Wait…You don’t like what I like?

“No boys allowed at the rock gym.”

You might think the above was a sign scrawled by a first grader in crayon, but no… these were words uttered by three adult women whose ages I will keep concealed because mind your business.

“No boys allowed at the rock gym” became a very spoken rule amongst our group. Now, keep in mind, most people would not have to have this rule. Most people that made good life choices regarding men, that is. 

“That’s all we need is your ‘ghosts’ to come around ruining our gym.”

Here was the concern. One of us would invite some man to the rock gym that we were currently in love with. That man would in turn love the rock gym. At some point it comes to the attention of many that the man is actually not a man at all and a literal bag of trash. Trash cannot be ghosted. Trash is now a member of said rock gym. Awkwardness ensues until the heat death of the universe. 

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Now, you might see this line of thinking as incredibly negative and you would be correct, but that’s just how it was. Until recently. You see, recently, I broke protocol.

I brought a boy to the rock gym.

What led to this breach in our self-imposed “climber girl code” was done by some “self-authoring”, which is essentially a writing program that forces you to think out your desires for the future, etc., etc., yadda, yadda, yadda.

 (I say “yadda, yadda, yadda” but I do highly recommend it. Non promotional)

Anyway, the self-authoring stuff made me feel like I should stop being such a sissy and take a chance on something. Why not give a guy a shot instead of flirting heavily over text for several weeks, you know? So, I did it. Very un-millennial of me.  I invited my tra–…er…man…my friend?…my good man friend that might turn into more?…I invited…hmm…I invited this dude to the rock gym, ok?

He did not like it.

Now, don’t get me wrong. He didn’t say that he didn’t like it. But I saw it. 

This is partially my fault. Overwhelming a date with climbing factoids might not be the best way to woo a man. Surprisingly, a way to a dude’s heart is not through an oral dissertation on climbing grade systems. Who knew?

To give him some credit, despite my incessant need to fill the void with information that would forever be useless to him, the guy tried. 

First, we went to the boulder wall. He is very tall, so could almost reach the top of the wall just by standing there and did pretty well. This actually annoyed me greatly, but I’m a good sport. He wore a harness the whole time, which was super nerdy, but I didn’t tell him.* That was my revenge for him being decent at something that took me forever to get decent at. Ok, maybe I’m a horrible sport. 

*I did tell him later. Talking shit is basically how I flirt, all right?

After a couple routes he asks if I want to eat. 

“What? We’ve barely started. You haven’t even used your harness. The best part is yet to come, unestablished man-friend relationship!”

“Oh…ok, cool…”

I push down my empathy and ignore his lackluster response. We check out the auto-belays. Let me tell you this dude would not let go of the damn wall and trust that thing to carry him down. And I have this horrible trait where if someone is doing well, I give them hell (see above), but if they’re doing poorly, I overcorrect by a hyper positive attitude. It’s the teacher in me, I guess. 

“Oh my God you did soooo good for your first tiiiiime! I would have never made it that far when I first started oh my Goddddd.”

I hate myself. 

I offer to get him on a top rope. I show him how to tie the knot for a painstaking amount of time even though I DAMN WELL KNOW this man will not be tying this knot ever in his life. I could have probably turned the conversation of knots into some sort of sexy innuendo, but I’m pretty sure my tying face looks something like this:

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“Actually, I’m pretty pooped. Want to just eat now?”

We climbed maybe a total of three things. “Oh yeah, totally,” I say.

So, we go and shovel greasy food in our face, an undeserved meal for the amount of exercise I got in. I tell him about Alex Honnold and El Capitan, and he acts interested. He tells me about some football players I’ve never heard of, and I act interested. The date ends. It was not a bad one all in all, actually. He just didn’t like what I liked. But maybe that doesn’t matter. 

In all the scenarios of one of us bringing a man to the rock gym, not once did I think that the guy would show no interest in it. Perhaps that’s some sort of “passion blind spot” on my part (although I’m also a theatre kid and have always been very aware that there would be a lot of guys apathetic to that part of my life). The question is, how important is it? Do opposites really attract, or is it just a fleeting excitement about someone who’s different…and down the road we’ll end up annoyed that we don’t want to do the same things together? At what point is it a deal breaker? What about you? Are you in a climbing relationship or does your S.O. hate the sport?  Give a girl some advice. 

I hope you imagined me as Carrie Bradshaw a la Sex and the City typing up all these relationship questions. 

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Jen Alger Contributor theDIHEDRAL

15 Replies to “Wait…You don’t like what I like?”

  1. I love this post. I love the drawings.

    Having interests in common matters. Happy relationships (in my experience which has been nearly 100% negative) are ultimately based on friendship, and that’s connected to shared interests. If people in the couple don’t share interests, one of them will end up subordinating themselves to the other and that makes people unhappy. OR you end up pursuing your passion alone, and pretty soon there’s no relationship left (or you find someone else). Anyway, that’s been my story. I was in my 40’s before I realized men FAKE IT, pretend to be interested in something to “catch” the girl then, later, the girl learns, “Whoa, dude, you never did like Primus.” (my story…)

    Liked by 7 people

  2. Wait for the right climber dude. My best and longest relationship (12 years) was with a guy who shared my passion for long-distance trail running. You end up sharing the lifestyle, not just the activity.

