Thursday, August 21, 2014

I'm Not the Kind of Guy You Want to Date

I'm really not.  My life isn't that exciting; I mostly watch cool shows, read cool books, go to the gym, watch sports, hang out with my friends and every once in a while go see a movie.  I've never been outside of the US, I've never done anything dangerous or intriguing and I don't even have my own place.  I still live with my parents where I share a room with my little brother.

Furthermore, I'm a terrible kisser.  How do I know?  Because I've never kissed a girl before.  I've also never held hands or cuddled on a couch hell even seen a movie with a girl.  I almost certainly don't know how to please you sexually, my first time would probably last less than 30 seconds.  I am in no way that guy who can just take you and maul you like some kind of tiger.  Plus I'll probably turn into a stage 5 clinger as soon as you kiss me.  It's 100% guaranteed.

I also have no relationship experience.  So it's not like I have anything to offer you in terms of companionship and support.  I mean I support my friends and my family, but you're looking for a guy with a track record of supporting his partner and you know sharing his life with her and all of that stuff.

Personality wise, I'm a geek without the video games and comic books.  I geek out over history books and educational podcasts.  I work out and play sports, but I'm not that douchey jock, meat head gym bro.  I'm a renaissance man, lots of coverage but no depth.  It really cuts down on my niche appeal.  All the nerdy girls like video games and all the sporty girls hate history and educational stuff.  I'm in that no man's land.

I also have no career and not much money.  I just started a new job that will pay me a bit more but it's not like I'm going to be living in the lap of luxury over here.  I don't really offer that stable provider role that you're probably looking for.  Plus, I must not have ambition or else I'd be finding a way to get a career and most importantly I'd be finding a way to get a girlfriend.  Since I haven't, it pretty clearly shows what kind of guy I am.

I'm pretty sure that covers it all.  No matter what kind of girl you are, I'm not the kind of guy you want to date.

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Relationships: the Be All End All of Existence?

Getting a girlfriend or getting married is not the end all be all of life.  It's a statement often made to people of my ilk, that we should concern ourselves with having a really kick ass life and not worry about dating and relationships.  It's true in a lot of ways but not as much as people who say it would have you believe.

Yeah, Sir Isaac Newton, who allegedly died a virgin, did more for the human race than any of the Kardashians have.  And I'm pretty sure none of the Kardashians are going to die virgins.  Correct me if I'm wrong on that.  So clearly, sex and dating and relationships aren't the only important thing of value in one's life.

But this kind of thing really misses the point.  The comparison I always love making is to sports (mostly because I love sports and think they say a lot about the human condition).  Winning a championship in sports doesn't make you great in and of itself, but winning one certainly adds to your legacy in a way that is undeniable.  I don't think anyone would say that Trent Dilfer (who won a Super Bowl) had a better career than Dan Marino (who lost the only Super Bowl he played in), or that Jeff Conine (who won two World Series with the Marlins) had a better career than Barry Bonds (who never won one).  But does anyone deny that both Marino and Bonds would have a much better legacy had they won championships?  I mean that's the first thing people point to when debating Tom Brady and Peyton Manning.

Now, let's bring this back to dating and relationships.  I don't deny that a pretty shitty person who happens to have a girlfriend is still a shitty person.  That doesn't change the fact that being able to find someone (who isn't related to you by birth) who wants to share in your life and wants to share theirs with you greatly enhances who you are as a person.  Again, just like with sports championships, this doesn't mean that just any relationship will do nor does it mean that if you're not in a relationship (or married) that you're a worthless human being.  Just don't tell me that getting a girlfriend is meaningless and does nothing for you.  That's bullshit and I'm pretty sure you know it.

Friday, August 15, 2014

How You See Yourself

It's hard for me to see myself as someone somebody might be attracted to.  It's not so much that I feel like I'm "ugly", rather I see myself as "unattractive".  I've had people (men and women) tell me I'm funny, or smart, or good looking but that's never translated into anyone being sexually or romantically into me.

It's one of those things that's hard to put a finger on.  Unlike being fat, or having bad hair or social anxiety or some other noticeable trait, it's hard to correct the problem.

Some of the advice I get is usually telling me to get a career and move out of my parents house.  And while I agree that those things can't hurt, I'm skeptical that those things alone prevent me from having a happy dating life.  I have friends who dated while living with their parents, and at one point I was in college while living at home, which is not all that unusual.  So I don't think I can lay the blame only on those factors.

