Monday, February 25, 2013

That One Night I was a Big Shot

A couple days ago I had another dream about that girl from college.  She was with some guy I had met before in real life (though they weren't dating in real life nor in my dream) and was coming to meet me somewhere.  I don't know, it was weird, but nice to "see" her again (even in a dream).

The next day while driving to the Metro station and on the Metro into DC I took some time just thinking about the dream, her, and what was the last few times I saw her.  The last time I ever really felt good about or around a woman.

It was the summer of 2010.  I had to go to campus to drop some forms off (proof of in state residency, etc.).  She was taking summer classes (which were now over) and was living in student apartments.  I called her a few days earlier and we arranged to meet up.  We had tried to meet up earlier in the summer but things didn't work out.

So we met up, chatted for a bit, went to her apartment building and watched TV in the common area (not her room).  We then went out to eat and then came back to campus and talked for a while afterwards.  My friends called me because they wanted to go out for a friend's birthday.  Dave and Buster's sounded like fun (as it usually is) and I like my friends so of course I wanted to go.  But, I also liked hanging out with "Becky" and wasn't sure if I'd ever get the chance to do so ever again.  So, I invited her to go along.

Now, I just want to put the backdrop here: when me and "Becky" were "dating" I would often invite her to do things with me and my friends.  Maybe toss a football around or a Frisbee (other women were also there so it wouldn't just be her as the only girl there) or out to a movie or a restaurant, I even invited her to a Christmas party I had.  Every single time, without fail, she would decline.  Every. Single. Time.  Most of the time it just felt like there wasn't even a chance of her accepting.  She would be worried about staying out too late (though me and my friends were not ones to stay out til the wee hours of the morning on most days) or other concerns that I often felt were contrived.  Though maybe I was just too paranoid, who knows.

So, obviously I knew for sure that there was absolutely no way that she would accept my invitation.  No way.  In fact I was shocked she actually rode in the car with me to the restaurant since she always refused my offers to drive her to the Metro stop back in the day.  At first, it went exactly like that.  She started to say how she couldn't possibly go out, etc.  Then somehow, I convinced her to come along to Dave and Busters with me.

This was probably the highlight of my life (along with that one time I got a girl to slow-dance with me at high school Homecoming): I never convinced a girl to do something she initially didn't want to do before, much less this girl who had never agreed to go out with me and my friends.  On top of that, one of my long time dreams was that one day I'd be able to bring a girl along to something me and my friends were doing.  A good friend of mine had done this lots of times, yet I could never manage to accomplish the task.  But that day was my moment in the sun.

So we got into my car and drove down to my friend's house.  Then we waited for a bit inside while my other friends slowly made their way to the house.  Then we piled into the van, where she actually seemed eager to sit next to me!  Holy moly, it was like I had died and gone to heaven!

Dave and Busters was fun.  She and I spent the entire time together and shared a card (she had paid for the food earlier so it was a square deal) and we had fun.  I'll skip the details because they're not that important.

We got back to her apartment sometime around 2:00 AM, which was kind of late for both of us.  Her card to get into the building didn't work so we had to wait for management to fix it.  So we spent the next 15-20 minutes watching TV in the lobby area, then I escorted her upstairs.

I had work the next morning and she was tired so we obviously had to call it a night.  She was concerned that I'd be too tired to drive, but I brushed it off and said I'd be fine (sometimes I think this was an opening for me to spend the night, but I'm not sure considering her history with me).  So she walked me down to my car, I hugged her goodbye (which she wasn't happy about at first, never liked me hugging her I guess) and I left.  I got home at about 3:00 and went to sleep.  Woke up the next morning on time and headed for work.

I spent the next couple of days as probably the happiest man on earth.  I knew she was probably heading overseas and I wasn't going to see her much more (if at all) but I felt like I had turned a corner.  Maybe I wasn't totally repulsive to women.  Maybe I could someday get a girlfriend.

It wasn't the last time I saw her.  We hung out two more times over the next week and a half.  But that was the last time she hung out with me off campus and out with my friends.

This summer marks three years since that night.  I often think of her and about what I did wrong.  I also think about the odds of me finding someone like her ever again.  Those last few times were the last time I felt happy about women.  I genuinely enjoyed spending time with her and hardly ever felt nervous.  So remembering her makes me feel good and depressed at the same time.

But I still have that night, the one night I was a big shot.

Thursday, February 7, 2013

Let's Talk About Porn

If you haven't yet, check out Your Brain On Porn.  It's an interesting site with a lot of interesting articles and studies.  It has a noticeable ideological bent against pornography (specifically internet pornography) but even if you're not a crusader against porn (which I'm not) it's still worth it to check it out.

Porn for me was always the case of "I could take it or leave it".  Sometimes it's cool to watch, sometimes I'd rather just masturbate with my imagination.  I've watched porn one time in the past week and probably twice in the past three weeks.  It's just not something I watch all that often.  And when my first laptop died I went about 10 months or so without porn without any issues.  And of course by porn I mean "video of two (or more) people having sex".  I'm not talking about still pictures of naked (or near naked) women.  I'm not sure what to call those things, but I'm sure they are not pornography.

So needless to say I don't quite relate to a lot of the work done on pornography and its effects on men, particularly young men.  But I do find a lot of it fascinating.  The idea that regular porn consumption makes men less likely to go out and seek sex from real live women or the idea that it can really screw with your brain intuitively makes a lot of sense.

I was watching a youtube video about weight lifting and physical fitness in which the speaker was talking about video games (in particular the "first person shooters" or FPSs) and how they impact your physical fitness.  The idea (which I'm sure is controversial) is that when you play a video game in which your brain thinks it's running around avoiding detection, shooting at other people, fighting, etc. but your body isn't actually doing these things, you screw up a lot of your internal mind-body synchronization.  It reminded me a lot of the porn use research.  I'm sure tricking your mind into thinking you are having sex when in reality you are not (aside from your genitalia) can be damaging to you, especially if you do it regularly.

Where I tend to hop off the bandwagon is the idea that giving up porn will result in porn sexually assertive or "hunter like" men.  Like all the dateless losers out there are only so because they watch pornography.  I was a pretty passive guy before I ever saw porn, I'm a passive guy when I watch porn, and I was the same way when I went 10 months without it.  Some guys are just sexually passive and seek porn to cope with that, rather than the porn causing the passivity.

So I guess what I would like to see is some research done on porn and the involuntarily celibate (incel) or love-shy guys (or even gals I suppose) to see the effects on porn consumption on that segment of the population (if there are even some effects).  Having known people who watch porn for years, I've never noticed a substantial impact on their social lives as a result of watching porn.  I obviously have no knowledge of their sex lives because, well, I don't have sex with them.  I think there's more to the story than just porn is what I'm saying.

So if Gary Wilson or Marnia Robinson are reading this: I'd love to hear some of your thoughts or responses on this.  Same with anyone else doing research in this field.