    Liked by 5 people

  3. I think it helps if you have something in common – but don’t do everything together. And, most important, do NOT give up your girl-climber or other female friends. They’re usually in for the long haul.

    Liked by 5 people

  4. I think an easy way to 1. go climb and 2. not bring the guy to the rock gym is to go to the other gyms in your city with him/her. Obviously impossible if your gym is in a one horse town but why this is probably better is that it doesn’t have the social baggage of your own gym. As well as you wont be showing off and working projects when you are there and just enjoying the novelty.

    I agree with the premise of not bringing people you are still unsure of into social circles where they could integrate. Best case scenario is that you both meld into the culture together. Worst case is what your friends say where you have a ghost roaming around the gym, cold gazes and all. I agree with the ladycrushers on this.

    That said, this article makes it sound like you wanted this person to integrate immediately into your culture. I wouldn’t have bet the house on that one.

    Liked by 4 people

  5. I know absolutely nothing about climbing anything, but this was a fun readand the drawings were great too! Anyway, here’s my two cents about the relationship thing: I’m married to a guy and have been for 5 years. We don’t have everything in common, like, at all, our goals in life weren’t even exactly the same, but we found out they can be complimentary with a little work and compromise. Of course, there are things we both like and things we like to do together, but it’s not true about everything and if it was life would probably get pretty boring. There’s a lot more to relationships than mutual interests. It’s more about how you treat each other and if your vision of the future can co- exist with theirs.

    Here’s a completely different thought: Do you actually want to be with a guy who has the same hobby as you? You seemed a little competitive as it was and according to you this guy didn’t even know what he was doing. He might have pushed for getting food early because he didn’t want to embarrass himself. I’d think him trying at all was a sign of interest in you, but I don’t know. As long as he’s cool with you climbing and gives you the time you need to do it would it be that big of a deal if he didn’t love it so much?

    Liked by 3 people

  6. I am the odd one out being a man commenting on the article which in itself was very amusing and I can see some similarities to many relationships that people have.One of the main observations that I can comment on in particular is the feeling of the friend on the date or buddy or however you see him, I do a number of classes at my local gym although we don’t have a climbing wall, we do a lot of classes and spin and I actually find it somewhat emasculating, when you see the muscles and stamina of some of the ladies it puts me to shame.
    Confidence plays a big part and if it is the first time of going to this gym then it may be a struggle to feel as though you fit in with your surroundings.
    I also think that the recipe of a good relationship is a mix of shared interests, individual interests and maybe exploring something to do together, in my own relationship, my partner plays bingo once a week and I go to the gym, I go to church usually on my own, and we have 1 night weekly when we play pool and both I and my partner volunteer for different charities.
    I think though that the three things that have kept us together for the last 5+ years is the fact that we talk things through together, we are mutually supportive and we care.
    My partner is my soulmate and my best friend, we met on Facebook some 5+ years ago and I just knew that she was the one.
    I know that it is not easy to find that special someone but I do believe that there is someone out there for each of us.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. I wasn’t even looking for a date and I wound up meeting my wife. We have been together a decade now and have a beautiful daughter that looks just like her. We don’t enjoy many of the same things. I was military and enjoy hunting, shooting, fishing, hiking, repairing vehicles, etc. She is extremely feminine, loves shoes, purses, shopping, and is very crafty and creative. The old saying is opposites attract and for the most part that is true. We have a few interests that overlap and those interests is where we meet middle ground and really enjoy ourselves. I’ve been playing CounterStrike for almost 20 years now. I ask my wife once a year if she would be interested… despite knowing the answer already. She has yet to play a single round with me. Do I get upset? No. It’s not her cup of tea.

    Just because he doesn’t enjoy climbing doesn’t mean he can’t be the one for you. It’s highly improbable that you two have nothing in common as there are millions of things you could do together and possibly both enjoy. The thing is finding the common ground. If I would have given up on my wife after she told me no to CS:GO I believe I wouldn’t be remotely as happy as I am today. Gaming isn’t my life. Climbing isn’t your life. Being with that one person who truly makes you happy though… That’s what matters.

    There are still some good men out there with honor, respect, and loyalty. I hope you find what you are looking for. Search for that deeper connection and I promise it will be worth it in the end. Keep your head up and good luck. Chances are you’ll find someone right when you aren’t even looking 🙂

    Liked by 2 people

  8. Well. I suppose that leads to a whole blog post of its own. Haha.
    My experience…
    It doesn’t matter if the date has the same interests or not.. (yes, sure it’s a plus, in some cases) but, I personally think what actually matters… Is if each party respects one another’s interest. e. g. If you want to go climb, then go. Your partner will probably go do something that he likes but you don’t (maybe golf for argument sake) and when you see one another, you can share stories about one another’s interests. And there will be something that both parties are interested in doing – together (like trying out a new restaurant once a month, or maybe both parties always wanted to try river rafting) whatever the case is. And, if one party doesn’t have an interest in at least trying, they might even end up enjoying it.
    You never know what interests you until you try right?

    Liked by 1 person

  9. Loved your post, it was hilarious! My thought is you don’t have to have everything in common. Actually it’s good to have some separate interests. But there must be common ground besides sex or it will be fun for a while but won’t last. Gotta be a meeting of the minds, you have to be able to relate to each other in some aspects of your life, though not all.

    Liked by 1 person

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