The other kind of advice I get is to "put yourself out there more".  I'm not a homebody.  I have friends and I do stuff.  The past two weekends I haven't spent more than an hour total at home.  It's hard to have more of a lively life than I do now.

A few weeks back a friend of mine asked his wife to invite one of her friends to hang out with us.  The implication of course being that hopefully I'd meet her and hit it off.  Thing is, I've heard variations of this before.  "There's this girl you should meet" is a phrase that gets bandied about from time to time.  Nothing ever actually happens though.  I don't want to be that desperate guy begging his friends to fix him up with someone and I feel like if they were really serious about it they'd do it anyway without prompting.

All of this really feeds into what I wrote at the top.  If I was really sexually attractive wouldn't I have an easier time with this whole thing?  People always talk about how easy getting sex and relationships are in this day and age compared to the past, but that's not been my experience.

Ladies, some guys are just not confident.  We've never had a girl like us so we have no idea how it feels or how to tell.  It's a much safer bet to assume disinterest and go from there.  So you might think you're giving us hints but we're not very good at interpreting them.

What this means for me?  I don't know.  There's a girl I've grown to like over the past few months (though I still have feelings for "Becky") whom I haven't yet asked out because we work together.  When I get a new job I may ask her out, but I have zero percent confidence that she'll say yes.  I mean why would she?  I like her, which means she doesn't like me.  At all.  In fact she probably barely tolerates my presence.

I'm sure this is unhealthy, but what can I do?

Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Okcupid's Experiment

So apparently Okcupid experiments on users from time to time.  And everyone is up in arms about it.  Feeling betrayed, tricked, outraged, all of the above.

I'm not exactly sure how I feel about it.  On the one hand it feels like not much more than elaborate trolling, which has its merits from time to time.  On the other hand I do feel like it represents bad business ethics.  Don't get me wrong, I don't think anyone has a case for fraud, nor should any government agency get involved (I think the market can and should determine what happens) but I think I would feel uncomfortable experimenting on my consumers like that.

If you didn't read the post, Okcupid did three different experiments: two dealing with photos and the third dealing with the match percentage algorithm.

The results:

-When no one had a photo on the site (due to a intentional "glitch" on the site) conversations went longer, more detailed and people exchanged contact info more often and were more satisfied on the dates they went on than they were in cases where they knew what the person looked like before hand.

-When asked to rank personality separately from looks, users generally rated both the same.  Even when the profile contained absolutely no text just a photo.  Essentially the profile text was irrelevant to your rating.

-When told they were a great match (with a fake compatibility percentage to boot) people generally acted like it.  And vice versa when told they were a bad match.

Part of me feels like maybe this explains my absolutely dreadful record on dating sites.  Or I should say a big part of me wants to believe that.  Obviously that's wishful thinking.  But to be honest I didn't really use the matching algorithm as faithfully as some might, and I don't often "rate" profiles.  So maybe I was never involved in any of these experiments.

This is one of the reasons I think it would be wise to approach online dating with a grain of salt.  You just never know whether the person you're messaging just isn't interested or is just a part of a laboratory experiment.

I do hope that Okcupid applies the same standards to people who create profiles to run their own unsanctioned experiments.  Obviously it's their site and they should be free to do with it what they want, but I think it would be good etiquette and good science to allow others to run their own experiments.  Either as a way to reproduce their results or as a way to test other hypotheses.

But I'm not sure how I feel about the whole thing.  I like the knowledge but I'm a smidge uncomfortable with the tactics used to get it.  How do you readers feel?

Friday, July 25, 2014

Why I Still Have a Flip Phone

I'm not a Luddite.  I swear.  I love technology and think it makes our lives easier each passing day.  While I'm not "old", I'm old enough to remember the days when looking for a movie to watch meant making a trip to Blockbuster rather than whipping out your Kindle Fire and going on Netflix.  I also remember the days when my dad used to type up (on a typewriter) his resume when he would go on job interviews.

The day I got my iPod back in 2006 was the beginning of a new era for me, as I'm sure it was for most people when they got their first iPod or MP3 player.  It freed me from having to make that high stakes choice: lug around 100+ CDs so you have musical variety, or take only 2 or 3 to cut down on your luggage weight.  Whichever choice you made, you were bound to regret it.  But the iPod changed things.  I could 7,000 songs on one small light weight device.  Plus, I could scroll to exactly the song I wanted, rather than having to hit "next" over and over until getting to where I wanted to be.  It was really a 90s kid's dream come true.

