Before I close the chapter on the oaf from eHarmony (my daughter's descriptor), I will share the closing dialog between my daughter and M. (Part one is here.) This, I admit, is for entertainment value. I also think it will buttress my assessment of this guy's character. I've got some words "out of the horse's mouth" that you can use to decide whether or not I've been fair in my judgment. I don't want to give the impression that I see a narcissist behind every bush. I don't. I am not cynical in my treatment of people. I start out with the expectation that a person is likely to be basically decent. I have simply learned to acknowledge to myself the truth when basic decency is missing. I won't pretend something is there when it ain't. Thankfully, neither will my daughter! I don't know if this guy is a malignant narcissist, but there is no doubt he has a plethora of narcissistic behaviors and is narcissistically defended. There were enough red flag behaviors to know he is likely to be character-disordered.
I think I'll call this guy Shrek for the duration. He was very large (6'2") and significantly overweight. Bad haircut, unkempt beard. Badly dressed. Socially awkward in the extreme, at first. Bad table manners, messy toilet manners (ugh! pee splatter and leaves the seat and lid up). He would fart openly in front of all of us. He washed his hands by waving them under the water sans soap and wipe his hands on his less-than-clean jeans. (We lost our appetite for the homemade Christmas cookies he brought after seeing that act.) He would not-so-surreptitiously scratch his balls when just he and my daughter were in the room together. How am I not describing a large ogre? Please note that the above qualities and behaviors are not something my daughter would be able to pick up in phone calls or emails.
My daughter thought Shrek needed an explanation for why she cut off the visit so on Tuesday she sent him this email:
You might be wondering why I chose to end our relationship and cut the visit short. You deserve an explanation.
First, I want to thank you again for taking the time and expense to visit me. I learned more in a few hours than I had in weeks of phone conversations. I had high hopes for our visit but there are some fundamental differences between us that make a relationship impossible.
The primary reason is this: You never showed any gratitude to my mom or dad for their efforts to make you welcome and comfortable in their home. You might feel that I was somehow in your debt because of the investment you made to make the trip. I would disagree but I won't argue that point. My parents, however, were under no obligation to feed or entertain you. They invested many hours trying to get to know you and make you feel welcome in our home. They were not "grilling" you but asking general questions that would allow you to talk about yourself (something most people enjoy). Our offers of hospitality were always met with noncommittal answers and never a "thank you." Not one. There are certain qualities I am looking for in a mate. A grateful attitude is near the top of the list.
The second reason is that one can only assume you were on your best behavior on this visit as is the case when people first meet. If this was your best behavior then that leaves me no choice but to end things now. I would not be able to handle worse. I saw many other indications in other behaviors that you would not be a person I could make a life with. You were impatient with me within hours of the beginning of our visit. If you could show impatience so early in our visit then I am left to assume it would only become much worse as you felt more comfortable being yourself around me.
Finally, you only made one definite decision the entire visit, what movie and where for our date on Thursday night. The rest of the time you showed an unwillingness to commit to anything. The reason really doesn't matter. I need a man who is willing to show more leadership than I am because I'm not interested in being an overbearing wife.
By Friday I had come to the realization that we were not a match. Perhaps I should have come right out at that point and told you but I didn't want to leave you stranded and alone in a strange city so I chose to withdraw while remaining courteous and kind. By Saturday I realized that you didn't notice my change of attitude and I was giving you false hope. I thought it was kinder to just end the visit.
I wish you well and I hope you find the wife you deserve.
Much to my surprise, Shrek responded. Given his extreme passivity I wasn't sure he had the cajones to reply. Before I post his response I want to mention the "grilling" my daughter quoted above. She was quoting Shrek. My husband heard a vast silence down in the living room where my daughter was trapped with Shrek on day one of the visit. So he came downstairs and tried to make conversation. Hubby did the usual thing you do to try to draw people out. He asked questions about Shrek. Nothing private or considered "personal". When Shrek was out on the one date he took my daughter on that first night he said something about how her parents had finished "grilling me". Grilling??? We were simply trying to ease the conversation and give him a subject to talk about that he could feel comfortable with. Himself. Our questions were polite, not invasive. The "grilling" comment was an early indication to my daughter that she was dealing with an asshole. She was there for the "grilling" and therefore knew there was no way to fairly characterize our attempts to help him feel comfortable with such a word.
