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Shit or Get Off the Pot

deciding it's over“Shit or get off the pot” is one of my mother’s favorite sayings.  She usually uses it in reference to my father when he won’t make a decision about something, which is often.

According to Wikipedia it’s a vulgar derivation on the expression “fish or cut bait.”  I prefer the more colloquial version of the phrase – it’s a lot more illustrative of the point than any fishing allusion.

So this is what’s been on my mind for the past two dates that I’ve had with Harry…

Two Saturdays ago we spent six hours together.  Browsing around art museums, having drinks in a great bar.  He walked me to the restaurant where I was meeting a girlfriend for dinner.  He met my girlfriend, we chatted, and then he kissed me and said “Goodnight sweetie.”  He seemed very sincere.

So then I tried to get together with him on Monday night.  He said he was busy and the made tentative plans for Friday night.  I didn’t hear from him all week and then had to write to him on Friday morning to see if we were still on for that night.  He made some positive comment with an exclamation point.  This reassured me that he was still in to me.  Off I went to his apartment in the city.

I’m a touchy-feely person, so I try to do things to get his attention like coming up behind him at the counter in the kitchen or touching his leg.  He responds mildly.  I figure maybe he’s a bit reserved.

We cook and eat a fabulous meal.  We have easy and fluid conversation.  As if to foreshadow a conversation that I don’t see coming, I mention to him about the guy that broke up with me by text message.  I told him never to break up with a woman that way – it’s not nice or right.

After dinner we watch a movie, during which I spend most of the time lying with my head in his lap (watching the film on the other thing a woman does with her head in a man’s lap).

When the film is over, we sit side-by-side and I give him a kiss.  I ask him what he was doing the following night, and that’s when it happens.  He pulls away and puts his head in his hands, heaving a big sigh.  Immediately I sense what’s coming.  He’s decided to “get off the pot.”

He says, “I’m confused.”  I hold myself together and calmly ask, “About what?”  He replies, “About you, us.”

I know what he’s going to say, but I want to have some fun with him and make him suffer through the break-up delivery.  He tells me that he’s confused and has been anxious about it all week.  He says, “If I made a list of what I want in a woman, you have everything on it. But I don’t feel it. I’m confused.”  He keeps repeating the word “confused.”

The fact that he had been stressing over it all week probably explains why he didn’t want to see me on Monday or didn’t feel the needs to email/call.

He says “I’m sorry” a couple of times.  Then I decide it’s time to let him off the hook and say “It’s okay.  I appreciate you being honest with me and telling me in person.”  All of which I say, and mean, with sincerity.  Following an awkward hug and kiss on the cheek goodbye, we part, knowing we’ll probably never see each other again, unless by accident.

I didn’t feel the “spark” with Harry, but I did feel like we “clicked.”  Obviously he didn’t feel it either.  That’s okay.  It probably wouldn’t have worked anyway.  He was a 40-year-old man who hadn’t yet figured out his purpose in life.  I’m all for supporting people through their journey of discovery through life as they try new things, but someone who is floundering around not even knowing which direction to go is beyond me.

The fact that he wasn’t eager to go out and try new things to find his “purpose” or “interest” is lazy shit.  He wasn’t ever excited about his job.

“Good riddance,” I say!  It’s always great to have a man in your life but I’m f-ed up enough, I can’t deal with some else being more f-ed up than me!

[Photo by “the Italian voice,” available under a Creative Commons attribution, non-commercial license]

Shit or Get Off the Pot

Kate Nickerson

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APA Reference
Nickerson, K. (2010). Shit or Get Off the Pot. Psych Central. Retrieved on October 19, 2018, from


Last updated: 30 Dec 2010
Last reviewed: By John M. Grohol, Psy.D. on 30 Dec 2010
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