Tag Archives: F Scott Fitzgerald

In Praise of the Wishy Washy Girl

It’s getting to be that time of the year in Phoenix when one’s ass is in almost a perpetual state of sweatiness. There’s really not much you can do about it either. Here I am in my underwear typing this in the comfort of my climate controlled habitat of a room…and still sweating my tail off with nothing to do but wait it out, which reminds me….

For some reason in the spring of 2002 I became obsessed with the Vietnam War, reading all sorts of dusty, out of print memoirs and accounts of mostly forgotten figures from that era. The best of these was probably Louis Fanning’s “Betrayal in Vietnam” which hardcover copies are still out there and available on Amazon starting at just 36 cents. One of my favorite documentaries on the Vietnam War was “The Ten Thousand Day War,” which came out in 1980 and incidentally was made by Peter Arnett, who later became a famous and controversial correspondent in both gulf wars. The bias in “The 10,000 Day War” is somewhat negated by the fact that the film features many interviews with former leaders, officials, and soldiers who are given ample time to state their take on events that transpired. The finest of these are the ones with former South Vietnamese president Nguyen Van Thieu and former Prime Minister Nguyen Cao Ky. Though I haven’t seen this in like 8 years, I recall one of our ally, Nguyen Cao Ky’s statements as being significant:

“Americans are a very impatient people. For Vietnamese people, time means nothing to them. They’ll just outwait you. I told President Johnson that the Americans should just go and win the war quickly.”

Fast forward to the present, and what in the world does the Vietnam War have to do with wishy-washy girls? Well, a lot actually if you think about it, but laying out those abstract connections in detail is not the purpose of this entry so just use your imagination for now.

I recently had a discussion with some girls who boasted about knowing exactly what they wanted in a guy, and they could know flat out whether they were interested or not. They made a point to distinguish themselves from those wishy-washy girls that can never make up their mind about a guy, and are forever going back and forth on what they want.

You can imagine their reaction when I told them that I actually preferred such eternally indecisive girls. The reason being is that if a girl knows exactly what she wants, and it’s not you…well then if you like her you’re simply out of luck. Her mind is already made up before giving you a chance to win her over and convince her that in fact she does want you, she just didn’t know it yet. I don’t want someone whose mind is already made up about what they want in someone before they even meet me. I know that i’m probably too idiosyncratic to fit into whatever carefully crafted image of the perfect guy they’ve concocted. At least with a wishy-washy girl I can make use of my skills in advertising and marketing to sell her a useless product she doesn’t need(…me!) And yes, I realize there’s a major downside:


“Cecelia, you’re breaking my heart. You’re shaking my confidence daily.”

Of course it can be exhausting to have a girl adore you one day while knowing she may not be interested in you the next.

“I got up to wash my face, when I come back to bed someone’s taken my place”

But so what? If you’re cleverly persuasive, she may like you even more the day after that.

“Jubilation, she loves me again! I fall on the floor and I’m laughing.”

At least if she craps out on you it will always be possible to win her back in the future. As a bonus this can also help quell one’s narcissistic fear of engulfment, since you know this isn’t an all or nothing deal and you will have plenty of opportunities for a way out, in order to maintain your sense of self. It’s also a whole-lotta fun thinking of ways to try to win someone back, especially if you know you’re not just going up against a brick wall, but rather a Belgian waffle.

You can buy them shoes, necklaces, write them elaborate text message love letters that borderline on creepy, send them flowers, set jealousy traps(sucks when they do that back to you though,) buy yourself a new wardrobe so they can see how attractive you can make yourself for brief periods of time, etc.

We’ve all done it, like in that episode of The Wonder Years where Kevin Arnold goes to that party where Winnie Cooper is there with her new boyfriend, and Kevin tries to make her jealous by hanging out with Madeline(who incidentally was not wishy washy in the least but still hotter than Winnie anyway) and being the life of the party, strutting his stuff on the wall to wall carpet dance floor and waving his jacket in the air(it ends up not working and he comes off like even more of a jerk.)

It’s never enough to just win a girl over anyway…or “get the girl.” As F Scott Fitzgerald somberly observed in “This Side of Paradise,” beautiful debutantes need to be won over again every time you see them. It would be a pity if simply failing to win them over just one of the times, would trigger a swift decisive judgment that would disqualify you for all time. Rather I’d prefer a stalemate see-saw battle,a war of attrition, where patience and persistence could eventually carry the day, even if just for that day.

The title of this entry was a variant of the book title “In Praise of the Stepmother” which I have to say deals with entirely different subject matter…

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