Late last night I received a submission to "Crap Email From A Dude" ...from a dude. It was about a girl, and I really didn't think it was as "crap" as he made it out to be, but he seemed very perturbed so I read through it a little closer. And then, as sometimes happens when it's 2 a.m. and I can't believe I am still reading my damn work email, I got a little irritated — and wrote "Chad" back as to why I thought the girl, "Mary," had written what she did. "Wow, you are really warped and twisted!" Chad wrote back this morning. And while I can't really argue with THAT, I did wonder what you guys would think. Hey! It's Friday! Welcome to a fun, interactive, "He Said She Said, She Said" edition of Crap Email From A Dude.
From: Chad Leventhal
date Feb 1, 2008 1:25 AM
subject Crap e-mail from a chick
OK, I get the point - men are evil. But come on - you have to admit that for every 10 crap e-mails from a dude in this world, there's at least 1 equally crappy e-mail to a dude from a chick. This is one of those exchanges. Maybe you'd like to break from tradition and give your readers the counter perspective. The e-mail itself is only 4 sentences. The back story is epic (and priceless).
The background story:
I'm a third year law student, and two summers ago I worked at a law firm in the city where I group up. I worked with about 20 other summer associates, and we were a very tight, social group - at least, for the first 2 months of the summer. About halfway through the summer, I started hanging out with another summer associate we'll call "Mary." I was really into her, and we ended up hooking up one night. We continued to hang out and socialize together for the next week or two, and I think we hooked up on 2 or 3 more occasions (but never any sex or full nudity - it was all very PG).
I had been concerned when we started hanging out about the potential consequences of dating a coworker (even though it never actually got to the level where we were "dating"). I spent the entire summer focused on avoiding any situation that could potentially compromise the incredible social dynamic that existed between all 20 of us. But after spending a lot of time with Mary over the course of a couple weeks, I realized that I wanted something more from her. For the first time in a few years, I had found a girl I actually wanted to "date" - not just hook up with (or so I thought).
But alas, things between us stagnated and it became apparent that she just wasn't that into me. At first she maintained a civil and outwardly social facade, but I could tell that she wasn't as interested in me as I was in her. For the previous 10 years of my life I would respond exactly the same way every time any girl I dated or hooked up with started to give off the slightest inclination of a cold vibe: by suddenly and completely ceasing all contact with her. But realizing the craptasticness of such male behavior - and wanting to prevent any feelings of discomfort or animosity that might spread within our tight group of mutual coworkers - I decided to do the right thing for once in my life. So I took Mary out to dinner one night and, at the end of the meal, I told her how I felt about her. I said something along the lines of, "I'm really into you, and I haven't felt this way about a girl in a long time. I know that you're going back to City A and I'm going back to City B in a few weeks, but I wanted you to know that if things were different, I'd want a lot more from you than I've wanted from any girl in a long time."
She didn't really say anything at all in response, which wasn't a surprise because by that point I knew she wasn't that into me. I thought that by coming clean with her while at the same time explicitly acknowledging that there couldn't possibly be anything between us, I had managed to diffuse any potential awkwardness or discomfort that otherwise could have developed, preventing it from spreading among our coworkers. I figured the last couple weeks of the summer could be just like the first couple months had been, with everyone cool with everyone else. But after that night, Mary became noticeably colder towards me, and a palpable level of awkwardness spread among our group. This really pissed me off, because I felt like I had acted in just the right way at every step in order to ensure that nothing like this ruined the perfect social dynamic that permeated our entire group - and yet it was happening anyway.
I pretty much put it out of my mind and continued to invite Mary out to group social activities, even though she always declined after that night (somehow, I had become the de facto "social coordinator" of our summer class, so it was usually up to me to organize the bar hopping every Thursday, Friday, and Saturday). Then one night very close to the end of the summer, about a week or two after the last time Mary and I had gone out together, one of our coworkers pulled me aside to ask: "Dude, what's up with you and Mary? I heard that you two were dating, but broke up because you hate gay people."
I was stunned. We hadn't technically been "dating"; there certainly hadn't been a "break up"; and I definitely don't "hate gay people." After about an hour of discussion over several shots of tequila (we were out at a bar and on top of the tequila I already had about 5 or 6 beers in me to begin with), my coworker and I pieced things together. Apparently, Mary developed animosity towards me after a conversation we had about gay marriage (a conversation that she initiated), in which we disagreed over whether or not it should be legalized (she was pro, I was con). I remembered the conversation clearly. It lasted no more than 5 minutes and was a civil, somewhat academic discussion (or so I thought).
