An older male friend keeps paying for me – buying me meals and clothes. Am I making a mistake in accepting? I’ve repeatedly made clear that I have no romantic interest in him. I’m a struggling artist, and he’s highly successful. We’re basically BFFs, talking and laughing every day. He occasionally jokes that I should be “giving up the sugar to the sugar daddy,” but I roll my eyes and say, “Hush!” I think he’s teasing me, but could he be playing the long game? – Worried
Welcome to the “never say never” school of hope. My Chinese crested, Aida, is also enrolled – hoping with all her tiny purse-doggy might that rare metal-eating termites will make the kitchen table leg collapse, causing her to be caught in a brief but intense hailstorm of bacon.
There are some asymmetries between men and women in the effort required to get some action out of the opposite sex. Some men will engineer elaborate plots to try to wear a woman’s “nuh-uh, never gonna happen” into a “maybe just this once.” A woman, on the other hand, doesn’t have to plot. Assuming she’s reasonably attractive, she can probably just make extended eye contact with a man while eating a banana.
This difference reflects what evolutionary psychologist David Buss explains as men’s and women’s conflicting evolutionary goals. It’s in a man’s evolutionary interest to, as they say, shoot and scoot (possibly passing on his genes without putting out any further time, energy or resources). However, because women can end up all “baby on board,” they evolved to look for emotional commitment and the ability and willingness to “provide.” (A woman’s psychological bottom line: “Can this wild man be turned into a minivan purchaser with a dad bod?”)
Buss notes that these sex differences in evolved mating psychology show up in the different ways men and women try to deceive each other. Scammy men tend to exaggerate their “resources” (probably a sizable chunk of the Ferrari rental business) in hopes of suckering the ladies into the sack. Scammy women, on the other hand, tend to feign “willingness to have sex in order to secure nonsexual resources” – as in, “Sorry, Bob. I had my knees welded shut recently. I guess I forgot to mention that. But thanks for the $300 dinner!”
In your situation, however, nobody’s deceiving anybody. You’ve repeatedly made clear that there will be no sexcapades. He’s got an amusing dining companion and a dear friend. When we care about people, we do nice things for them – offer them a bite of our sandwich or our disposable income.
Sure, he’s probably still clinging to wisps of hope. But in time, he should accept that if the day comes when you suddenly grab him in your arms, it’ll be because he’s got a small piece of chicken caught in his windpipe and he’ll die unless you give him the Heimlich maneuver.
© 2017, Amy Alkon, all rights reserved. Got a problem? Write Amy Alkon, 171 Pier Ave, #280, Santa Monica, CA 90405, or e-mail AdviceAmy@aol.com (advicegoddess.com). Weekly radio show: blogtalkradio.com/amyalkon