August 12, 2000
10:34 pm

Right now I'm feeling: depressed

Right now I'm listening to: Lara Fabian

Lara Fabian -- Giving Up on You

(Appropriate enough, don't you think?)


Nice Guys Finish Last

"My name is Jeff.. and I'm a 'Nice Guy'."

Yes, that's right ladies and gentlemen.  I'm a nice guy.  

I hate being a nice guy.  I really do.  I hem and haw for weeks about a situation when anyone with a teaspoon of common sense is able to come to a decision in a matter of nanoseconds and then when I do do it, I don't do it the way I should.

So many of you wrote that I should just drop Aya like a bad habit.  I should have.   I wanted to.  God, I wanted to.   But I didn't.  How did I finish it off then, you ask?

OK, well, I followed a good suggestion one of you offered in the comments section of last week's poll which said that since I couldn't get through to her phone, email her a "must talk" email. If that doesn't get a response, send that "sayonara" email. So, I sent her the "must talk" email and she responded fairly soon, apparently she got her computer fixed right after my last entry. She asked if it was about "break". Hmmm... either she's inviting it, or she wasn't as clueless as I thought. She did have some inkling that I thought she was totally dissing me.

She wrote me some stuff about how she could perhaps try harder in relationships, coming close to an apology but never hitting the mark. Damn, that shit pisses me off. People who won't apologize. And no one can tell me anything about how it's all cultural or some bullshit like that, because everyone apologizes for everything here, even if it's not even remotely their fault. Serioulsy. Japanese acquaintances have apologized to me for the weather, geography and population density of the cities in Japan.

So, anyway, that was it. I knew it. I wrote her back and told her to meet me at my apartment at 7:30 pm that night. I had planned a trip to Osaka with my neighbors weeks before for that afternoon and I couldn't bail. The time was important because this is past the time she says she has to be back home (keep in mind that she's 21 years old). I wrote to her that I had to see her tonight for sure. We must talk. If your significant other tells you that he/she needs to talk to you or needs you for any reason, you drop what you're doing and go to him/her, right?

She emailed me back and refused to see me that night.

I then read over every email and letter she had sent me and looked at every picture she had given me before composing my "sayonara" email.

I wanted to tell her that I completely wasted my time with her. I wanted to tell her that she was made me fume with anger and frustration. I wanted to tell her how hard I tried and how she put no effort into it at all. I wanted to tell her that she ruined our relationship.. and our friendship.

Instead, I wrote how I'd value the time we spent together and even recounted a couple of the more tender moments and told her how I'd never forget them. I apologized to her for things turned out.

Did she come banging on my door or call me right away and beg me to take her back? Did she write me back immediately and apologize for being such a wench? Nooooo..... most certainly not. She wrote back to tell me that she was angry. Yes, that's right. Angry. She said that I don't understand Japan, Japanese culture, or her (in that order). She said that I was too critical of her family and her "back home by 7 PM lifestyle". She also brought up about four minor incidences in the past which ticked her off. When couples argue, why in the hell do women (sorry for the generalization, ladies, but in my experience this is all too true) bring up every little thing that the man has ever done to piss her off? This, at least, seems to be one thing which crosses national borders.

So now she's justified in being angry at me. Yes, that's right. I'm the bad guy. Nice guy is the bad guy. Somehow I can't figure out how this happened.

I wonder how it would have been different if I had taken a different approach or had a different temperament with her. Should I have been more domineering or forceful? Should I have given her more gifts (hell no!!) or called her more often? Would that have made a difference? In our final letters, if I was more angry or more accusational, would she have taken a less defensive stance or would she have recognized that she was at fault (entirely, entirely at fault)?

My friend, Matt, is in Europe in the peace corps. I have many fond memories hanging out with him in coffee shops trying to get our writing careers off the ground while trying to figure out women. He's very intelligent and thoughtful and he is one of the few people whose opinion I really trust and respect. Our correspondence is sparse, but after he read the last entry he wrote me an email and the following is excerpted from it:

"If there's one thing you gotta learn about women is that they don't like nice guys. I mean, this is a general rule, it doesn't apply to everyone, but it's true. The minute you get too nice to them, they lose all respect for you; if you treat them sorta okay, they like you more."

I think this is true for almost everyone. Every now and then, you need a reminder of the rules in relationships. It's the "play hard-to-get" philosophy. To find someone who doesn't fit into this generalization is really hard. And to find someone in Japan who doesn't fit into this mold is nearly impossible. I should have made this connection before. Surfaces and pretending are all too important to them except for someone who's been thoroughly Westernized, and Aya has not.

It seems ridiculous to think that in order to win someone's affections you have to feign indifference or worse. But he's right. Most of the time we can't make relationships without pretending.

I think I was too nice to Aya. Too forgiving. Too allowing. If I was a little more rigid earlier on, maybe she would have made more compromises and less complaints. Maybe she would have told her mother that we were dating. Maybe we would have been able to go out more. Maybe she would have had more respect for me.

I'm glad it's over, but I'm wondering what went wrong. What could I have done? Yes, yes, I know, I can't change somebody, but I could have fudged the dice a little bit by 'pretending'. Right from the start I was always too honest with her about my feelings. Maybe if I'd played the game a bit more I could have made this last longer or made the ending less.. grueling.

Sometimes I think that I should I think I should have never broken up with my x-girlfriend from California.  She was as close to perfect as I've ever found. What the hell was I thinking?  So what if we're separated by an ocean... big fucking deal. 

I'm going to send her a belated birthday gift (her b-day was just a couple days ago). Not in some lame attempt to get back together with her, but hopefully just to reestablish contact with the only woman I've had a relationship with who hasn't driven me absolutely crazy... and the only girlfriend I've ever had with whom I never had to pretend.

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