How Many Shades of Grey?

Choosing Yes or No…F*#k Maybe!

A few weeks ago I was watching Netflix when my phone lit up, indicating that I had received a text message.  A friend of mine sent me a link to an article written by Mark Manson in 2013.  I recalled stumbling across this same article a few years ago, but at the time it did not have the same impact it did this read through.  The article speaks about dating and the “grey zone”.  The zone where feelings and intentions are ambiguous.   Where potentially one prospective partner has stronger feelings than the other.  The author describes the tension for men as wondering what to do with women who are lukewarm or don’t respond to the men’s advances.  Where for women it’s what to do with men who are not forthcoming with his feelings, or wondering if maybe “he’s just not that into you.”  

He points out that so much dating advice focuses on this grey zone.  How to play the “game” and win over that guy or girl.  How to make yourself desirable, what to say, when to say it, how long to wait after a text message, what to do or not do on the first, second, third date.  There are a magnitude of books written on the subject, a few of them sitting, as I write this, on my bookshelf.  One of them, my personal favourite, “Why Men Love Bitches” (Sherry Argov).  This book teaches you how to become desirable to a man, how to make him want you and love you.  In her follow up book, she discusses how to make the man want to marry you.  

What in the actual f*#k?  

I jumped off my couch with a shout and a celebration (not seen since the Patriots won the Super Bowl in February), when I read Mark’s words:

If you’re in the grey area to begin with, you’ve already lost.

The essence of this article (well worth the read, I might add), is that we should not have to convince or sell anyone on the idea of being with us. It’s either a yes or a no. Of course, there are stages to dating, but if you’re not feeling enthusiastically a hell yes I want to see where this goes…then you don’t. And you should not have to convince anyone.  Do you really want to be with someone you have to convince to be with you?  

I felt validated.  I’ve been against playing games in dating since, well, since I started dating.  I’ve never known how to be anyone but who I am.  But it seems to be a whole new world out there.  After ten years, I have found myself back on the dating scene.  First of all, the whole online dating situation is a bizarre world that I could, and likely will, write endlessly about.  I have found that many of the men I meet, that could have potential, you know “real boyfriend”, relationship material, continue to search online endlessly, even after meeting someone great (like me!).  This is not a hell yes!  Others do not want to be “exclusive”, even after several dates.  This is not a hell yes!

In January, I started dating someone I was really excited about.  I was a hell yes! I was hopeful and very interested in seeing what could potentially happen with us.  After about a month of “going steady” (his decision), out of nowhere (at least for me), he ended things.  I remember standing outside the pub where I was having a drink with my girlfriend, and talking to him on the phone, confused and heart cracked (it wasn’t quite broken), trying to figure out what happened.  I remember saying, “but we had so much fun together”, “but two days ago you were making plans with me and telling me I was beautiful, and now you want to end it?” I was negotiating.  I was trying to convince someone to be with me.  

I believe the universe keeps giving us lessons until we learn them.  

Fast forward several months and this same man came knocking at my door once again. He said all the right things about making a mistake, how the timing wasn’t right, how he felt fortunate that I would even entertain talking with him.  Despite my better judgement, I’ve been dating for 25 years and it’s taken me that long to get back together with an ex, I decided to give it another go.  I mean we had that “spark”.  We had the same interests, we enjoyed the same music, we wanted the same things out of life and we had that much elusive chemistry.  Three weeks later, the same things were happening.  I believe (I hope) I learned my lesson(s), two of them.  First, nothing good comes from getting back together with an ex, and second, I don’t want to be with anyone who is not a hell yes for me!  And I will do the same favour for those I am on the fence about.

I forwarded this same article to my best guy friend.  I asked him, so how do I know if someone is a hell yes for me?  He told me that I would know, that I could tell by the effort that is displayed.  That despite busy schedules, which seem to get busier and busier, someone who is a hell yes, would not only make time but want that time to see me and spend those precious hours together.  

I’m in a hell yes situation right now.  It’s still so new, but do I want to learn all that I can about this new person? Hell yes! Do I want to commit to finding out where this may go and the potential that it has? Hell yes! Do I feel that spark and desire to spend time and give my affection? Hell yes! Does he? Well, he makes time, he asks questions, he connects with me throughout the day and he continues to make plans.  So I’m inclined to believe it’s a hell yes!  I’m hopeful.  I feel positive and excited.  I can guarantee though, if he’s not, I will not negotiate, convince or sell myself.  I’m worth more than that.  Jack Johnson said, “It seems to me that maybe, it  probably always means no”  so if it’s not a hell yes, then it’s a no…and I’m worth a hell yes and then some!

3 thoughts on “How Many Shades of Grey?

  1. Why, Ms Jane, that was marvelous! I’m such a Mark Manson (and Tom Brady*) fan, so you plugged in the right key words to hook my interest. I haven’t been a single man since I was in my teens, 168 years ago, so I can’t even begin to explore the topic of “advice” in return, but I can tell you this: you don’t need it! You’re right. Mark’s right. Hell, Tom’s probably right, too (and he threw for 447 yards yesterday!). You never have to settle. You never have to maybe. Life should be “hell yes!” or nothing.

    Thanks for the wonderful piece, and for discovering me that I might discover you. Good luck with the new “situation”!

    *I am a Rams fan, first and foremost, but Tom Brady, for my money, is the best QB to ever play the game. Go Pats! (and Rams).


    1. Thanks for stopping by and for the encouragement! As a Pats fan, yesterday was a much better football day for me! At 40, Tom plays with a “hell yes!” and so will I! Glad to have discovered your site…I am looking forward to continuing to follow your journey. (Sorry about your loss yesterday)

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Likewise! And thank you!


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