My blood began to boil. I could feel the veins throbbing on the side of my head. Livid does not begin to describe my reaction. How would you feel if you found out that somebody you work with was going around the office telling people that you "hate gay people?" It was about 11:00 on a Thursday night, so I should have waited until the next day to talk to Mary about it. But with half a dozen beers and almost that many shots of tequila in me, I couldn't control my rage. I left the bar to call her. I got her voicemail and left a message, basically asking where the hell she got off telling our coworkers that I hate gay people, and telling her that if she didn't get in touch with me by noon tomorrow, I was going to go door to door to explain my version of events to each of the other summer associates. She called me back about 15 minutes later, a little agitated about the time and my message (perhaps rightfully so). She completely stonewalled me, saying nothing in response beyond: "I don't know what you're talking about. I didn't tell anyone you hate gay people." About 3 minutes into the conversation, I started to sober up a little bit and realized that I really shouldn't have called her that late. So I said let's drop it for now and we can talk tomorrow.
I couldn't sleep at all that night. By the next morning, I had convinced myself that Mary hadn't really told anyone I hate gay people, and that the hearsay/rumor mill must have simply distorted something relatively benign. I hoped to talk to her first thing in the morning, verify that this is what happened, and be done with it. I sent her an e-mail as soon as I got into the office, apologizing for calling her so late the night before, and asking if she had 10 minutes to get a cup of coffee and straighten this confusion out. My phone rang 30 seconds later. Mary was stammering. She seemed angry that I had e-mailed her, and told me that I was being "inappropriate." I was flabbergasted. I couldn't imagine how it was inappropriate to expect an explanation about a slanderous rumor that had apparently spread throughout our entire summer associate class. As shocked as I had been the night before at hearing the rumor, I was absolutely dumbfounded by her reaction. My e-mail had a conciliatory tone, and she sounded threatened and angry - as if I was the one who had wronged her. I couldn't really tell, but it almost seemed like she was setting me up to report me to our firm's HR department for some sort of harassment. She said she didn't have time to talk to me, and that was that. I hung up the phone and never spoke to her again. Later that morning, like a middle-school girl, Mary sent one of her friends down to my office to tell me that Mary never told anyone I hated gay people (yeah, great - my mind is completely at ease now).
A couple hours after our final phone conversation, I received this:
"Because of the amount of work that I need to get done before I go out of town this weekend, I really don't have time for coffee this afternoon. The more that I think about it, I also don't feel like the work day is the appropriate time to have this conversation. I know that [friend's name] spoke with you about the situation and hopefully clarified whatever it is that went on here, but if there's anything else that you think needs to be said, feel free to call me tonight to discuss the situation on our own time. That said, I have absolutely no ill feelings towards you with the exception of how you've handled this."
And my reply:
Maureen Tkacik to Chad Leventhal
I understand why you'd be frustrated, but this is not that crap. I mean, at ALL.
Women are weird. Your thoughts on something like gay marriage can honestly be a huge bonerkiller to a girl who supports it. I don't even care that much about the gays, but I'd definitely be suspicious of a guy who didn't support gay marriage and I'd want your objection of it to be very thoroughly considered and thought provoking. Now, there are lots of girls who wouldn't give a shit, but I'm just talking about myself.
That said, the "hates gay people" thing is fucked up. She probably didn't think it was a big deal. In fact, she probably suspects you are, on some level, a homophobe. I would too, but I'm not a lawyer, nor do I tend to date lawyers or professional types so I don't find myself in the position to be hooking up with someone who would oppose gay marriage.
Sentences like this:
I spent the entire summer focused on avoiding any situation that could potentially compromise the incredible social dynamic that existed between all 20 of us.
We continued to hang out and socialize together for the next week or two, and I think we hooked up on 2 or 3 more occasions (but never any sex or full nudity - it was all very PG).
Are also things that would contribute to my skepticism. For one thing, an "incredible social dynamic" cannot exist AMONG 20 people. That's just total bullshit. Where do all 20 of you hang out an talk amongst yourselves, dynamically? I can't even think of a fucking comedy troupe that is that big, and you people are lawyers. In life, you find your friends, you suss them out, and 20 is too many, and moreover, people who worry about "compromising the social dynamic" are, quite frankly, pussies. Also, people who are over the age of 20 and hook up on three or four occasions "without any full sex or nudity" are also, IMHO, pussies.
I mean, no offense, but you sound like a "reg." And this girl, "Mary," is probably less of a reg. What's a reg? Well, Mitt Romney is the ultimate reg, people who show up to Dane Cook shows are regs, MBAs area almost uniformly regs, people who work in the marketing department of successful software companies are usually regs, and you just sort of sound like a reg.
As someone who has been labeled everything from a misogynist to a racist on the internet, I can tell you another thing: even now, as hardened and not giving of a fuck as I am, those accusations ALWAYS force me to reexamine myself. I always learn from them. But it sounds like you are simply concerned about your reputation, and using that concern for your reputation as an excuse to get back at this girl for rejecting you. And I could be reading into the situation, but I would venture that that is why she's so pissed off at you — again, it feeds into what I imagine to be her suspicions about you. And I'm only imagining that on the basis of what you've given me, so feel free to completely dismiss it all. But my suspicions about you are that ...well, you're too conservative for us.
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