You may have seen the following memes on Facebook:

Let’s be friends. Just friends. I’m not ready for a relationship, but I expect you to do things with me considered inappropriate in terms of friendship. We ’re not together, you can’t claim me, you can’t be with anyone but me. I need you to be loyal, but I’ll do what I want, and when you get mad, I’ll tell you we’re not together. If you catch feelings, I’ll become distant. You knew what this was . . . I told you. I am not ready for a relationship.

I’m thinking whoever wrote this is seeing Sunday, too. Or his brother. Or maybe it’s just today’s whole damn generation of men? Especially older men. Yep. Welcome to dating 2018, ladies. And I’m here to tell you . . . IT SUCKS!

So, here’s my take after nearly two years with a card-carrying member of the “I’m not ready for a relationship” branch of the AEUP (Association of Emotionally Unavailable Pricks): We women are coats. Slip ‘em on, slip ‘em off. Like jackets stored in his closet, we are numbers stored in his phone. Oh, sure, we may vary slightly from one another . . . there’s the fleece, the leather, the wool, the down . . . But when it’s all said and done, don’t all serve the same function? To wrap him in warmth when he decides or determines it’s appropriate. And make no mistake. Like coats, we all are equally accessible. Metaphorically hanging within a hand’s quick reach, we are at a finger’s touch tap there for him. Ready choices to call up. The possible and the proven. The tried and true. All available. We are all options. Mere selections awaiting his pleasure as circumstances warrants. BTW, there are three–circumstances, that is. They are called WANT, NEED and NECESSITY. And for each there is a coat.

The first is the “go-to.” A most fitting label—as it’s a word used to denote a person or thing that is relied on or regularly sought out. As far as coats now . . . it’s the one he’s always seen wearing. The one that hangs front and center in his closet—if not by its lonesome on a hook somewhere. This coat is his bar none favorite. Hell, this one might even be his one and only! (I’ve heard tell there are men like that—who devote themselves to a single one.) This is the coat he never hesitates to pluck from the closet and don—even if there are others hanging beside it. This is his beloved. His preferred. His chosen. And because he loves this coat, he sees no reason to change his choice. Even the option to buy a new one, doesn’t really interest him. Not that he won’t occasionally look at the new season’s offerings, mind you. He’s still a man after all. So in the store he might even gander at the price tags or take one off the rack and try it on. But at the end of the day, new is not worth the price. And truth be told, he doesn’t want a replacement. He’s loyal (and yes, even committed) to his old—even if it doesn’t have all its buttons any more. This coat is comfortable, ‘cause after years of use, it molds to his body like a second skin. And so what if the zipper occasionally sticks? Ladies, this is the WANT coat.

Then there’s the “if” option that hangs in most men’s closets. This is the coat he likes well enough. Or even a lot. Certainly, it fits well. People might even tell him how good it looks on him. But for whatever reason, it’s not enough to be his WANT coat. He doesn’t have the attachment to it. Should he lose it, it’s easily replaced. Nevertheless, as long as he has it, he keeps it handy. Somewhere, if not front and center, it’s at least in the middle of his closet. And why not? It’s good for occasional wear and perfect for a specific situation. Less worn, less comfortable, it’s nonetheless a “go-to” in a manner of speaking. ‘Cause it’s a familiar—therefore desired option— if . . . If the occasion calls, the mood strikes, desire arises, time allows or (and here’s the defining factor!) if the need arises. Otherwise he’s good and not especially wanting. BTW, this coat he is adamant about not calling a favorite, ergo he’ll make damn sure this one never has a “relationship” label sewed in the lining. And yet, if and when he needs it. . . ta da! The NEED coat. BTW, just so you know, he’s more than likely to have several . . .

