Today I’m going to talk about a social phenomena. I call it, the Steves.
The experiences listed here are from a combination of friends of mine. Since they were all so similar, I decided to combine them into one person. No offence to any of my friends named Steve.
A few years back, a good friend of mine was a serial dater. We will call her Veronica. She had anywhere between 3 to seven dates lined up every week. eHarmony. Match. Christian Mingle. She had her pick of guys on a rotating door coming in and out of her life. Dates could include anything from just going out to getting coffee or lunch to first row 50 yard line at the opening Broncos game. Yes, for a first date.
Out of the menagerie of men we began to notice there was a pattern. The vast majority of them were named Steve. She began to number them “Steve #99,945. Steve #44,563.” There were a lot of Steves. Some Steves were laborers. HVAC guys who were 420 friendly and liked to unwind–pretty much four or five times a day. Other Steves were “Town People” who lived on estates with adjoining airports that the “Country People” weren’t allowed to use. (Honestly, I had driven by that Steve’s part of the city more than a few times and never even knew they had an airport. I guess that means I’m Country People).
I met my share of Veronica’s Steves. It was fun at first. Sometimes I would play the discerning father-type of “Don’t stay out too late,” to get into practice for my own kids. Or I would attempt to be friendly, put them at ease, because guys are funny about that. I know I have been myself, and if a guy doesn’t let you know he is harmless right out of the gate, he isn’t.
Even the Roberts, Marks, Dans, and Alejandros became Steves after a while.
The Steves had almost no personality either. You could really only identify them by their obnoxious traits. There were categories. The Steves who stood her up. The Steves who propositioned her for sex after driving her home from dinner. The Steves who sent inappropriate videos of themselves. When she wouldn’t respond, they were often cruel in their language. Abusive.
Just to let any guys out there know. If you send a dick-pick, the woman you sent it to will share it with her friends. They will critique your manhood, and never in positive ways. And if she doesn’t want to see your crooked, dead-baby-bird looking junk, whatever you do, don’t call her the C word for her trouble.
The Steves would often bring flowers, or what I called “Sexy Food”. Trays of cheese, sliced meet, crudites. Things that you can feed your amour by hand as you sit on the floor in front of a fire. Wine. Whenever they had to meet her friends, they would be all smiles. Firm handshakes. Lots of talk of “did you see that game last night?” and “What is it you do?”
What do I do? Professional cock-blocker, that’s what!
To my female friends, I am their wing-man. To a woman, a wing-man is someone (male or female) who gets her out of trouble. A wing-girl is a female friend who gets them into it. For men, a wing-man is someone who uses counter-espionage to intercept the girl’s wing-man. A wing-girl is someone who tells him how to interpret signals, subtleties, and green lights to get into trouble with the girl he is attempting to chat up.
A man who is helping his female friend get into trouble, is a schmuck. Women really don’t need any help to get into trouble when there are men around. Trouble finds them.
One time, Veronica accidentally/intentionally invited two Steves to the same party. Neither of them knew they were her date. As she was freaking out, asking me what the hell she was doing, I looked over and noticed the Steves were sharing a table. They both seemed to be getting along fine with each other. I think they might have made friends. They both went home without her. She was relieved, and after learning that lesson (that life isn’t hilarious 1980s sitcom plot) she never had two dates over for the same party since.
Another time, Veroncia was visited by a Steve who just showed up with his kids to her grandfather’s birthday party. Everyone at the party was wondering who the hell he was, and why he was there. After a while, I think Steve wondered the same thing himself.
The men for women in their forties are varied, but the data shows some distinct trends. Younger men go for “cougars” because they aren’t looking for anything lasting. They like the idea of sex without strings attached because they are dating someone without the likelihood of having children with them. For the most part, men in their 40s are in mid-life crisis mode and are dating women in their 20s or early 30s who aren’t ready to have families and who are (yes, I’ll paint with broad strokes here) looking for a Sugar Daddy.
This leaves men in their 50s and 60s who have gotten too old for the young young women. These men are sick of the bullshit. They brag about their big houses, their nice cars, careers, their model ex-wives who took everything, and their season tickets. They also don’t give a shit about your feelings. They feed on the women who think that is the best they deserve. Old, broken down men who eat Viagra like M&Ms and can’t shut up about their glory days. If you won’t put out, they will call an escort who will.
The men in their 80s and higher are players. Men don’t generally live that long, and the women of that age are happy to meet them. Old people give zero fucks about getting their freak on. It will make you blush to hear some of the things they are up to.
Putting the damage on
In your 40s, everyone has their damage. If you read my blog, you can see plenty of mine. I’m not saying I’m perfect by any means, but what did surprise me was how so many of the Steves fell head-over-heels with Veronica within the first one or two dates. They professed their love for her. They schmoozed. They sweet-talked. They ran the cycle of drama by the fifth date, and when she didn’t want to sleep with them, they ghosted her. They were mean. They would breadcrumb her; doling out just enough attention to capture her interest and then never answer her calls or texts. Some even stole things from her house on the way out.
Sometimes they acted like they wanted more. They promised they were willing to give more of themselves. They offered to marry her, to elope, and they never showed up. Or if they did, they knocked on her door at 11pm, seduced her, and never talked to her again. Some of the Steves would tell her they loved her while they were sleeping with other women. Or were married. Or secretly hoping to get back together with their ex. Or would order her up like a pizza to their house, screw her, and then send her home via Uber. I’m not even kidding.
She would call me in tears. Why did this keep happening? Were there no good men left in the world? The reason Veronica is an amalgam of several of my friends is I have seen the same patterns for nearly all of them. It makes you wonder if all men aren’t Steves. It made me question if I were no different than these Steves myself.
I don’t want to be like that. Vapid. Disconnected. Disposable. Forgettable. A user of people. Some bastard who just takes what he wants. But that kind of behavior, unfortunately, is rewarded.
I take these words to heart when I can:
…small is the gate and narrow the road that leads to life, and only a few find it.
Eventually, Veronica got off the websites, the apps, and decided that all the Steves were the same. From the dick-pics to the empty promises, she had enough. It was hard to find someone, much less a man who even in the back 9 of his years was still willing to give it his best shot.
There aren’t plenty of fish in the sea. But what is true is there is one you. If someone else won’t respect you, that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t respect yourself. You do have control over how others treat you. You can ask politely that they stop, and just walk away.
I have had friends talk candidly to me about doubts they are having in their relationships. Men and women both. They wonder about what dating would be like after divorce. I can safely say this: it isn’t like it was in your 20s. The commercials for the apps lie. The websites are garbage. For the most part, people in their 40s are either in a committed relationship that has endured some serious shit. If it hasn’t fallen apart by now, there are good reasons for this. If it has, there are excellent reasons for that too.
At this age, you are like a snowball of all the years of damage you have accumulated. Yet in the core of that, you still have the mind of someone in their 20s. The libido. You assume that there are people to date just falling out of the trees, like college, when everyone was young and beautiful. When they didn’t have surly teenagers, psycho ex spouses, or that tiredness deep in their bones which results in a day of dealing with everyone’s bullshit.
You aren’t 20. You aren’t young and hot. Not even the bag of chips you once were. You aren’t idealistic and energetic. What the trade off for youth is now you are older, wiser, cagier, and you don’t need Steve (or the female equivalent). There are good people out there. But they have been burned too. At this age, haven’t we all?
There was a great meme I saw there other day. It said, “Don’t bleed on someone that didn’t cut you.”
Just keep being your beautiful self, I always say. You are lovable. You are worthy.