I still have that iPod by the way.  It's been 8 years, I've taken it on countless runs, trips to the gym, road trips, even just regular old sitting on the couch listening to music, and it still works.  Hopefully will for a while.
Now that I've established my technological bone fides, let me explain my opposition to smart phones.  First off, I have nothing against the idea of smart phones: being able to look something up or get directions, or read email or hell, just talk to someone on Facebook when you're bored, no matter where you are (more or less) is great. It's a tremendous value.

The problem I have is that I think the value is overpriced relative to what I'm willing to pay for it.  My brother pays 80 dollars a month for his data plan.  I currently pay about 45 dollars for my talk and text plan.  The extra 35 dollars might not seem like a lot, but over the course of a year that's about 400 dollars.  I'm not being cheap, I just have different values.  If you told me I could pay 400 bucks to go on Facebook wherever I go, or Twitter, or read emails, etc., I think I'd pass.  I have an iPod touch that I bought last September for 300 dollars that does most things a smart phone does (with the exception of phone calls), it just requires a Wi-Fi connection to do so.  So I know what apps are and I know the basics of smart phone usage.  It works for me, I'm fine with it, anyone who needs to get in touch with me can call or text me.  Important people have my number.

I won't knock anyone for feeling differently though.  I'm sure there are people who think I'm crazy for paying money to go see baseball games or my gym membership or the food that I eat.  And I'm sure there are people for whom 400 dollars is not that big of a deal.  I'm sure that if I made more money than I currently do, I might decide that a smart phone was a good idea.

It's nothing personal.  I'm not a better, more socially connected person because I don't have a smart phone.  I'm not "more real", I'm not a Luddite bent on destroying every semblance of technology on Earth.  I'm just someone who doesn't value the benefits of a smart phone like most people do.

Monday, July 14, 2014

On Rejection

I've found that one of the hardest things to understand is the idea that you shouldn't take rejection personally.  Whether it's someone rejecting you when you ask them out, or when someone does go out with you but doesn't want to see you again, or even if someone ignores your messages on a dating site, or your chat messages on Facebook.  "It's not personal" it's often said, but how can it not be?  

They are rejecting you.  They might not know all about you, but they're rejecting as much as they do know.  Maybe the way you drank your coffee or the way you talk or the way you walk.  Whatever it is they're rejecting it.

I sympathize with the idea that the best response is to brush it off.  On to the next, it makes no sense to get invested in someone you barely know.  But I think it's harder to do it when you have no history of success and all you've really known is rejection.  

For this reason, I really think it's best for people to get some dating experience in their high school or college years.  Those are the years where you really can get to know people without awkward dates with people you met at the grocery store or a dating site.  

This is kind of a rambling post, brought on by some recent events in my life.  So it's not my usual post.  I'll try to write something useful next time.

Sunday, July 6, 2014

Relating to People

This blog focuses a lot on the ways in which I'm inexperienced when it comes to dating, sex and relationships.  Those are important no doubt and I definitely think it defines who I am to a great extent.  Or at least, who I am now.  But it's also important to note that I'm also inexperienced when it comes to what I'd call "independent adult life".

It hits home for me when I visit friends of mine who have their own apartments or their own houses (hell sometimes they even have children already).  It's weird when they're already firmly on the path of adult life and I'm still here practically at the starting line.

I know I"m not the only Millennial to be living with his parents.  Lots of us are.  But I think what makes me somewhat unique is that I've never actually lived on my own.  Not even in college.  In fact, I haven't even had my own room since I was 4 years old.

I think it's fair to say this makes it hard for me to relate to people my age.  If you've been out in the real world, paying rent, cooking your own dinner every night, figuring where you're going to put pieces of furniture, you really have nothing in common with somebody who's been mooching off of mom and dad his whole life.

It's why I find myself running the other way when I see someone I went to high school with (not friends, just regular people) or their parents.  I don't want anyone knowing that while they (or their kids) have been out and about in the world, I've been doing nothing except working a dead end job, lifting weights, and blogging about how I don't go on many dates.  It's a glamorous life I know, but it pales in comparison to trips to Europe or a new house with a deck (and obviously someone to share it with).

So I don't know.  It's been an interesting weekend which kind of opened my eyes to some of this.  As much as I think of myself as an old soul, I really have some growing up to do.