Finally, there’s the third coat. This is his “just in case” choice. This is the coat shoved waaaaay in the back of his closet. He knows it’s there, but most of the time gives it no thought. BECAUSE HE KNOWS IT’S THERE. (And if the damn thing falls off the hanger to remind him, he deigns to give it as little attention as required to hang it back up in order to keep it available when necessity demands.) Ahhhh yes, necessity: When the temperature drops, the snow falls or the animals start pairing up . . . THEN it’s suddenly his “go-to.” Reliable, dependable, consistent, unfailing, she’s (oops, Freudian slip . . . I meant “it’s.”) (Or did I?) This coat is always there when it’s necessary. Now here’s a confusing paradox about the “just in case” coat . . . it can become the “go-to.” (Wait! Are we still talking about coats? Yes and no. ‘Cause a shit storm is like a snow storm.) Sometimes necessity lasts a long, long time, so the “just in case” becomes by default his favorite. The problem is when the weather clears, the “just in case” coat is returned to its “just in case” location. It doesn’t matter that it’s proved its worth or that he wouldn’t have survived without it. It doesn’t stay in the middle of the rod. Ever. Back to the back for this one. The NECESSITY coat. And FYI, here’s an interesting (or not) characteristic of the NECESSITY coat . . . unlike the WANT or NEED, this is the coat he rarely willingly gets rid of.

Now . . . there are two problems with this clever metaphor likening women to coats. #1 Coats don’t care. They don’t have feelings that can get hurt or hearts that can be broken. Coats are unconcerned by their designation. #2 The lines (when we are talking about men and women and not coats) blur. And they blur a lot. (Don’t they always?) The WANT can be the only or the always—or it can simply be the regular. The NEED can be the regular and still be the occasional and only. And the NECESSITY . . . as previously stated, it can move up the rod and become the only, the always or the regular. But if you’re a woman (and not an actual coat) once you’ve moved up . . . yeah, it’s not so easy to go back to the back of his metaphorical closet.

A while back (see “Candy Store”) I said I would figure my own relationship situation out. I have. Kinda. I don’t know for certain I want to be Sunday’s WANT. At times, I do. Because to say I wasn’t in love with this man would be a lie. But frankly, it takes work and effort and time to be a man’s “go-to.” Don’t get me wrong. Sometimes it’s worth it. But honestly, I just don’t know. The fact he says he doesn’t want (yet gives mixed signals like a flagman on crack) hardly helps. Moreover, having been his “go-to” these last couple months has worn thin. Frankly, it was just a whole lot more fun and exciting to be his “if” NEED option. But of late things have changed. Every time I’m put back, it feels like it’s a little further back. And if I’m right, and the bastard intends to stick me under his “just in case” NECESSITY designation . . . Oh, hell to the no! It’s time Sunday did some serious spring (ok, fall) cleaning. He needs to decide. As I have. Keep me center rod or donate me. ‘Cause in this instance, women are exactly like coats. And one man’s trash is another’s treasure.

3 thoughts on “Dating 2018: Women are Coats

  1. I must say I certainly enjoy your writing. Certainly have a way of putting things into perspective. I must say it is complicated at this age in our life I’m 53 enjoy my independence don’t want to be disappointed man don’t seem to live up to my expectations. Married men seem to come out of the woodwork and track us down and keep us as their want coat. That seems comfortable for now as were ageing don’t want to be Vaunerable I have to wonder if that want/need man will come along? Or do we stay independent and enjoy the company of a married man would like to see you experience and write on that one


  2. This has been a familiar pattern for me since childhood..seeking crumbs of affection and not feeling worthy of love. ‘Just give me hand-me-downs..its okay’ what I believed.
    The lack of self-esteem is the result of damage incurred from having narcissistic or emotionally absent parents. A child can never do or be enough to win over a vacant heart or energy vampire.. It is like grasping for the brass ring on a carousel.
    We must develop enough self – love to donate the old coats and never look back. They do not fit and never did.
    Recognize that each time we try on that tattered old coat, it makes us feel like a beggar taking cast off clothes just to stay warm..
    Letting it go is uncomfortable but liberating. We deserve a beautiful coat that fits like a glove or keep shopping.
    I am ready to clean out my closet.


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