Today’s post is special, as we’re joined by relationship expert Anna David, one of the coolest chicks in Hollywood. Anna’s resume is almost too big to handle (that’s what she said), but she has dished out dating advice on The Today Show…she has a #1-ranked radio show called Sex Files…and she’s a regular contributor to People, The Daily Beast, and Maxim. She’s also a successful author, and her new book Falling For Me is a must read for any woman looking to improve her life.
We were lucky enough to get into her pants (pocket) for an exclusive peek at a “holy sh*t, it’s raining red flags” text message exchange she had with a guy who just…couldn’t…stop.
Take it away, Anna!
Every time you hand out your number, there’s a risk.
Still, it’s a low-level risk. Statistically speaking, how many men out there are psychotic and/or annoying? Not really that many. Men have other less than favorable roles to play in society but psychotic and/or annoying are not usually among them.
We’re the ones—allegedly, anyway—who send those phone missives so long and meandering that they’re broken up into many, many parts. We’re the ones who can’t stop thoughts that should not be shared from escaping through our pesky little fingers onto the keys of our phone.
Or so they say.
The first red flag came the day after I met him—through mutual friends—and he offered to bring me lunch while I was working from home. Earlier that day, we’d chatted on the phone and determined that we lived relatively near each other. It was lunchtime, he happened to be going to his favorite Peruvian restaurant and, since he knew I was writing all day, he figured he’d save me the trouble of having to find something to eat.
Because I have a habit of painting red flags white, my first thought was, “What a sweetheart.” My second was that I’d already eaten. These conflicted with each other, but only slightly. I loved the sentiment but the whole lunch delivery thing didn’t really work for me that day. I figured there would be plenty of future days where he could bring me lunch if he so desired, so I told him no but that it was the sweetest offer I’d heard in a while. He pushed me a little on this—told me I could save the food and eat it later, detailed some of the ingredients of his favorite dishes there, even sent me a photo of one of those dishes. Let’s call all of these, collectively, red flag number two.
100 Red Flags: Dude’s digging himself deeper and deeper…
Later that afternoon, some time after the Peruvian food offer, he texted me, “I like you.” I thought, “Finally, a man who can be upfront about his feelings.” This was enough—well, this and the fact that at that point, I was interested in him—for me to agree to stop by his house later that night. We talked for an hour or two—nothing particularly deep or hysterical or even interesting really, and nothing happened physically. The most notable occurrence, really, is that I ate a scone he had baked. (“A man who can bake!” I’d thought; it was a good thought.) He showed me his garden, his photos, and his basketball net. The scone was good.
100 Red Flags: This guy seems to be a player…for the wrong team.
The next morning, a Saturday, I woke up to a pre 9 am text from him. A simple “Morning.” A bit on the early side but nothing alarming there, really. I had to run out of the house to meet someone for breakfast and then to a class at the gym; because I happened to be talking on the phone the whole time I was driving there and back, I didn’t have a chance to return his text until noon. By this point, he’d texted me four more times. Things like “Oh, good morning to you, too” and then a fake response back—those texts you would call jokes if they were actually funny and not just annoying because they’re exactly what you have wanted to send to a guy in the past but which your pride (and sense of humor) hasn’t allowed you to. They’re the equivalent of recess hair pulling; the person might as well text, “You’re not paying attention to me and rather than accepting that, I’m going to attempt to force you.”
100 Red Flags: ……
I called him on my way back from the gym but he was curt and snapped that he’d have to call me back. A pre-first kiss guilt trip is red flag numero three, four? I was beginning to lose track.
100 Red Flags: RUN…
He called me back later and when we spoke on the phone, I mentioned that I had a show that night. That evening, I was treated to two more texts—one “Did u like my texts this morning” followed, a few hours later by, “Have a great show I’m not invited to.”
The next morning, I awoke to, “Morning how did show go?” I had another busy day and in the midst of it, I received two more—“Oh that well? Great!” and “Was it something I said?”
I knew the right thing to do at this point. All I needed to do was text him and say, “Hey, you’re coming on so strong that it’s making me think I’m just not interested.” But I’m terrible at saying that. I want to live in a world where rejections aren’t spelled out, where everyone just sort of takes the hint. It’s probably why I do well in Los Angeles: the entertainment business thrives on this system. When I was doing more television work, I’d audition for shows, absolutely forget about them, and never have to consciously take in the fact that I’d been passed over. The one time I auditioned for something and was actually called and told I hadn’t been selected, I remember feeling both sad and violated, wondering why they couldn’t just have observed the rules of passive rejection.
Which is another way of saying that I texted him that a sudden, terrible sickness had descended on me and I’d been in bed all day.
I thought it was over.
It was not over.
100 Red Flags: Oh god.
I got one of the “hey” texts a few days later. I’m all too familiar with “hey” texts, having sent plenty of them myself. They can mean anything from “Are we still doing this?” to “What the fuck is wrong with you?” His, I felt, was some amalgamation of the two. “Hey” texts, in my experience, don’t always require a response. (See the rules of passive rejection detailed above.) But the problem with this particular “hey” text is that I’d already agreed to go out with him—pre “hey” text, pre scone-eating even—the next night. So my response to the “hey” text was all about how I was still sick and might also, wouldn’t you know it, have to leave town. All I can say about this is that I’m generally an honest person. And I honestly didn’t see this as lying so much as a desire to extricate myself from someone’s life in the least obtrusive way possible.
Apparently, it was not effective.
“I was gonna take you with me to the opera tonight,” he texted back. “Hope you are feeling better. You need anything?”
I hate the opera. Not the point. The point is that I didn’t respond. No matter.
He texted again: “I’m leaving because I’m old and fell asleep.”
I thought it was over.
It was not over.
100 Red Flags: This guy is single-handedly writing 100 Red Flags… one text at a time
A week or so later, he called and left a message asking me to call him back. Five minutes later, he sent a text: “Hey there. Call me back I need to ask you something.”
Considering this sort of a hair pull, I responded, “On a deadline – what’s up?”
Him: “No worries. Just call Me when you have some Time. Not important. Hope You are well.” (random capitalization intriguingly his)
The next day, I was on a road trip with a friend to Palm Springs when this message suddenly appeared on my phone: “Really? Nothing? No response to that? At least tell me what I did to you that was so horrible! If just for the fact I made you a damn scone for chrissakes! It’ll take you two minutes!”
The time had come. I texted him back what I should have sent from the beginning: “You seem perfectly nice, I’m just not interested.”
It really wasn’t so hard once I wrote it out. But this news brought on a lecture from my would-be suitor. “Ok. That’s all you had to say! Jeez. Like pulling teeth,” he wrote, then added, “Next time instead of ignoring someone just let them know. I could have handled it. But the ignoring and silence? Not cool.” He ended his lecture with, “Take care.”
I wanted to write back and ask him how it was possible that he hadn’t taken the hint when a month of text stalking had produced nary a response and then follow up by asking if he thought there were other potential reasons for my lack of responses—say, perhaps, that my phone was slippery and kept falling from my hand every time I wanted to write him? I didn’t. I just typed, “You too,” not clarifying whether I was urging him to take care or telling him that his behavior was equally “not cool.”
100 Red Flags: WOW. Seriously, where do these guys come from? On one hand we wish you would have saved yourself by stopping at red flag number one…but on the other, that story is pure entertainment gold.
For more from Anna, head on over to her site at www.annadavid.com