Thursday, August 22, 2013

The Quarter-Life Crisis

Feeling a bit melancholy today, which is not entirely unusual for me.  I got a job (orientation was today), for those of you who remember that I last worked in the early summer of 2011.  It's a sales associate position, same kind I had before, just with a different company.  It's "full time", in that I'll get somewhere between 35 and 40 hours per week, but it's hourly not salary, and still not enough to live on my own.  But it's money, so here I am.

This post today is more about how, I don't know, sad I feel.  I feel overqualified for this job.  I feel like I'm wasting my time doing it.  I don't want to be in retail, but I don't feel like I have a choice, you know?  Between this and the quite obvious problem I have with my love life, I feel like my life is no where like what I imagined it would be at this point.

I thought I'd go into public policy, like a think tank or government work.  And then maybe head into academia.  I had a bit of a falling out, and to be honest my grades kind of slipped due to what I think was/is probably depression.  Regardless, I'm not at the stage of life I thought I'd be.

I really need help figuring out how to get a career.  I really don't want to be in retail sales, I'd much prefer to be doing something where I could use my (hopefully superb) intellect and creativity.  I cringe at the thought of starting work for this company.

On top of all that, I'm going to be working full time and it won't even be enough to live independently.  I think I could at least sacrifice happiness for self-sufficiency.

In any case, I feel down tonight.  I don't see how that's going to change.

So readers, are you where you thought you'd be?  Any advice for a aspiring young professional, without any actual, um, professional experience?

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

It's More Than A Feeling

I forgot how this felt.  That sort of knot in your stomach, lump in your throat, feel like a 12 year old, nervous wreck.  That feeling.  It's been a while.

Most of my interactions with women in the romantic realm consisted of reading dating profiles on Okcupid and sending messages out, hoping I said the right words or was just witty enough to warrant a response.  Aside from driving you insane, that kind of approach sucks a lot of fun out of the world.  It really turns dating into a job hunt.  Blech.

That said, I'd like to think I'm at the age where you stop having crushes and you start you know, actually acting on your feelings.  That magical transformation that occurs sometime between middle school and middle age.

So I guess you could say I have a crush on someone.  First time I've ever really been able to forget about the girl who broke my heart almost 5 years ago.  You know, the one who always gave me the hot and cold treatment.  But anyway, this girl is absolutely gorgeous, funny, great smile, and has the kind of sense of self I've always found attractive.  In short, pretty damn near perfect.  If she is single, I can only assume it's because she chooses to be.  Any guy would count his lucky stars to be dating her.

I assume that she knows who she is.  Especially if she's reading this right now.  I'd like to assume that if I knew her better or was closer in proximity to her, I'd ask her on a date, but given my seemingly uncanny ability to dither and second guess myself and routinely seize defeat from the jaws of victory, I can't exactly say that for certain.  Plus, I'm sure she has much better men to choose from.  I suppose I'll have to settle for an admiration from afar.

Such is the life of The Inexperienced Guy.

Sunday, August 11, 2013

Thoughts About Intercultural/Interfaith Relationships

As a guy who is highly attracted to brown girls, one issue that almost invariably pops up is interfaith and intercultural relationships (since I'm a white guy).

I hate stereotyping, so what I'm going to do is talk about some of the things that I've noticed.  I don't mean these to be things that can or should be extrapolated out to people as a whole.  So if this doesn't describe you, please, feel free to let me know in the comments.

First of all, let me preface what I'm going to say with this: I'm an open minded guy.  Nominally, I'm a Christian, but it's not something that I'm deeply religious about.  I don't go to church (haven't been in almost 6 years), I don't go around talking about abortion or gays or trying to convert people.  I believe in God and Jesus and the Bible and all of that, but I'm not a "bible thumper".  I'm a white guy, yes, but I'm pretty open minded about doing things involving other cultures, trying different food, doing different celebrations, and so on.  So I have no particular problem dating a woman who is not Christian or does things differently than "normal" families do.

So if, for example, I was dating a Muslim woman who wanted me to fast with her during Ramadan and celebrate Eid with her and her family, I would have absolutely no objection.  If she wanted me to abstain from alcohol and pork products, no issue.  If I was married to her and she wanted our children raised Muslim, again, no issue.  With a caveat: as long as I was accorded the same treatment.  Meaning, if I wanted to celebrate Christmas with my family I could do so.  If she had any big objection, it's not like I would make her celebrate, just as long as I could.

So, as long as you're ok with interfaith or intercultural relationships, I am.

All of that being said, I wonder how many "brown girls" are open to intercultural or interfaith dating?  Here in the US it is really hard to say how often they are.  Obviously everyone is an individual and most people in general prefer to date someone from a similar background as themselves (in a number of ways) so I don't want to make this sound like I'm picking on any particular group of people.  Still though, I would say you're much more likely to see an East Asian-White or Hispanic-White couple than an Indian-White or Middle Eastern-White couple.  Of course, perhaps I have some selection bias.

I imagine maybe some of it has to do with family compatibility.  After all, if you got married, both families would have to be there for the wedding ceremony.  Sometimes extended relatives might be less open minded than we'd like.  It's a tough thing to balance out.