Shrek answered with:
I did not feel that anyone was indebted too me, that is a petty kind of attitude. I was extremely emotionally drained from the effort of actually flying out to meet you and your parent's at the same time. I was only beginning to feel comfortable in your house on Saturday (the deer in the headlights effect if you will). My initial reaction to meeting you was very positive so that further put me into a strange emotional state. With all that going on my ability to be assertive and make decisions dropped to almost nil. I am not always good at expressing my emotions, gratitude included.
So in summary I would say I was not at my best, making decisions about what to do in someone else home without any emotional energy is just not going to happen for me. As for your second point I cannot honestly say how much of it would be from my state versus character. For gratitude in general I would agree it is not one of my strongest points. It is not that I am ungrateful I just do not always remember to be grateful. I do appreciate the effort your parent's went to. Even more that you took the time to explain what was going on. I'm sorry if my behavior seemed sub-par, it probably was. I doubt this explanation of my state will change anything and I do not even know if it should.
So Shrek went into some kind of fugue state upon meeting my beautiful daughter. Notice how it is all about him. His extreme exhaustion (bull shit, by the way), his shyness. He tries to explain away his lack of gratitude. How bright can a guy be that says, "It is not that I am ungrateful I just do not always remember to be grateful." WTF? Notice the adornment of his lame-assed attempt at an apology with modifiers. "I'm sorry if my behavior seemed sub-par, it probably was." Notice the minimization of his bad behavior. Notice how he again makes a point of the great effort it took for him to fly out to see my daughter. He maximizes his effort in order to minimize all of ours. He accuses her of having petty kind of attitude in his first sentence as he rebukes her for accusing him of ingratitude, yet the rest of the email he tries to justify his lack of gratitude showing that he knows she was right but can't graciously grant her point. Graciousness. Something he hasn't an ounce of.
Then, the real interesting little twist, I thought, was how he showed he is still hopeful there is some possibility my daughter is stupid enough to accept his explanation and continue the relationship!! "I doubt this explanation of my state will change anything..." then he follows up with a statement that shows how he always tries to play the safe "middle", "...and I do not even know if it should." Once again, he won't make a decision. He won't commit to an idea. We saw this played out dozens of times in the course of the visit. He does show that he is open to the possibility that she may change her mind about him even though her email showed she has no intention of pursuing a relationship with him.
He has no idea that the day he admits to feeling more comfortable, Saturday, was the day he finished stomping on her gag reflex. Saturday was the day that removed all doubt he is a totally self-centered, arrogant and gross-out sonofabitch. He is trying to excuse his behavior based on his being shy; he is clueless that his shyness was the only thing that could possible hide the deficiencies of his character. The more relaxed he got, the more comfortable to "be himself", the more he showed us what his earlier behaviors had caused us to suspect. He removed all doubt after becoming more relaxed. He would pass off his flaws on his shyness. It is how he gives himself a pass for being a total jerk in social situations.
I told my daughter that he indicated in this email that he was still holding out that there was something to salvage and that she would consent to continue the relationship. She needed to get even more definitive that it was over. So she sent this Wednesday:
The sole purpose of my email to you was to give a final explanation of my decision to end the relationship. I was not looking for any explanations or apologies from you. Neither is necessary because I'm not interested in working things out in order to pursue the relationship further. Your explanation of your behavior only confirmed to me that what I saw is your character. The best glimpse of a person's character is under pressure rather than when most comfortable, so I see that who you are and how you acted when flustered is who you really are. This may seem harsh and judgmental to you but it would be truly cruel of me to leave you in any doubt, with any hope, that you have a chance. I'm looking for someone who I can love as he already is and who can love me for who I already am because I'm not looking to "raise a husband" or to be raised. I believe that God is in control and have no doubt that He will lead us both to the ones who are truly right for us.
She is a sweet girl. She didn't try to slice and dice this guy. She could have decimated him verbally with the truth of how exposed he is. I admire her restraint.
There ya have it. The final page on the chapter of Shrek. Dumb as a stump and completely out of his league. A parasitic life form who was unable to attach to a host. Thankfully.
[icons by lunglock]