This one is about one of many “driveway rules” that I have. A driveway rule is an unspoken rule of etiquette that you bring into a social situation. We expect people to behave a certain way and we conduct ourselves in a certain manner based on this rule of etiquette. Many of our life’s frustrations arise because of these ‘driveway rules”. I hope you enjoy and please feel free to comment.
As we’ve established I have a whole code of conduct which I have lived by my whole life and often I get frustrated because what I think should be common courtesies extended to other people are in fact, not that common. It brings up a whole level of frustration because in short, without delving into a whole sermon of its own I feel that often doing the right thing gets the wrong results. As you can imagine these have surfaced way too many times when it comes to dating relationships or just opposite sex relations where it has not been established either way where the friendship is going. There is too often that quiet place in a friendship where neither of you has had the discussion about your intentions for the relationship. In other words you are in that awkward place known as the friend zone.
I am not talking about when either or both of you are in established relationships and you just happen to be friends. I am talking about when you and the other person are both single and open to the possibility of a relationship. What happens when you decide to spend time together, but you are not dating and someone of the opposite sex interacts with you? How does one handle this? Well, my rule of thumb was always “act like she may like you” when in her presence. Show her enough respect for her feelings, given that you don’t know where she is coming from you should be sensitive to her and treat her as if she may have an interest in you. I think we need to put others first sometimes and this would be one of those times. This should go both ways in my opinion.
Back in the early to mid 90’s my old high school friend Jean and I decided to hang out with two girls we had known awhile. One was Natalie and the other was Renee. At this time Natalie and I were not flirting with each and our relationship had no sexual tension to it. Jean was also her friend and my intuition told me that Jean had an interest in her. Renee was a friend of Jean’s and Natalies so the four of us went out roller skating one night. At one point Natalie and Renee were in the rink skating while Jean and I were talking to each other on the sidelines. I saw Natalie and Renee go over to two guys in the rink and flirt with them. Natalie was a tremendous flirt and she got their phone numbers. Knowing the two personalities, this was all on Natalie and Renee just went along with it.
Since I had no interest in Natalie at this time I was upset for Jean. I thought it was messed up to flirt with other guys in front of him. She should be respectful of his feelings. Maybe this was her way of sending a message. Perhaps she had already told Jean she was not interested in him in that way. I really don’t know but I read it as disrespectful to his feelings. Yes, she can date other guys, yes, she can tell him about it and yes, she can get phone numbers, but I always thought while she was physically in his presence she should respect his attraction for him. Don’t pick up on other guys when you go out with him. If she gets a boyfriend or whatever then yes of course they can all hang out together. I believe this moment is when I decided I would not do this kind of thing to a girl. It was insensitive. Sometimes I just can’t fathom how self-centered and insensitive people can be at times.
To complicate matters Renee and I started to become friends on our own. We would talk on the phone and eventually start doing things together, just the two of us. One night we decided to go to one of my favorite bars. Renee and I are hanging out at the bar and it is a pretty crowded night. There was a man there about 15 years older than her and he approached our table. He is courteous and everything and starts asking if we are together. We let him know we are not dating and he eventually talks to her privately and gets her phone number. I had no romantic interest in Renee, so I didn’t really give a shit but I was minorly bothered because she didn’t know that. We had never discussed it. And I knew that if I were put in the same situation I would not take another woman’s phone # while in her presence, because I really didn’t know going into that night what her intentions were. Renee and the man, Wayne, ended up dating each other for a little while. But in my mind Renee had now established that it was okay for me to pursue other women in her presence because she pursued another guy in my presence. I believe in a single standard, I will treat you the way you treat me. I was now free to flirt at my own discretion around her. I know that two wrongs don’t make a right but she never said it was wrong so if I do the same to her then in her mind it isn’t wrong.
Let’s fast forward a few months now. Renee and I go out again to the bar. Her and Wayne are now over because as it turns out Wayne was a player and she had the wrong idea about the nature of their relationship. She thought they were exclusive and he was just dating her and would see other women. They had slept together and she was heartbroken over him. So Renee and I are sitting at the bar and I notice a really attractive lady dancing. I make eye contact with her and we start talking a little bit. Well, this friend has a friend and the two ladies are now talking to me while Renee is there. The lady who also happened to be much older than me asks me if Renee and I are together and I say no she is not my girlfriend and she asks me if Renee knows this because apparently Renee is giving some seriously jealous looks over our way. I had no idea Renee had any kind of feelings for me.
To complicate matters the friend of the woman who was flirting with me now starts flirting with me. Out of the blue she asks me for a kiss. Well, she was thinking like a small kiss on the lips and I was thinking I would just go for it so I planted her with a big ole frenchy. She said the kiss was very wet and it felt like I kind of messed it all up. Oh well, but, wait, there’s more. So after getting the impression that the friend was not into the kiss the two of them start saying we could go to this other bar and have a lot of fun together and I am thinking the other friend is trying to have at me. Well, I was down with kissing another woman in front of Renee because her actions established it was okay to flirt and pick up but I wouldn’t just leave her there without me and let her fend for herself. We took a cab there and I wasn’t going to abandon her. I still had some ethics. So who knows what those two ladies had in mind but I let the opportunity slip and I left the bar with Renee because that was the gentlemanly thing to do. I never saw the other two ladies again.
So shortly after this happens I am on the phone with the aforementioned Natalie. At this point in time we have become good friends and Natalie asks me if I have something to tell her. I said no, I had not mentioned the night at the bar because it was just a fun one off. It was pretty insignificant and I didn’t have a tendency to kiss and tell with my female friends. She told me Renee was grossed out by the kiss. And we talked shortly about it. Anyhow a week later Renee is telling me how she would be okay with us dating. I didn’t want to date Renee but I am thinking wait a minute, now after you saw me kiss another woman you have an interest in me? What the hell? Is that what it takes for a woman to show an interest? And after that Natalie starts talking about us dating. So what I got out of this was that I can go along act like a complete gentleman, show both ladies respect while in their presence, do the right thing as it were and as soon as they see that I can get another woman all of a sudden I become attractive to them. This just doesn’t go well with me because doing the right thing was not getting me the right results but macking on another woman that was going to get me the girl. Man, life was frustrating. Another instance of driveway rules, I act one way and people act another. And as soon as I played by their rules, I got their attention.
You can purchase my book of memoirs The Driveway Rules at the following link: