Real stories about dating and relationships in New York City. Truth is more interesting than fiction.

Are all guys assholes? Or just not sane?

Are all guys assholes? Or just not sane? guest posts  young man texting on couchWell lookie here, an actual guest post. Yes, I am getting this blog back in shape. Or at least, I’m trying. This week’s guest post is from the lovely and talented Rachel Khona. Check out her site for more of her fabulousness.  Um, before some of you decide to jump down my throat, I’d like to refer you to last week’s post Silly Questions/Silly Answers where I stated in no uncertain terms that I don’t think all guys are assholes. 

Are all guys assholes? Or just not sane?

“Are all guys assholes?” I’m sure many a woman would like to think so, but rather than leaving it to conjecture, writer Amber Madison decides to tackle that question head first scientific-style in her book of the same name. In it, she traverses this glorious country of ours interviewing men of all races, socio-economic backgrounds and ages searching for the answer to that much-asked question.

Her conclusion? No, of course not all guys are assholes, dickwads, or douchebags. Just as all women are not psycho. But like ourselves, they don’t always know what they want or if you’re the girl they want that something with, causing them to behave in all manners of bizarre, mysterious and weird as they try to figure it out. Or in my case they may severely lacking in self-esteem, mentally unstable, a pill-popping drug addict, or emotionally closed off because daddy dearest left the fam. The problem is not everyone is self-aware and we end up getting taken on someone else’s emotional roller coaster ride before we even know it. Feeling jaded and used, women end up chalking the guy’s behavior up to being an .

After reading the book, I decided to download the accompanying iPhone app, the “A-hole tester” to see if the guy I was dating, (we’ll call him Adam), had any subconscious predilections for assholery. After taking the 18-question quiz, it deduced that he only had a 10% chance of being an asshole. He was in the clear; for awhile.

Unfortunately I soon realized that while he wasn’t quite an asshole, Adam wasn’t all there either. Social anxiety and a long-standing relationship with popping anti-depressants made him one beer short of a six-pack. This is not to say all people with mental disorders or who take anti-depressants are batty, but in many a case it does and this one was no exception. Especially if the said party is unwilling to deal with it.

As I tend to attract all manner of depressed, bipolar, emotionally unavailable, and panic-attack prone, I couldn’t help but wish for a sister app called “Is he mentally stable?” As someone who has grown up around people who do have mental instability issues, the red flags that would signal someone else to run in the other direction often went right over my head. A mental stability app would surely be a service to someone such as myself. I imagined it would go something like this:

1.      Are any of his friends closet alcoholics?

2.      Does he exhibit any sort of nervous mannerisms?

3.      Does he take anti-depressants?

4.      Is he scared of the phone?

5.      Is he capable of telling you the truth or does he have serious avoidance issues?

Perhaps such an app would have prevented me from even bothering with Adam?

Or maybe I should have just paid attention to the signs.

Exhibit A:

I had invited Adam to a birthday party. He eagerly agreed to come and then try to slowly back out of it.

Are all guys assholes? Or just not sane? guest posts  image002 250x300Are all guys assholes? Or just not sane? guest posts  image004 300x207

It would be obvious to a blind chicken that he was full of shit. I knew full well that he was freaking out about coming to my friend’s birthday. Frankly, I thought it might have been too soon, but with our busy schedules it was the only night we could hang out that week. With his late hours, alternate weekends with his daughter, and my traveling, we had to make concessions in order to see each other.

Besides, I had suffered through meeting all of his very immature friends before we even had our first official date. We had met at a bar and coincidentally both happened to be going to Philadelphia the next day. For the entire weekend, I got to hear his best friends howling about Adam had been jerking off every waking second. Every time Adam tried to get close to me, his friends with hoot like a bunch of monkeys making fun of us for liking each other. So as far I was concerned, his ass could come to my friend’s very civilized and un-hooligan-like birthday party.

Now if I had been paying attention to the red flags, like the fact that he considers a raging alcoholic, who can’t stand his wife  a friend, I might have cut Adam out sooner.

But I didn’t. Like Pamela Anderson to a rocker, I kept going back to the kooks. Had he told me from the get go he didn’t want to go, I wouldn’t have cared especially as we had just started dating. But his inability to be straight with me was what was seriously pissing me off.

After these getting exasperated with the texting, I finally called Adam.

“What’s going on?” I asked.

“The train isn’t working and there are no cabs,” he responded.

“Can’t you call a cab?” I asked.

“I don’t have the number for a cab and it’s raining so I probably won’t get one.”

It was as though I was dealing with a 10-year-old. It reminded me of the time I stole a Smurfette pin when I was six and I did everything in my power to convince my mother that I did not in fact steal the pin. She saw right through my cockamamie story. And I saw right through his.

“Maybe we should just hang out another night then.”

“No, no I’ll come!” Nothing like reverse psychology.

“Great.” I hung up the phone.

He did finally make it over. But if I had been smarter I would have nipped that in the bud a lot quicker. Turns out Adam had social anxiety, a real and serious disorder that causes people to become very uncomfortable in social situations. I tried to be understanding, but his anxiety quickly unraveled soon thereafter. He couldn’t deal with smallest of issues without turning into a blubbering nervous mess. And as much as I would have like to see myself as the June to a man’s Johnny or the Sharon to an Ozzy, the reality is most of the time that shit just doesn’t fly.

When it finally ended between us, I was bummed. I kept wondering what I had done wrong, in spite of the fact that he made it clear that he was missing a few marbles. Suspicious that he hadn’t really told me everything that was really going on, I did what anyone would do; I googled him. What I found shocked me:

I’ve been in an on and off relationship with a BPD woman for almost three years. Time seems to stood still for all this time, as if I was held prisoner…. I’m feeling apprehensive. I’m feeling miserable. I’m feeling “toxic shame”, as someone put it. I need to build my self-esteem and stay away from this venomous person.

The message was posted a year ago on a forum for people with borderline personality disorder. The proverbial icing on the cake? He’s a therapist. Now it all made sense.

I realized someone who is mentally unstable with no desire to change is not going to do so no matter how fabulous you are. Their issues are more likely due to their own esteem than anything you’ve done.

So is he an asshole? Is he just not that into you? Maybe he’s just not that into himself.


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16 to “Are all guys assholes? Or just not sane?”


  1. L. says:

    Way to out someone with social anxiety. Another simple google search shows who he is.

    • Simone Grant says:

      Thanks for pointing that out. I should have caught it. Completely inexcusable.

      Edits have been made.

    • Rachel says:

      Hi L

      My intention wasn’t to out him. It was something he posted openly on Google with his name no less, so I put it in the story not thinking much of it. But changes have been made. Thanks for pointing it out!

      Rachel

  2. Gunther Hust says:

    (Guy with some mild social anxiety speaking here)

    I wouldn’t put a lot of stock in an iPhone app as an asshole tester. Especially if it judges that person on their name (according to the app summary, that’s the first question).

    My read on this situation is that he wasn’t comfortable coming to your friend’s birthday party. It seems like you guys hadn’t been dating a long time, and an event like that can be stressful, as it kind of forces you to define the relationship prematurely based on the event. Is he going as your boyfriend? It looked like that was the only time you guys could see each other that week, so it may have been better to just skip it and see each other the next week.

    “For the entire weekend, I got to hear his best friends howling about Adam had been jerking off every waking second.”

    That’s lame, but I wouldn’t but a lot of stock in what his friend’s were saying. And in some ways he may have not wanted to be put in an awkward situation similar to what you had to endure. I’m not saying he thought that would happen – but the possibility of it occurring might have been something that he wanted it to avoid.

    “Now if I had been paying attention to the red flags, like the fact that he considers a raging alcoholic, who can’t stand his wife a friend, I might have cut Adam out sooner.”

    From a guy’s perspective, and considering that he spends alternate weekends with his daughter, I’d say he has a positive attribute of loyalty to those in his life. And he did make it over, which is another sign of loyalty.

    It looks like you didn’t do anything wrong; things just didn’t work out. Which I think happens 99.9% of the time in dating.

    • Rachel says:

      I could see how you may say that, but there was a little more to it than that. But there’s only so much you can put in a post.

  3. Rachel says:

    Actually I should clarify. First off I respectfully disagree. Sane people don’t have friends who are alcoholics. They just don’t. Also men that are mentally stable would communicate. Not act silly.

    This was a guy that chased me HARD. Telling me he missed me 20x a day and asking me if I was ready for a relationship. Yet when I asked him to do simple things like communicate and call rather than text he couldn’t deal.

