A recent article in Elle magazine, seemingly reprinted from 1973, helps needy women figure out how to deal with the scourge of a busy pseudo-boyfriend who has, like, a job. After a giant splash ad promising “50 Date Night Dresses He’ll Flip For,” Elle presents the story “Meet the Thursday Guy: The New Problem Plaguing Single Ladies.” We open with an “everyday woman” anecdotal lede of the writer’s own experience, when she tells her date that she wants to spend the night at his place after, presumably, they have fucked. He recoils with horror, and the two have this exchange:
“’You’re seriously staying the night?’ asked the guy who I’d been seeing. It was a Tuesday.
‘You’re kicking me out after midnight to go home alone?’ I countered.
He hesitated before finally nodding.
‘Okay, well, you have to stay on that side of the bed and be quiet. I need to sleep. Can you do that? I have a really early morning,’ he added. The note of panic in his voice made it sound like he was in a hostage situation, trying to reason with his kidnappers.
‘Fine,’ I answered. I drifted off to sleep, pleased when he eventually draped his arm around me and pulled me toward him.”
Dear Elle magazine: I would’ve told that guy to fuck off and went home. As would any reasonable person. Who wants to stay where they’re not wanted? But does she dump this rude, inhospitable guy? Of course not; later she figures out how to train him into hanging out with her during the week.
Which – and no, I’m not kidding – is the premise of this article: The “Thursday Guy,” according to this “I noticed something in my own life and am calling it a ‘Trend’” story, is busy and has to get up early to go to work so he won’t make dates during the week. This is a big problem – a “plague,” even – because women don’t have demanding jobs, plans with friends, or any need to go to the gym after work (and you better get your ass there, bitch, if you want to fit into those 50 date night dresses).
But Thursday Guy isn’t actually an asshole, you see, because the next morning his boss calls and yells at him at 5:30 a.m., and Thursday Guy is so flustered that he trips over the writer’s overnight bag, thus providing a reasonable explanation for his attempt to kick her out in the middle of the night and concluding a dating anecdote of the two most depressing people on Earth.
I’m not even sure why he’s called a Thursday Guy since Thursday night isn’t a weekend night, but anyway… After congratulating Thursday Guys for knowing their dates’ last names and where they went to school, the writer launches into a probably made-up example of a woman’s vexing experience of having to spend Monday through Thursday nights by herself:
“Gemma (name has been changed), 28, was thrilled when a casual Tinder date she’d gone on the week before seemed to be turning into something. ‘For our third date, he asked what my favorite restaurant was and made reservations,’ she said. ‘The next week, we went to the Hamptons. He began meeting my friends, and I was like, alright, this has potential. But then he’d never commit to another date. And even though he’d respond to my texts during the week, he wouldn’t actually make a plan until the weekend. I just didn’t get it.”
This paragraph strikes me as one that probably six different editors attacked and mangled to a degree that it no longer makes any fucking sense. First of all, she’s eager to jump into a relationship with someone she met a week ago? Not neurotic at all. And it sounds like she went on three dates with this guy within a week, which would obviously have had to included a weeknight. Then he goes to the Hamptons with her the second week they’re dating and meets her friends yet “never commits to another date”? Another date during the week, you mean? Because with all the Hamptons visits and friend introductions, he must have committed to other dates.
But readers are presumably so distraught about getting guys to make plans with them on Wednesdays that poorly phrased paragraphs likely escape notice. After these whiny anecdotes we’re supposed to identify with, Elle throws in an anemic, disingenuous nod toward female autonomy:
“[Thursday Guys] are committed to work. They’re committed to their goals. And they can’t let dating drag them down. Frame it this way, and Thursday Guys don’t sound so different from our super successful, single female friends who refuse to let a man interrupt their ambition…or from ourselves.”
Obviously they are supposed to be different from us since Elle hired someone to write a whole stupid feature about this. Then, even more irritating, readers are told that this is their problem and it’s their duty to fix it:
“Talking deadlines and workout plans and girls-only happy hours is good—but does it sound like you have no room in your life for a relationship? Opening up your schedule a little—asking him to hang out on Wednesday, inviting him as a plus-one to a networking happy hour you’re attending for work—is the first step in showing him that you want him integrated into your life.”
Because his reticence about making weeknight plans could very well be your fault for not showing him you want him to be your boyfriend. After a week. So have that Boyfriend Conversation and you could find that Thursday Guy is all up in your shit five to seven days a week, hurray! Thanks, Elle! I was tired of having a life of my own anyway!