So, for all you readers out there, no matter what culture or religion you belong to, what is your opinion of intercultural or interfaith relationships?  Are you open to them?  Why or why not?  Is it because you are worried about your partner's open mindedness?  Or your own?  Or perhaps family conflicts?

Leave your thoughts in the comments below.

Saturday, August 10, 2013

Oh the Trials of Creative Content

I don't know how you vloggers do it.  How you share your lives, embarrassing moments and all, on the internet for all to see without feeling weird about it.  Most of you guys have become quasi-public figures without the great pay of being a celebrity

I just sat downstairs in my house for 40 minutes recording 6 minutes of audio for a podcast I'm thinking about doing.  After listening to it, I feel kind of ridiculous.

Writing on here is pretty easy.  I don't have to worry about how my voice sounds, whether what I'm saying sounds ridiculous, or anything.  I just put words on a (digital) page and then let the dust settle where it may.  Sometimes it's just a place to dump my thoughts without, sometimes I try to be more profound.  Either way I have a pretty easy way to edit what I say and make it sound more precise and clean.

On a recording device?  No chance.  At least that's how I feel.  I strongly prefer the written medium.

I think I'm going to table the podcast for now.  Unless I can get enough people interested in being a guest on it.  I think I'd like to talk about things with another person (probably via skype or something similar) rather than me just talking to myself about something for a half an hour or 15 minutes.

Anyway, I greatly admire what many of you have been able to do.  Not just by the quality of your content, but the ability to put yourselves out there without being awkward.  Hopefully some of that will rub off on me.

Monday, August 5, 2013

Ideological Turing Test: Experience Edition

Based on Bryan Caplan's idea of an Ideological Turing Test I decided to give it a go.

Today, the Inexperienced Guy has been replaced by his evil twin Experienced Guy.  Ask me anything on love, sex, life, relationships, kissing, whatever.  And we'll see how well Experienced Guy does in convincing you of his life and love experience.  

Thursday, August 1, 2013

Self-Reflective Post #187: The Concept of Fear

From time to time I like to think about why I'm in the spot I'm in.  This blog only exists because of it.  If I was like any normal red blooded young American male I wouldn't be writing half the stuff I write about.  And if I was writing about the other half it would be from a totally different perspective.

I'd like to think that makes this blog special and unique, like a snowflake.  The more logical side of me thinks it just makes it easier to ignore or dismiss.  After all, inexperience isn't often something to brag about.

In any case, I have to admit women scare me.  Not in the sense that I think a woman will kidnap me and turn into Kathy Bates from Misery, but scared in the sense that I fear their judgment of me or their derision.  Or something along those lines.  I often like to blame my problems on ignorance or (dare I say it) inexperience, but fear is probably half of the equation.

I wasn't born this way.  At least I don't think I was.  The fear is probably the result of several failed experiences trying to attract women over the years.  And I mean failure in a real sense not failure in that women don't come up to me and seduce me.  I remember the first time a girl found out I liked her.  I was in 4th grade and I told a friend of mine that I liked one of our classmates.  When she found out the immediate response was to avoid me like the plague.  That hurt.  A lot.  The only way I was even able to get her to talk to me again was by convincing her that it was all a joke started by my friend.  And it took weeks for that to happen.

Looking back with the luxury of 15 years of maturity, I don't exactly know what I expected to happen.  4th graders don't exactly date (or do they?) or become couples or anything.  What I do know is that the disgust and recoil were not good feelings.  And unfortunately it would not be the last time that would happen.

In fact, there hasn't been a single time in which a girl I liked liked me back.  Not a single one.  And we're not talking about elementary school crushes either.  I remember senior year of high school, me and my best friend liked the same girl.  When she found out he liked her, she politely declined his overtures.  When she found out I liked her?  Avoidance.  We went from decent friends to total strangers practically overnight.  Things never went back to normal either.  The girl from college who gave me lots of signals and hung out with me all the time?  I tried to hold her hand and she pulled it back as if she had just placed her hand on an open flame.

That stuff stings.  And it makes you start to equate expressing your feelings with being tortured at Guantanamo Bay.  Because that's how it feels.  Not only will she reject me, but she'll treat me like the worst human being alive.  Nobody wants to be that person.

This isn't to say that I don't have other problems.  I certainly have a complex about my inexperience (I'm sure it would be shocking for an average woman to meet a 25 year old guy who had never kissed before) and I am ignorant about a lot of male-female dynamics like flirting and touch.  But the fear is the biggest issue.

Honestly, I don't know how to get rid of it.  I think it's easy for an outsider to dismiss it as irrational, but it's a reaction to very real events that have happened to me.  Ideally, a great first step would be for a woman I like to reciprocate my feelings, but at the very least I think I'd like it if a girl I was interested in would simply be ok with the fact that I liked her.  Even if they didn't share my feelings, at least not treat me like a horrible person who kills kittens on the weekend.  Little things like that might help me start to rebuild my confidence and get over my fears.

Don't hold your breath though.