    The point is not to slam him, but to realize that it’s often not about you; it’s about them. When I stumbled upon Amber’s book, it made me realize that he’s not an asshole. He’s another guy dealing with his shit. And I didn’t do anything wrong. But we often boil it down to these black and white scenarios. However it’s often much more complicated than that.

    Once I realized that he wasn’t just being a random asshole and I didn’t do anything wrong, it was actually quite liberating.

  4. Brandon says:

    I don’t think it’s true that “all men are assholes,” but I do think it’s true that all men behave like assholes. They seem to have this apparent viewpoint on relationships that they are to be treated like a political game – it’s a constant battle for power, really. (You even touch on this yourself with the “reverse psychology” bit.)

  5. Astrid Sanschagrin says:

    I would not consider guys as not sane or assholes. Sometimes I feel social anxiety especially when I know that I am dealing with strange circles. But it is nice of you to understand his situation somehow. And it seems good that he attended the event even though there are many obstacles along the way.
    Astrid Sanschagrin recently posted..Banc de musculation pas cherMy Profile

  6. Allyson says:

    I don’t think all men are assholes. I do think that a lot of men forget basic considerate behavior, but I think that has more to do with society than the individual man.

  7. Jane says:

    I admit to googling anyone I’m about to date and in at least one case it helped me to avoid total disaster.

    As for whether or not guys are inherently assholes, well I think most men are just not raised to have basic manners but then I tend to think that most people aren’t raised to be well mannered.

  8. Max says:

    Do you really meet a lot of guys like Adam? That seems like a 1 in a million situation, still a entertaining story though.

    I think a lot of girls confuse “all guys are assholes” with “most guys I meet are assholes.” Nice guys are hard to find, mostly because they’re usually shy and do unattractive things, or are actually unattractive physically. On top of this, nice, attractive guys will get snatched up pretty quickly, and will get the pick of the litter.

    The same holds true who ask the question “Why are all girls psychos.” It’s more that a lot of guys value physical appearance heavily when first meeting someone and most attractive single females who aren’t crazy also aren’t available. Not only that, most guys who say that are probably assholes who don’t deserve an attractive girl worth while.

  9. Rachel says:

    Thankfully no I don’t! This was just one of those situations where he had a Jekyll and Hyde personality and I couldn’t figure it out. Yes I agree Max. And vice versa with psychos.

    On another note, while I understand having mental issues, it’s also not an excuse past a certain age. Especially when you’re a father, in your thirties, and a therapist. At some point people have to take responsibility for their behavior and not drag others into it. That’s where when you’re dating someone and you see the red flags, its better to jump ship rather than try to figure out why someone is behaving strangely. At least for me anyway.

  10. Jayelle says:

    I think men are just wired differently than us. They don’t see the same situation as we do, and don’t really care as much if someone’s feelings get hurt (male or female) or someone is inconvenienced in some way. I think women tend to take things more personally.

    • Jack Martin says:

      We are wired differently! But I wouldn’t say we don’t care as much if someone’s feelings get hurt. I think a lot of guys just don’t perceive that as well as women do. If more guys understood how their actions affected the emotions of others, we might be a little more careful.

  11. Kali says:

    This post took a totally different turn than I expected. Poor guy was just looking to get over his own issues. Unfortunetely, you should probably do that in the privacy of your own home. As for the Mentally Stable app, I’m sure you learned something from this “relationship”. Everything happens for a reason and only you know the reason it happens. As for men being assholes, I just don’t think they have the part of the brain that we do that allows us to think of others first. Some men do but not most. Take my husband for example, out of no fault of his own, he doesn’t think it’s important to give me a card for my birthday or a pretty bouquet of flowers just because. When i decided to ask him why it’s not important his reponse was, “because showing our love with each other through words and feelings is way more important than having someone else do it in a card.” Great answer I must say, but five years later he has learned I love cards and flowers.

  12. strangedays says:

    Ah. You think Adam was bad. I just posted a very long blog post about a recent, very heartbreaking experience I had with someone with a huge slew of emotional problems (probably a bit of borderline in there). Love to get your feedback. The whole situation really disturbed me.

    http://strangedaysinthecity.wordpress.com/2012/06/15/broken-heart-pay-it-forward/
    strangedays recently posted..Got a broken heart? Fuck you. Pay it forward. (The Strange Case of Mr. Now and Other Thoughts on Emotional Vampirism)My Profile