I could drive. Not sure why, but I guess it’s just what most people are used to.

    The only time I prefer to drive is when I am not on a date because if I go on a long drive somewhere with a bunch of friends we usually spend most of the time not talking and just listening to a shiur (put that on my resume :). But that’s only because I get nauseous doing anything else like reading so may as well drive to be doing something.

    As for the one who drives controls when the date ends? I don’t really hear that. If you wanna leave just say, “Hey, I think it’s getting late, you wanna head back?” It’s not like the guys gonna jingle the keys in front of your face and say, “Na na, you’re stuck here with me!”

    But I guess that again has to do with woman not speaking their mind.

  16. Um, forgive me…but aren’t you all looking to get married for life? Isn’t life full of going to the bathroom, cleaning up barf, changing diapers, wiping noses, extracting splinters, patching wounds, etc? So if you can’t say “hey, I need the bathroom”, how on earth can they be right for you?

  17. I have to defend SoG here. I’m a married woman, and I often forget to go to the bathroom before I head out. Sometimes my husband reminds me–asks me if I want a pit stop before leaving the house–and I always appreciate it. It’s not condescending, it’s knowing your spouse and knowing when it’s helpful to remind them to do basic things–even when it seems dumb. I also take away the box of cookies from in front of my husband, because if I left them in front of him, he’d eat them all in one sitting. And he appreciates that too, even though someone on the outside of our relationship might think I was infantalizing him.

    A good marriage often involves knowing your spouse’s foibles, and how to help them with it–even if, to the outside observer, it would seem dumb.

  18. Penina- I’m with you. My husband always asks, “did you go to the bathroom yet,” before we leave for anywhere, only because it’s his gauge as to how close we are to actually leaving. If I already went to the bathroom, then he knows we’re actually leaving imminently. If he doesn’t ask, he’s likely to be frustrated as he waits by the front door, tapping his foot with his coat on, while I’m running around doing all those last minute things that women do. After a couple years of marriage, he’s learned that that is the very last thing that happens before we leave the house, so it’s just self-preservation on his part to ask.

    And I’m totally comfortable telling him when I need to find a restroom. On the other hand, I’m uncomfortable excusing myself from the Shabbos table where I am a guest to use the restroom. I’m not one of those people who starts conversations, or interjects much, so I find it awkward to publicly excuse myself. How does one do that?

    I also agree with most of the comments that women stereotypically find it hard to speak out. I’m very blunt, but I have to be comfortable with a person first in order to speak my mind. On my first date with my husband, I felt comfortable enough to ask him if we could stop to pick up a drink because I was so thirsty. So we went and he bought me a drink, and then he held it hostage until we arrived at our destination! (Not intentionally of course. He was just holding the bag from the convenience store and I was too embarrassed to ask for it.) His rationale was, it’s nicer if we wait until we find a place to sit down and drink. My thought process was, why don’t you give me that drink already? I’m thirsty!! So, yeah, I expected him to deduce that from the fact that I was forward enough to request the drink. But once he didn’t hand it over immediately, I felt silly asking for a drink a second time… Does that mean I expected a mind reader? I just thought it was obvious.

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