Door to Doormat

(How do you make the archetypal your own? Click here to find out on this week's Jared's Inkwell! -JMG)

Story Sent in by Margaret:

I think I was the bad date here. Jeff was definitely a gentleman... but maybe he was a bit too over the top. He brimmed with compliments, held doors open for me, and insisted on paying for dinner. He was really nice, but came across as not much more than that.

Towards the end of our evening together, he asked me, questionnaire-like, "Did you have a good time this evening?"


"On a scale of one to 10, how would you rate this date?"

I said, "Is 'doormat' a valid response?"

He didn't take too kindly to that. In response, he lay down on the sidewalk and said, "Well if I'm a doormat then you should walk all over me! Go ahead! Do it!"

It creeped me out in a big way and I just left him rolling around there. There was no second date, of course, but I always felt bad about it.


  1. ^ Agreed. Have fun with your 'bad boys' OP. And don't worry, the media portrays single motherhood as noble and virtuous these days... since we know that's what the future holds for you...

  2. Sitting in a stained nightgown at the empty kitchen table, a Marlboro smoldering in one hand and a mostly empty bottle of cheap vodka in the other. Kid crying in the back of your single wide trailer while you wonder where your drunk "bad boy" of a boyfriend/husband is tonight and if he'll be in a "bad mood" when he gets home.

    Geez, that depressed even me. OK, scratch that: OP, you rock! You should have gone back and walked all over him! That will teach him to compliment you and treat you with respect! Score one for women's rights!

  3. Wow, yeah, that was pretty bad of you. He overreacted, but still, uncalled for.

  4. Team OP. Guy is playacting the role of 'Perfect Boyfriend' and your animal sensors picked up on it. Being a "Nice Guy" just to get something out of someone has its tells, mostly the absence of the mild friction of just being two different people, no bad-boyness required (or rather, bad-boyness is merely in stealth mode).

  5. OP, you just *think* you were the bad date? You behaved like a terrible human being. Not only were you rude to somebody whose only fault was being nice to you, but you waited until after dinner to show your true colors so he didn't even have the option of saying "separate checks" or simply kicking your a$$ to the curb. This is classic dinner whore behavior.

    Guys, it's important to spread awareness of this - dinner whores have gotten craftier and some of them will act nice until AFTER you've already paid for their meal. This is why I just suggest doing coffee or drinks for a first date - it helps filter out the ones who are in it just for the free meal.

  6. Fizziks, the thing about the "Nice Guy" phenomenon is that those guys are nice until they realize they're not going to get sex, and then they get angry start behaving like assholes. In this story, sex had nothing to do with it - Jeff was nice until the OP behaved in a shockingly rude way, and only then did he get angry - and justifiably so. It's possible he is a "Nice Guy," but the story doesn't give us sufficient evidence to make that assumption. All we know is that the OP was rude, and got yelled at. The only good thing you can say is that at least she's self-aware enough to realize that she was at fault.

  7. So, wolfie, I'll bite. Let's say this happened to you, or Archie, or any of the guys here I'm willing to think are not secretly Nice Guys (so, basically, not Steve XD). I'm willing to bet that you (plural) would have said something along the lines of "That's seriously uncalled for." or "Wow, at least I got to know you were crazy before this went further." or "I like how you stated that as a question - too insecure to state it as your feelings or just trying to be passive aggressive?" or basically any other direct response that calls bullshit on OP rather than flailing on the ground because, yeah, that will show her.

    Based on the date itself I got nothing. Based on asking her directly to 'rate the date' I got a yellow flag. Based on his reaction I got a great deal. It's hard to talk about why your antennae go off over seemingly innocuous and desired behaviors, but I certainly think that "brimming with compliments" and (this part is some reading-'twixt-lines) overly solicitous door management can seem really fake. So how to you talk about how fake your date was to you when you are directly asked? Granted, doormat is a charged and unnecessary term (I use "inert" or "inoffensive" in these situations), but also one she tired to phrase (clumsily) to take out some sting. I'm not wild about it, but if it reduces a guy to rolling on the ground and shouting at her, I'm pretty willing to believe there was something else going on that's really hard to communicate to someone that wasn't there.

  8. If I get fired from being an architect, I'd like my next job description to be:
    Overly Solicitous Door Management

  9. @ Fizziks - Yes, yes I have.

  10. I'm so team Fizziks. The description of this guy's behavior set my teeth on edge even before he was flailing around on the ground - the only thing that will make me dismiss a guy faster than over-attentive falseness is sexual innuendo.

    Nice and respectful are good as long as they go along with being genuine. Nice-to-the-point-of-suppressing-himself comes with strings - either sexual expectations, "you owe me, look how much I've done for you" martyrdom and resentment, or just subtle shaming and pressure to suppress yourself to be worthy of the attention.

    And on the off chance he was being completely genuine, then he has another problem - no one wants a mate who is just nice. "Nice" is the bare minimum requirements. Everyone should be nice, and if that's the only good thing you can say about yourself then you're using it as an excuse not to get any better, settling for 165,864,456th place and for some reason you think that should be good enough for the person you want. Be nice and have a personality to go with it.

  11. I don't want to get too intellectual here but I sure would like the Architect and Fizziks to hold hands and masturbate in my coffee, really get a nice froth happening.
    Once they have completed that task like good little secretaries, I'd get them to hold down both people in this story so I could defecate on their chests. It's what any professional would do.

  12. Team Fizziks as well. Like Ankh, everything he did just got under my skin. Hard to describe why, just did.

  13. Having grown up in a family of doormats, and having had to deal with too many manipulators, I find over-the-top niceness to be downright creepy. There's polite, there's kind, and then there's smarmy.

    That said, the OP's rudeness was completely uncalled for. If someone really is a doormat, insulting them just reinforces that tendancy.

    Team Neither.

  14. Fizziks, I concede that you make a very good point and I consider Jeff's behavior to be somewhat shocking. And you're spot-on accurate about what I might say on a bad date. (We, uh... we haven't dated, have we?) Then again, I would never be in a situation like Jeff's, because I never take a woman out to dinner on the first date. My first date is usually just coffee or drinks so that I have an exit strategy if things aren't going well, and so that she'll be turned off by my display of cheapness if she's a dinner whore. (I work in corporate finance and make reasonable income, but looking somewhat cheap initially is an effective filtering mechanism to make sure I'm not getting played.) Jeff, on the other hand, payed for a lot more stuff than I would, and was insulted by the OP only AFTER he had paid. So I can't blame him for being pissed, even if his method of expressing it is... unfathomable, to say the least. But this isn't about Jeff's behavior, this is about the OPs.

    I guess the reason your summary troubled me a little is because you sort of imply that "being too nice" is a sign of being "phony" and I disagree with that, because I'm a classic example. I believe in treating people as they deserve to be treated, which means that I basically have two settings - "easygoing, sweet, and thoughtful" (when I feel that somebody deserves my empathy) or "actively working to destroy you and everything you love" (when I feel that they don't). When people think that I'm being fake because I'm too nice and start poking around to find the "bad boy" inside of me, they usually find a lot more "bad boy" than they are prepared to handle. So from my perspective, encouraging people to behave like jerks to their dates just to "see who they REALLY are" is counterproductive for everybody involved, because "who I really am" is a really nice guy who enjoys being cruel to jerks. I don't like people who bring out that side of me, and I really don't think people should be encouraged to be mean to others in order to get more "genuine" reactions.

  15. So, wolfgang, we agree more that we disagree. Honestly. Let me explain.

    I get what you are thinking, I believe, but I don't want to put words in your mouth so let me use Generic Reader. Generic Reader says to self, whist reading: Compliments? That's fine. Door? That's fine. Paid for dinner? (notice GR skips over "insisted", I'll be coming back to this later) That's fine. Asked how the date was? That's fine. Wow, she was rude. Rolling on the ground and shouting? That's seriously out of line, but, man, she was rude." Right?

    So, those defending OP are thinking most of that, too. Except, once we hit his reaction, we realized that you have to reinterpret all that came before in light of it. Why? Because behaviors don't come out of nowhere. GR is thinking decentguy-decentguy-decentguy-decentguy-decentguy-whoa!butprovoked. OP defenders realize no decent guy goes straight to flailing about because of an insult. It's a tell that he was never a decent guy. And once you see that, you go back and read, and it's there. Compliments and door holding can be nice, or can feel controlling. It was up for grabs before, but it's reinterpretation time. The postulate of equal a priori assumptions means that without further evidence, you assume it's decent and not controlling. But now we have evidence that says maybe it was the latter. The "insisting" on dinner. - here's where my confessed reading-'twixt-lines comes into play, because I'm guessing he also "insisted" on those doors in a way that seemed controlling rather than "nice". Even if I'm wrong, "insisted" meant she tried to pay. Back to behaviors don't come out of nowhere - neither did OPs. If she was the kind of raging bitch that would casually cut down a guy that seemed genuine and not fake and was this attentive, then dude would have gotten some tells during the date, too, in her body language or attitude. He might have asked if she didn't like door-holding. He might have stopped with the compliments if they didn't seem to be going over well. She wasn't a bitch out of the blue and he wasn't a crazy person out of the blue.

    She's rude after he pays only because that's when he directly asks her to rate the date. Those of us re-reading in new light are also noticing that there's a difference between asking how the date is going (asking how she likes you, asking of you want to do it again, asking if she had a good time), and rating the date like he's a service you're reviewing on Yelp. It says he's not on a date with her, he's on Generic Date, being Generic Nice. And he has a meltdown because it didn't net him what he wanted.

    I've already said I don't care for "doormat". But she's being directly asked. I'm not encouraging her or anyone to act like a jerk. I don't think that OP, unlike what you've experienced, was trying to trigger her date to act badly; she was put on the spot and asked to rate something that hit all the marks on paper but felt weird and false.

    I like you. If your easygoing manner is natural and not trying to suppress normal I'm-a-different-person-so-we-won't-agree-on-everything friction, then seriously, fuck those bitches. No one should try and get a date to act in a way that you like better; dates are supposed to be finding out if you like that person not if that person can play-act in a way you like. Also, I feel you on having a date here trigger things you've had happen on your own. It's happened to be before, too. Internet hugs for you, man.

    tl;dr - Keep dating, I think you are awesome.

  16. Also, this is why I do the coffee-meetup thing then go dutch for several dates -- if a guy isn't willing to let me pay my way I know he's controlling, not nice (there's a difference between wanting to pay and getting upset that I want to).

  17. Hmm, you're right Fizziks - I didn't notice the "insisting" on paying for dinner. That DOES make me reevaluate the story in a different light.


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